More than 60 drug deaths recorded in Fife

More than one person a week has died because of drugs in Fife over the last year.

Figures from the National Records of Scotland show in 2018 64 people in the Kingdom died because of substance misuse.

That's down from 66 in 2017. 

Most of the deaths caused by substance misuse last year were down to accidental poisonings, with 52 reported.

The statistics published this morning show Scotland's drug death rate is at it highest level with 1.187 recorded in 2018.

Commenting on today’s figures, Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:

“The number of people who have lost their lives because of drug use is shocking. It is vital this tragedy is treated as a public health issue, and we are prepared to take innovative and bold measures in order to save the lives of those most at risk.

“Last week, I gave evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee and I asked for help in persuading the UK Government to either act now to enable us to implement a range of public health focused responses - including the introduction of supervised drug consumption facilities - or devolve the power to the Scottish Parliament so that we can act.

“I want to ensure that the work of the new taskforce which I have established is driven by strong evidence and the voices of those with experience of using drugs, and their families, are heard. I am determined to shape our services in every walk of life to prevent harm and reduce the appalling number of deaths.

“So I will give consideration to any proposals they bring forward which may help to tackle this issue and, ultimately, save lives.”

Chair of the Drug Deaths Taskforce, Professor Catriona Matheson said: “My thoughts go out to the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones.

“These figures bring the scale of the problem we face in Scotland into sharp focus. The need for urgent action is clear and the taskforce gives us a mechanism to do that.

“It is imperative that the taskforce identifies ways in which we can do more to save the lives of those who are most at risk and we will look carefully at what has worked in other parts of the UK and internationally to ensure we apply strong evidence-based practice.”

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