UK Government plans for tougher penalties for drug possession could lead to “significant risks” for vulnerable Scots, Scotland’s drug policy minister Angela Constance has said.

Recreational drug users would face tougher sanctions including passport and driving licence seizures under new proposals outlined by the Home Office earlier this week.

It is thought the measures would crack down on substance abuse, according to the UK Government.

But Ms Constance has written to Tom Pursglove, Westminster’s new crime and policing minister, to condemn the proposals.

It comes as Scotland’s Drug Deaths Taskforce published its final report into the crisis, including 20 recommendations for action by both governments.

Taskforce chairman David Strang said on Thursday that major cultural change is needed to reduce Scotland’s drug deaths, including removing the stigma and discrimination around addiction.

Mr Strang, a former chief constable, also said the punishment of addicts has to stop.

“Addiction is not a crime,” he said. “You can’t punish people out of addiction.”

In 2020, there were 1,339 drug-related deaths in Scotland, a rate far above the rest of the UK and higher than any European country.

Ms Constance has told her Westminster counterpart that the proposals, which would be enforced in Scotland, would be damaging to the efforts to resolve the drug deaths crisis north of the border.

Outlining her “disappointment” at the Home Office report, Ms Constance said the measures would be ineffective.

She said: “Increasing or expanding criminal sanctions have not in the past proven successful in preventing drug deaths.

“I would therefore oppose any decision to require Scotland to implement any of these measures and would highlight the significant risks inherent in this approach.”

She also urged Mr Pursglove to provide a detailed response to the recommendations from the independent Scottish Drug Deaths Taskforce.

The report called for swift and decisive action and included 20 evidence-based recommendations, including for the UK Government to immediately review the law to enable a public health approach to drugs.

Ms Constance added: “In the meantime, we continue to do everything in our power to implement a public health approach.

“I would therefore welcome your commitment to working together to tackle drug-related harms and deaths.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Drugs destroy lives and tear communities apart, and since 2012 drug use has increased, costing our society and taxpayers nearly £20 billion a year.

“Our proposals aim to stamp out drug supply, drive the behaviour change to reduce illegal drug use and make our streets safer.

“Through public consultation, we are currently seeking views on the white paper on new consequences for adult drug possession.”