Several hundred children are turning up at A&E departments in Edinburgh and the Lothians due to drug overdoses each year, we can reveal.

Last year saw 683 under-18s treated for overdoses at NHS Lothian hospitals, new figures obtained by the Evening News show. That included 127 youngsters aged 11 and under.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats branded the numbers ‘heart-breaking’ while the Conservatives said they were ‘horrifying’. Cases peaked in 2021 when 788 youngsters presented with overdoses before the figure dropped slightly to 766 in 2022.

There were 708 in 2020 and 624 in 2019. Meanwhile, numbers for kids aged 11 and under reached a height of 210 in 2019.

136 such cases were recorded in 2020, 108 in 2021 and 129 in 2022. It is not known how many of said overdoses were caused by prescription or illicit drugs.

The findings come after the number of drug deaths in Edinburgh rose to its highest level of a decade in 2022, reaching a record 113.

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