By Lucy Ashton

Scotland remains in the grip of a drugs crisis, Scottish Labour has warned today, as new statistics have shown the continuing huge scale of Scotland’s drug problem.

Statistics published this morning have shown a stark increase in drug-related harms in Scotland between June – August 2023, compared to the previous quarter.

The statistics show:

  • The number of emergency naloxone administration incidents rising by over a quarter – 26 per cent.
  • The number of drug-related emergency department attendances rising by some 13 per cent
  • The number of drug-related hospital admissions soaring by over a quarter – 26 per cent
  • 307 suspected drug deaths – plateauing compared to the previous quarter and up 7 per cent compared to the same period in 2022.

Today, Scottish Labour is demanding that the SNP ‘wake up’ to the continuing drugs crisis taking place in Scotland and act before more lives are lost.

Dumbarton MSP Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie, right,  said: “These stark figures show a deeply worrying jump in drug-related hospital admissions and show that Scotland is still in the grips of a drugs crisis.

“For too long, the SNP government took its eye off the ball on drugs with tragic and disastrous results.

“While the action now being taken by the government is welcome, it is clear that the situation is continuing to deteriorate due to long-term neglect.

“It’s time the SNP stopped patting itself on the back for realising we have a drugs crisis and stopped picking needless constitutional battles on this vital and deadly issue.

“Action must be taken now before more Scots’ lives are tragically lost.”

  • Between June and August 2023, the average weekly number of Scottish Ambulance Service naloxone incidents increased (weekly average 89 and 95 respectively). These figures do not take account of naloxone administration by members of the public, service workers, or other emergency responders such as police officers. 
  • Between June and August 2023, drug-related attendances at emergency departments were 13% higher than the previous time period.
  • Between April and June 2023, drug-related hospital admissions were 26% higher than the previous time period.
  • Between June and August 2023, there were 307 suspected drug deaths. The number of deaths was similar to the same period in 2021 (317) and 7% higher compared to 2022 (286).

Meanwhile,  Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today warned that the country’s drugs death crisis is still in full swing as new statistics revealed that drug related admissions to A&E, drug-related hospital admissions and suspected drug deaths have all increased.

Mr Cole-Hamilton, left, said: “Progress on tackling Scotland’s shocking drug death figures has been truly abysmal. These figures show the crisis is still in full swing.

“By failing to move beyond the well-meaning words and promises, this SNP government has presided over a public health disaster and drug deaths that are now many times worse than anywhere else in Europe.

“The Scottish Government must deliver radical and transformational action to help all those suffering. This must mean protecting and strengthening the drugs and alcohol budgets so that everyone can access care when they need it.”

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