Nicola Sturgeon is facing calls to lay out plans for immediate action on Scotland’s drugs crisis.

Labour and the Conservatives have called on the First Minister to make a ministerial statement on what she will do to stem the rising number of drugs-related deaths after she gives parliament a Covid update on Tuesday.

Anas Sarwar has demanded the First Minister make tackling the drugs crisis her political priority after 15 years of failure.

Sarwar said: “The First Minister, who admits she took her eye off the ball on this crisis, must update the Scottish Parliament on what they are now doing to save lives.

“It is not enough for the Government to express regret at these heartbreaking figures - there must be a call to action."

“Every year we get devastating figures, every year they get worse and every year we hear regret from the Government.

He added: “We have the same drug laws as the rest of the UK but three and a half times the rate of drugs deaths.

“Apologising or expressing regret just isn’t good enough.

“The First Minister should put all her political energy into solving this crisis - after 15 years in Government it is a test she must pass.

“And if she fails to make progress she should make way for someone who will.”

Drug-related deaths in Scotland rose to a record 1,339 last year, the seventh time in a row that the number has risen.

Scotland continues to have the worst drug death rate in Europe, with 21.2 deaths per 1,000 of the population.

Sarwar said: “Those statistics should shame Scotland - it should never have been allowed to get to this point.

“Each and every one of these deaths is a travesty, and each one is preventable.

The Scottish Conservatives have also called for a ministerial statement this Tuesday on Scotland’s drug death crisis.

The party have been calling for the SNP Government to back their Right to Recovery Bill proposal after the latest statistics indicated drug deaths in Scotland have increased for the seventh year in a row.

Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Annie Wells MSP, said: “We have called for a ministerial statement because, despite the latest heartbreaking drug statistics, the SNP Government have offered no extra support, no new ideas, no new solutions to this crisis.

“On the day that drug deaths tragically increased for the seventh year in a row, SNP minister Angela Constance joined us at a memorial in Glasgow and somehow thought that people wanted to hear her speak about a Deacon Blue song."

Wells added: “The SNP are out of touch with the needs of people on the frontline of this crisis. People in our communities don’t need more warm words and empty platitudes, they need action.

“On Tuesday, we hope the government will have the decency to explain why they are stalling on backing our Right to Recovery Bill proposal, which would guarantee everyone who needs addiction treatment can get it.”