HOSPITAL stays in Scotland linked to drugs misuse have decreased for the second consecutive year, figures show.

Some 12,474 drug-related hospital stays were recorded in the 2021/22 financial year – the equivalent of 235 stays per 100,000 of the population, Public Health Scotland (PHS) said.

The figure has decreased by more than 1800, with 14,310 drug misuse hospital stays recorded the previous year – 270 stays per 100,000 people.

The rate peaked at 283 per 100,000 in 2019/20.

It is thought Covid restrictions could be the reason for the decrease, as PHS notes the number of monthly stays was around one quarter lower between May 2021 and March 2022 than the same months of 2018 and 2019.

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Hospitalisation linked to drug poisoning or overdose decreased to 32 stays per 100,000 people, compared to a 2020/21 peak of 42.

It is the first decrease in overdose stay rates since 2012/13.

Patients can have more than one drug-related hospital stay throughout the year.

Treatment for opioids, similar to heroin, was the most common substance stay in 2021/22, at 106 per 100,000, compared to a peak of 141 in 2019/20.

On Tuesday, Nicola Sturgeon opened an “innovative” new rehabilitation service which will allow families to stay together while a parent receives treatment for drug or alcohol use.

Those in the 35 to 44 age group were most likely to receive hospital care for a drug-related issue but the rate decreased for the second year running, from 517 per 100,000 in 2019/20 to 412 in 2021/22.

According to the data, about half of those hospitalised were from the most deprived areas in Scotland.

Hospital stays among people aged under 45 has been in decline since 2019, however figures have remained fairly stable in patients aged 45 and over.

Over-45s were also more likely to have been admitted multiple times for drug-related causes, the figures show.

Of the total drug-related hospital admissions, 47% of patients in 2021/22 had not had a similar stay within 10 years and were subsequently classed as new.

Drugs policy minister Angela Constance said: “While there has been a fall in the number of drug-related hospital stays, the pandemic will have been a factor and I am under no illusion that the number of drug deaths we are seeing is still far too high.

“We remain focused on our ongoing efforts to get more people into the form of treatment which works best for them.

“I am determined that the additional £250 million we are investing in tackling this public health emergency will make a difference and we will continue to prioritise our efforts to turn this crisis around.”