Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
ICTChris

Drug deaths in Scotland hit record high

Recommended Posts

Figures released have shown that drug related deaths in Scotland have reached record levels, with 934 deaths being attributed to illegal drug usage across the country in 2017.  This represents an increase from 244 in 1996, when figures were first compiled and a rise from 868 in 2016.

The figures can be found here - https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/statistics-and-data/statistics/statistics-by-theme/vital-events/deaths/drug-related-deaths-in-scotland/2017/list-of-tables-and-figures

From the statistics we can see

- 70% of those dying were male, 30% female.

- The age splits were - 0.1% under 14,  3.9% 15-24, 17% 25-34, 28% 35-44, 20% 45-54, 5% 55-64 and 1.7% over 65.

- Cause of death splits were - 86% accidental poisoning, 5.7% intentional poisoning, 4.1% undetermined intent. 

- Opiods were the by far the biggest cause of death - 87% of deaths were attributable to an opiate.  It's difficult to define as often more than one drug was found.

- Cocaine was found in 18.8% of deaths, ecstasy-type drugs in 2.8% of deaths, amphetamines in 3.4% and alcohol was present in 9.6%.

- Glasgow was the council area with the most drug deaths with 192, followed by Edinburgh with 84, Fife with 66, Dundee with 57 and Aberdeen with 54.  Lowest was Orkney where a single person died from a heroin overdose.

- Scotland has a figure of drug deaths per million far higher than anywhere else in the EU, 175 deaths per million population, compared to an average of the EU of 22.4 deaths per million.  The UK has a whole had 70 deaths per million.  The closest to Scotland was Estonia with 132 deaths per million.  Lowest was Romania with 1 death per million.

Absolutely brutal figures.  There's been some discussion about what can be done to prevent this - decriminalisation of drugs, introduction of safe injection sites, 'getting tough' on drug dealers are some of the suggestions, kind of the usual about this discussion.

Why are people in this country so keen to take drugs?  People will blame social conditions but are the social conditions in Scotland worse than other countries that don't have as big a problem?  Are we too cavalier in our attitude to getting wasted, we all make jokes about getting drunk and high and base our social lives around this ina  lot of cases.  If you grow up watching your parents getting drunk, are you more likely to think that getting in a state is normal? 

I look at the ages as well, my age group (35-44) is the heaviest hit with drug deaths.  I don't really have any friends who are habitual drug users because I find it very boring but there were kids in my year at school who are now junkies and I saw some people at University who made total f*ck ups of their lives due to using drugs all the time.  Not sure any of them actually died though.

Have any P&Bers had experience of drug deaths among their friends and family?

Have any P&Bers got any suggestions on how to change this?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a bit of the Glasgow Effect really. It can be tracked with stats, but no single key issue can be identified as the root cause and then solved accordingly.

Never knowingly met someone who later died of drugs use, but several kids from my street became smackheads, and I know a large number of other recreational drug users.

Attitude and an ingrained culture definitely feels like a good fit, but can't possibly be the whole reason.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Sweet Pete said:

It's a bit of the Glasgow Effect really. It can be tracked with stats, but no single key issue can be identified as the root cause and then solved accordingly.

Never knowingly met someone who later died of drugs use, but several kids from my street became smackheads, and I know a large number of other recreational drug users.

Attitude and an ingrained culture definitely feels like a good fit, but can't possibly be the whole reason.

It's crazy - according to the stats more people died of drug overdoses in Glasgow in 2017 than in some  European countries in 2015 or 2016.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, The Moonster said:

Legalise, regulate, tax.

Not enough in itself to stop people dying. They'll still accidentally overdose during chronic use.

1 minute ago, ICTChris said:

It's crazy - according to the stats more people died of drug overdoses in Glasgow in 2017 than in some  European countries in 2015 or 2016.

There's a variety of factors at play, myriad in their number, that add up to a very unhealthy whole. There's no binary solution here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Sweet Pete said:

Not enough in itself to stop people dying. They'll still accidentally overdose during chronic use.

True, but people are addictive, I genuinely don't think we'll ever rid ourselves of drugs/drug addicts. Making the stuff they're using safer should save lives, if not all of them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alcohol present in 10% of deaths. Weed in 0%

Any person over 18 can walk into a shop and buy enough booze to put themselves in a coma. And why wouldn't they?

How else do people get a break from the constant stress society puts on us through financial pressures, a horrible work life balance, glum weather and very little life prospects?

Still the rich men in suits will keep milking and squeezing till the wave crushes society.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at the theories posited for the factors that cause the Scotland Effect and the Glasgow Effect is like reading a shopping list of theories, without very much in the way of proferred solutions. Broadly, if the various theories were correct and were a clustered cause, then to combat it you'd need to rebuild social housing to a higher standard, offer jobs and mental health support to a wider number of people, distribute vitamin D and magnesium supplements, provide parenting coaching classes and education, redevelop all derelict land to provide a more positive landscape, dig up the earth to test for and remove pollutants in the land, increase the feeling of security among the populace, reduce stress levels among the populace and reduce the number of premature or low weight births (to name but a few!). Some of those are so vague as to be unactionable, frankly.

