Recorded drug deaths in Scotland 'highest in EU'

Recorded drug deaths in Scotland 'highest in EU'

Recorded drug deaths in Scotland 'highest in EU'

Official statistics show 1,187 people died from drugs last year - a 27% increase on the previous year and the highest figure of any European Union country.

The figure is 27% higher than the previous year, and the highest since records began in 1996.

It means the death toll taken by drugs in Scotland is the worst in Europe and three times the UK-wide rate.

The majority of the deaths were due to accidental overdose, and nearly all were linked to the use of heroin, methadone, and other opioids. We would seize control of the entire manufacture and distribution of drugs from criminal cartels, by legalising their production, supply and use, while putting in place strict regulation to minimise harm.

"These figures really need to be a wake-up call for the SNP".

Despite many positive developments coming as a result the Scottish Government's Alcohol and Drug Strategy, we recognise that Scotland is facing an emergency over the increase of drug-related deaths.

"The Scottish Government's excuse for these appalling statistics is that drug classification is reserved to Westminster". Bereaved families may wonder why the United Kingdom drugs minister won't visit Scotland to better understand why their loved ones died, or appear before Scottish MPs to justify her government's failed approach.

"The truth is that health, social care, the methadone programme and justice policy are all controlled by Holyrood. Here and across the United Kingdom, we need an immediate change of course".

"These figures bring the scale of the problem we face in Scotland into sharp focus".

For the heroin replacement methadone, which is available on prescription, this was 47% of all drug deaths, more than heroin or morphine at 45%.

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A UK Government spokesman said: "It has been clear that there is no legal framework for the provision of drug consumption rooms and there are no plans to introduce them".

In all, just shy of 1,200 deaths were recorded in Scotland.

"It is time the government acted to ensure that drug deaths do not continue to rise and ruin our communities further".

Scotland's public health minister, Joe FitzPatrick, called the new figure "shocking".

"The Scottish Government is prepared to take forward bold, innovative, evidence-based approaches, even if at first they may be challenging".

"The fact of the matter is people don't die in safe consumption facilities".

"Scottish drugs policy has utterly failed". I'd suggest Mr Lamont puts politics aside for a minute and looks at the evidence on this.

This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Although there are more drug-related deaths in the USA overall, the rate is 217 per million of population compared with 218 per million in Scotland.

"Every death is a tragedy and impacts on families and friends".

However, countries differ in how deaths are recorded, and there may be under-reporting in some cases. "The "war on drugs" approach has self-evidently failed".

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