Drug deaths down, but ‘legal highs’ up

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Drug-related deaths decrease by nine per cent.

The number of drug-related deaths in Scotland decreased by nine per cent last year.

Statistics published today from the National Records of Scotland also show that drug deaths among the under 25s are now the lowest since records began.

The main findings include:

  • 526 drug-related deaths were registered in Scotland in 2013, 55 (nine per cent) fewer than the previous year
  • Two thirds (68 per cent) were amongst those aged 35 and over with deaths among under 25s the lowest since current records began
  • Three quarters of those who died were men
  • Just over 9 out of 10 deaths were of people who took more than one drug (and perhaps alcohol). Only 9% had only one drug (and perhaps alcohol) present in the body.
  • In this year’s publication there is further information on deaths involving New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) which include so-called legal highs. Last year there were 113 deaths where NPS were present, compared with 47 in 2012, and 60 deaths where NPS were implicated, compared with 32 in 2012. In 55 of the 60 deaths, other substances were also implicated. The NPS Phenazepam was most frequently found to be present and most often implicated in these deaths.

(From the Scottish Government’s news release August 2014. For more on legal highs in Scotland, see here.)

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