Courts are shunning drug treatment orders and fining addicts instead, it has been claimed.
Liberal Democrats said figures showing a huge leap in convictions for drug possession, but only a tiny rise in drug treatment and test orders, should be a "wake-up call" for the Scottish Government.
The figures were given by the Scottish Government in response to parliamentary questions from Lib Dem justice spokesman Robert Brown.
These showed that last year, more than 50% of those convicted of possessing heroin were fined, but fewer than 3% were given a drug treat and testing order (DTTO).
This was against a backdrop of huge increases in convictions since 2001, he said.
That year, just 47 people were convicted of heroin possession but the number passed the 1,000 mark in 2004 and last year`s total was 1,148.
Convictions for possessing ecstasy, amphetamines and cocaine also increased sharply over the same period - by 1,684%, 817% and 8,750% respectively.
Mr Brown said: "This almost certainly points to both a successful effort by Scottish police in tracking down drug users, but also Scotland's growing drug problem."
He went on: "The most concerning finding from these figures is how many drug users are simply fined.
"Over 50% of heroin addicts convicted last year of possession were given a fine."
November 21, 2009
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More addicts fined than treated