According to the latest figures, the number of drug-related deaths in Scotland significantly rose in 2018. The report titled 'Drug-related Deaths in Scotland in 2018' published by the National Records of Scotland indicates that 1187 drug-related deaths were registered in Scotland in 2018, 27 per cent higher than the figure registered in 2017 and more than double the figure registered in 2008.
Other important findings in the report include the following:
- Seventy-two per cent of the drug-related deaths in 2018 occurred in males.
- Individuals aged 35-44 years accounted for 37 per cent, those aged 45-54 years for 29 per cent and those aged 25-34 years for 18 per cent of all drug-related deaths.
- The highest number of drug-related deaths in 2018 was seen in the Greater Glasgow & Clyde region (33%), followed by Lothian (13%), Lanarkshire (11%) and Tayside (9%).
- Opiates or opioids were potentially accountable for 86 per cent of drug-related deaths, whereas benzodiazepines were potentially accountable for 67 per cent of deaths.
- The drug-death rate in Scotland is nearly thrice that of the entire UK.
A new taskforce is being set up advise the Health Ministry on further changes in practice or in law required to save lives and reduce drug-related harm. Professor Catriona Matheson who heads the Drug Deaths Taskforce said: “These figures bring the scale of the problem we face in Scotland into sharp focus. The need for urgent action is clear and the taskforce gives us a mechanism to do that.”