Drugs death increase as Midlothian sees highest figure in 11 years

Midlothian has recorded its highest number of drug deaths in 11 years, with over half of those dying having cocaine in their system.

The National Records of Scotland released the drug death figures for Scotland in 2021 on Thursday. And while nationally there was a slight fall in the numbers compared to 2020, Midlothian and East Lothian both saw a rise.

Midlothian recorded its highest number of deaths in a decade in 2020 when 21 people died – and last year saw that number rise to 23.

One death was recorded as an intentional overdose while 22 were accidental.

Of those who died, 15 had methadone in their system at the time, while 12 of them had cocaine and eight had taken heroin or morphine while five had consumed alcohol.

A spokesperson for Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “While all drug use is a subject of concern, each one of these deaths represents a tragic loss.

“A significant number of these deaths are people who have used drugs for a number of years and have a range of complex health issues and were not in contact with treatment services at the time of their death.

“As in previous years, illicit use of benzodiazepines drugs mixed with opiate and and/or psychostimulants such as cocaine were involved.

The group Faces And Voices of Recovery held a protest outside the Scottish Parliament as Scotland's drugs death figures were published on July 28, 2022 in Edinburgh.

“We continue to work with partners locally to develop a number of initiatives for those dealing with either their own or others’ substance misuse and we are doing so within the context of population growth within Midlothian. These include a direct contact service, developing new out-of-hours provision and youth and community initiatives.

“If you are affected by drug misuse, or are caring for someone who is, help is available. Call Midlothian Substance Use Service on 0131 660 6822 or Mid and East Lothian Drugs [MELD] on 07843 339 958 for more information or visit our website at www.meldap-recovery.co.uk.”

In East Lothian, which saw drug deaths fall in 2020 to 14 compared to 18 the previous two years, the number of fatalities crept back up with 16 deaths recorded. Out of 16, 15 were described as accidental and 13 involved heroin or morphine. Seven of those who died had methadone in their system while eight had cocaine and only one had consumed alcohol.