Drug-related deaths in Scotland have reached a new record after 1,339 people died last year from overdoses or the cumulative effects of years of addiction.
National Records of Scotland, the statistics agency, said this was a 5% increase in drug-related deaths recorded in 2019. The country continues to have the worst drug-related death rate. drugs in Europe with an age-standardized death rate in 2020 of 25.2 per 100,000 people, more than three and a half times the rest of the UK. This is the seventh consecutive annual increase.
The agency said the number of drug-related deaths last year was 4.5 times the level recorded in 2000, with men 2.7 times more likely to die than women. Many died after taking a cocktail of drugs: more than one substance was found in the bodies of 93% of those who died.
The average age of drug-related deaths has increased from 32 to 43 over the past 20 years, implying that years of drug addiction were one of the leading causes of death. Almost two-thirds of those who died last year were between 35 and 54 years old.
In another striking statistic, he said people in the poorest parts of Scotland were 18 times more likely to die from drugs than those in wealthier areas.
Angela Constance, Scotland’s minister for drug policy, who was appointed last year after her predecessor was sacked, said the deaths were “heartbreaking”. She said the Scottish government, led by the Scottish National Party for 14 years, is spending £ 250million to tackle the crisis over the next five years. This included £ 100million for the provision of residential rehabilitation services, £ 18million for outreach services and £ 13.5million for alcohol and drug partnerships.
Constance said she is also urging Britain’s Minister of Police to regulate the sale of pill presses, the cheap machines sold openly on the internet and used by underground drug traffickers to make cheap but adulterated drugs known as the name of “Street Valium”, widely accused of having killed many drug addicts.
“Once again, the statistics on drug-related deaths are heartbreaking. I want to offer my sincere condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one to drug use, ”she said. “We are working hard to get more people on the treatment that is right for them as quickly as possible. Without treatment, there is little hope of a cure, so we fund as many community and tertiary initiatives as possible so that individuals have the widest possible choice and can choose the support that is right for them and for them. their family.
Professor Catriona Matheson, chair of a Scottish Government Drugs Task Force, added: ‘Every drug-related death in Scotland is a preventable tragedy, and these numbers serve to remind us of the importance and the urgency of our mission to identify areas of action that can have a lasting impact against the challenge.
“We believe the putting evidence into action approach has saved lives, and we will analyze the details behind the headlines and seek to build on areas showing progress and address areas needing more attention. “
Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative leader, called for a “united national effort” to tackle drug addiction and drug-related deaths. “The drug crisis is our national shame. It is a stain on Scotland that so many of our most vulnerable have found themselves hopeless, crushed by a system that is completely broken, ”he said. “This is not a day for political positions, but it is a simple fact that the small steps of the government are not enough. The crisis worsens and gets out of hand.
Alex Cole-Hamilton, the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ health spokesperson, said the Scottish government had previously cut drug prevention services by millions of pounds and had to shoulder some of the blame for the death crisis drug-related.
“Every drug-related death is preventable. However, this task became 10 times more difficult when SNP ministers avoided the subject before the independence referendum, as this Justice Secretary admitted, and then cut the budget for essential preventive services by 22 % “, did he declare. “Apologizing now is too late for thousands of people. Drug victims and their families have failed. It is a scar on the conscience of this Scottish government.