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38 drug deaths in Aberdeenshire and Moray last year


By Alistair Whitfield

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Drug-related deaths in Scotland are at their highest level since record began nearly 25 years ago.

The fatality rate is the highest in Europe.

In addition, it's three-and-a-half times higher than the other countries in the UK.

The number of deaths in Scotland increased by 6 per cent, from 1,187 in 2018 to 1,264 last year, according to the National Records of Scotland.

A total of 12 of those deaths occurred in Moray, while 24 of them were in Aberdeenshire.

These substances were implicated in, or potentially contributed to the cause of, the following numbers of deaths

  • Heroin and/or morphine 645 deaths (51%)
  • Methadone 560 deaths (44%)
  • 'Street' benzodiazepines (such as etizolam) 814 deaths (64%)
  • 'Prescribable' benzodiazepines (such as diazepam) 195 deaths (15%)
  • Gabapentin and/or pregabalin 438 deaths (35%)
  • Cocaine 365 deaths (29%)

The percentages add up to more than 100 because in 94% of cases the person took more than one substance.

Other key findings show that of all the drug-related deaths in 2019:

  • Nearly 7 in 10 were male
  • Over two-thirds were aged 35 – 54
  • Heroin and morphine were implicated in more deaths than in any previous year, and over half of the total
  • Three-quarters occurred in the following five health board areas: 404 in Greater Glasgow & Clyde, 163 in Lanarkshire, 155 in Lothian, 118 in Tayside and 108 in Ayrshire & Arran.
  • The death rate in Moray per 1000 people was 0.12
  • The death rate in Aberdeenshire per 1000 people was 0.08
  • Scotland's highest death rate was 0.36 in Dundee where 72 people died
  • The second highest was Glasgow with 0.35 and 279 deaths
  • The lowest was 0.06 in Orkney which experienced just one death.

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