Methadone link as drug deaths soar

DRUG deaths soared from 111 to 162 in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board area last year.
Heroin or morphine was the cause of 97 deaths and methadone was involved in 58 cases.
In Glasgow alone, there were 113 drug-related deaths, a sharp rise from 75 last year.
The rises in both areas were far higher than anywhere else in the country.
The figures, in a report from the General Register Office, revealed there were 421 drug-related deaths in Scotland, 85 more than last year.
They also show that there were 204,168 methadone prescriptions in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board area at a cost of almost £4.7million Glasgow Tory MSP Bill Aitken said: “These figures are so bad they point to a loss of control over an already desperate problem.
“The message has got to get across that dabbling with drugs then becomes a serious addiction and frequently ends with the loss of a life.
“We have to react to these tragic statistics. There must be a no-tolerance approach to drug taking, strict and punitive enforcement on drug dealers and better efforts to rehabilitate those who are willing address their demons.”
Minister for Community Safety Fergus Ewing said drug abuse was “one of the greatest problems facing us as a nation”.
He added: “It’s a long term problem, we need long-term solutions – not quick fixes. We will launch a new drugs strategy next year that will be focussed on using resources more effectively to get addicts drug-free.
“Connecting people to the right services and integrated care to help them lead drug free lives should be the norm across Scotland rather than the exception.”

Source: Evening Times. 19/12/07

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