Figures reveal extent of drug crisis locally

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Nine people in East Dunbartonshire died of drug-related causes last year, according to local Green MSP Ross Greer.

In total, 1,187 drugs death occurred across the whole of Scotland – a 27 per cent rise.

Ross said: “We’ve known for some time that Scotland is in the grip of a drug deaths emergency.

“But these figures are still absolutely shocking and show that far too many families in East Dunbartonshire are dealing with the devastating effects of this crisis.

“Every single one of these deaths is a tragedy. When it comes to drugs, criminalisation has caused so much more harm than it can claim to have prevented.

“The ‘war on drugs’ approach has self-evidently failed.

“Addiction is better tackled by trained medical 
professionals, not with the strong arm of the law, just as it has been in countries like Portugal, where the rate of drugs-related deaths are a tiny fraction of what they are here.

“If we want to avoid losing thousands more lives both the UK and Scottish Governments must commit to immediately adopting an evidence-based, public health approach.

“The approach of looking and acting tough hasn’t worked, it’s time we try what we know will make a real difference.”

The Scottish figure represents a 27 per cent increase from 2017, figures which were themselves record setting, and mean that Scotland continues to have the highest rate of drug deaths in the EU.

Greater Glasgowand Clyde had the highest number of drug related deaths in Scotland – 394 (33 per cent) and 72 per cent of the drug-related deaths in Scotland in 2018 were male.