NEW figures have revealed that North Ayrshire had the fourth highest drug death rate of any local authority in Scotland during the past year.

The rate of 31.2 deaths per 100,000 residents has been labelled as 'heartbreaking' by Largs-based MSP Jamie Greene.

Official National Records of Scotland figures show that there were 1,330 drug-related deaths in Scotland during 2021 - the worst drug-fatality rate in Europe.

They also showed that the Ayrshire and Arran NHS health board had the second highest number of incidences in the country.

Mr Greene is demanding that the First Minister gets serious about tackling what he has described as a 'national emergency' by backing the Conservative Party’s landmark Right to Recovery Bill, which would give everyone with an addiction problem a guarantee of treatment.

He said: “These heart-breaking figures highlight just how much the SNP are letting down families across our community.

“This should be a badge of shame for Nicola Sturgeon, who has presided over a huge escalation in drug-deaths epidemic during her time in office.

“We must remember that behind every single one of those statistics is a person who has died and left behind grieving friends and families.

“The SNP Government must accept their current approach isn’t working and get behind our Right to Recovery bill in order to fix this epidemic.”

The figures also show Inverclyde has the third highest drugs death rate out of all of Scotland’s local authorities, with 35.7 deaths per 100,000.