Scots cocaine deaths quadruple in three years

New figures reveal that the number of cocaine-related deaths in Scotland has quadrupled in just three years.

In 2015, there were 35 deaths from the Class A drug, rising to 139 in 2018.

Police Scotland statistics show that the biggest problem is in Glasgow, where there are plans to open the NHS’s first heroin distribution centre after the summer.

‘Need action’

Over the four year period, a total of 292 cocaine users died in Scotland.

The figures come as Scotland’s Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick urged the UK Government to help tackle Scotland’s growing drugs crisis.

He told Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee: “People are dying in Scotland now. We need action to save lives”.

Breaking the law

FitzPatrick insists that harm reduction policies such as Glasgow’s drugs distribution centre would help save lives, but the UK Government disagrees.

Currently the proposals are backed by the Scottish Parliament, but the Home Office has no plans to introduce legislation to allow drugs distribution centres in the UK.

Scotland’s top prosecutor confirmed that cocaine users would risk breaking a range of laws under the UK’s Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 if they were to use drugs distribution centres.

‘Wrong approach’

Scottish Conservative public health spokeswoman Annie Wells previously said addicts “should be helped to beat the habit altogether, not be assisted by the NHS in taking the drugs which have ruined their lives.”

She called it a “wrong approach” which will worsen Scotland’s drug problem.