Two years after Scotland’s drug deaths peaked at ‘record’ levels, the MSM continue to ‘milk blood for fear of running out’ in an effort to keep this alleged SNP failure at the forefront of audience minds.
What’s missing to properly inform the public, as they proudly claim they do?
- Police Scotland’s on-the-scene estimates are more accurate
- Scotland’s drug deaths have been falling for two years now
- Comparisons with other countries such as England are not valid
- Scotland’s drug deaths spike was largely the result of Tory economic policies in the 80s and 90s and a failure of New Labour policies thereafter
- The Scottish Government has beaten the waiting time targets for drug treatment.
Police Scotland’s on-the-scene estimates are more accurate
Police Scotland data are based on reports from police officers attending scenes of death. Classification as a suspected drug death is based on an officer’s observations and initial enquiries at the scene of death. NRS statistics are based on the presence of a proscribed drug in the body of anyone who has died and for whom a post mortem investigation was carried out, regardless of whether or not there is evidence that it caused the death. This may be an important factor in inflating Scottish figures and comparing with drug death rates in different countries.
Scotland’s drug deaths have been falling for two years now
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.
There were 285 suspected drug deaths recorded between January and March 2022.There were 27% (108) fewer suspected drug deaths than during the same period of 2021 (January to March 2021: 393). Two-thirds (66%) of suspected drug deaths were of people aged between 35 and 54. This was broadly in line with previous quarters. There were 15 suspected drug deaths in the under 25 age group, 25% (5) fewer than during January and March 2021. There were 1,187 suspected drug deaths over the 12 months to March 2022, 20% (299)
fewer than the 12 months to March 2021.
Comparisons with other countries such as England are not valid
‘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).’
The same reservations about comparison with any other country apply again.
Scotland’s drug deaths spike was largely the result of Tory economic policies in the 80s and 90s and a failure of New Labour policies thereafter
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 Distress
The Scottish Government has beaten the waiting time targets for drug treatment.
Of the 8,202 referrals to community-based specialist drug and alcohol treatment services completed in this quarter [January to March 2022], 92% involved a wait of three weeks or less.https://www.publichealthscotland.scot/publications/national-drug-and-alcohol-treatment-waiting-times/national-drug-and-alcohol-treatment-waiting-times-1-january-2022-to-31-march-2022/
The 90% target has been beaten for several years now.