Drugs deaths in area soar by 80 per cent
One person a week is victim
Drug-related deaths across Lanarkshire have rocketed by almost 80 per cent in a decade.
Shock news data shows there were 73 deaths across the county in 2015 compared to 41 in 2005.
There were 42 drug deaths in North Lanarkshire and 31 in South Lanarkshire last year.
The National Records of Scotland yearly report shows that on average more than one person per week dies in Lanarkshire as a direct result of drugs.
Lanarkshire’s biggest drug threat continues to be heroin after 43 people died in 2015 as a result of overdosing on the drug. The second deadliest drug is the heroin substitute Methadone with 14 people dying as a direct result of the drug, mainly used to help wean addicts away from heroin.
The report recorded that altogether opiates were the result of 60 out of the 73 drug deaths in the Lanarkshire area.
In the same year it was revealed the Scottish Government was cutting direct funding to Alcohol and Drug Partnerships by £15 million pounds, drug deaths in Scotland have almost reached 2013’s record level.
Conservative MSP Graham Simpson is shocked that funding is being cut instead of increased and the number of deaths in Scotland should act as a wake up call to the Scottish Government.
He said; “Drug deaths have soared while funding for drug recovery has been slashed. The fund for the Delivery of the Road to Recovery drug strategy is being cut Scotland wide by more than £250,000 pounds this year.
“It’s incredible that this type of funding is being cut when record numbers are losing their lives to drugs. The statistics should act as a wake-up call to the SNP. They need to act now. Each death is a personal, family and community tragedy.”
In 2008 the Delivery of the Road to Recovery was unveiled by the Scottish Government as a new strategy to battle Scotland’s drug problem.
Focussing on recovery rather than addiction. According to the document published by the Scottish Government the purpose of the new strategy ‘ to signal a change in the way that Scotland deals with its drug problem.”
Central Scotland MSP Monica Lennon is calling for more to be done to support those with addictions.
Ms Lennon, Scottish Labour’s inequalities spokesperson, said: “It’s very worrying to see the number of drug-related deaths continue to rise.
“It’s clear that these figures indicate a disturbing upward trend over the last decade and are not just a statistical fluke.
“This should be a wake- up call to the SNP Government that more needs to be done to support those with addictions and that consistently cutting the budget for local authorities and health boards does not come without consequences.”
Aileen Campbell, Clydesdale MSP and Minister for Public Health and Sport, said: “Each one of these deaths is a personal tragedy for the family and friends involved, and I would like to offer my sincere sympathy to anyone affected by the loss of someone who has died as a result of drug use.
“However, these figures show that we have an ageing group of drug users who are experiencing increasingly poor health. This is a legacy of Scotland’s drug misuse which stretches back decades.
“To address this we have funded research to investigate the issues associated with older drug users through the Scottish Drugs Forum. We have also achieved significant reductions in treatment times for those needing treatment for their drug problem.
“We remain committed to tackling the scourge of illegal drugs and the damage they do to our communities, and to support those who are struggling with addiction.”
Chief Superintendent Barry McEwan, of Safer Communities, said: “The figures continue to show that drugs have a significant negative impact on our communities across Scotland, claiming lives and devastating families. The rise in drugrelated deaths is disappointing and unfortunately every death leaves a tragedy in our communities and shows there is no safe way to take drugs – those who choose to take the risk of using drugs are risking their life.”
Worried MSPMonica Lennon is calling for action
Shocked Conservative MSP Graham Simpson