The number of people dying from drug-taking in Forth Valley almost doubled in 2018.
Police Scotland figures reveal a harrowing rise in drug deaths across the region, with 29 recorded between January and July last year compared to 15 during the same period in 2017.
The statistics, obtained under a freedom of information request, show there were 509 drug deaths in Scotland during that period last year, up from 409 on 2017 — a 24 per cent jump. The national total has been increasing for the past decade, having gone from 455 in 2007 to 934 in 2017.
The final count for 2018 is set to break through the 1000 mark for the first time, with at least 60 more deaths being treated as drug-related. Greater Glasgow saw 134 drug deaths between January and July 2018, up from 95. In Edinburgh, the figure rose from 31 to 45.
Chief Inspector Scott Tees, of Police Scotland Safer Communities, said: “Police Scotland is committed to reducing the tragic impact of drugs on individuals, families and communities. We recognise the harm this causes in our communities and appreciate the continued support of the public and the information they provide.
“Throughout the year we actively monitor drug-related deaths to inform our prevention and enforcement activity, ahead of the annual publication of official figures held by National Records of Scotland.
“Through enforcement we actively target those individuals involved in serious and organised crime and this includes importation, production and distribution of controlled or illicit drugs.”
A Falkirk Council spokesman said: “Naturally we are concerned with any rise in the figures and will continue to work with all the agencies involved in the partnership to reduce drug deaths across the area.”