Clinging on for grim death


This is too good an SNPBad story to let go.

For the first time in years, Scotland’s drug deaths fell but BBC Scotland could only say:

There were 722 suspected drug deaths in the first half of 2021, the latest official figures show.

That is a small decrease of nine deaths on the same period last year.

The latest figures for drug overdoses come just two months after those for 2020 showed a record 1,339 deaths.

The new report is an attempt to give more up-to-date data after criticism that figures lagged too far behind. The stats for 2019 were only released at the end of the following year.

The latest data shows the deaths that the police suspect involve illicit drugs based on reports of attending officers’ observations and initial inquiries at the scene of death.

The figures are different from the annual National Records of Scotland (NRS) statistics which use data from death registration records and forensic examination.

However, the Scottish government, which will release the figures quarterly, hopes they will give a more “timely” picture of what is happening.

Scotland continues to have by far the highest drug death rate recorded by any country in Europe.

And its rate is more than three-and-a-half times that of England and Wales.

I’ll repeat my previous post content to make sure as many as possible get this:

For the first time in years, the number of drug deaths in Scotland has not climbed. Indeed it has even fallen, if only by 1%.

If this trend is repeated for the next six months, then we are almost certainly witnessing something I reflected on in July 2021.

I agree fully that we should do all we can, now, to reduce drug deaths.

But, this ‘crisis’ may be burning itself out. See these graphs:

age and gender

In a BBC Scotland report from December 2020:

The National Records of Scotland statistics are six months late after a huge backlog in processing toxicology results and delays due to Covid-19. They show that two-thirds of those who died were aged 35 to 54. The report said the median average age of drug-related deaths had gone up from 28 to 42 over the past two decades. However, there was also an increase in deaths among 15 to 24 year olds – from 64 in 2018 to 76 in 2019.

That the graphs divide the data simply into over 35 and under 34 groups slightly conceals the evidence that Scotland’s exceptionally high drug deaths are due to a wave of death affecting those whose lives were ruined by Tory economic policies from 1979 to 1997 and, crucially, that the wave already shows signs of fading out as the older members, 55-64 disappear from the data:

Even were we to do nothing and I’m by no means suggesting that, the shortened lives inevitable after a life of drug abuse, mean that 35-55 group do not have long even if they avoid overdose and the level of deaths among the currently under 34, not unusual in other countries, will become the norm.

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10 thoughts on “Clinging on for grim death

  1. Yes, it was grudging dancing by very faint praise. On the bulletin I heard, it was described as ‘still close to the all time high and is still THE WORST IN EUROPE! ‘ she did not quite add, “Have you got that you Jock scumbags?”

    Liked by 3 people




    Liked by 3 people

    1. Also, the age profile of the graphs shows clearly that the drug problem has its roots in the austerity and unemployment inflicted on Scotland by Westminster givebments from many years ago, They are certainly not a recent problem caused by the Scottish SNP government,


    1. It was all about the 1980s and the decimation of Scottish traditional industries, mining, shipbuilding, steel etc which Thatcher forcibly shut down to concentrate on their beloved financial service industries in London, even transferring some financial ones from Edinburgh Aberdeen etc. That, coupled with the de-regulation of financial services led to wide boys making obscene amounts of commissions and yuppie mentality, which in turn led to the distortion of the economy.
      At the same time unemployment rocketed in Scotland particularly in the areas like Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire where the steel, mining, shipbuilding etc were located. This demoralising state led many unemployed to turn to drink and drugs resulting in the situation now, and as John has pointed out, many of the ones who took up the habit in the 80s are now dying, hence the high death rates.
      It is thought the number of addicts will be declining as these deaths are now showing as older average ages.
      To answer your point about drug deaths in England the killing off of these industries combined with the transfer of, or more correctly, theft of Scottish jobs, eg numerous Scottish firms were bought out and jobs moved to England. Where firms had several plants in UK Scottish plants generally took brunt of redundancies or closures, a generalisation with perhaps some exceptions, but that was the gist.
      As a result England didn’t have the same atmosphere of despair and consequently less partaking of drugs.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. There are also differences in the way deaths are classified and counted.

        The so-called ‘Glasgow Effect’ – which, of course was used gleefully by the media to suggest that there was something inherently wrong with Glaswegians – has been explained fairly well by a multi factorial analysis undertaken by, amongst others, the Glasgow Centre for Population Health.

