College responds to latest A&E drugs statistics

Online news, Scotland news
26 July 2023

The number of people attending Scotland’s emergency departments because of drugs over a three-month period increased by 13% compared to the same time last year, new figures have shown.

Statistics released by Public Health Scotland on Tuesday show 1,081 people went to A&E due to drugs between March and May of this year, 13% higher than the same time in 2022 when the figure stood at 954.

The number of attendances was similar to that seen during the same period in 2021 (1,058).

The figure also increased by 10% when compared to the previous 12 weeks.

Meanwhile, the average monthly number of suspected drug deaths between March and May of this year stood at 100, similar to the 102 per month during the same period in 2022.

Suspected drug deaths are based on provisional reports from Police Scotland.

Elsewhere, the number of acute hospital admissions caused by drugs between January and March dropped by almost a quarter compared to the same period last year, and almost half compared to 2021.

Some 1,654 people were admitted to hospital as inpatients or day cases in that time period while 2,136 were recorded last year and 3,040 in 2021.

Dr Susanna Galea-Singer, chair of the Addictions Faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, said:

“Once again, these alarming statistics prove that urgent action is needed now to halt the drug crisis in Scotland.

“While there is some room for optimism in that drug deaths have stagnated, the fact remains there are hundreds of people really struggling with addiction and mental health issues.

“As clinicians, we’re calling out for better access and joined up services.

“There also needs to be more choice and support across our local communities so there are treatment options in place, for those who so desperately need them.”

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