The Registrar General for Scotland has today published a summary report about drug-related deaths in Scotland in 2004. Key points are:
There were 356 drug-related deaths in 2004, which is 39 (12 per cent) more than in 2003 but 26 (7 per cent) fewer than in 2002.
Within these totals, the number of deaths of people known or suspected to be drug-dependent increased slightly from 216 in 2003 to 232 in 2004, broadly the same level as in every year since 1999 (except for 2002, when 280 died).
Of the 356 deaths in 2004, heroin/morphine was involved in 225 (63 per cent) – compared to 175 deaths (55%) in 2003, continuing the increase since 1996.
Diazepam was involved in 113 (32 per cent), including 76 of the deaths involving heroin. Deaths involving diazepam peaked in 2002 and have decreased markedly since then.
Methadone was involved in 80 (22 per cent) of deaths – slightly fewer than last year (87 deaths).
Fewer deaths involved cocaine (38) or ecstasy (17) – but the number of deaths involving cocaine was 31 per cent higher than in 2003, while the number involving ecstasy has fallen slightly in recent years.
One-third of deaths - 120 - were in the Greater Glasgow Health Board area, with 39 in Grampian and 36 in Lothian.
Deaths in Greater Glasgow rose by 13 since 2003, with 8 more deaths in Argyll & Clyde and Lanarkshire. By contrast, there were 4 fewer deaths in Lothian.
87 per cent of those who died were under 45 and almost a quarter were under 25. Four out of five were men.
1. The information presented about drug-related deaths in Scotland uses the revised definition for baseline figures introduced in 2001. This definition was agreed by a working party set up following the publication in 2000, by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), of a report on ‘Reducing drug related deaths’. The revised definition is also being used elsewhere in the United Kingdom.