Scottish drug deaths increase to record levels amid questions about 'parking' addicts on methadone

SNP ministers have been urged to overhaul their „failed“ drugs policies so fewer addicts are „parked“ on the heroin substitute methadone after user deaths spiked to a record level.

The NHS Scotland report said there were 865 drug-related deaths in 2016, a 24 per cent increase compared to the previous year and the highest rate anywhere in Europe.

It warned the „trajectory“ suggests that „deaths will continue to increase in the future“ and highlighted the high number of fatalities among users being treated on the NHS with an Opioide Substitution Therapy (OST) drug.

The proportion of drug users who were prescribed an OST, such as methadone, at the time of their death increased to 37 per cent.