The Tusker is often criticised for ‘whitabootery‘ as it relentlessly notes the many occasions when the statistics suggest we’re doing a bit better, on Covid infection and death levels, on NHS satisfaction, on falling crime, on IVF treatment, on A&E performance and so on and on.
Angry responses tell us it doesn’t matter if we’re ‘only’ doing better than other countries and our MSM implicitly support that view by rarely if ever making positive comparisons but, when Scotland may be doing worse, oh boy, will we hear about it.
They’ve tried on Covid infection and death rates but their dodgy stats have been rebutted. They tried on care home deaths, even ignoring 5 research studies finding no link with hospital discharges. They haven’t given up on that one. They tried, deliberately or stupidly misrepresenting the percentage of all deaths which took place in care homes, until Stirling University research made clear the mortality rate in English care homes was significantly higher. Marr even managed to twist that one.
However, nothing beats drug deaths. Last year when the figures came out, Reporting Scotland could not put the story down and opposition politicians lined up to accuse the SNP of ‘betraying’ drug users, conveniently ignoring the role of Westminster in denying Scotland the powers to tackle the problem, with safe injection rooms.
Today, even before the figures come out, BBC Scotland is drooling at the prospect, headlining the anticipated news. Watch if you can bear it. This will be big, for them.
You can also expect, that like last year, there will be no context. Last year we offered some:
From NHS Scotland: Between April and June 2020, 95.3% of the 7,195 people who started their first drug or alcohol treatment waited 3 weeks or less, an increase from the same quarter in the previous year (93.4%), which may be in part attributable to a fall in the number of completed waits during the quarter … Continue reading NHS Scotland beats drug treatment target again→
In the above report, more than a year ago, Annie Wells said: The SNP has had control over health and justice for 12 years, yet hasn’t managed to bring in anything that comes close to dealing with this problem. As these figures show, whatever drugs strategies it has adopted have only made things worse. What … Continue reading UK Government fails Scotland’s drug victims→
Story Feeder: Brain McGowan: Not on Reporting Scotland Down but here on The Tusker, from NHSGGC: Following the success of Glasgow’s only Injection Equipment Provision (IEP) van, funding has been granted for an additional mobile unit to help tackle the city’s drug crisis by providing crucial healthcare and harm reduction services. The van, funded by … Continue reading Another Scottish attempt to reduce drug deaths goes unmentioned→
From NHS Scotland yesterday: 94.7% of the 9,267 people who started their first drug or alcohol treatment during the latest quarter waited 3 weeks or less, with little change in recent years. https://beta.isdscotland.org/find-publications-and-data/lifestyle-and-behaviours/substance-use/national-drug-and-alcohol-treatment-waiting-times/ They’re too modest. They’ve been beating the 90% target for years now.
SCOTTISH TORIES’ INACTION AND DISREGARD FOR THE LIVES OF DRUG ADDICTS IS FROM THE SAME SOCIOPATHIC MINDSET AS JOHNSON’S WAS ON THE CORONAVIRUS THREAT
All across the Scottish media this morning we see headlines like this in the Glasgow Times: ‘83% of drug injectors in Glasgow would use city safe room‘ I can’t seem to find the actual GCU report. Do they just send it to the corporate and state media and not post it openly for ‘hobbyists’ like … Continue reading Scottish Tories’ inaction and disregard for the lives of drug addicts is from the same sociopathic mindset as Johnson’s was on the coronavirus threat→
From NHS Scotland today: The Scottish Government set a standard that 90% of people referred for help with their drug or alcohol problem will wait no longer than three weeks for treatment that supports their recovery. 95% of the 9,171 people who started their first drug or alcohol treatment during the quarter waited 3 weeks … Continue reading NHS Scotland smashes drug and alcohol treatment waiting time targets→
WHY I WILL REPORT THE DIFFERING CORONAVIRUS DEATH RATES IN THE UK AND SCOTLAND JUST THE SAME WAY DRUG DEATHS WERE
Rarely for someone active in social media, I get little criticism, next to no abuse, but in the last few days, I’ve been getting comments suggesting that on this issue, I’ve lowered my standards in some way. Yesterday, I posted this: As the UK death rate climbed to 55 from 35 only yesterday, the MSM … Continue reading Why I will report the differing coronavirus death rates in the UK and Scotland just the same way drug deaths were→
This, on the Scottish Drugs Taskforce, ignored by BBC Scotland, was forwarded to us by indyref2soon ‘Kindness, Compassion and Hope’ is the title of the Dundee Commission report that laid bare the failings of treatment and care and monitoring of these services which led to the tragedy of escalating drug deaths in Dundee. After an … Continue reading Dundee tackles its drug problems but BBC Scotland prefer deaths→
Ludo Thierry Beeb website (main news page) is carrying the story about the courageous and visionary Scots drug worker Peter Krykant. This major story is FINALLY appearing on the beeb Scotland site (thanks only to The Victoria Derbyshire programme team). Incompetence? Editorial decision? – Anyway you care to look at it beeb Scotland doesn’t come … Continue reading Visonary Scots drug worker on BBC but not BBC Scotland→
And there’s more:
- Drug deaths are counted differently in Scotland and England:
The statistics come from a source which compares these with English data which are not gathered in the same way. See this telling example on page 47:
‘It follows that some deaths could (in theory) be counted differently in, say, Scotland and England. For example, a death from intentional self-poisoning by an uncontrolled substance would be counted in Scotland (but not in England) if a controlled substance was present in the body but was not believed to have contributed to the death (because the presence of the controlled substance would not be recorded in the data for England).’
And contributing to this problem, deaths are more likely to be recorded as suicide in Scotland:
Unlike Scotland, in England and Wales, whether a death due to injury is classified as intentional or accidental depends on information provided by coroners. Narrative verdicts from coroners often do not provide information on whether the injuries were due to intentional self-harm, were accidental or were of undetermined intent. In these circumstances, coding rules mean that classification of the death defaults to ‘accidental’, and therefore suicides may be underestimated in England and Wales (and therefore also the UK).’
2. Tory economic policies in the 1980s are to blame:
Scotland’s drug death crisis is based disproportionally upon older drug users who began using heroin in the 1980s and 90s under the Tory and New Labour neoliberal economic policies which lauded greedy individualism, and which destroyed communities through a failure to create employment and a misguided war on drugs. Researchers have shown this to be a predictable and widespread phenomenon:
Drug Overdose Rates Are Highest in Places With the Most Economic and Family Distresshttps://scholars.unh.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1339&context=carsey
During the 1980s and ’90s there was a significant increase in problem drug users in Scotland, which peaked about 20 years ago. There is now an ageing population of drug addicts, mainly men, who have been using heroin for decades. Biologically they are ageing much faster than their real age and they develop multiple morbidity, particularly around respiratory diseases, liver diseases and blood-borne viruses and this adds a further vulnerability with regards to overdose deaths. Last year, more than two-thirds of drug-related deaths were aged between 35 and 54.
3. SNP Government drug treatment beats 90% waiting time target with 95% score
From the Information Services Division (ISD) for drug and alcohol treatment services between July and September 2019:
The Scottish Government set a standard that 90% of people referred for help with their drug or alcohol problem will wait no longer than three weeks for treatment that supports their recovery.
For the 5,335 people seeking drug treatment, 95.0% waited three weeks or less.