College responds to latest drug deaths publication

The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh has responded to the latest publication on suspected drug deaths in Scotland.

The publication shows that the number of suspected drug deaths during the first nine months of 2021 decreased slightly (4%) on the same period last year.

Professor Angela Thomas OBE, Director of Heritage and Honorary Librarian, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh said:

The College is encouraged by what appears to be a small decrease in the number of drug-related deaths, recently. We hope that this is the start of a trend in the right direction, towards Scotland getting to grips with the drug deaths crisis. It is clear that there is much work yet to do.

We are supportive of the recent public campaign aiming to reduce stigma towards people who use drugs. Reducing stigma is one of many tools available to policy-makers in their efforts to reduce drug-related deaths, along with Medication Assisted Treatments (MAT) which we also support.

In a report we published last March, we highlighted additional policies which our Fellows and Members said could help to reduce drug deaths. This includes the introduction of safe consumption facilities, and a rollout of heroin-assisted treatment across all centres in Scotland.

We have continued to highlight that Scotland’s drug deaths crisis is primarily a public health issue. We are pleased that the majority of the Scottish Parliament agrees with our stance and we will continue to engage with MSPs and the Scottish Government on this important issue.