NHS Health Scotland
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New analysis explains increase and inequality in drugs deaths

Yesterday saw the release of new analysis which shows that the risk of drug-related deaths increased in Scotland from the 1990s for those born between 1960 and 1980, especially within deprived areas.

The research, conducted by NHS Health Scotland and the University of Glasgow, found a cohort effect within ‘Generation X’ (those born between 1960 and 1980). The increased risk of drug-related deaths for this cohort from 1990 onwards is consistent with the hypothesis that economic and other policy decisions during the 1980s created rising income inequality. This, along with the erosion of hope amongst those who were least resilient and able to adjust, resulted in a delayed negative health impact. Young adults in this cohort would have been exposed to high unemployment rates and reduced levels of support. People living in more deprived areas experienced these setbacks earlier and more profoundly.

Dr Andrew Fraser, Director of Public Health Science at NHS Health Scotland, yesterday said

“Drug-related deaths rates have continued to increase in Scotland. This work suggests this is likely to be the result of a cohort of people who are at higher risk of drug-related deaths. As the cohort of people at greatest risk of drug-related deaths continues to age, drugs services will need to adapt to their needs as co-morbidities from chronic conditions associated with ageing and drug use become more prevalent. We are pleased that the findings of this research are being highlighted today at the Scottish Government’s event on Drugs through a Health Lens.  We are hopeful that the findings will be useful in informing current and future policy to help prevent the creation of further cohorts at greater risk of drug-related deaths in Scotland.”

You can view the analysis on the Open Science Framework website.

 

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