Rise in drug deaths a result of inequality created in 1980s

Drug deaths web

A new report from NHS Health Scotland and Glasgow University has revealed a 'delayed negative health impact'

26th July 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Rising inequalities during the 1980s led to an increase in drug deaths, a new study has found.

The study conducted by NHS Health Scotland and Glasgow University found that those born between 1960 and 1980 had an increased risk of drug-related death.

Researchers said the increased risk from 1990 onwards for the group, known as Generation X, is consistent with the view that economic and other policy decisions created rising inequality, resulting in a negative impact on health.

Dr Jon Minton, author of the report, said: "The same kind of pattern we have observed and reported on previously regarding the risk of suicide in vulnerable cohorts in deprived areas in Scotland is repeated, and even more clearly visible, when looking at trends in drug-related death risk.

"For people born in 1960s and 70s, the risk of drug-related deaths throughout the life course was much increased, and gender and area inequalities in these risks increased even more.

"The similarity in trends in both suicide and drug-related deaths suggests a common underlying cause."

The number of drug deaths has been increasing since 1995, when 426 fatalities were recorded, and 706 people died in 2015.

Dr Andrew Fraser, director of public health science at NHS Health Scotland, said that there is likely to be increases in demand on services as those at risk of drug related deaths ages.

He said: “This work suggests this is likely to be the result of those who are at higher risk of drug-related deaths. As the cohort of people at greatest risk of drug-related deaths continues to age, drugs services will need to adapt to their needs as co-morbidities from chronic conditions associated with ageing and drug use become more prevalent.”