Community / Drug deaths figure remains same as previous year

THERE were four drug related deaths in Shetland in 2021, according to newly released statistics.

This was the same number as the previous year. Data from the National Records of Scotland shows that ‘accidental’ was the most common underlying cause of death.

When it comes to the period of 2017 to 2021, Shetland has a drug misuse death rate at 10.4 per 100,000 population – the joint lowest in Scotland.


The national Scottish average is 22.9 per 100,000 population.

NHS Shetland chairman Gary Robinson said: “Anybody would say that four deaths from drug overdose is four too many, and it’s not something I think anyone of us would be complacent about.”

He said he looked forward to seeing what can be done to bring the figure down.

Across Scotland there was a one per cent decrease in drug related deaths, with the figure sitting at 1,330 people who lost their lives.

The situation remains “unacceptable”, according to drugs policy minister Angela Constance.


A national ‘mission’ was announced in January last year to tackle rising death deaths in Scotland with additional funding of £250 million over the course of the parliament.Constance said in the first year of the scheme “we built the foundations for change”.

But Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said the 2021 figures were “appalling – yet again”.

The party has lodged draft legislation at the Scottish Parliament called the Right to Recovery Bill. The Tories said this will “ensure that no-one is denied addiction treatment ever again”.

People struggling with substance use can contact their GP, the substance misuse recovery service at Lerwick Health Centre on 01595 743006 or the Recovery Hub and Community Network in Pitt Lane via 01595 744402.

Harm reduction advice can also be found at www.crew.scot