Ultimately, only with a gradual increase in quality of life, education, employment, civic pride and healthy lifestyle choices will we see some of those be countered as time passes. But it won't be a fast process, it'll be glacial and will happen in pockets rather than across the country.

Edited by Sweet Pete

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The point from the Glasgow Centre For Population Health about not feeling secure in one's environment from early childhood creating a toxic stress which affects frontal lobe development leading to chronic ill health in life is an interesting one. I can honestly say I don't entirely trust my environment, nor did I as a child. It's a grey, poor, ugly, concrete jungle, and it was as a kid, too. Thankfully my kids are too young to have noticed it yet, but my son's not far from starting to realise that the people he sees coming and going are scar faced, staggering, reeking, junkies and drunks and feeling unsettled by that, as I did when I was young. That kind of exposure to danger or harshness from an early age surely can't be healthy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The solution is as complex as attempting to understand the underlying reasons for this saddening statistic.

However, it HAS to start with a world-leading investment in early years services and support for the most vulnerable families in our society who are impacted by intergenerational poverty, poor housing and trauma.  Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are directly linked to poor health outcomes, including addiction.  Whatever can be done to tackle trauma in childhood needs to be done.  Research in this area is well established, although has only really generated momentum very recently.  I fear that the solution is far too expensive for our politicians' tastes. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The mates I had at school that are now junkies (not sure how many are left as at least 5 or 6 are dead) all came from decent, albeit not wealthy families and backgrounds. They also ripped the piss out of older junkies, so they knew heroin wasn't exactly a good career move even back then. I personally think it purely comes down to whether you have an addictive personality or not. I was tanning E's and various other drugs as a 15-17yo with these guys but luckily I didn't have an addictive personality and thus was happy to stop and not graduate onto heroin.

Not sure what the answer to reduce such deaths is in all honesty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, ICTChris said:

- 70% of those dying were male, 30% female.

Have any P&Bers got any suggestions on how to change this?

Breaking down the gender drug gap.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Nutz_the_Squirrel said:

The solution is as complex as attempting to understand the underlying reasons for this saddening statistic.

However, it HAS to start with a world-leading investment in early years services and support for the most vulnerable families in our society who are impacted by intergenerational poverty, poor housing and trauma.  Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are directly linked to poor health outcomes, including addiction.  Whatever can be done to tackle trauma in childhood needs to be done.  Research in this area is well established, although has only really generated momentum very recently.  I fear that the solution is far too expensive for our politicians' tastes. 

The other problem politically is that I find most elected parties only want to engage in actions which can be carried out during a four year term, nobody ever seems to want to start a process that won't show results until well after they've left office. Short termism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, sjc said:

The mates I had at school that are now junkies (not sure how many are left as at least 5 or 6 are dead) all came from decent, albeit not wealthy families and backgrounds. They also ripped the piss out of older junkies, so they knew heroin wasn't exactly a good career move even back then. I personally think it purely comes down to whether you have an addictive personality or not. I was tanning E's and various other drugs as a 15-17yo with these guys but luckily I didn't have an addictive personality and thus was happy to stop and not graduate onto heroin.

Not sure what the answer to reduce such deaths is in all honesty.

The addictive personality theory was debunked a few years ago.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could be things are improving with the 35-44 figure being a lot higher than the 25-34. Or maybe that spread has been similar historically.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Sweet Pete said:

The addictive personality theory was debunked a few years ago.

Was it? How is addiction defined nowadays then? It being relative to personality certainly made sense when recovering addicts were often found to have replaced one addiction for another. i.e: alcoholism to gambling for example. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, The Moonster said:

True, but people are addictive, I genuinely don't think we'll ever rid ourselves of drugs/drug addicts. Making the stuff they're using safer should save lives, if not all of them.

This. If you can't eliminate or reduce either supply or demand, then all that is left is to minimise harm. Unfortunately, it would be political suicide to acknowledge this, so the lower orders will continue to suffer disproportionately. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scotland's mortality rate apparently wasn't of note until the 50s and gathered pace in the 70s, so there's a definite timeline for cause and effect in there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Sweet Pete said:

Scotland's mortality rate apparently wasn't of note until the 50s and gathered pace in the 70s, so there's a definite timeline for cause and effect in there.

How much of that was down to the way the statistics were gathered and tallied back them? Can make a big difference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, sjc said:

Was it? How is addiction defined nowadays then? It being relative to personality certainly made sense when recovering addicts were often found to have replaced one addiction for another. i.e: alcoholism to gambling for example. 

My understanding of it is that it's nowadays based on the idea of chemical, physical and emotional addiction.

I was never fully convinced of the notion of the pot luck tombola of having an addictive personality or not. Just never felt right.

But I'm by no means an expert on the subject, only speaking from personal opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...