More than 1,300 people died from drugs in Scotland last year, with the country seeing a record number of deaths for the seventh year in a row.

The annual figures showed that there were 1,339 drug deaths last year - an increase of 75 from the 1,264 recorded the previous year.

It means that Scotland continues to have the highest drug death rate recorded by any country in Europe.

In March 2021, the College published a report on drug-related deaths which recommended the introduction of safe consumption facilities, and a heroin-assisted treatment programme in all major centres in Scotland. The College also wants serious consideration given to the decriminalisation of possession. 

Roy Robertson, Professor of Addiction Medicine and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said:

It is deeply saddening to see another rise in the number of people who have lost their lives because of drugs. Our thoughts are with their friends and family at this difficult time.

We published a report in March, which suggested key interventions that can be taken now. This includes the introduction of safe consumption facilities. And we want work to begin on designing a heroin-assisted treatment programme in all major centres in Scotland, after a largely successful pilot scheme in Glasgow. We hope to see the Scottish Government and UK Government work closely together to design and introduce these policies, which we think can make a real difference for people who use drugs.

The Drug Deaths Taskforce has already introduced some key policies including the rollout of naloxone and national treatment standards. Key to delivering these policies will be services that are adequately resourced and funded. And we are adamant that services must be joined up, placing people who use drugs at the heart of all they do.