Almost 20 suspected drug-related deaths were recorded in Inverclyde in just three months, with fresh data suggesting there has been a major spike since last year.
Inverclyde Council says it is spending “millions of pounds” trying to combat the problem, with bosses admitting the area continues to struggle with higher than average levels of addiction.
Figures from Police Scotland show there were 19 deaths thought to be linked to drugs between April and June this year, with toxicology results still pending.
In the same period last year, there were eight confirmed and two suspected drug-related deaths.
Police say substances commonly suspected as being involved in the deaths include valium, cocaine and heroin.
The data was revealed in a report due to be presented to Inverclyde Council’s local police and fire scrutiny committee next week.
A council spokesman said: “Drug abuse is not unique to Inverclyde but we acknowledge this is an area with higher than average levels of addiction and we’re spending millions of pounds to try and combat the problem.
“The figures relate to what are still ‘suspected’ drug-related deaths. Elected members will have the opportunity to explore this information with our partners in Police Scotland in greater detail at the local police and fire scrutiny committee.”
Meanwhile, the data indicates detections of drug supply, production and cultivation offences almost halved between April and June compared to the same three months last year, with 12 recorded.
Story by local democracy reporter Stephanie Brawn