The number of people dying from drug abuse in East Renfrewshire has dropped, writes Monica Gibson.

There were 867 drug-related deaths in Scotland last year, a rise of 23 per cent on 2015.

Across Scotland, the numbers have been steadily increasing since 1995, when 426 fatal overdoses were recorded.

The latest statistics from the National Records of Scotland showed more than 70 per cent of deaths were among people aged 35 or over.

In East Renfrewshire, however, only five drug-related deaths were recorded in 2016, down from eight in 2015.

The average number of drug related deaths from 2002 to 2006 was three and from 2012 to 2016 it rose slightly to five.

The number of men who died in drug-related deaths was three in 2006, the number in 2016 was four. The national average is a 77 per cent increase.

Two of the deaths deaths involved Heroin/morphine in East Renfrewshire during 2016 and two involved methadone.

The increase in these types of deaths in East Renfrewshire over the past five years compared to the previous five years is far smaller than the national average but is still an increase.

And, as all were reported to be due to accidental poisoning, we asked East Renfrewshire Council what is being done to stop people getting access to dangerous drugs and the associated risks.

An East Renfrewshire Council spokesperson responded: “We provide an integrated and holistic approach for supporting residents with addiction.

“Our Community Addiction Service comprises two teams, the Community Addiction Team and the Community Recovery Team.

“They offer confidential help and support to residents and family members with an alcohol and/or drug problem.

“Every resident is treated individually and their treatment and therapy is tailored to their needs.

“The support we offer includes three weekly prescribing clinics, prevention training for accidental poisoning, an allocated support worker, group and individual therapy, relaxation sessions, addiction mental health assessments, family support and a full recovery service including support into employment, skills development, training and group work.”

Contact the team confidentially on 0141 577 4685.