The North East’s drug deaths revealed
There were 160 drug related deaths in the North East Scotland region last year, according to new figures published by the National Records of Scotland.
This breaks down to 56 in Aberdeen, 33 in Aberdeenshire, 14 in Angus and 57 in Dundee.
The statistics showed that across Scotland a record 1,339 drug deaths were recorded in 2020, meaning Scotland once again has the highest rate of drug deaths in Europe.
Scottish Greens North East Scotland MSP, Maggie Chapman, said: “The tragic figures are yet another reminder of the devastating impact drug misuse has on communities in the North East, and across Scotland.
"Every single one of these deaths is a preventable tragedy and my thoughts are with the loved ones of those we have lost to this crisis.
“The approach to drugs, pursued by both the UK and Scottish governments, must change.
"The war on drugs has demonstrably failed, it’s long past time we treated this crisis as the public health emergency that it is.
"It is time for an approach which focuses on restoring people’s dignity and treating their addiction, rather than criminalising them.
“While long term plans are now being developed to tackle this crisis, they come far too late for many.
"And for those in crisis now, they need to see urgent action, not more empty words.”
Andrew Horne, Executive Director in Scotland for drug, alcohol and mental health charity, With You said: "We have a mountain to climb to reverse these alarming figures but with the recently strengthened commitment and decisive action now being taken, we are hopeful that change is possible.
"New investment in outreach teams for people who have had a non-fatal overdose or who have dropped out of treatment marks a significant step forward, as does the improved support for people transitioning from prison into the community.
"Changes to enable quicker access to appointments and more choice over treatment, as standard across Scotland, are also positive.
"These figures are stark, but with new initiatives, clear standards and high expectations of services and partnership working, they can be brought down."