Drug deaths in Scotland increased by 11% in the latest round quarterly report, with an average of 23 per week.

Public Health Scotland publishes a quarterly report titled the Rapid Action Drug Alerts and Response, and on Tuesday published the figures for November 2023 to January 2024.

There was an 11% increase in suspected drug deaths, as well as a 10% fall in drug treatment referrals and a 6% decrease in needles and syringes provided.

The total number of suspected drug deaths between December 2023 and February 2024 was 278, averaging 23 per week.

A suspected drug death is a death where controlled drugs are suspected of being involved. Suspected drug-death figures are based on reports, observations and initial enquiries from police officers attending scenes of death.

The numbers in the latest report are in line with historic trends, with an average of 17 to 31 per week between December 2021 and November 2023.

Public Health Scotland said that combined substance abuse remained the key driver of harms, with the most likely mixes involving benziodazepines, cocaine and opioids.

The most common drug types detected in post-mortem toxicology were opioids (70%) and benzodiazepines (58%). The percentage of deaths where cocaine was detected remained stable at 36% but it continued to be the most commonly detected individual substance, followed by heroin/morphine (29%), methadone (29%), diazepam (27%), and bromazolam (22%).

Want to see more SNP fails? – Politics Matters

Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter and join the fightback against Scottish Nationalism.