Demonstrators gather outside Parliament to mark International Remembrance Day
This year’s International Remembrance Day was marked by a demonstration outside Parliament that saw speeches from Professor John Strang and others. The annual event is designed to celebrate the lives of people who use drugs, and have died – often as the result of the ‘repressive and stigmatising conditions imposed by prohibition’.
This year once again saw Scotland record its highest ever number of drug-related deaths (DDN, July/August, page 4) and the country’s drug death rate remains the highest in the EU. While the latest statistics for England and Wales have yet to be released, last year’s figures saw 3,744 drug poisoning deaths – the highest since comparable records began – almost 70 per cent of which were classed as drug misuse deaths (DDN, September 2017, page 4).
Although International Remembrance Day usually takes place on 21 July this year it was held a day early to coincide with the last day of Parliament before the summer recess.
‘As we honour our family and friends, we want MPs to know the human cost of their decisions; that the policies they support inflict suffering upon tens of thousands of people across the country,’ said Release. ‘We know that many of our loved ones would still be here today if we had compassionate drug laws rooted in evidence.’