Drug deaths hit record level in Scotland

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Drug-related deaths in Scotland have hit record levels for the seventh year in a row, with 1,339 people dying in 2020.

It is the largest number of drug-related deaths since records began in 1996 and the highest number of people dying as a result of drug misuse in Europe.

In 2019, the number of fatalities was 1,264 – three-and-a-half times the figure for England and Wales.

The figures showed:

  • Men were 2.7 times as likely to die of drug misuse than women
  • People in the most deprived areas were 18 times as likely to die than those in the least deprived areas
  • Almost two-thirds of all drug-related deaths were people between ages 35 and 54. This age has increased from 32 to 43 over the past 20 years
  • The highest death rate was in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, followed by Ayrshire, Arran and Tayside
  • Most of the deaths – some 1,192 were in some way related to opioids
  • Benzodiazepines were implicated in 974 deaths

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