Drug-related deaths

Drug-related deaths can be a general term for deaths caused by drug use. There are various definitions used. This term may include deliberate and accidental poisonings, suicides involving drugs, overdoses, deaths due to health issues related to drug use and deaths due to accidents or criminal violence caused by people under the influence of drugs. It may even include deaths due to the personal circumstances of someone who uses drugs – death by violence in a situation a person was in because of their drug use – a prison, for example.

In Scotland, annual statistics for drug related deaths are issued annually by the National Records of Scotland. These statistics cover only deaths caused by drug overdose. The figure for 2018 was 1187 – 2% of all deaths in Scotland. The average age of death was 42. The number of deaths caused by drugs using a wider definition may be around double the figure for overdose i.e. over 2000.