Just despicable

Reader Ronnie Hughes sent us the above, writing:

On the back of an outstanding election result in all forms for the independence parties, is this the best picture and headline they could come up with? Considering the downright lies and misinformation continually pumped out by the main media outlets, I think this is a new low for the Courier, down even to the Sun level. Absolutely despicable.

Ronnie is correct about the attitude and also reminds me that Scotland’s drug deaths have a complex history for which the SNP is not to blame.

The Conservatives get to demand a big expansion in services but escape without any reference to their role in denying the permission at UK-level, for the safe injection rooms that could save many lives. As for the historical background linking the high death rate which is nearly all among older users whose young lives were shattered by Thatcher’s destruction of industrial Scotland in the 1980s, well forget that. What about Labour’s decades long betrayal of those same communities? Don’t be silly. That never happened, in their world.

So, in more detail, three things:

  1. Drug deaths statistics are counted differently across the UK.
  2. This spike in deaths is largely among older addicts, know as the Trainspotting Generation and they are the victims of Tory economic policies in the 1980s.
  3. The Scottish Government has beaten the waiting time targets for drug treatment.
  1. 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. Don’t expect to hear that the NHS Scotland drug treatment service consistently beats its 90% target for treatment within 3 weeks and that in the three-month period to December 31st 2020 had treated 95.7% of the 8 513 seeking treatment within that demanding timescale.


14 thoughts on “Just despicable

  1. No.4
    Scotland’s territorial waters are controlled and policed (huh huh) by the EngGov, another reserved power. I heard from someone in the know, years ago, that drugs were (no doubt still are) brought into Scotland’s ports with no problem at all for the pushers and dealers. Wee boats full of drugs? No problem. Then easily distributed throughout communities in all of Scotland hence terrible addiction rates and deaths. includng and possibly more so in Shetland.
    There are people at the top of the chain…getting very rich. Who are they?

    The BritNats, the EngGov have blood on their hands when it comes to this despicable neglect and even deliberate distribution of hard drugs in Scotland. It is nothing new, another terrible legacy of British rule, aided and abetted by their lackeys in cushy political roles in Scotland.
    How dare these BritNats attempt to blame the SNP and the FM for drugs deaths in Scotland, I hope NS shouts VERY loudly about this being another terrible, destructive, BritNat legacy, and not only that, these troughers revel in the problems they have created in Scotland’s communities, hell mend ’em.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I happened to notice that there’s some sort of documentary being trailled on the news (Panorama, I think) about drugs.

      More precisely, there was a ‘report’ on the BBC news ‘following’ a police drugs operation and talking about cross-border problems and collaborating forces. If you wanted to know more, there’s a Panorama programme on it, because it’s a real problem.

      What I saw seemed to cover the Anglo-Welsh border. I suppose the whole programme might include Scotland. *I* know that there are UK-wide and cross-border ops between England and Scotland. But, watching that, then seeing this, I wonder if the “woeful drugs record” isn’t going to be the next attempt to do ScotGov down.

      I’m so glad *you* watch programmes etc like that, John. I’d get really annoyed – and new TVs are expensive. As are windows…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Forgot to say – the ‘report’ also showed villains being pinned to the ground etc and said that such actions were necessary when apprehending the pushers etc. It is, as they said, a real problem and these people are, indeed, nasty and potentially dangerous.

        So why do I wonder if it may lead to the public getting desensitised and the perception going from “the way they’re treating that person – it’s like they’re a criminal” to “the way they’re treating that person – they MUST BE a criminal’. Hopefully, I’m wrong.


  2. Sorry….This is more THAN “just despicable”….

    Drug abuse, including excessive alcohol consumption, is often a form of copping with internalised stress. Which itself is often associated with a pre-existing social exclusion and marginality. Though getting blootard tends to undermine the individual’s capacity to effectively reduce the harmful impacts of their sources of stress. So here’s some industrial strength psychiatry re. the “gender difference in stress reactivity and responses”, for those with the time and interest.

    Gender differences in stress response: Role of developmental and biological determinants


  3. Alcohol deaths in England and Wales are the highest ever. A recent report.

    Alcohol deaths are down in Scotland. MUP. A fall of over 17%. Scotland did have higher figures than the rest of the UK historically but they have fallen.

    £250Million has just been put into drug services. It needs to be put in total abstinence proper rehab to get people healthy. Putting £Millions saves £Billions in other services. Prison costs £40,000 a year. Social services, police and fire. Kinship payments mean children can be kept within the family. For every person who gets healthier 9 other people benefit.

    The Councils put people on methadone for years. People take other substances and die. There is a need for proper total abstinence rehabs. Drs should be able to refer people under the SNHS. To save lives and get people healthier. It is more cost affective.

    The Courier should be printing a proper report. Labour unionist billionaire Thomson Press do not care. 30,000 readership. Millions of SNP/Indy voters. Labour were the only Party that did not support MUP.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Note who is the editor of the Courier- a certain David Clegg !
    An out and out Unionist hack from the Daily Rancid now the editor of YES city’s most read paper .


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