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Scottish drug deaths fall

There was an 8 per cent fall in suspected drug deaths in Scotland in 2021 , according to the latest quarterly figures . Provisional statistics from Police Scotland show that there were 1,295 deaths last year , compared to 1,411 in 2020 . The quarterly figures represent deaths that the police suspect to have involved illicit drugs , and are different from the official National Records of Scotland ( NRS ) statistics which are based on information from death certificates and forensic pathologists – since late 2018 the Police Scotland figures have ranged between 3 and 6 per cent above the NRS figures .

As in previous years , men accounted for almost three quarters of the deaths , while almost two thirds were among people aged between 35 and 54 . The number of deaths in under 25s fell by 20 compared to the previous year , while deaths in the last calendar quarter were 76 down on the same period in 2020 . New figures from ONS on avoidable deaths , meanwhile , show that the age-standardised mortality rates for alcohol- and drug-related deaths in Scotland was 52.1 per 100,000 people in 2020 , more than double the 24 per 100,100 rate in England . ‘ Since 2012 , avoidable rates
ELEVEN OF THE COUNTRY ’ S BIGGEST TREATMENT PROVIDERS have joined forces to form the Women ’ s Treatment Group , which will work to improve treatment quality and options for women .
The group , which is chaired by Humankind , has already submitted a letter to OHID outlining the minimum provision for women that should exist in every service .
Although the last decade has seen an almost 80 per cent increase in the number of women dying a drugrelated death , the number of women seeking treatment has remained largely unchanged . The group will look at ways in which services could from these causes increased by 63.3 per cent in Scotland ,’ says ONS .
Despite the decline the death toll was ‘ still far too high ’, said drugs policy minister Angela Constance , with ‘ much hard work to be done to turn this public health emergency around . Getting people into the treatment which works for them is key and we continue to embed the new medication-assisted treatment ( MAT ) standards which reinforce a rights-based approach for people who use drugs and the treatment they should expect regardless of their circumstances . We also aim to increase the number of publicly funded residential rehabilitation placements by more than 300 per cent over the lifetime of this Parliament .’
A recent report from Audit Scotland , however , concluded that delivery of Scotland ’ s drug and alcohol services remains complex , with unclear accountability and difficulties in assessing the effectiveness of the money being spent , despite the government ’ s pledge to invest £ 250m over five years . Drug and alcohol data was ‘ not good enough ’, said auditor general Stephen Boyle , with a lack of transparency and the need for a ‘ clear plan ’ to improve provision .
be adapted to better meet women ’ s needs , as well as recommending dedicated funding streams for women ’ s services and the creation of a ‘ gender-specific ’ evidence base .
All services should make sure there are women-only spaces and effective joint working with midwifery and local domestic abuse organisations , states the letter to OHID , alongside women-only trauma-informed group work and fully funded childcare provision .
Members of the group include Humankind executive director Karen Tyrell , Change Grow Live executive director Nic Adamson , Phoenix Futures CEO Karen Biggs , With You
' We aim to increase the number of publicly funded residential rehabilitation placements by more than 300 per cent .'
ANGELA CONSTANCE
Suspected drug deaths in Scotland : October to December 2021 at www . gov . scot ; Avoidable mortality in Great Britain : 2020 at www . ons . gov . uk ; Drug and alcohol services : an update at www . audit-scotland . gov . uk

New group champions women ’ s right to high-quality services

director Siobhan Peters , Trevi CEO Hannah Shead , Turning Point ’ s national head of service Natalie Travis and WDP CEO Anna Whitton .
‘ Sadly , many treatment services can be an intimidating place for women and do not address the specific needs and challenges faced by women ,’ said Tyrell . ‘ Humankind and many of our partners do offer some services specifically for women but there needs to be a nationwide approach to ensure that irrespective of treatment type or geography every woman can get the help that they need .’ More information at www . collectivevoice . org . uk / womensalcohol-and-drug-treatment
Local News
PSYCHEDELIC CENTRE A new centre to accelerate psychedelic research for mental health has been launched in south London . The Centre for Mental Health Research and Innovation is a partnership between South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust , King ’ s College London ’ s Institute of Psychiatry , Psychology & Neuroscience and COMPASS Pathways , and will provide patient access to research , support therapist training and evaluate evidence .
FAMILY MATTERS The Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs charity has won a GSK IMPACT award for its work supporting people concerned about someone else ’ s alcohol or drug use . The charity provides a helpline , one-to-one bereavement support and ‘ click and deliver ’ naloxone , among other services . ‘ Achieving this recognition at UK level shows that families really do matter ,’ said chief executive Justina Murray .
VALUABLE INSIGHT A new service has been launched in Lewisham offering free , confidential support to under-25s on drugs , alcohol and sexual health issues . Insight Lewisham , which has been commissioned by the local council and will be delivered by Humankind , will provide workshops and one-toone sessions , as well as training and family support . insightyoungpeople . org . uk
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