DRUGS claimed a total of 50 lives in Renfrewshire last year, it has been revealed.

The tragic death toll is included in new figures released today by National Records of Scotland (NRS).

Renfrewshire had the eighth highest loss of life from drug misuse out of the 32 council areas across Scotland.

Annemarie Ward, founder of the Faces & Voices of Recovery UK (FAVOR) charity, which aims to represent communities affected by addiction, said more must be done to prevent drug deaths, as the response so far has been "abysmal."

She added: "The government has failed to do what's necessary and the cost is devastating to our communities.

"Every year we are left with more lost souls and broken families."

The NRS figures show the number of drug fatalities in Renfrewshire last year was more than double the total of 24 recorded a decade earlier in 2011.

However, last year's death toll is down by around a quarter from the 2020 figure of 67.

The majority of drug deaths in Renfrewshire involved men, with 33 fatalities, compared to 17 women.

Latest figures also show the drug-related death rate in Renfrewshire is around 29 fatalities per 100,000 residents – the fifth highest in Scotland.

Dundee has the worst death rate at 45, followed by Glasgow (44), Inverclyde (35) and North Ayrshire (31).

Across Scotland as a whole, 1,330 people lost their lives to drug misuse in 2021 – nine fewer than the previous year.

However, it is still the second highest annual total on record.

The highest number of drug deaths in 2021 were recorded in Glasgow, where 311 lives were lost, followed by Edinburgh (109), South Lanarkshire (101), North Lanarkshire (80) and Aberdeen (62).

Drugs Policy Minister Angela Constance admits the current situation remains "unacceptable."

She said: "While there is so much more work to do, every life saved means one less family grieving and I am determined we can use this halt in the upward trend of recent years as a platform for real change."