Scottish Conservatives have called for a crack down on cannabis after official figures revealed hospital admissions related to the drug have reached a 10-year high.
The analysis, carried out by the party, claims that 834 – or 14 per cent – of the 5,922 admitted to hospital after drug use in 2015-16 in Scotland had taken cannabis. It is just below a high of 15 per cent a decade earlier.
Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative’s shadow justice secretary, said the figures demonstrated that cannabis is “not the harmless substance some would have us believe,"
“It’s quite alarming that quite so many people are being hospitalised through using cannabis, a drug many people feel authorities are going soft on,” Mr Ross added. “And not only is it dangerous in its own right, as these statistics prove, but it’s a gateway drug to even more harmful substances.
“We have a massive fight on our hands in Scotland both with illegal drugs and so-called legal highs. Now is not the time to give in and wave the white flag. We need to crack down on those circulating drugs of all kinds on our streets, and reinforce the message about just how damaging taking these substances can be.”
The Tories also highlighted there were 913 hospital "stays" involving cannabinoids in 2015/16, compared to 553 for cocaine-related admissions. The SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison, however, said that drug use among the general population “continues to fall and levels among young people remain low.
She added: "We have greatly reduced drug and alcohol waiting times with 94 per cent of people now being seen within three weeks of being referred and we have invested over £630 million to tackle problem alcohol and drug use since 2008 and over £150 million over five years to improve mental health services in Scotland."