Scotland records more than 1000 suspected drug deaths in nine months

The total figure is 40 fewer than the same period in 2020.

Scotland records more than 1000 suspected drug deaths in nine months iStock
The Greater Glasgow region accounted for the highest number of suspected drug deaths.

There were 1007 suspected drug deaths in Scotland in the first nine months of the year, according to official statistics.

Of those, the Greater Glasgow region accounted for the highest number, with 265 fatalities recorded in this area.

This is followed by Lanarkshire with 98 and then the city of Edinburgh and the North East, both with 86.

The most recent quarterly figures from the police reveal 285 suspected drug deaths in the three-month period, 13% fewer than the 241 between April and June and 31 fewer than June to September 2020.

National Record of Scotland figures – where drug-related causes are listed on death certificates – show Scotland had the highest drug death rate in Europe, with 1339 fatalities in 2020.

The latest Police Scotland figures, which record suspected causes of deaths, now list 1371 suspected drug deaths over the 12 months to September 2021 – the fifth-highest 12-month period on record.

Scotland’s drugs minister Angela Constance said: “Firstly, I want to extend my deepest sympathy to all those affected by the loss of a loved one through drugs.

“While there has been a slight downturn in the number of suspected drug deaths, it is still far too high, and I am clear there is much hard work and many challenges ahead if we are to truly turn the tide on this emergency.

“These quarterly reports were commissioned to provide more regular reporting of data on drug death trends in Scotland so everyone involved in our national mission remains focused on the work we must do to get more people into the treatment which works for them as quickly as possible, regardless of where they live, and this afternoon I will update Parliament on progress on the implementation of MAT (medication assisted treatment) standards across the country.