Drug deaths down 21 per cent

Drug deaths down 21 per cent

Drug deaths have fallen by 279 (21 per cent) compared with 2021, figures from National Records of Scotland show.

Drugs minister Elena Whitham said: “My sympathy goes out to all those affected by the loss of a loved one through drugs.

“While I am pleased to see that hundreds of families have been spared this agony and lives have been saved, every life lost is a tragedy and the number of deaths is still too high.

“I will never underestimate the scale of the challenge we continue to face, including responding to new threats such as synthetic opioids and stimulant use. I can see that our work across Scotland, where we have already supported 300 grass-roots projects, including ‘Back on the Road’, is gathering pace, and I’m grateful to all those delivering vital services.

“As part of our £250 million National Mission on drugs, we’ll continue to focus on getting more people into the form of treatment and support they need, expand access to residential rehabilitation and drive the rollout of life-saving Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Standards where we are making significant progress.

“As we highlighted in our recent Drug Law Reform proposals, the UK government could do more to work with us to help introduce harm reduction measures.”

Dr Lorna Nisbet, from the University of Dundee’s Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science, and the centre’s director, Professor Niamh Nic Daeid, said: “The extent to which street benzodiazepines are being used in Scotland also contributes to this complex landscape and new benzodiazepines continue to emerge as drug legislation changes.

“This increasing variety within the Scottish drug market is cause for concern as the potency of these substances, and their effects when consumed in mixtures with other drugs, remain largely unknown. Considering these evolving trends and challenges, vigilance, research and joined up strategies will be essential to ensure Scotland’s drug related deaths continue to decline.”

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