New statistics out today show that drug admissions to hospitals are at a record high in the Borders.
The official ISD Scotland statistics reveal that in 2017/18, the number of acute hospital stays due to drugs was 114, higher than the previous record of 102 in 2011/12 and a rise of over 40% since 2014/15.
These figures include hospital stays due to overdose as well as mental and behavioural admissions. Opioid drugs such as heroin accounted for half of all stays.
Although drug-related admissions per population in the Borders is below the national average, numbers are rising at a faster rate than elsewhere in Scotland.
The news comes after it was revealed that drug related deaths have more than doubled in the Scottish Borders. The Scottish Affairs Committee is currently holding an inquiry into drug use in Scotland and has held evidence sessions with former drug users and academic experts.
Scotland-wide, there were 29 admissions a day, involving nearly 8,000 patients and more than 10,000
It is extremely worrying to see admissions to hospital due to drug use rise in the Borders.
While reported drug use remains lower in rural areas compared to Scotland's cities, these figures show that the problem is getting worse in places like the Borders. The issue we have is there simply isn’t the same amount of accessible support for vulnerable people compared to drug users in Edinburgh and Glasgow.