• Background

    Drug deaths are a challenge not unique to Scotland, however, Scotland’s own struggles with drug deaths and harms are unique and in 2019, the National Records of Scotland (NRS) highlighted the scale of the problem: that the figures for 2018 were 27% higher than the previous year (2017), and the highest at the time since records began in 1996. In 2021, 1,330 people lost their lives to drug misuse in Scotland according to the NRS (see the graph below), representing a 1% decrease compared with 2020. This College has sought to offer practical solutions and guidance to policy makers, and to healthcare workers who interact with people who use drugs. Our drug deaths digital hub is an extension of that – and in particular, it is aimed towards clinicians from across a wide range of professions.

    Read RCPE's Policy Report, Drug Deaths in Scotland: an increasingly medical problem [opens PDF]

    Graph of drug misuse deaths in Scotland, 1996-2021

    This graph demonstrates drug misuse deaths in Scotland from 1996-2021.
    Source: National Records of Scotland (NRS), Drug-related Deaths in Scotland in 2021.