US News: Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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US NewsScotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll

12:45  16 july  2019
12:45  16 july  2019 Source:   msn.com

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Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll © Getty Scotland's annual drug deaths have soared to be the worst recorded for any nation in the entire world.

The total of 1187 deaths is up by 27 per cent on last year’s record total.

Scotland’s Public health minister Joe FitzPatrick admitted we are facing a crisis.

He said: “The number of people who have lost their lives because of drug use is shocking. It is vital this tragedy is treated as a public health issue, and we are prepared to take innovative and bold measures in order to save the lives of those most at risk.

Related: What's behind the surge in drug deaths in Scotland?

Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll © Getty Getty

Acknowledging the inevitably catastrophic figures for 2018, Glasgow MP Alison Thewliss called on Home Secretary Sajid Javid to come to the city to see the devastation caused by drugs for himself.

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She said: “Today’s drug deaths figures make for grim, heart-breaking reading. Scotland is in the midst of a public health emergency.

“Conservative Ministers spoke of their experiences with drugs in recent weeks, in a bizarre attempt to enhance their public image.

“However, what is striking for me is that the people I meet – through constituency work and interaction with agencies and charities – tell harrowing stories of sons, daughters, and other family members besides, who have lost their lives to drug addiction. Unlike those in positions of power, these families don’t get the benefit of a second chance.

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“The number of drug-related deaths in Scotland has risen from 934 in 2017 to 1187 in 2018 – an increase of 26 per cent. The percentage increase from 2017 to 2016 was eight per cent. To ignore the seriousness of the situation, and simply repeat calls for people to engage with services, helps no one. We urgently need to do something different.

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“Drug charities and agencies are telling us that habits are changing. People are injecting more often, and are using a mix of drugs, raising the risk of infection and overdose.”

Thewliss has been a major backer of a pilot drug consumption room for a site close to Glasgow city centre.

She said: “I agree with others that a supervised drug consumption facility is not a panacea, and that it should form part of a wider response. “However, we must consider the evidence that has been gathered globally. It points to a reduction in high-risk injecting behaviours, increased contact with marginalised populations and lower rates of antisocial behaviour.

“The Home Secretary must come to Glasgow and see why a different approach is so desperately needed. Failure to do so has a human cost, and never before has that cost been so pronounced”.

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Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll
Scotland named as drug death capital of the world as grim figures reveal death toll

Joe FitzPatrick said a task force set up in response to demands by the Daily Record can save lives.

He said: “Last week, I gave evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee and I asked for help in persuading the UK Government to either act now to enable us to implement a range of public health focused responses - including the introduction of supervised drug consumption facilities - or devolve the power to the Scottish Parliament so that we can act.

“I want to ensure that the work of the new taskforce which I have established is driven by strong evidence and the voices of those with experience of using drugs, and their families, are heard. I am determined to shape our services in every walk of life to prevent harm and reduce the appalling number of deaths.

“So I will give consideration to any proposals they bring forward which may help to tackle this issue and, ultimately, save lives.”

Chair of the Drug Deaths Taskforce, Professor Catriona Matheson said: “My thoughts go out to the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones.

“These figures bring the scale of the problem we face in Scotland into sharp focus. The need for urgent action is clear and the taskforce gives us a mechanism to do that.

“It is imperative that the taskforce identifies ways in which we can do more to save the lives of those who are most at risk and we will look carefully at what has worked in other parts of the UK and internationally to ensure we apply strong evidence-based practice.”

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