South Scotland MSP Craig Hoy is calling on the Scottish Government to tackle the “heartbreaking” number of lives lost in East Lothian due to drugs.

Recent statistics showed that 1,330 Scots lost their lives to drugs last year – marginally lower than 2020’s figure of 1,339.

In East Lothian, there was a 14 per cent increase in drug deaths, up to 16.

Statistics show that Scotland has a death rate five times higher than those of England and Wales and is the highest in Europe.

Mr Hoy is now calling on Nicola Sturgeon to back Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross’s Right to Recovery Bill.

He said: “The number of people continuing to lose their lives to drugs in East Lothian is absolutely heartbreaking.

“One death to drugs is one too many and my thoughts are with those in the county who have lost a loved one to drugs.

“Scotland remains in the grip of a drug deaths epidemic and Nicola Sturgeon has admitted that she has shamefully took her eye off the ball.

“The Scottish Government now have to accept that their current approach is not succeeding in reducing drug deaths in East Lothian and they must now back efforts for introducing a Right to Recovery Bill.

“This would enshrine in law a right to treatment for those who need it most and was written in conjunction with frontline experts like [addiction charity] FAVOR UK.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Every life lost to addiction is a tragedy and our sympathy goes to all those affected by the loss of a loved one through drugs.

“We have already implemented many of the recent recommendations from the drug deaths taskforce and, with the backing of an additional £250 million over the course of this Parliament, we are focused on delivery and change on the ground, implementing approaches we know can help save lives.

“Our commitment to invest £100 million in residential rehabilitation and aftercare aims to increase capacity and improve pathways to expand access to services to the most vulnerable people.

“In 2021/22 we invested over £1.2 million to support drug and alcohol services and projects in the East Lothian area, including £18,000 for advocacy and support workers for the Consultation Advocacy Promotion Service (CAPS) and more than £99,000 for a family peer support project being run by the charity Circle.

“We are committed to working across Government, Parliament and beyond on the national mission and will consider the detail of the Right to Recovery Bill when it is published.”