31 Jul 2012
More than 4.5 million needles were distributed to drug users in Scotland last year, meaning almost as many needles were handed out as there are people living here.
Although a slight fall from the previous year, the figure lays bare the massive problem Scotland has with drug addiction.
Of the syringes dispensed, only 25 per cent were done so through a needle-replacement scheme, prompting concern that millions of used needles are being dumped irresponsibly.
Scottish Conservative health spokesman and deputy leader Jackson Carlaw MSP said:
“These numbers show there are almost as many needles handed out in Scotland as there are people living in this country.
“We cannot simply keep feeding the beast and hoping the problem will go away, because it will not.
“I appreciate the role dispensing needles plays in reducing diseases like HIV and hepatitis C.
“But at what point do we say we are simply making the activity of taking drugs far too easy?
“The fact less than a quarter of these syringes are given out through replacement schemes is worrying.
“People speak about the importance of reducing needle-sharing, but what about the importance of ridding our parks and playgrounds of dumped drug-using equipment?”
Notes to Editors
To see the full report visit:
Below is a regional breakdown of syringes given out last year:
Ayrshire and Arran – 197,290
Borders – 49,193
Dumfries and Galloway – 168,521
Fife – 320,563
Forth Valley – 298,375
Grampian – 538,696
Greater Glasgow and Clyde – 1,269,677
Highland – 125,798
Lanarkshire – 367,944
Lothian – 683,952
Orkney – N/A
Shetland – 24,279
Tayside – 462,037
Western Isles – N/A
Total – 4,506,325