The brand new stats from the Nationwide Information of Scotland (NRS) reveal that 1,330 folks misplaced their lives to drug misuse in Scotland in 2021.
This represents a fall of just one p.c since 2020.
In a small indicator of enchancment over time, the brand new figures reveal that drug associated deaths haven’t risen for the primary 12 months since 2013.
Nonetheless, the excessive numbers nonetheless symbolize the second highest annual whole for Scotland since information started in 1996, and much outpaces figures for the remainder of the UK and EU.
In 2020 (the latest 12 months out there for the remainder of the UK) Scotland’s drug misuse fee was 3.7 instances that for the UK as a complete, and better than that of any European nation.
Of those that died from the misuse of medicine, 65 p.c had been aged between 35 and 54 years previous and greater than two-thirds (70 p.c) had been males.
Dundee Metropolis had the very best age-standardised drug misuse demise fee of all native authority areas (45.2 per 100,000 inhabitants for the 5-year interval 2017-2021), adopted by Glasgow Metropolis (44.4) and Inverclyde (35.7).
Julie Ramsay, important occasions statistician at NRS, stated: “Drug misuse deaths have elevated considerably over the previous few a long time – there have been greater than 5 instances as many deaths in 2021 in contrast with 1996.
“2021 is the primary 12 months since 2013 that drug misuse deaths haven’t elevated.
“In 2021, after adjusting for age, folks in essentially the most disadvantaged areas had been greater than 15 instances as prone to have a drug misuse demise as these within the least disadvantaged areas.
“This ratio has widened over the previous twenty years.”
Opioids remained the primary explanation for drug-related demise in Scotland in 2021.
In the meantime, the variety of these dying from utilizing benzodiazepines has quickly elevated.
In 2015 there have been 191 deaths from the drug, whereas final 12 months there have been 918 – practically 5 instances as many.
In accordance with the NRS, this was principally pushed by avenue benzodiazepines quite than these that are prescribed.
Of all drug misuse deaths in 2021, 84 p.c concerned opiates or opioids (reminiscent of heroin, morphine and methadone) and 69 p.c concerned benzodiazepines (reminiscent of diazepam and etizolam).
However in 93 p.c of all drug misuse deaths, a couple of drug was discovered to be current within the physique.
Scotland’s drug coverage minister Angela Constance stated the state of affairs stays “unacceptable” and work should proceed shortly to deal with the “emergency”.
Ms Constance stated: “Scotland suffers a horrible toll from drug deaths, leaving households grieving and in ache and my coronary heart goes out to all these affected by the demise of a cherished one via medication.
“These newest statistics present but extra heart-breaking studying, and the state of affairs stays unacceptable.”
The minister added that the Authorities was already implementing lots of the 20 suggestions from the Drug Deaths Taskforce printed earlier this month.
FAVOR Scotland, a charity supporting these with dependancy, stated the “horrendous” figures ought to “disgrace the Scottish Authorities”.
Annemarie Ward, the organisation’s CEO, stated: “The response to Scotland’s drug deaths disaster has been abysmal.
“The Authorities has didn’t do what’s essential and the associated fee is devastating to our communities. Yearly we’re left with extra misplaced souls and damaged households.”
The Scottish Authorities has moved in the direction of treating medication as a well being challenge, quite than a felony one, a transfer welcomed by consultants – however this has been hampered by resignations of high figures concerned.
Professor Catriona Matheson, an knowledgeable in substance misuse from Stirling College, and former Police Scotland deputy chief constable Neil Richardson penned a letter to the Scottish Authorities outlining in late December 2021, saying that what was being requested of them was centered on velocity of motion quite than sustainability of change.
On the finish of Might, outstanding medication campaigner Peter Krykant warned that regardless of obvious efforts at authorities degree, the state of affairs for folks on the bottom had not modified in any respect.