Drugs claimed six lives in East Renfrewshire last year, it has been revealed.

The tragic loss is included in new figures released by National Records of Scotland (NRS).

Annemarie Ward, founder of the Faces & Voices of Recovery UK (FAVOR) charity, which aims to represent communities affected by addiction, said the Scottish Government must do more to prevent drug deaths, as the response so far has been “abysmal.”

She added: “I think there is a different story in each local authority, with some areas doing better than others.

“Overall, if you look at the statistics from 2018, when the drug force taskforce was first set up, we have actually seen a 12% increase in deaths across Scotland.

“Our Right to Recovery Bill would enable local authorities to provide real treatment for as many people that needed it, as well as bring investment that councils need to tackle this issue.”

The NRS figures show the number of drug fatalities in East Renfrewshire last year had doubled compared to a decade earlier, with three recorded in 2011.

However, last year’s death toll is down from the 2020 figure of 10.

East Renfrewshire had the lowest number of drug deaths of any mainland council area in Scotland. Only the Orkney Islands, the Western Isles and the Shetland Islands had fewer fatalities.

The majority of drug deaths in East Renfrewshire last year involved men, with four fatalities, compared to two women.

Latest figures also show the drug-related death rate in East Renfrewshire was around nine fatalities per 100,000 residents – the lowest in Scotland.

Dundee had the highest death rate at 45, followed by Glasgow (44) and Inverclyde (35).

Across Scotland as a whole, 1,330 people lost their lives to drug misuse in 2021 – nine fewer than the previous year.

However, it is still the second highest annual total on record.

The highest number of deaths in 2021 was in Glasgow, where 311 lives were lost, followed by Edinburgh (109), South Lanarkshire (101), North Lanarkshire (80) and Aberdeen (62).

Drugs Policy Minister Angela Constance admits the current situation remains “unacceptable.”

She said: “While there is so much more work to do, every life saved means one less family grieving and I am determined we can use this halt in the upward trend of recent years as a platform for real change.”