Scotland’s drug deaths now falling fast as expected

The Mail’s rubbishy and ill-informed story reminded me to check up on the data which last year suggested that Scotland’s drug death figures were largely a product of the effects of Thatcherite economic polices in the 80s and that as that generation died tragic early deaths, as a result of overdoses and their ruined bodies, the rate would begin to fall.

It has.

Based on Police Scotland estimates in 2021, there were 8% (116) fewer drug deaths overall than in 2020. The NRS report in July 2020 had already revealed earlier signs with a small reduction, for the first time, from 6% to 5% after decades of steady increases.

Two thirds (67%) were in the above age group (35-54), often born into families first broken by long-term unemployment and despair in the 80s. No data for the over 54 age-group is offered. Are they already gone and are too few to mention?

Perhaps most dramatic, there were 68 suspected drug deaths in the under 25 age group, 23% (20) fewer than during 2020.


6 thoughts on “Scotland’s drug deaths now falling fast as expected

  1. And knife deaths in Englandshires green and peasant land are……..?

    The Daily Heil stays as silent as the u-boats they once admired.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. So there has been a ‘devastating attack’ from a Tory in Westminster over tackling drugs in Scotland!

    The Tories have been in government in Westminster now for well over a decade. During this time, Tory ministers have had access to ALL the powers and to ALL the finance they could wish for to tackle drug misuse in England. In opting now to mount a ‘devastating attack’ on Holyrood, it seems only reasonable to examine the evidence of how well Tory governments – with all their advantages – have in fact performed.

    Source: ONS (3 August, 2021) Deaths related to drug poisoning in England and Wales: 2020 registrations. (

    In this latest data release, the ONS reveals that the track record of Westminster is hardly something to boast about! Here are few extracts from the report:

    1) ‘The rate of drug poisonings continues to increase – 4,561 deaths related to drug poisoning were registered in England and Wales in 2020; THE HIGHEST NUMBER SINCE RECORDS BEGAN in 1993, and 3.8% higher than in 2019 (4,393 registered deaths).’ (my emphasis)

    2) ‘Rates of drug-related poisoning were 60.9% higher in 2020 (79.5 deaths per million) than they were in 2010 (49.4 per million). THE RATE HAS INCREASED EVERY YEAR SINCE 2012.’

    3) From the same ONS report: ‘Figure 2: Rates of drug misuse deaths increased in 2020 – Age-standardised mortality rates for deaths related to drug misuse, by sex, England and Wales, registered between 1993 and 2020′.

    In summary, the graph reveals this on drugs misuse in England and Wales:
    15.7 deaths per million in 1993
    29.1 deaths per million in 2012
    52.3 deaths per million in 2020

    The trend line in the graph shows that the increase from 2012 to 2020 – on Tory governments’ watch – is the steepest rise since a similar steep rise in the 1990s.

    4) ‘In 2020, the highest rate of drug misuse deaths was observed in the North East (104.6 deaths per million; 258 registered deaths), while the lowest rate was in London (33.1 deaths per million; 296 deaths).


    All English regions are subject to the same government; to the same parliament; to the same justice system; to the same healthcare system. Yet such marked regional differences in deaths due to drug misuse occur and indeed are sustained over many years.

    Is the Tory government and the Westminster Parliament preferentially too soft on drugs on the NE of England? Time for a ‘devastating attack’ on Tory government drug policies for England? Certainly no case for taking lessons from the Tories in Westminster on this matter.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “Events dear boy events” in Macmillan’s Tory days has become “He vents poor boy he vents”…
    Yet, quelle surprise “Devastating attack by Westminster” from the Mail translates to Kit Malthouse, Minister for Policing in England… Ehm, the last bit is important as this was the man in charge of trying to avoid the Met being cornered over partygate by pushing them into a corner, a man with his finger on the pulse three days after the inhumation.
    Whilst Gove does a hundred lines and Downing Street pays a hundred fines, only the Daily Smell could paint a picture of righteous indignation from the Tory Party’s substitute for Ovaltine…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Scottish Gov have put in £250million over 5 years to drug/alcohol rehab. £50million year. The number of total abstinence, rehab facilities will increase. Instead of putting people on methadone for years. The number of addicted people and drug deaths will decrease. Drs will be able to refer people to proper facilities to save lives.

    The number of knife deaths in London S/E has increased to 200 a year because of Tory austerity.


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