Hanging onto Scotland’s drug deaths

On BBC Scotland this morning at 07:30 and throughout the morning, Scotland’s drug deaths are still being trumpeted as ‘record‘ despite haven fallen in 2020 and 2021 and expected to fall further in 2022, as the lost generation of Thatcher’s children disappear from the data and as younger Scots become far less likely to die.

10 days ago, we were able to report:

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.



Click to access drug-related-deaths-20-pub.pdf


The BBC report also allows Labour’s Paul Sweeney to appear to get credit for the use of naloxone to save lives, 11 years after the Scottish Government did so:

Scotland was the first country in the world to introduce a national naloxone programme, empowering individuals, families, friends and communities to reverse an opiate overdose. We funded this £1 million programme, over 5 years from 2011 to 2016. Over forty six thousand potentially lifesaving take-home naloxone kits have been supplied between 2011-2012 and 2017-2018.


This may be a factor also in the reduced drug deaths but the SNP Government can expect no praise from our media.

3 thoughts on “Hanging onto Scotland’s drug deaths

  1. The data in Scotland (NRS)is pretty straightforward, the data in England (ONS) however is quite complex as it’s designed to confuse.
    In Scotland if a ‘Controlled drug’ is in the body at the time of death it is recorded as a drug-related death, even if it may not have contributed to the individuals death. In England and Wales, the death would only be recorded as a ‘drug-related death’ if the coroner believes that the drug contributed to the individuals death.

    Liked by 1 person

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