A grand total of 526 deaths caused by drug overdose were registered in Scotland in 2013, representing a 9% decrease compared to the previous year. The statistics were previously trending in a negative direction, with record number of deaths recorded in 2011, when 584 people lost their lives after taking one or more drugs.
Around 75% of the deceased were males, with 68% of the total composed of individuals over the age 35. In more than 90% of the cases, there were multiple drugs involved, making it very hard to pinpoint the most dangerous substances. Despite the drop in overall level of fatalities, number of deaths involving new psychoactive substances rose from 47 in 2012 to 113 last year, although such substances were commonly mixed with alcohol and illegal drugs to produce the lethal effect.
While it is still too early to claim victory, some researchers believe that the crest of the deadly wave might be behind us. Extensive use of naxolone is credited for saving many lives from overdose, and education efforts directed at younger age groups appear to be returning positive results up to an extent. If the approach taken by Scots is really working, this could be a sign of better times ahead for emergency room workers and drug education activists in other countries as well.
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