        The factors interrelate in the specific historic and industrial circumstances of Glasgow (such as overcrowding and poor housing). It is not solely misuse of drugs. Alcohol plays a huge part, in addition to other health issues such as poor nutrition, lack of sunlight, etc.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Robert Martin’s reply is spot on. Add to that the terrible housing in Scotland, shocking tenements and high rises that were in disrepair, damp and just disgusting ghettos really, into the 80’s and even 90’s! I read that post WW2, when there was a house building programme in England for the poorer families affected and veterans etc, (no doubt also to make sure people were fit to work the factories etc for England’s economic growth) that Scotland was basically an after thought when it came to house building. To think of that, when Scotland had (still has) a low population and masses of empty land, is just tragic.

      Also, I knew someone a bit in the know, who told me that drugs are imported into in Scotland so easily because, vast coastline, not policed, plenty places to land a boat and offload your cargo! Policing of Scottish territorial waters is a RESERVED power to Westminster.

      Drugs is big business, who facilitiates the importing and distribution of drugs?
      Also as Prof reported not so long ago, drugs gangs from England were ( I hope that’s been stopped!?) moving into rural towns and areas of Scotland, taking over vulnerable peoples’ homes and using them to distribute drugs around the country.

      I don’t recall any media shouting from the rooftops when Labour UK were at the helm at Holyrood, or even before that, (it was just accepted that Glasgow was called the violent capital of Europe, and Scotland the drugs capital, and that Scotland had lowest life expectancy in the western world!) anyone know what Labour did to help people living in poverty and get them out of the terrible housing? Thought not.

      I would love to know what they did with the money allocated to Scotland by England back then it was higher than it is now far as I know. Oh yes I forgot, they SENT BACK £1.5 BILLION to Westminster in London saying, ‘nothing to spend it on in Scotland’. Absolutely unforegivable.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. O/T Just published on Welsh Government’s website:

    “As Wales prepares for a stronger future beyond the coronavirus pandemic; responds to the climate emergency, the ongoing consequences of leaving the European Union, and threats to devolution; it is more important than ever that political parties work together wherever they have common interests on behalf of people in Wales.

    ‘Constructive initial discussions have taken place between the Welsh Labour Government and Plaid Cymru exploring ways of building a more equal, just and democratic nation for all.

    ‘These discussions are continuing to explore an ambitious co-operation agreement to be based around a number of defined policy priorities and the governance arrangements on which the Welsh Labour Government and Plaid Cymru can work together to deliver for Wales.’

    ( )

    So Labour can conceive of a co-operation agreement with a Welsh party that wishes to dissolve the UK through independence for Wales. Labour can have a close, a ‘sisterly’ relationship with a party that wishes to dissolve the UK by uniting the island of Ireland, viz. the SDLP. In Scotland – and as recent history demonstrates – there is much more chance of Labour’s leadership allying with the Scottish Tories than with the SNP.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. The Scottish Gov has recognised there is a problem. £250million (5years) has been allocated to provide proper total abstinence, one chance, rehab facilities. Everyone deserves a chance. Rehab beds have fallen in the last few years. Instead of increasing. Leading to a higher bill for police, prison, NHS, healthcare, fire and social care. Spend £Millions to save £Billions and people’s lives. Prison £40,000 a year. Crime is linked to drink and drug addiction. Drinks in the wit’s oot.

    The necessary funding will mean drug deaths will fall. Crime rates will be lower. MUP has cut consumption and lead to lower death rates. The pandemic has increased crime deaths, 50%. Knife crime in London has increased because of Austerity. 200 death a year. Austerity has increased premature death in the south. Life expectancy going down. The extra funding will pay for itself in better healthcare.

    Scotland has a higher alcohol/drug death rate by comparison from the rest of the UK. Started from a higher benchmark. Alcohol consumption in Scotland was 25% higher, for historical reasons. Thatcher etc. taking and misusing Scottish revenues and resources. Scorch earth policies. Leaving Scotland in deprivation and poverty. The difference has reduced to now 12% higher. A 50% cut. Cut by half because of Scottish Gov policies. MUP etc.

    Labour 24/7 alcohol consumption policies were detrimental to health policies. They did not support MUP or the smoking ban.


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