Decline in drug deaths in Scotland
A new report has shown drug-related deaths have declined by a small amount in Scotland (National Records of Scotland, 2023). The statistics demonstrate that in 2022 there were 1051 deaths due to drug misuse in Scotland, which is 279 deaths fewer than in 2021 and the lowest number of drug misuse deaths since 2017. The change between 2021 and 2022 is the largest year on year decrease on record.
In 2022, an in-depth analysis of drug-related deaths that were experienced in Scotland in 2017 and 2018 was published by Public Health Scotland. It found that the drug most commonly implicated in deaths in 2018 was benzodiazepine etizolam. The percentage of deaths where etizolam was implicated increased over time. Opioids (heroin/morphine, methadone or buprenorphine) were implicated in 77% of deaths in 2018. Among people in this group, 41% were prescribed an opioid substitution therapy drug, such as methadone, at the time of death. This percentage has increased from 21% in 2009.
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