Drug deaths in Fife reach an all time high

The number of people who died as a result of drug abuse in the Fife area reached its highest ever level last year.

By James Trimble
Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 11:02 am

According to the statistics published by the National Records of Scotland, Fife’s drug deaths increased from 64 people in 2018 to 81 in 2019 – the highest figure in over a decade.

From 2009 to 2019 there have been 524 drug deaths in the area – an average of over 52 deaths per year.

From 2005 to 2009 the average number of drug deaths stood at 27 people per year, while 2015 to 2019 saw an average of 60 deaths per year.

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Drug deaths in the Fife area increased from 64 in 2018 to 81 last year

In 2009 there were 22 male drug-related deaths and this increased to 52 in 2019, while 10 females died as a result of drug abuse in 2009 and a further 29 died in 2019.

From a population of 371,410, recorded back in 2017, the average drug death rate for Fife per 1000 of the population between 2015 and 2019 is 0.16 – this compares to the rate of 0.18 for Scotland as a whole.

Scotland’s drug-related deaths continued to increase and have gone up almost every year since 1996.

Last year there were 1264, which is the largest number ever recorded and more than double the number recorded a decade ago.

The statistics also showed nearly seven in 10 of those who died through drugs were male and over two thirds were aged between 35 to 54.

Heroin and morphine were implicated in more deaths than in any previous year, and accounted for over half the deaths.

David Liddell, Scottish Drugs Forum’s CEO, said: “For each of these deaths, there is a family and a group of bereaved people coping with their loss, often after years of caring and supporting someone suffering from problem drug use.

“Ending this emergency must be the immediate priority for all of us and will require a concerted effort from all relevant agencies as well as political leadership and public support. 

“Thankfully, we are fortunate that the evidence shows us exactly what changes need to be made. We need people to be in high quality treatment that protects them from overdose and death.”