Thousands of drug-dependent babies have been born in Scotland

ALMOST 3,000 children in Scotland have been born drug-dependent since the SNP came to power, new statistics have revealed.

The figures have been labelled “worrying” and come after Scotland recorded its highest ever number of annual drug deaths. A total of 1,339 Scots were killed from drugs misuse in 2020 – with Scotland recording the highest rate of any European country.

The Scottish Government statistics show 2,701 drug-dependent babies were born between 2007 and 2016 – while 774 drug-dependent babies were born in Scotland from 2014/15 t0 2016/17.

To minimise the potential risk of disclosure, data has been grouped up into three-year rolling aggregates by the Scottish Government.

The statistics were revealed in an answer by the SNP’s Drugs Policy Minister, Angela Constance, to a question by Tory MSP Sue Webber.

Ms Webber said: “Drugs deaths are a national crisis in Scotland, and it is concerning that these statistics show that across the whole of Scotland a worryingly high number of babies are affected by maternal use of drugs.

“The SNP Scottish Government have sat on their hands for too long, however this data is clear.

“This crisis goes far beyond impacting one generation. It is embedded within parts of our society. This Parliament must ensure that drug deaths are reduced once and for all.

“There is no one solution to this issue but it is why we are determined to introduce a Right to Recovery, to enshrine in law, that everyone has access to the necessary addiction treatment, that is right for them.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Scotland suffers a terrible toll from drugs, leaving families grieving and in pain. That is why, as part of our national mission to tackle the drug deaths emergency, we’ve allocated an additional £250 million over the next five years to improve and increase access to services for people affected by drug addiction – that includes investment of £100 million on residential rehabilitation to increase capacity and improve pathways to expand access to services for the most vulnerable.

“Improving and expanding women-specific services is a core part of our national mission to save and improve lives.

“Funding for the national specialist residential family service which will be run by the charity and housing association Phoenix Futures and based in Saltcoats, North Ayrshire, has been agreed in principle.

“The specialist family service will offer a family-focused programme of interventions which benefit each member of the family and the family unit as a whole.

“The service has been designed to support single parents or couples along with their children up to the age of 11. Children live on-site with their parents and benefit from the support of specialist childcare staff. The service will also support women through their pregnancy and into motherhood.”

The spokesperson added: “The drug deaths taskforce has established a working group looking at women and drugs, which will report in the coming months. This work will consider the availability of services for new mothers and pregnant women.

“Alongside this we will shortly be publishing a framework to support the development of a whole family approach to drug problems and have announced a £3 million fund to ensure that families receive the support that they need.”

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992