A public inquiry must be held urgently in order to address a rising number of drug deaths in Scotland, an MSP has said.

John Finnie, Green MSP branded the issue a “public health crisis” and called for immediate action.

Mr Finnie said a change in approach is required as deaths are expected to rise.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament he said: “There were 934 deaths in 2017 and, sadly, everything suggests the figure for 2018 may be significantly higher.

“We’re faced with a public health crisis. Scottish ministers have the power to establish a public inquiry into any matter when there is a large loss of life and/or serious health and safety issues.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the option of holding an inquiry would not be taken off the table, while highlighting the Government’s alcohol and drugs strategy which was published in November.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I’m not immediately persuaded that (an inquiry) would be the best way forward, but of course we will consider any proposal that has been made.

“Any death from drugs is one too many. Many of the people we sadly see dying from drugs are people who have lived with alcohol and drug use for a long time and become more vulnerable as they grow older.”