Home > National mission on drugs: annual monitoring report 2022-2023.

Scottish Government. (2023) National mission on drugs: annual monitoring report 2022-2023. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.

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This first standalone annual monitoring report provides an analysis of the progress made between April 2022 and March 2023 towards reducing the number of drugrelated deaths and improving the lives of people affected by drugs in Scotland. It reports on the set of metrics described in the National Mission on Drugs: Monitoring Metrics Technical Paper, which are used to monitor progress towards the National Mission. It provides a robust statistical backdrop to better understand and monitor progress and complements the National Mission on Drugs Annual Report 2022-2023 (published October 2023), which outlines the activity, developments and achievements made towards the National Mission by national government, local government and third sector partners between April 2022 and March 2023. In addition, this and subsequent monitoring reports may inform the independent evaluation of the National Mission by Public Health Scotland.

There were 1,051 drug misuse deaths2 registered in Scotland in 2022 (Figure 2). This was 21% (279 deaths) fewer than in 2021. This was the lowest number of drug misuse deaths since 2017 and the largest year on year decrease on record. However, most of the decrease was in males (down 26%, 241 deaths); deaths amongst females fell by 10% (38 deaths). Drug deaths are generally low among people aged 25 and under, however the share of drug deaths in this age group increased slightly from 5% (70 deaths out of a total of 1,339) to 6% (62 deaths out of a total of 1,051) between 2021 and 2022. There was also a mixed picture of trends across the country, with drug misuse deaths falling in two thirds of council areas but increasing or remaining flat elsewhere. Opioids remain the most commonly implicated drug type and cocaine is implicated in an increasing proportion of drug misuse deaths. 

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