Glasgow drug deaths hitting the city’s most deprived areas the hardest

Glasgow’s drug deaths crisis is hitting the city’s most deprived areas the hardest, a health meeting has heard.Glasgow’s drug deaths crisis is hitting the city’s most deprived areas the hardest, a health meeting has heard.
Glasgow’s drug deaths crisis is hitting the city’s most deprived areas the hardest, a health meeting has heard. | JPI Media
Glasgow’s drug deaths crisis is hitting the city’s most deprived areas the hardest, a health meeting has heard.

What’s happening? The city recorded the highest ever number of people losing their lives from taking substances last year – and the worst affected area was North East Glasgow.

Drug deaths in 2020: There were 291 drug related deaths in the city during 2020 – a record high up 4.3 per cent compared to 2019.

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Drug deaths by area: A total of 108 people died in the north east of the city after taking drugs compared to 91 in the north west and 92 in the south.

More than ninety per cent of them had taken more than one drug.

The most commonly implicated drugs were opiates (88 per cent), such as heroin. The second most prevalent substance used were benzodiazepines (76 per cent).

Dr Saket Priyadarshi said: “In terms of the people who have died from drug related deaths three quarters of them live in our most deprived” areas.

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Commenting on the numbers who have tragically passed away, the associate medical director of alcohol and drug services at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “It is the highest ever in Glasgow city but we are plateauing in the last three years after very steep rises from 2015 onwards. Prior to 2015 we had a relatively stable condition in the city in relation to drug related deaths.”

Dr Priyadarshi discussed the situation at the Glasgow City Integration Joint Board meeting on Wednesday.

A report presented at the meeting said: “Those who died of a drug-related death in Glasgow City were most likely to be male (72.5 per cent) and between 45 to 54 years.”

The meeting heard efforts are being made to reduce deaths, which include encouraging more addicts to get treatment. There is also a drive to improve services for existing users.

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What is being done about the drug deaths? New national medication assisted treatment standards (MAT) are to be rolled out in Glasgow to give a consistent, accessible high quality service to help people using drugs.

The report said: “Implementing the MAT Standards will ensure that people have immediate access to the treatment they need with a range of options and the right to make informed choices.

“It will reinforce a rights-based approach by ensuring people have choice and are empowered to access the right support for where they are in their recovery journey.

“Implementation of the standards has a significant part to play in helping vulnerable people affected by substance use.”

The level of drug deaths was published by National Records of Scotland.

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