HEROIN substitute methadone was linked to more deaths than the drug itself in Lothian last year.
Figures show methadone was implicated in 33 deaths in the region, while heroin was a contributory factor in 26 deaths.
Tory health spokesman Murdo Fraser said methadone was being overused. He said: “There are too many people who are being left long term on methadone when we should be trying to wean them off drugs altogether. These figures show it is not a safe alternative.
“This confirms that we should be reducing methadone use and creating better programmes to break the cycle of addiction.”
David Liddell, director of the Scottish Drugs Forum, said the figures were concerning, but added the challenge was to get more people into treatment.
He said: “The vast majority of people who are dying are not in treatment.”