Suspected drug deaths in Scotland increase by 10%, figures show

Press release, Scotland news
13 March 2024

In 2023, 1,197 people died as a result of suspected drug use – up by 105 from 2022. The figure had been on the decline in recent years.

The Scottish Government began publishing figures on deaths the police believe were as a result of drugs following record high figures in recent years.

Separated by police divisions, the figures show Greater Glasgow recorded the highest number of drug deaths with 303, more than double the 147 seen in Lanarkshire – the second highest.

Men continue to account for the highest proportion of deaths, at 73%, while 27% were women.

The 35 to 54 age group continued to have the highest proportion of suspected drug deaths, accounting for two-thirds of the total, while under-25s made up 5% of the total.

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

“We must remember that every drug death is a personal tragedy, which makes these latest statistics showing an upward trend, even more alarming.

“We’d welcome more ring-fenced funding for frontline addiction services in health, social care and the third sector across Scotland.

“This would increase access, choice and support for those who so desperately need treatment and support.”

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