Further fall in drugs related deaths in Scotland

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The Scottish Government’s drugs strategy is working and more lives are being saved as a result, Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs Roseanna Cunningham said today.

Ms Cunningham was speaking following the publication of figures which showed the number of drug deaths in Scotland had fallen for the second year in a row.

There were 485 drug-related deaths in 2010, an 11 per cent drop compared to 2009’s figures and 16 per cent fewer than in 2008.

Ms Cunningham said:

“These figures published today represent 485 lives lost to families and communities across Scotland and while I welcome the news of a further decrease, any death is one too many.

“Tackling drugs misuse is a complex issue which the Scottish Government has been working hard to address. With more than half of deaths due to heroin and morphine in 2010, it is clear serious drug misuse remains a significant problem to be addressed.

“However, our national drugs strategy offers a framework to tackle Scotland’s legacy of drug misuse through action, not through words. “

Ms Cunningham said that there was now 20 per cent more funding for drugs treatment than in 2007 and added:

“Scotland is leading the way in recovery and developing innovative ways of supporting hard to reach groups in to recovery.  An example of this is our world leading naloxone programme.

“In the last year, we have been rolling out a national programme, within communities and the Scottish Prison Service, to supply naloxone kits and training to those at risk of an opiate overdose. This offers a chance to save a life and hopefully offer a second chance of recovery. “

“However, the number of lives lost to drugs misuse remains high. We will continue to work closely with the National Forum for Drug Related Deaths and partners from the voluntary, statutory, policy and academic fields to reduce the number of drug related deaths and reaffirm loud and clear our shared belief that people can and do recover from drug problems and addiction.”