There were just over 1,000 suspected drug deaths in Scotland during the first nine months of this year, according to figures from the Scottish Government – a 4 per cent decrease on the same period last year.
The figure for the July-September quarter, meanwhile, was down 13 per cent on the previous quarter and by 10 per cent on the corresponding quarter last year.
The Scottish Government has committed to releasing provisional figures every three months, following criticism that 2019’s figures were not published until the end of last year (DDN, October, page 4). However, the quarterly statistics refer to deaths that police suspect involved illicit drugs based on the reports of attending officers, rather than the official figures from death certificates and pathologists that are released annually by National Records of Scotland.
‘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 focussed 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,’ said drugs minister Angela Constance. ‘The £250m we are investing in tackling this public health emergency will make a difference. I am working to ensure it reaches front-line services as quickly as possible and that every single penny will count as we continue to prioritise our efforts to turn this crisis around.’
Suspected drug deaths in Scotland: July to September 2021 at www.gov.scot