DRUG users should get one chance to take up treatment and avoid prosecution before feeling “the full force of the law” according to the Scottish Conservatives.

Proposals in a strategy unveiled by the party today include the drawing up of personalised life plans for all those who come forward for help.

The Scottish Tories are calling for a review of all drug-related deaths and of the methadone programme, and say they would seek to increase the proportion of drug users in treatment from 40 per cent to 60 per cent.

The plans come just a day before the Scottish Government is due to publish its own drugs strategy.

But the Conservatives said SNP ministers had failed to deliver on pledges to tackle the drugs ‘crisis’.

The party’s strategy would see first time offenders escape a criminal record, if they take up treatment and aim halve the number of drug-relate deaths in five years. Deaths among drug users reached a record high of 934 in 2017 and are thought likely to top 1000 in 2018.

Scottish Tory health spokesman Miles Briggs said the drugs crisis called for fresh thinking. He said: “Drugs wreck families, destroy lives and are holding back some of our poorest communities. He added: “At the centre of our plan is a call to give every problem drug user in Scotland a personalised Life Plan to support and sustain their transition from addiction back to a functioning life.

“We will have most impact by getting in early. So our strategy today sets out radical steps to deal with first time drug offenders – to ensure their first time is also their last time. It would be their choice – take responsibility for yourself and your actions, and you get a second chance and avoid a criminal record. Offend again, and you can expect to feel the full force of the law.”

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said the Scottish Government’s new drug and alcohol strategy would engage with those not ready to quit drug use as well as those in recovery: “We are willing to back innovative, evidence-based approaches that can make a real difference, as demonstrated by our support for Glasgow’s proposals to introduce a safer medically supervised drug consumption facility, and offer heroin assisted treatment,” he said.

“We call on all political parties in Scotland to join us in demanding that the UK Government takes a public health approach and support Glasgow’s proposals which will save lives.”