Increases in A&E drug attendances and deaths

26 Jul 2023

Local MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton has urged the government to move further and faster following the publication of a new report which shows an increase in the number of people attending A&E due to a drug-related incident and a rise in drug deaths earlier this year.  

Public Health Scotland’s Rapid Action Drug Alerts and Response report, published today, shows that between March and May 2023 there was a 13% increase in the number of drug-related attendances at emergency departments compared to the same period in 2022.  

The report also shows that from March to May 2023, there was an average monthly total of 100 suspected drugs deaths. Deaths increased in May, with 30 deaths observed in the week beginning 15 May.

Alex said: “Ever since Nicola Sturgeon slashed drug service budgets by more than 20% in 2016, this SNP government has presided over a public health disaster and drug deaths that are now many times worse than anywhere else in Europe.  

“This report confirms that the government is still woefully behind the curve.  

“My party has been calling for the decriminalisation of drug misuse for years. If the Scottish Government is at last serious about reform in this area, this will take detailed work both here in Scotland and in partnership with colleagues across the UK and beyond.  

“To turn a corner in this crisis, Scottish Liberal Democrats also want to see the immediate introduction of specialist drugs commissions, safe consumption rooms across the country and greater support for staff and services.  

“It’s time to stop people dying.”  

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