National Records of Scotland

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Drug-related deaths increase

Drug-related deaths increase

Tuesday, 15 Dec 2020
Demography News Release Image

The number of drug-related deaths in Scotland increased by 6%, from 1,187 in 2018 to 1,264 in 2019, representing the highest number since records began in 1996, according to statistics published by National Records of Scotland.

Other key findings show that of all drug-related deaths in 2019:

  • Nearly 7 in 10 were male.
  • Over two thirds were aged 35 – 54.
  • Three-quarters occurred in the following five health board areas: 404 in Greater Glasgow & Clyde, 163 in Lanarkshire, 155 in Lothian, 118 in Tayside and 108 in Ayrshire & Arran.
  • Heroin and morphine were implicated in more deaths than in any previous year, and over half of the total.

Scotland’s drug-death rate was higher than those reported for all the EU countries, and was approximately 3½ times that of the UK as a whole.

Pete Whitehouse, Director of Statistical Services said:

“2019 saw the highest number of registered drug related deaths in Scotland since reporting began over 20 years ago. The figure of 1,264 deaths is an increase of 77 on 2018.”

Statistics on deaths caused by volatile substances and helium have also been published today.

The publication Drug-related deaths in Scotland, 2019 and an infographic summary is available on the NRS website.