Six hundred people, 73 of them in Edinburgh, died between January and June, indicating the fall in annual deaths last year to 1,051 might be a blip not a trend. And 2022’s toll was still the worst in Europe.

Yet in the House of Commons during a debate about the criminalisation of nitrous oxide, Alison Thewliss MP, whose Glasgow Central constituency is one of the most blighted by drugs, still claimed: “We have a caring and compassionate human rights-informed drug policy for Scotland, but we do not yet have the powers to implement it.”

Wrong on both counts. Playing politics while presiding over more deaths than anywhere in Europe is not how most of us would define humane.

If anything, the improvement in 2022 proved full responsibility for the carnage lay in Edinburgh, not London, and Mr Cowan couldn’t bring himself to mention rehab, perhaps because the SNP record is so dreadful, and the SNP-Greens are resisting the Scottish Conservatives’ Right to Rehab bill.

Ironically, the SNP was correct that the criminalisation of Nitrous Oxide, overwhelmingly approved, will succeed only in giving criminals more business, but ignoring the lessons of their own tragic failure strips them of credibility. Nicola Sturgeon admitted their eye was off the ball, but as long as the SNP denies responsibility, they’ll need one with a bell.

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