Drugs should be treated as a health issue and not criminal to reduce the number of addicts and deaths according to the SNP.

Aileen Campbell Public Health Minister spoke at the SNP Conference to back a resolution for a review of drug policy and for powers to legislate on drugs to be devolved to Scotland.

Ms Campbell said there were 867 deaths from drugs last year in Scotland.

She said: “People with addictions are just that, people. People who need care and support.

The motion which stated: “approaching substance misuse as a public health issue rather than criminal a matter would greater support families and communities” was backed by the conference.

Josh Menie, who proposed the resolution, said the war on drugs was a failed war and a needless war.

He said: “Drugs are always going to exist. Who would we rather see producing and supplying these drugs, the government or organised criminals?”

Inverclyde MP Ronnie Cowan said when drugs are treated as a health matter it makes a difference.

He said when Glasgow became the first city to provide free needles to addicts it reduced HIV rates to 3% whereas in New York he said it was 50%.

The conference also called on the Scottish Government to outlaw people offering free rent for sex.

MSPs and party members highlighted adverts on the internet from people offering a free room in exchange for sex in Glasgow.

Ivan McKee, Provan MSP, said offering free rent for sex was exploitation in exactly the same manner as offering cash to pay rent in exchange for sex.

The call was proposed by SNP member Math Campbell-Sturgess, who said: “Some of these adverts were taken from the internet last night.

“This is happening right now in this city.”