Ayrshire drug deaths: Sharon Dowey worried about statistics

Ayrshire MSP Sharon Dowey has expressed concern about the number of suspicious drug-related deaths in Scotland in the first three months of 2022.

It comes after the Scottish Government released the most recent Police Scotland statistics.

The Scottish Government announced a “national mission” in January 2021 to reduce unacceptable drug-related death rates in Scotland.

However, according to official statistics from the National Records of Scotland published in July 2021, 1,339 drug-related deaths were recorded in Scotland in 2020, an increase of 5% on 2019.

Ayrshire Police Division recorded 27 drug-related deaths between January and March 2022, a 200% increase on the same period in 2017.

MSP Sharon Dowey said: “We have seen a 200% increase in Ayrshire. The Scottish government has repeatedly pledged to resolve this crisis, but no results have been seen. Instead, the slump is deepening and the uptrend is deepening.

“That’s why the Scottish Conservatives recently introduced the Right to Recover Bill, which has the potential to be a game-changer in reducing drug deaths in Ayrshire.”

SNP’s Siobhian Brown said: “The number of deaths is frankly far too high, but these statistics show a reduction in the number of suspected drug-related deaths compared to the same period last year.

“I am heartened to see the determination of the SNP Government to tackle the problem by investing £250m to tackle drug-related deaths, improving the provision of residential rehabilitation services and working with the Minister for drug policy Angela Constance to try to provide safe drug consumption rooms within the confines of devolution – which we know the easiest way would be for the Conservative government in the UK to finally reform the drug law 50 year old drug abuse.

“The SNP is committed to taking serious and thoughtful action to tackle the number of drug deaths in Scotland, and that includes being very open to scrutinizing the Tories’ bill when it is released – I really hope we can agree on the fundamental issues that need to be addressed to help save lives.”