More than 400 suspected drugs deaths recorded over four-month period

New figures show an average of 96 suspected drug deaths every month between December and February.

More than 400 suspected drug deaths recorded over four months in Scotland, figures show iStock

More than 400 suspected drug deaths were recorded in Scotland over four months, figures show.

Numbers released on Tuesday, by Public Health Scotland, show an average of 96 suspected drug deaths every month between December and February – the same figure recorded in the same period the year before.

A total of 116 deaths were recorded in November, 93 in December, 108 in January and 86 in February, according to the Rapid Action Drug Alerts and Response system, totalling 403 during the period.

The average weekly number of suspected deaths sat at 22, lower than the same period in 2020-21 when it was 33 and around the same level as the previous year.

The drugs or drug types most detected were opioids, benzodiazepines, gabapentin and pregabalin and cocaine.

Heroin or morphine remained the most commonly detected substance, with 37% of cases testing positive between October 1 and November 30 last year.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said, in response to the figures: “These figures show that Scotland’s drug death catastrophe continues to rumble on, cutting short lives and devastating families.”

“The Scottish Government has made a series of grand proclamations but it is still struggling to make a dent in drugs deaths,” he added.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats are calling for the immediate introduction of specialist drug commissions, the decriminalisation of drug misuse and for safe consumption spaces to be available across the country.

“The Scottish Government needs to offer families more than cheap talk.”

The Scottish Government has been approached for comment.