In 2018, there were 1,187 drug-related deaths in Scotland, which is 27 percent higher than the previous year and the highest rate since records began in 1996 and three times higher than the drug related death rate in the rest of the UK, Presstv Reported.
As reported in the British media, notably the BBC, Scotland now has a higher drug related death rate than the US, which was widely thought to have the highest drug related mortality rate in the world.
These shocking statistics reveal a deep crisis in the Scottish health and social care services. Back in September 2016, the Accounts Commission, which is the financial watchdog of the Scottish social services, claimed that the current system of social care in Scotland is “unsustainable”.
Similar to the dire situation in the social services, Audit Scotland, the country’s public spending watchdog, disclosed in October 2018 that the Scottish National Health Service (NHS) finances are in a “critical condition”.
The chronic underfunding of the Scottish NHS and social services provides the backdrop to the country’s astonishingly high drugs-related mortality rate.
But there is also a political context to this tragedy, namely the struggle for power and influence between London and the Scottish government in Edinburgh.
Back in September 2014, the Scottish nationalists used the under-funding of the Scottish NHS as the centrepiece of their political assault on Westminster.
The scale of the drugs-related scandal is expected to fuel the Scottish nationalists’ quest for a second independence referendum, which has only intensified in the wake of the political crisis at Westminster.