Drug deaths in Scotland still worst in Europe as number hits record high – .

Drug deaths in Scotland still worst in Europe as number hits record high – .

Drug-related deaths in Scotland hit a record 1,339 last year, the seventh consecutive time the number has risen.
The recently released figure for 2020 shows 75 more deaths than the previous year, when 1,264 people lost their lives.

Last year’s figure is also the highest number of drug-related deaths since records began in 1996.

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

This is more than three and a half times higher than in England and Wales.

Most of the deaths – 1,192 of them – were related to the use of opioids such as heroin, morphine, methadone, codeine and dihydrocodeine.

Benzodiazepines have been implicated in 974 deaths. “Street” sedatives such as etizolam, which is more potent than Valium, have contributed to 806 benzodiazepine-related deaths. Some deaths involved more than one benzodiazepine or a mixture of prescription and rue tablets.

Anticonvulsant drugs, gabapentin or pregabalin, were present in the bodies of 502 people who died and cocaine in 459 people.

Alcohol was involved in 173 deaths, ecstasy-type drugs in 40 drug-related deaths, and amphetamines in 60 deaths.

Glasgow has again proven to be the worst neighborhood for people with addictions, with 291 dead last year.

Greater Glasgow and Clyde had the highest rate of any region in the Scottish Board of Health with 30.8 deaths per 100,000 population, followed by Ayrshire and Arran and Tayside with rates of 27.2 and 25.7 respectively.

Men were nearly three times more likely to die from drug abuse than women, figures also show, and people in the poorest areas were 18 times more likely to die than those in less deprived areas.

Almost two-thirds of all drug-related deaths were among people aged 35 to 54.

The increase in the number of drug-related deaths over the past 25 years has been the largest since 2013. The SNP had a majority government in Scotland between 2011 and 2016, after which it ruled with a minority regime.

Responding to the figures, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the number of lives lost “is unacceptable, each being a human tragedy” – and added that drug law reform is not a matter for itself.

The SNP chief said: “Today my thoughts are with every family who has lost a loved one. I am sorry for the loss you have suffered.

Nicola Sturgeon apologized to those who lost loved ones to drug abuse

(Scottish Government)

Ms Sturgeon tweeted: ‘The Scottish government is not shirking its responsibility and we are determined to make changes that will save lives.

“These 2020 figures (but no less shameful because of that) predate the actions defined at the start of the year.

“We now have a minister dedicated to drugs in Angela Constance, a substantial funding commitment and actions underway to, for example, ensure faster access to community support, treatment and rehabilitation.

“We will also continue to advocate for reform of the drug law, which is currently beyond our control. “

In April, Ms Sturgeon admitted that the SNP government ‘diverted our attention’ from drug-related deaths and pledged £ 250million over the next five years for rehabilitation and community services.

Following the release of recent figures, Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross said: “This is not a day for political positions, but it is a simple fact that small government steps are not enough.

“The crisis is getting worse and getting out of hand.

“We need a united national effort to make the drastic changes needed to overhaul the failed system.

“The Scottish Conservatives are bringing in a Right to Restore Bill to legally ensure that anyone in need of treatment can get it.

“This proposal has the support of frontline groups and experts from across the political spectrum. SNP MSPs would be on board privately. We just need the government to wake up, stop stalling and support it. “

Glasgow is the city with the worst drug-related death rate in Europe

(AFP via Getty Images)

Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar said the new figures “should shame Scotland”.

He added, “It should never have been allowed to come to this… We can and must act now, investing in a range of services and delivering truly person-centered treatment and recovery.

The Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF) attributed the worsening drug abuse problem in Scotland to poverty.

He said: “Scotland’s drug problem has its roots in the harsh climate of deindustrialisation of the 1980s and the economic and social impact of the following decades.

“Other countries have chosen a more interventionist approach whereby the state has created alternative jobs and opportunities during these changes. It was not the policy in the UK.

“The consequence of this continued approach is a significant and more entrenched drug problem nationwide. “


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