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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 December 2005, 00:27 GMT
SNP urges unified drugs strategy
Drugs graphic
SAD is to be wound up after nine years
Scotland's drugs strategy will suffer from the lack of a unified cross-party approach after a publicly-funded agency was scrapped, Nationalists have warned.

The Scottish Executive announced this month that the advisory body Scotland Against Drugs (SAD) was to be wound up.

Its main functions will be taken over by the new Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives from April.

But the Scottish National Party said a "unified, not partisan approach" was needed on the issue of drug abuse.

The SNP's Stewart Stevenson said: "The fact that Scotland has 51,000 intravenous drug users clearly underlines the fact that we must raise our game so as many people as possible are given the opportunity to kick the habit.

"We cannot allow another generation of Scots to fall into drug addiction."

We have put in place a range of treatment interventions at various stages of the criminal justice system
Scottish Executive spokeswoman

Mr Stevenson said that as well as cross-party input into the issue, he wanted to see options other than methadone used to treat drug addicts and extra resources for the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency (SDEA).

SAD's achievements have included training more than 5,700 primary and secondary school teachers in drugs awareness using executive and private sector cash.

The agency has provided work to more than 50 recovered addicts across Scotland, from Shetland to Dumfries.

However an executive spokeswoman said a unified approach was already being taken to tackle the misuse of drugs, bringing together prevention, education, treatment and rehabilitation.

She said: "We are working with the police forces, schools and the SDEA to step up enforcement.

"We have put in place a range of treatment interventions at various stages of the criminal justice system, such as drug treatment and testing orders."

More than 12m of drugs assets had been seized in the past year and ploughed into funding the executive's shop-a-dealer campaign, she added.

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