Rise In Cannabis Users Hospitalised
6 January 2017, 06:00
Cannabis-related hospital admissions have reached a 10-year high, according to official figures.
Analysis carried out by the Scottish Conservatives shows 834 (14%) of the 5,922 people admitted to hospital after drug use in 2015/16 had taken cannabis.
The figure is more than double the lowest rate of 5% recorded in 2000/01 but below a high of 16% in 2005/06.
The Tories also highlighted there were 913 hospital ''stays'' involving cannabinoids in 2015/16, compared to 553 for cocaine-related admissions.
The party pointed to reports last January that some cannabis users may not be prosecuted but instead receive a recorded police warning under a system brought in to deal with low-level offences.
Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Douglas Ross said: ''These figures show very clearly 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.
''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.''
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: ''Drug use among the general population continues to fall and levels among young people remain low.
''We have greatly reduced drug and alcohol waiting times with 94% 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.''