RCGP Scotland comment on drug related death statistics

Commenting on the publication of drug related death statistics for 2020 by National Records of Scotland (NRS) which showed that there were 1,339 deaths in 2020, an increase of 5% on 2019 and the highest figure on record, Dr Chris Williams Joint Chair of RCGP Scotland said:

“Today’s drug related deaths figures are quite simply appalling. First and foremost, we must remember that behind the enormity of today’s figures are real people who have tragically and unnecessarily lost their lives and they leave behind scores of people who have lost loved family members and friends. Our thoughts today are very much with them.

"Today’s figures are yet another stark reminder of the scale of the drug deaths crisis that we are facing in Scotland.

"In general practice, many of us see the reality of this crisis on a daily basis in our patient populations. Sitting at the frontline of the health service, we recognise the important role that general practice has to play in tackling this crisis and as general practitioners we strive to do all that we can to provide the highest standard of care to all patients and particularly to our most vulnerable.

"At RCGP Scotland, we are working hard to ensure that general practice is part of the solution to this crisis. At a national level, we have been pleased to sit on the Scottish Government’s Drug Deaths Taskforce and also the Mission Implementation Group responsible for taking the recommendations from the taskforce forward.

"RCGP Scotland exists to uphold and promote the highest standard of patient care and we are committed to increasing the skills and expertise of those delivering care in the primary care setting to patients who use drugs, through participation in our Certificate in the Management of Problem Drug Use, which has been supported by the Scottish Government.

"We are committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure that as general practitioners, we can do all that we can to be part of a solution to this crisis.”

Further information on RCGP Scotland's Certificate in the Management of Problem Drug Use can be found on the website.

Further information

Media requests to Lizzie Edwards, RCGP Scotland Policy and Public Affairs Manager.

Tel: 07787 216842


Notes to editor

RCGP Scotland represents a network of around 5,000 doctors in Scotland aiming to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standard of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on resources, education, training, research, and clinical standards.