Drug-related Deaths in Scotland in 2014
Drug-related Deaths in Scotland in 2014
In total, 613 drug-related deaths were registered in Scotland in 2014, according to statistics published today by the National Records of Scotland. This was the largest number ever recorded, 86 (16 per cent) more than in 2013, and 257 (72 per cent) higher than in 2004. (The publication explains that the rises would be smaller if account were taken of changes in the classification of drugs.)
The statistics also show that:
- Males accounted for 74 per cent of the drug-related deaths in 2014.
- In 2014, there were 213 drug-related deaths of people aged 35-44 (35 per cent of all drug-related deaths), 157 drug-related deaths of 25-34 year olds (26 per cent) and 148 deaths of 45-54 year olds (24 per cent).
The NHS Board areas which accounted for most of the 613 drug-related deaths in 2014 were:
- Greater Glasgow & Clyde – 189 (31 per cent);
- Lothian – 105 (17 per cent); and
- Lanarkshire – 67 (11 per cent).
Using the annual averages for 2010-2014, to reduce the effect on the figures of year-to-year fluctuations:
- For Scotland as a whole, the average of 558 drug-related deaths per year represented a death rate of 0.11 per 1,000 population;
- The NHS Board area with the highest rate was Greater Glasgow & Clyde (0.15);
- The next highest rates were for Ayrshire & Arran and Tayside (both 0.11)
Comparing the annual averages for 2010-2014 with those for 2000-2004:
- The percentage increase was greater for females (141 per cent) than males (50 per cent);
- The largest increase in numbers was for 35-44 year olds, the next largest was for people aged 45-54, and there was a fall in the number of drug-related deaths of people aged under 25;
- The NHS Board areas with the largest increases in the numbers of drug-related deaths were Lothian (up by 45), Greater Glasgow & Clyde (up by 38) and Lanarkshire (up by 33).
Of the 613 drug-related deaths in 2014:
- Heroin and/or morphine were implicated in, or potentially contributed to, the cause of 309 deaths (50 per cent of the total) – more than in any of the previous four years;
- Methadone was implicated in, or potentially contributed to, 214 deaths (35 per cent) – fewer than in any of the previous three years;
- One or more opiates or opioids (including heroin/morphine and methadone) were implicated in, or potentially contributed to, 535 deaths (87 per cent) – higher than in any of the six previous years for which there are comparable figures;
- Benzodiazepines (e.g. diazepam) were implicated in, or potentially contributed to, 121 deaths – fewer than in any of the six previous years for which there are comparable figures;
- The corresponding numbers for some other substances were: cocaine – 45 deaths; ecstasy-type drugs – 14 deaths; amphetamines – 22 deaths; alcohol – 106 deaths.
- The percentages add up to more than 100 because more than one drug was implicated in, or contributed to, many deaths.
Annex E of the publication provides information about deaths which involved so-called New Psychoactive Substances (NPSs), including their definition for the purposes of these figures. On that basis, in 2014:
- There were 62 deaths in which NPSs were implicated, or potentially contributed to, the cause of death;
- Almost all of them (55) are included in the 613 drug-related deaths referred to earlier;
- In 40 of the 62 deaths, the only NPSs present were benzodiazepines (usually etizolam, but sometimes diclazepam or phenazepam);
- In just 7 of the 62 cases were the deaths believed to have been caused by NPSs alone;
- There were also 52 deaths for which NPSs were present but were not considered to have contributed to the death. Almost all of them (51) are included in the 613 drug-related deaths referred to earlier. In most cases (44 out of 52) benzodiazepines were the only NPSs present.
The full publication Drug-related Deaths in Scotland in 2014 is available on this website.