On 14 June 2022, the Scottish Government published its first quarterly statistics on the number of suspected drug deaths during the first quarter of 2022. The report focusses on management information from Police Scotland on suspected drug deaths, to provide as timely an indication of current trends in drug deaths in Scotland as is possible.
The report contains the following findings:
- There were 285 suspected drug deaths recorded between January and March 2022, similar to the numbers recorded for each of the previous two calendar quarters, October to December 2021 (288 deaths) and July to September 2021 (285 deaths).
- There were 108 fewer suspected drug deaths than the 393 deaths noted between January and March 2021.
- Males accounted for 70% of suspected drug deaths, a slight decrease on 72% noted between January and March 2021.
- There were 86 suspected drug deaths of females, a decrease from 110 deaths noted between January and March 2021.
- Two-thirds of suspected drug deaths were of people aged between 35 and 54 years old, comparable with previous quarters.
- There were 15 suspected drug deaths in the under-25 age group, a decrease from 20 deaths noted between January and March 2021.
- The police divisions with the greatest number of suspected drug deaths were Greater Glasgow (50), Edinburgh City (31) and Lanarkshire (29).
- There were 1,187 suspected drug deaths over the previous 12 months to March 2022, 299 fewer than the 12 months leading up to March 2021.
It should be noted that numbers of suspected drug deaths fluctuate from quarter to quarter and care should be taken not to interpret movements between individual calendar quarters as indicative of any long-term trend.
Source: Scottish Government, 14 June 2022