Inside Home Affairs - Drug figures make grim reading
TODAY sees the publication of the latest figures on drug deaths in Scotland.
Recent trends have painted a fairly bleak picture of the human cost of drug abuse in Scotland. In 2006, 421 drug-related deaths were recorded, up from 336 the previous year.
The Scotsman was told in January that the total for last year is expected to top 400, and could set a new, depressing record. Experts say the total will probably rise in years to come, as more people succumb to years of sustained abuse of heroin, cocaine and other illegal substances.
Add another, legal, drug – alcohol – into the mix and you have a deadly combination that is likely to claim more lives as a result of long-term abuse, rather than from single-event overdoses.
Despite the Scottish Government initiative launched in May, it is likely that the numbers of fatalities from drug abuse will remain high for years to come.
One of the country's leading experts told The Scotsman:"The profile of those dying is changing. They are older people who have been injecting for a long time. They may suffer from hepatitis, malnutrition, mental health problems.
"They are suffering a complex mix of physical and mental ill health. For this reason, it's likely we will see death rates remain high for years to come."
Experts say treatment of drug addicts therefore has to become more holistic, with support for the mentally ill given priority.
The Scottish Government is currently prioritising the delivery of treatment.
A delivery reform group, comprising experts in the drugs and alcohol fields, has been tasked with ensuring those who need help getting off drugs are receiving it.
Proposals for a new national body to ensure consistent drug treatment will be discussed at a major conference to be held in September.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west