12:54 GMT19 January 2021
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    A total of 867 drug-related deaths were registered in Scotland in 2016, which is the highest rate since 1996, according to the report of the National Records of Scotland.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The number of drug-related deaths in Scotland has increased by 23 percent year-on-year to almost 900 in 2016, which is the highest rate since 1996, the National Records of Scotland stated in its report released Tuesday.

    "A total of 867 drug-related deaths were registered in Scotland in 2016, according to statistics published today by the National Records of Scotland. This is the largest number in a series which starts at 1996, 161 (23%) more than in 2015, and more than double the figure for 2006 (which was 421)," the Scottish government department said in a statement.

    According to the report, men accounted for 68 percent of the drug-related deaths in 2016, a decrease by one percent in comparison with 2015. The majority of drug-related deaths falls on people aged 35-44, while 25 percent of deaths occurred among people aged 45-54 and 23 percent among the youngest 25-34 age-group.

    At least 765 deaths were caused by opiates or opioid use, while the use of benzodiazepines (diazepam and etizolam) resulted in the deaths of 426 people.

    According to the statistics, the drug-death rate in Scotland is higher than those reported for all the EU countries, though the think-tank notes that there have been issues of coding, coverage and under-reporting in some countries.

    According to the UK Office for National Statistics, the number of deaths caused by drug poisoning has also increased in England and Wales, reaching a record rate since 1993 last year. 3,744 drug-related deaths caused by both legal and illegal drugs were recorded in England and Wales in 2016. As well as in Scotland, the majority of deaths were due to opiate (mainly heroin and/or morphine) consumption.


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