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Drug deaths in Scotland rose by 23% in 2016

Drug deaths in Scotland rose by 23% in 2016
From BBC - August 15, 2017

The number of drug-related deaths in Scotland last year totalled 867, a rise of 23% on 2015.

Numbers have been steadily increasing since 1995, when 426 fatal overdoses were recorded.

The latest statistics from the National Records of Scotland showed more than 70% of deaths were among people aged 35 or over.

Critics say the continuing rise calls into question the effectiveness of the Scottish government's drugs strategy.

However, the minister for public health, Aileen Campbell, said "unfortunately" the figures for Scotland were representative of a general trend of increasing drug deaths "across the UK and in many other parts of Europe".

'No easy solutions'

She added that the problem in Scotland was complex and based on a legacy of drugs misuse "stretching back decades".

Ms Campbell explained: "What we are seeing is an ageing group of people who are long term drugs users.

"They have a pattern of addiction which is very difficult to break, and they have developed other chronic medical conditions as a result of this prolonged drugs use."

She said she recognised more needed to be done but that there were "no easy solutions".

The Scottish Conservatives urged ministers to embark on a new strategy in light of the "appalling" figures and the Scottish Greens said there was "little sense" in funding cuts to initiatives combating drug and alcohol problems.

A breakdown of the figures showed that;

Is being drug-free the only solution?

What opposition parties are saying

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