Drug-related deaths have soared to a record high in Scotland.
Figures released on Friday revealed that there were 584 deaths from drugs in 2011, an increase of 99 on the previous year.
Methadone, which is available on prescription, was implicated or contributed to 275 of those deaths, while heroin and/or morphine was involved in 206.
According to figures released by NHS Scotland earlier this year, the methadone programme in Scotland cost over £28m in 2010/11.
The statistics released by the Registrar General show that men accounted for 73% of the deaths, while the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area recorded one third of the losses of life as a result of drug use.
Benzodiazepines, like diazepam, were implicated in 185 deaths, while alcohol had been recorded as a factor in 129.
The 584 deaths represented a 76% increase in the past decade from 252 recorded in 2001.
Community Safety Minister Roseanna Cunningham said: "These figures published today represent 584 lives lost in communities across Scotland. Every one of these deaths is a tragedy and I extend my sympathies to the family members, friends and everyone connected.
"Today’s publication once again underlines Scotland has a legacy of drug misuse that stretches back decades, creating this upward ten year trend in drug-related deaths. Many of those lost to us are older drug users who after years have become increasingly unwell.
"No government has done more to address the legacy and while it will take time to tackle this tragedy, we will do that through continuing to invest and support the recovery of those affected by drugs in Scotland."
Biba Brand, of the Scottish Drugs Forum, said: "The figures announced today are a stark reminder of individual human tragedy and the scale of wider social need in Scotland."
She said that services were now seeing their third generation of families seeking help for drugs problems.
But she added: "Drug dependency is a chronic, relapsing condition for which there is no single solution and no quick or easy answer."
Liberal Democrat health spokeswoman Alison McInnes described the number of drugs deaths as "extremely concerning".
She said: "Not only do these figures represent the very real battle families and communities across Scotland face against chronic drug abuse, they also reveal the indiscriminate impact of one-off illicit drug use."
The Lib Dem MSP stressed the importance of preventing people from taking drugs, saying: "The starting gun to tackling drug abuse in our communities must be education.
"The SNP must lead a multi-prong approach which employs both harm reduction and prevention programmes. This could include drug treatment, educating our children about the impact of drug abuse on a person's health and early intervention programmes."
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