Drug deaths continue to blight the most deprived areas, the latest annual statistics show.

While there was a reduction of deaths across Scotland the rate of fatalities in deprived areas is far higher than the more affluent communities.

In the most deprived areas, people are 16 times more likely to die from drug use compared to the least deprived.

One-third of all the 1051 deaths last year were in the areas that are in the 10% most deprived. compared to just 1% among the 10% least deprived.

Deaths dropped by 21% from 1330 in 2021. and by 36% in Glasgow from 311 to 196.

The figures however show that in the 10% most deprived areas in Scotland there were 318 deaths in the year, yet in the 10% least deprived there were just 11.

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Glasgow and Dundee, home to more deprived communities than most other council areas, recorded the highest rate of deaths in 2022.

At the other end of the spectrum, East Renfrewshire and Aberdeenshire had the lowest level of deaths.

The National Records of Scotland which produces the report said: “The association of deprivation with drug misuse deaths is much greater than with other causes of death.”

 It added: “This is a much larger deprivation ratio than for deaths from all causes where people in the most deprived areas are around twice as likely to die as those in the least deprived areas.”

The gap in the ratio of people more likely to die in deprived areas has widened over time.

The NRS added: “Over time, the ratio of drug misuse deaths in the most and least deprived quintiles has changed. The lowest ratio was 8.4 in 2011 and the highest was 19.6 in 2019.”

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Professor Andrew McAulay of Glasgow Caledonian University, health and life sciences, welcomed the drop in deaths but said the figures required “further examinaton”.

He said: “Poverty remains a key driver of these statistics with people in the most deprived communities 16-times more likely to die from a drug-related death than those in the most affluent areas highlighting the vast health inequalities in this area.”

Alison Thewlis, Glasgow Central SNP MP, whose constituency is home to some of the most deprived parts of the city

She said: “This reduction in deaths should serve as a catalyst for even greater efforts to provide assistance and opportunities for recovery to those who need it most.

“The root causes of substance abuse, such as poverty, homelessness, and lack of access to education and employment have been exacerbated by over a decade of austerity.”