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Drug Related Deaths Report

Aug 23, 2023 | News

National Records of Scotland published the new Drug Related Deaths report on 22nd August.  The 2022 report shows the biggest year-on-year reduction in drug deaths since the statistics series began, with a 19% reduction seen in North Lanarkshire.  Read the full report:

Drug-related Deaths in Scotland in 2022 | National Records of Scotland (nrscotland.gov.uk)

Some Key Points from the report include:

  • In 2022, there were 1,051 drug deaths registered in Scotland. This was a decrease of 21% (279 deaths) compared with 2021, and the lowest number of drug deaths since 2017.
  • The change between 2021 and 2022 is the largest year on year decrease on record.
  • Despite this recent fall, drug deaths are still much more common than they were in 2000. After adjusting for age, there were 3.7 times as many drug deaths in 2022 as in 2000.
  • In 2022, males were twice as likely to have a drug death as females. Most of the decrease in the past year was in males.
  • Since 2000, the average age of drug deaths has increased from 32 to 45.
  • People in the most deprived areas of Scotland are almost 16 times as likely to die from drug use compared to people in the least deprived areas. The association of deprivation with drug use deaths is much greater than with other causes of death.
  • The most common types of drug implicated in drug deaths in 2022 were opiates/opioids which were implicated in 82% of all deaths.

Within Lanarkshire

National Records (NHS Lanarkshire)20182019202020212022
No of Deaths130163185181135
% difference from previous year27%25%13%-2%-25%

Within North Lanarkshire

National Records (North Lanarkshire)20182019202020212022
No of Deaths7295948065
% difference from previous year36%32%-1%-15%-19%

Elena Whitham, the Minister for Alcohol and Drugs Policy commented:

‘While I welcome this record fall in the number of drug-related deaths I also want to take this opportunity to reaffirm my commitment to continue the National Mission to reduce deaths and improve the lives of those impacted by drugs.

I will never underestimate the scale of the challenge we continue to face, including responding to new threats such as synthetic opioids and stimulant use.

Drug deaths in Scotland are still far too high and there is much left to do. But the publication of these statistics is a welcome opportunity to thank people for their hard work, to remind ourselves that progress is possible and to renew our efforts’.

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