By Jim Murty / The National
The latest figures, for 2019, revealed a 6% rise to 1264, the worst rate in Europe of drug deaths per capita and three and a half times higher than England and Wales. Scotland had 295 drug deaths per million of the population between 15 and 64 with the next highest Sweden at 81.
That prompted First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to apologise “to every family who has suffered grief’” and to say that she would be driving forward the response after the next Scottish Drug Deaths Taskforce (SDDT) meeting on January 12.
On Friday, Joe FitzPatrick (inset) resigned from his position as the Scottish Government’s public health minister. Angela Constance has since been charged with the role of Drugs Policy Minister.
In the wake of the release of the figures, FitzPatrick had faced calls from Labour and the LibDems to resign and were preparing to push for a no-confidence vote in the minister.