Ayrshire MSP Sharon Dowey has expressed concern about the number of suspected drug deaths in Scotland in the first three months of 2022.

This comes after the Scottish Government released the most recent Police Scotland statistics.

The Scottish Government announced a “National Mission” in January 2021 to reduce Scotland’s unacceptable drug death rates.

However, according to official National Records of Scotland statistics published in July 2021, there were 1,339 drug-related deaths registered in Scotland in 2020 – a 5 per cent increase over 2019.

The Ayrshire police division recorded 27 drug deaths between January and March 2022, a 200 per cent increase over the same period in 2017.

MSP Sharon Dowey said: “We’ve seen a 200 percent increase in Ayrshire. The Scottish Government has repeatedly pledged to address this crisis, but no results have been seen. Instead, the crisis worsens and the upward trend becomes more steep.

“That’s why the Scottish Conservatives recently introduced the Right to Recovery Bill, which has the potential to be a game changer in reducing drug deaths in Ayrshire.”

SNP's Siobhian Brown said: "The number of deaths are frankly far too high but these statistics show a reduction in the number of suspected drug deaths compared to the same period last year.

"I am encouraged to see the SNP Government's determination to tackling the issue through investing £250 million over to tackle drug deaths, improving the provision of residential rehabilitation services and work by the Minister for Drug Policy Angela Constance to try and deliver safe drug consumption rooms within the limits of devolution - which we know the easiest way to deliver would be if the Tory UK Government would finally reform the 50-year-old Misuse of Drugs Act. 

"The SNP is committed to serious and considered action to tackle the number of drug deaths across Scotland, and that includes being very open to considering the Tory's bill when it is published - I truly hope we can come to agreement on the fundamental issues that need to be addressed in order to help save lives."