The rate of drug-related deaths in the UK has been declared a “public health emergency” by two cross-party groups of MPs in the law few months.

16 Dec 2019

In Scotland, in particular, we have seen drug deaths soar to the highest rate in Europe. 

Consensus is emerging that we need to stop treating drugs as a criminal justice issue and start focusing on the right to health of people who use drugs.

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In Numbers: UK Drug Policy:

Scotland is number one in Europe for having the highest rate of drug deaths. 1,187 people died from drug-related causes in 2018.  

2670 drug deaths in England in 2018.

180,648 people estimated to be using crack cocaine or opioids (e.g. heroin or morphine) in England and Wales in 2017. This is up from 166,640 six years prior. 

Deaths involving cocaine in England and Wales doubled between 2015 and 2018.  

“Individuals who use drugs do not forfeit their human rights … Too often, drug users suffer discrimination, are forced to accept treatment, marginalised and often harmed by approaches which over-emphasise criminalisation and punishment while underemphasising harm reduction and respect for human rights.”

– Navanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2009

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