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Statistically speaking...

Scotland's drug statistics have never made easy reading.

Not now, and certainly not back when Road to Recovery (R2R) was launched in 2008.

Nobody knows for sure how many "problem" drug users the country has. Nobody knows for sure if the problem is getting better, or worse.

The number of "addicts" was estimated at around 52,000 for the year 2005, down from 56,000 three years before. The most recent figures, for 2009, put the number at just under 60,000.

The Scottish Government's own medical statistics branch, the ISD, was circumspect when it reported the numbers in 2011. "Although the estimate with problem drug use prevalent was higher in 2009/10 compared with 2006, it cannot be said conclusively that actual prevalence has increased.

"But we can be reasonably sure it has not declined."

Such numbers would suggest the problem is twice as big in Scotland as in the rest of the UK. Figures cited by the Scottish Drug Forum shows the rate of problem addicts at about 17 per 1000 people in Scotland compared with 8.65 in England, 8.31 in Wales and 1.25 in Northern Ireland.

Drug deaths have soared since R2R was launched. Then the most recent figures were for 2006 and the number was 421.

The most recent figures available are for 2012. The number is 581, the second highest on record.

Once parents mourned their children to drugs. Now children mourn their parents. Deaths are falling among under-25s, soaring among the over 44s.

There is one big number the Government likes.

After horror stories before R2R of addicts waiting months for help, the most recent data shows waiting times for drug and alcohol treatment is down to less than three weeks for 96.6% of patients.

Contextual targeting label: 
Drugs

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