Scotland's annual number of drug-related deaths reached 1330 in 2021 - dropping by just nine since 2020. 

It is the first time the figure has dropped even slightly in eight years, but it remains the second highest yearly total on record.

However, the country continues to have the highest drug death rate recorded by any country in Europe. 

Here is a look at what the latest figures revealed about Scotland's drug deaths crisis: 


2021 is the second highest annual total on record, only topped by 2020.

When using the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) definition of drug death rates, Scotland's figures remain starkly above other European countries in the latest comparable data. 

In 2021 the highest drug death toll per 100,000 was seen in those aged 35 to 44.

Year on year, the number of women to have died as a result of drug use increased from 366 to 397. 

The number of drug-related deaths recorded among men fell from 973 in 2020 to 933 in 2021. 

Dundee had the highest age-standardised drug misuse death rate of all local authority areas with 45.2 per 100,000 population for the five-year period of 2017 to 2021. 

This was followed by Glasgow and Inverclyde - hover on the map below to see the breakdown. 

In terms of health boards, Greater Glasgow and Clyde saw the highest drug-related death rates in the same five-year period. 

In 93% of all drug misuse deaths, more than one drug was found to be present in the body. 

Here is a breakdown of the drugs implicated in the deaths.

And here is a comparison to 2020...


If you are looking for help, you can find your nearest charity offering support for drug users here.

If you are concerned about someone else's alcohol or drug use, contact the Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs at 08080 10 10 11 or email