SO Nicola Sturgeon and Douglas Ross have visited a drugs recovery group in Glasgow as the party leaders discuss how to tackle Scotland’s drugs death crisis. Perhaps the visit will open Mr Ross’s eyes to the situation many of our communities face on a day-to-day basis. He may even meet someone who like himself is holding down three jobs, however they will most likely be earning around £10 an hour (minus tax, National Insurance etc). There is a whole financial universe between Mr Ross, with his six-figure income and poor memory, and the good people of Bluevale Community Club in Haghill.

I doubt on his visit to the group Mr Ross will meet anyone who, like his Tory colleague Jacob Rees-Mogg, is able to buy and refurbish one of his homes with a cheap-rate £6 million loan from his own company in the Cayman Islands.

READ MORE: Douglas Ross: I'll seek UK Government support for drug consumption room

Drug abuse and poverty go hand in hand. Of course not all addicts are poor, but the lack of a well-paid job, a decent house to live in and the ability to pay your bills go a long way to setting some people on the long road to becoming another drug-related statistic. These rights have been denied to a sizeable number of the Scottish population by the acts of successive UK Tory governments.

It seems Douglas Ross is pushing ahead with his Right to Recovery Bill, which would apparently enshrine in law the right for someone struggling with addiction to receive the treatment they request. I am not sure if this would involve the important concepts of waiting lists or clinical priorities. A noble idea perhaps, but one that will come with a cost to the health service, a cost that presumably may come at the expense of cuts to other services. Perhaps another MSP could introduce a Right to a New Hip Bill.

READ MORE: Douglas Ross says he has never taken drugs and has led a 'sheltered life'

While any increase in the availability of treatment which would save a single soul from death is to be welcomed, we need to also look at long-term prevention as well as short-term possible cure. Secure, well-paid employment; adequate benefits; dry, warm homes; good schools; and a well-funded health service would go a long way to preventing drug deaths in the longer term. All of these are ideas completely alien to Douglas Ross and his fellow Tories.

Brian Lawson

DOUGLAS Ross seeking backing for a drug consumption room pilot, as reported in The National on Tuesday, appears to be contrary to his previous stance, however he now has an as yet unseen Right to Recovery Bill under preparation that may place onerous obligations on the NHS.

READ MORE: Scotland records fall in drug-related hospital stays

Douglas Ross has no previous record of innovation or of acting without the approval of the UK Government; consequently it would not come as a surprise if Douglas Ross returns with UK Government support for a pilot scheme (a reserved matter) provided that this is accompanied by a legal guarantee of immediate treatment for any addict wanting to enter the recovery programme in a Right to Recovery Act.

In view of the astronomical cost to NHS Scotland for treatment under such a guarantee, it would be prudent to continue exploring the possibility of a pilot scheme with the Lord Advocate that does not require UK Government approval.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry

DIDN’T the SNP’S Angus MacNeil do well last week? His brisk and robust style of questioning clearly had the Prime Minister struggling on the ropes. That tinged with his wonderful accent had me listening to every word. Since then Boris has further struggled: Peppa Pig, losing his place in his speech, dishevelled, poorly dressed. It’s as if he heading for a nervous breakdown. Don’t be surprised if another holiday is in the pipeline!!

Robin MacLean
Fort Augustus

I WAS reading the article concerning a survey of how much was known about the Scots Queen Mary I (More than half of UK ‘can’t identify Mary Queen of Scots, Nov 22). It contained the most surprising statement that she had been married three times and widowed twice.

Her own judicial murder by her Tudor relative took place, while she was a captive, on February 8 1587. Her third and I thought final husband, James Hepburn, 1st Duke of Orkney and 4th Earl of Bothwell, perished on April 14 1578.

So married thrice and widowed thrice would seem to be the correct answer in any future survey about her.

David Rowe

IN response to Ian Richmond’s letter (Letters, Nov 22), I think the choice is quite clear regarding “unity, identity and sovereignty.” We have to ask ourselves, have we any form of the above at the moment tied to a sinking Westminster? Compare that to what we could have working together towards “harmony”, a word the Tories have never ever understood or wanted to understand. The Scottish Sovereignty Research Group have just served the ball into the Scottish Government’s court – will they return it? Scotland will rise (together) to be a nation again.

Ken McCartney

HAVING just done the Scottish quiz in last weekend’s Sunday National, with regards to question 19, “What popular drink is produced at Blackford in Perth and Kinross?”, we have two. As well as Highland Spring water, we also have Tullibardine whisky. Perhaps the questions should have been worded as “What popular drinks are produced at Blackford in Perth and Kinross?”

While the sales of the water no doubt outperform those of the whisky, they are both important to the village of Blackford.

However, I do enjoy the quizzes, even if I never succeed in getting half of the correct answers!

Irene McLaughlan