Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about national drug policies in various countries around the world.
Scotland is in the throes of a devastating drug crisis. Data released this past summer showed that the number of drug-related deaths in 2018 spiked to nearly 1,200—a 27 percent increase over the previous year. Scotland’s drug-related fatality rate is three times higher than that of England and Wales, and is now on par with that of the United States on a per capita basis, according to The Guardian. In an interview, Catriona Matheson, professor in substance use at the University of Stirling in Scotland, discusses the myriad factors that are causing the epidemic and what authorities at various levels of government are doing to address it.
World Politics Review: Why has the crisis of drug-related deaths gotten so bad in Scotland? Why is the fatality rate in Scotland so much higher than in the rest of the United Kingdom?