Drugs crisis Scotland: Huge rise is heroin and ecstasy seizures

The amount of heroin seized by police from dealers in Scotland has increased almost 80%, new figures showed.

By Katrine Bussey
Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 2:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 2:39 pm

Officers recovered 222.5kg of the Class A drug in 2019-20 from those involved in dealing and trafficking - up from 125.3kg the previous year and more than four times higher than the 54.1kg seized in 2016-17.

The latest figures on drugs supply seizures also showed a massive rise in the number of tablets of “Ecstasy-type substances” that were recovered – with this rising more than 450%, going from 5,200 tablets in 2018-19 to 28,800 in 2019-20.

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Police are targeting drug suppliers across Scotland.

In July, annual figures showed that there were 1,339 drug deaths last year - an increase of 75 from the 1,264 recorded the previous year.

The increase in the amount of heroin captured by police comes despite a fall in the number of incidents where the drug was seized, with this dropping from 731 to 678.

But when looking at Class A drugs, the amount of cocaine seized by police from dealers fell.

In 2019-20, officers recovered 130.8kg of powdered cocaine and 4.4kg of crack cocaine – with these down from 386.1kg and 5.3kg respectively in the previous year.

The report which detailed the figures stressed that the “quantity of drugs seized can fluctuate considerably each year and does not necessarily move in line with the number of seizures made”.

The Scottish Government publication added: “Whilst most drug seizures consist of relatively small quantities (usually possession-related crimes), annual quantities of drugs seized can be greatly influenced by a small number of large seizures (usually supply-related crimes).”

Police Scotland seized some 33,295 cannabis plants in 2019-20, the report showed, up from 25,933 the previous year and more than double the total of 16,346 plants that were seized in 2017-18.

The amount of herbal cannabis that was seized increased from 671.1kg in 2018-19 to 920.8kg in 2019-20 while seizures of cannabis resin increased from 189.8kg to 649kg over the same period.

Recorded crime statistics showed that in total, there were 30,469 crimes of drug possession recorded by the police in 2019-20, compared to 29,843 in 2018-19 and 27,171 in 2017-18.

In 2019-20, Police Scotland seized 58.5kg of herbal cannabis, 8.3kg of cannabis resin, 4.6kg of cocaine and 2.9kg of heroin from those who had the drugs for their personal possession.

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