Drug-related death statistics in Scotland for 2020

10 August 2021

Article: 55/3207

On 30 July 2021, the National Records of Scotland (NRS) published the latest data on drug-related fatalities, reporting 1,339 deaths in 2020, an increase of 5% on the previous year, and the highest figure on record. The Scottish Government has announced that from September 2021, there will be quarterly reporting of suspected drug deaths, with the aim of enabling better surveillance and response from all those involved in tackling this issue.

A national mission aiming to reduce drug-related deaths and harm was announced in January 2021, with measures introduced so far this year including: 

  • funds to improve outreach services and support for families, and increasing residential rehabilitation provision 
  • expansion of the provision of long-lasting buprenorphine (Buvidal) into the wider community, following a pilot in prisons 
  • expansion of the existing heroin-assisted treatment facility in Glasgow, exploring its use in other parts of Scotland 
  • £3 million to services to expand near-fatal overdose pathways 
  • £3 million to expand the range of outreach services  
  • £13.5 million for alcohol and drugs partnerships to support local and national initiatives 
  • guidance on the consistent prescribing of benzodiazepine 
  • consultations with stakeholders on the formation of a National Collaborative (Forum) to focus on the voices of people with lived or living experience and families

Source: Scottish Government, 30 July 2021