(c) The Guardian

Drug deaths rose on Thatcher’s watch but she did not admit the toll was unacceptable

TuS can reveal that within a few years of the Thatcher government’s ‘restructuring’ of Scotland’s economy with sudden heavy industry shut-downs leading to mass unemployment, drug deaths, primarily in those communities where the young had no prospects, began to soar:

These data show a doubling between 1992 and 1993 and a near ten-fold increase toward the end of the decade.

The Conservative Government response was further criminalising of drug abuse victims.

By 2002 after 5 years of New Labour, deaths had doubled to 280 per year and by 2007, when the SNP inherited the problem, they had reached 455:

We see today, further increases as those addicts who became so around 30-40 years ago reach, as a cohort, the end of their tragically shortened lives.


  1. The unionist parties are culpable in councils and otherwise.

    Totally and recklessly wasting funding.

    The SNP Gov are doing something about putting £250Million (5 years) funding.

    Replacing Monies which (unionists) councils have recklessly wasted.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. The social work departments in (unionist) councils refuse to provide proper total abstinence, rehab facilities and have done for years. Putting people on methadone for years because it is ‘cheaper’. False economy. Then wasting £Millions/Billions of funds elsewhere. Getting into massive debt. They do not care. Building empty, shops and offices and other wasteful non essential projects, They renege on any commitment of care or essential services. They are supposed to be providing. They get directives and wilfully or ignorantly totally ignore them. Until once again Gov has to step in.

    The SNP have listened and are now putting in increased funding to cover the funds that have been wasted and depleted by (unionist) councils.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Tories cut the NHS budget £20Billion from 2015 to 2020.

    Medical addiction services show alcoholics a plastic cup and tell them just to drink a third amount of it. Totally absurd. They should not be drinking at all even to stay healthy or substituting (prescription) drugs for the addition. Long term to stay healthy.

    The Scottish Gov has brought in MUP to cut consumption and saves lives. To overcome addiction.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. All credible reports and analysis highlight the same historic scenario of depression and hopelessness as cause for the recent spike in early deaths, but I’m inclined to think this confected Scotland furore has a more sinister angle, it’s not just about attacking SG but avoiding the elephant in the room, drug use has gone through the roof.

    Existing drugs policy has failed, and even though the Police themselves have lobbied for change. There is not a day goes by where a Police Force is not conducting drugs busts, and for every dealer removed from the streets they know full well another two will rise in their place.
    It’s almost the 21st century version of the Opium Wars, conducted against their own people.

    The only way Scotland is going to be able to tackle the underlying and active problem is to be free from the financial and policy deadweight in London, anything else is simply tinkering at the edges.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. The funding was passed down to (unionist) councils several years ago. Taken from the SNHS budget. To fund local social services drug addiction care. They did not provide it. Putting people on methadone from years because it was perceived as ‘cheaper’. A false economy. (Unionists) Councils lack of properly funded facilities. The cause of the increase in drug deaths. Proper facilities closed down without this funding.

    The unionist parties are culpable. A deliberate? dereliction of duty. They do not care. Spent monies on any other kinds of wasteful nonsense against the public interest, as usual.


  6. Drink and drug use has decreased among the young. They are more knowledgable of the possible dangers. Education and information. They take heed. It is a historical problem. MUP has reduced consumption and cut deaths. Scotland has an historical problem of increased alcohol/drug use. The gap by comparison is decreasing under the SNP Gov. From 25% to 10%. A major decrease.

    Obesity and alcohol consumption are increasing under the Westminster Gov. 24hr drinking Laws. More availability. Life expectancy is decreasing under the Westminster Tory Gov 120,000++. Increasing poverty. Spending and wasting £Billions on worthless projects. HS2, Hickley Point, Trident. Corruption. Lawbreaking. A malicious governance.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for providing this long term perspective on what is, indeed, a continuing problem impacting seriously on a vulnerable section of the population.

    The largest group of those dying are those over 50 years and their problems with drugs and other substance abuses dates back more than 30 years. When they were younger, their bodies, as young people’s generally are, were more resilient. But, as we all know – even those of us who are abstemious, live in good housing, eat well, take exercise – ageing brings a greater susceptibility to various infections. But, those with addiction problems, as they age, have, in addition, compromised immune, cardiovascular and digestive systems. So, there is a greater probability that they will die younger and in greater numbers than the bulk of the population.

    This is a complex issue and is further complicated by a constellation of circumstances specific to the Glasgow area (and to some other parts of Scotland).

    While the media and some politicians jump on to the so-called ‘Glasgow effect’ as evidence of an innate inadequacy of people in the city. It is essentially a moral judgement, which can be paraphrased as a contemptuous, ‘hell mend them’.

    Some years ago, following a major study by a number of academic bodies, the Glasgow Centre for Population Health published this accompanying infographic to summarise the findings:

    The money invested by the Scottish Government should facilitate a coordinated approach to supporting those addicted and their families.

    Liked by 6 people

  8. Completely agree – the roots of the (complex) drugs death crisis lie in the 1980s. The Scottish Drugs Forum also agrees –

    Yet this week the media, and in particular a ridiculous Herald editorial today, decided that this (complex long-term) crisis was caused entirely by the Scottish Government cutting drug treatment funding in 2015.

    Interestingly though a report from the UK Government Home Office’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs from December 2016 suggests these cuts had no impact on drug treatment services:

    “In Scotland, cuts in central government funding for drug services have been
    absorbed by health boards without affecting drug treatment services”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. On Good Morning Scotland, today (Sunday) after the introduction,, which laid on with a trwel the data about drug deaths with emphasis on ‘the worst in Europe’ and ‘three times the rate for England and Wales’, there was a discussion on the causes, by two people with significant experience with people addicted. This turned out to be insightful and, they clearly identified poverty in its widest sense and the lack of access to even the most routine of services as the cause. They identified UK Government policies.

      Unfortunately, the interviewer did not press them to look more closely at the UK Government policies, such as Universal Credit, Workseekers, employment rights, etc and what ought to be done there.

      Liked by 1 person

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