The National Health Service is Scotland’s biggest drug dealer


Methadone is now the main source of drugs deaths in Scotland. In 2011 a total of 584 people died from drugs. This figure includes alcohol, which killed 129 people in 2011, and heroin (206 victims), but the biggest source of deaths was methadone – 275.

Scotland’s methadone programme now costs more than £15m a year. Prescription for Methadone rose by 9%.  A total of 10,325 people entered drug treatment services in 2009-10, with two-thirds of those using heroin.

Drug injecting remains a problem, with 28% of heroin users taking the drug intravenously in the month before they sought treatment. The average daily spend on drugs for those entering treatment in the past year was £43. Heroin users spent on average £33, while cocaine users spent on average £108 a day.

But the number of cocaine users entering treatment has dropped, from more than 1,200 in 2008-09, to about 750 in 2009-10. The number of crack cocaine users who entered treatment in the past year has also nearly halved, compared with 2008-09 – although the vast majority of users – 47% – continue to be concentrated in the Grampian health board area.

In 2007, when about 21,000 people were said to be using the drug to help them get off heroin. The number of prescriptions issued in 2009-10 was 510,063. This represents about 98 per 1,000 population, an increase on 90 per 1,000 population in 2005-06.

Since 2008 £81m has been invested in local drug treatment services to enable them to help make that possible.

Methadone costs in Scotland dropped by nearly £800,000 last year from the previous year – down from £16,072,828 in 2008/2009 to £15,296,744 in 2009/2010, a drop of £776,084.



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