The grim toll of local drug-related deaths in the past five years is 183, figures from the Health and Social  Care Partnership reveal.

There were 39 drug-related deaths in North Ayrshire in 2021 – the same figure as in 2020. but down two from 2019.

Last year’s total included 32 men and seven women.

Scottish deaths in 2021 were down nine to 1330 but the highest in any European country.

However nationally an overhaul of services are planned to this huge national problem.

And locally a whole host of initiatives are planned by the Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP).

A North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership spokesperson said: “Scotland continues to have the highest DRD rate recorded by any European country. However, what these statistics don’t express is the individual heartbreak for families and communities across North Ayrshire and nationally.

“The head of the national taskforce has called for an overhaul of services with increased funding, reform of drug laws and reiterated the requirement for a reinvigorated public health approach to this national emergency.

“For North Ayrshire, actions and Interventions currently in place and planned during 2022 and 2023 include, but are not limited to, delivery of  Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Standards across community alcohol and drug services.

“There are also plans in place to use it in other settings like prison, police custody and primary care, increased support for individuals following a Non-Fatal Overdose; increased supply of Naloxon; Increased training, awareness and promotion; increased access to rehabilitation and detox at  Woodland View Hospital (with the easing of covid related restrictions).

“New pathways will support individuals into residential rehabilitation, increase joint support for individuals with a ‘dual diagnosis’ of addiction and mental health issues and offer sustained joint support for individuals with alcohol and drug, mental health and housing issues.

“There will be scope for the expansion of community recovery support  and delivering the North Ayrshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership (NAADP) Strategic Plan. More people will be given  appropriate treatment to support their recovery  and this will be monitored through a new Substance Use Treatment Target.

“North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership work closely with local Alcohol and Drug Partnership (ADP) and wider partners – including third sector and community organisations – to ensure that the right support is available at the right time for anyone who is struggling with alcohol and/or other drugs. They also raise awareness of alcohol and/or other drug use as a health condition rather than a choice and showing that recovery is possible.”