Rise in drug-related deaths among 35 to 44 year olds is clearly a concern

Alison Johnstone MSP, Health spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (17 Aug) called for clarity over funding cuts after figures published showed a sharp rise in drug-related deaths.

706 drug-related deaths were registered in Scotland in 2015, a 15 per cent rise on 2014, and more than double the figure for 2005. Half of those deaths were linked to heroin and/or morphine.

Between 2001/05 and 2011/15 the largest increase in deaths was among 35-44 year olds.

The Scottish Government's 2016/17 budget included a £15.4million reduction in funding for Alcohol & Drug Partnerships, with Ministers stating that they expected health boards to cover the cost.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

"Every drug-related death is a tragedy, causing distress for families and communities. The rise in deaths among 35 to 44 year olds is clearly a concern and it's important we support those working in the field to reduce harm.

"The cuts to alcohol and drug partnerships have created huge uncertainty and it's vital that Scottish Ministers address this. Substance abuse is complex but we cannot shy away from it. By supporting projects at local level, improving information-sharing and examining issues that affect older drug users, we can try to turn the situation around."