Drug deaths crisis: Well-funded but dithering task force lets SNP Government down

All of the MSM coverage has sided with the academics given the task of making recommendations to the Scottish Government on how to reduce drug deaths.

Yet, the same media, fed by opposition parties, have accused the ‘the SNP Government’ regularly of failure to act, of betraying drug-users.

The taskforce was set up in July (not September as BBC Scotland say) 2019.

Millions have been allocated to fund the task force with, no doubt, Stirling University charging ‘full costs’ for Prof Matheson. I note that Matheson is also a ‘freelance Research Consultant.’ So, only P/T at Stirling?

Matheson has 30 years expertise according to BBC Scotland but only 25 according to scot gov in 2019. Either way, it sounds like she might already know quite a bit before starting this project, yet required 3 years to report.

I had more than 30 years in HE. I did R&D contracts for local education authorities and the Scottish Exec via the school inspectorate. As a head of department, I saw the details of many other staff-members contracts, including some for the EU.

In most cases, an interim report after six months and, often, completion within 1 year, was the pattern and, here’s my point, none of these were life and death matters. Thousands have died while this taskforce dithers and when the Minister tries, on our behalf, to push them on a bit, the Scottish media platform the ditherers.

Imagine 20 years ago and a Labour Government minister tells an academic to get a shift on, in the context of a national emergency.

And, after more than 2 years of effort by a big team, you resign just because you’ve been asked to report 6 months earlier. Sounds a bit convenient. Were they going to fail anyway and have just leapt at this opportunity to have a hissy fit and leave the room?

5 thoughts on “Drug deaths crisis: Well-funded but dithering task force lets SNP Government down

  1. You make a point which was a question in my mind as I watched the ‘interview’. Professor Matheson has many years experience as a university academic and so, is, I had imagined aware of the most up-to-date research and is aware of current projects which are ‘promising’.

    So, the task which she and her team were allocated was not a tabula rasa.

    Part of the footage shown as ‘colour’ for the piece showed a demonstration near the Concert Hall in Glasgow and the demonstrators, largely recovering addicts and their families showed a banner reading “While you are talking, we are dying”. This was something the ‘interviewer’ might have put to Prof Matheson.

    I thought Angela Constance was frank in her responses to the hostile interview, during which she was interrupted on at least three occasions.

    Several years back the go-to ‘expert’ for the media was a Neil McKeganey. Every initiative that was put to him for comment was unambiguously condemned. Yet, despite his alleged ‘expertise’ I do not recall him ever being asked, “What do you think should be done?”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Often, the so called, experts are not so well informed. People are put on methadone because it is considered cheaper. It is a false economy leading to more deaths. Castle Craig in Peebles is the major, expert, addiction facility in the world. They have been helping to save people forever.

    £250Million of funding has been allocated recently. Over five years. ie £50Million a year. That will make a difference and cut deaths. An increase in total abstinence proper rehab facilities will cut drug deaths.

    Prison £40,000 a year. Police, healthcare services, fire, social care, £Billions a year.

    Like

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