Page last updated at 23:39 GMT, Tuesday, 22 July 2008 00:39 UK

Drugs 'cause' higher death rate

Drugs and drug-taking equipment
Researchers said public health campaigns would cut drug deaths

Scotland's higher death rate compared with England and Wales is partly down to greater drug use, a new investigation has suggested.

A Glasgow University study, published in the British Medical Journal, said a third of the additional deaths north of the Border resulted from drug abuse.

Higher death rates have traditionally been blamed on deprivation.

Scotland's death rate is 15% higher than in England and Wales and the gap has widened over the past 30 years.

In the face of a general rise in living standards, the figures puzzled researchers.

'Strong impact'

The British Medical Journal has now argued as many as a third of the excess deaths have resulted from drug abuse.

Glasgow University researchers, who studied more than 1,000 problem users starting treatment, said the problem in Scotland was proportionately twice as bad as that in England and Wales - but many drug-related deaths were not recorded as such.

They included deaths associated with infections, assaults and suicides which could be linked to a drug-taking lifestyle, and which could account for much of the excess Scottish mortality rate.

The researchers concluded that successful public health campaigns to cut the number of drug users would have a strong impact on deaths throughout the UK.

Scottish ministers announced its new drug strategy earlier this year, with a focus on recovery and helping people live drug-free lives.

A total of 94m will be spent over the next three years on tackling the problem.


SEE ALSO
'Disappointment' over drug deaths
16 Jul 08 |  North East/N Isles
Drink and drugs 'key' to suicide
15 Jun 08 |  Scotland
Forum sets out radical drugs plan
09 Jun 08 |  Scotland
Government unveils drug strategy
29 May 08 |  Scotland
Scotland facing 'drugs Doomsday'
28 May 08 |  Scotland

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific