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News Release

Drug-related Deaths in Scotland in 2011


17 August 2012

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Scotland had 584 drug-related deaths in 2011, representing one per cent of all deaths recorded according to statistics published today by the Registrar General.

Key points from ĎDrug-related Deaths in Scotland in 2011í include:

  • 584 drug-related deaths were registered in Scotland in 2011, more than in any previous year and an increase of 99 (20 per cent) compared with 2010.
  • This was 252 (76 per cent) more than in 2001. There have been increases in six of the past ten years.
  • Of the deaths, 36 per cent were 35-44 year olds and 32 per cent were people aged 25-34. Men accounted for 73 per cent.
  • The Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS Board area had 33 per cent of the deaths, and Lothian had 13 per cent.
  • Using the annual average for 2007-2011 (in order to reduce the effect on the figures of any year-to-year fluctuations), the average of 529 drug-related deaths per year represented a death rate of 0.10 per 1,000 population for Scotland as a whole. The NHS Board area with the highest such rate was Greater Glasgow & Clyde (0.15 per 1,000 population).
  • Comparing the annual average for 2007-2011 with that for 1997-2001:
    • the percentage increase in the number of drug-related deaths was greater for women (117 per cent) than for men (85 per cent);
    • the largest percentage increases were for 35-44 year olds and for people aged 45-54, and there was a fall in drug-related deaths of people aged under 25; and
    • the NHS Board areas with the largest increases in the numbers of drug-related deaths were Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Lothian and Lanarkshire.
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  • Of the 584 drug-related deaths in 2011:
    • heroin and/or morphine were implicated in, or potentially contributed to, 206 deaths (35 per cent);
    • methadone was implicated in, or potentially contributed to, 275 deaths (47 per cent);
    • benzodiazepines (such as diazepam) were implicated in, or potentially contributed to, 185 deaths (32 per cent);
    • cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines were implicated in, or potentially contributed to 36, 8 and 24 deaths respectively; and
    • alcohol was implicated in, or potentially contributed to 129 deaths (22 per cent).

Page last updated: 15 August 2012


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