Jenny Marra  calls for new target to tackle record-high Drug Deaths in Dundee

29 August 2012

Dundee-based MSP and Shadow Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs Jenny Marra has called on the Scottish Government and Dundee City Council to strengthen their approach to tackling drug deaths in Dundee by agreeing a target to reduce the number of drug related deaths in the city.

The call comes after Scottish Government figures reveal that Dundee has the highest per capita rate of drug deaths in Scotland , having risen 108% since the SNP took power in 2007. 

Ms Marra has criticised the way the Single Outcome Agreements, agreed in partnership between the Scottish Government and the City Council, have recorded their performance on the issue, and has called for the SNP to prove their commitment to reversing the trend in Dundee.

The Single Outcome Agreements have not monitored drug related deaths since 2009, where only alcohol related deaths were recorded, but without a target for improvement. 

The only other monitoring of drugs was done in 2008 by a survey taking attitudes on whether Dundonians thought their neighbourhoods suffered from a high prevalence of drugs.

Ms Marra said, 

“Dundee is suffering from a very real problem with drug deaths, which has gotten worse over time.

“Latest figures show that we have the highest number of deaths per population in Scotland, and since 2007 the average annual number of drug related deaths has risen over 100%. 

“Despite the council recognising that drugs present a real challenge to the health and wellbeing of our city, our key monitoring of the issue has been left wanting and we have had no solid reporting on drug related deaths since 2009, as well as no agreed targets on how to reduce the increasing number of drug related deaths happening in Dundee.

“I am calling on the Scottish Government and the City Council to agree a clear target to work towards lowering drug deaths. 

“If the City Council and Scottish Government are serious about tackling the drug problem in Dundee, they must commit to monitoring their performance based on hard evidence and clear targets. 

“This is the only way to ensure a sharp focus on bucking the trend that is ending too many lives early.”

For further reading :

1. Dundee City Council area has the highest average drug related deaths per 1000 of population, equal with Glasgow and West Dunbartonshire (0.19 per 1000). Source: Table C4, page 47:

2. Since 2007, the average annual number of drug deaths in Dundee has risen by 108%. Source: Table C1, page 44:

3. The Single Outcome Agreements’ 2009-2012 annual report for 2010/11 can be found here: - information referred to on alcohol related deaths and outcome indicators can be found on page 44



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