It is a document that sheds light on lives of abject misery. A Scottish Government report into the reasons behind a staggering 169 per cent rise in the number of drug-related deaths among women over the last decade tells of violent beatings by men, sexual abuse, children taken away and mental illness.
“Anxiety, anxiety, because my partners in the past have battered me, and I’ve got metal plates in my jaws, and just had bad experiences with guys,” one woman told the researchers.
The staggering surge – along with a 60 per cent rise among men – helped take the overall death toll to a record figure of 867 in 2016, despite evidence of a fall in the number of women with a drug problem in recent years.
A possible explanation for these apparently contradictory trends is the average age of drug users is increasing, so they are more likely to succumb to an overdose. Heroin has also become more easily available, although the use of prescription drugs was another factor.
One can only hope that the younger generation is learning lessons from the sad passing of so many.