The number of Scots battling opioid addictions has flatlined in recent years despite repeated government pledges to help those with drug dependencies, new figures show.

A report out today from Public Health Scotland found there were an estimated 47,100 people in 2019/2020 hooked on substances such as heroin or medicines like methadone.

The figures were described as “relatively stable” compared to the total number of addicts in 2014/15.

The report also found Scotland’s rate of opioid dependence was 1.32 per cent per head of population – significantly higher than England’s rate of 0.8 per cent.

The failure to reduce the number of Scots dependent on opioids was described as “especially troubling” given the rise in the use of synthetic drugs which can be 50 times as strong as heroin.

Health chiefs previously warned that synthetic opioids called nitazenes have been detected in 25 deaths in Scotland since 2022.

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