Steps are being taken to reduce drug deaths in Aberdeen by 2026, after figures showed they have doubled since 2014.
The number of drug-related deaths in the city rose from 26 in 2014 to 54 in 2017, placing it fourth highest in Scotland – behind Dundee, Glasgow and Inverclyde.
Plans have been put together, forming part of a city-wide strategy, to reduce the deaths to below the Scottish average in the next seven years.
The Scottish three-year average in 2017 was 0.21 deaths per 1,000 people, compared to 0.16 for Scotland.
The plan, which sets out a 10-year vision to work with communities to improve their areas and reduce poverty, has also set a target of decreasing the number of alcohol-related deaths by 4% in the same timeframe.
A total of 27% of adults in Aberdeen drink above the guideline recommendations of 14 units per week, higher than the Scottish average of 25%.
The plan, which has been produced by a wide range of organisations including Aberdeen City Council, Police Scotland, NHS Grampian and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, puts forward a number of proposals to tackle the issue.
These include increasing support for children and young people at risk of developing drug and alcohol problems and ensuring all schools have a substance misuse curriculum by 2021.
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North-east Tory MSP Tom Mason, who also serves as a city councillor and has campaigned for urgent action to deal with prescription drug Xanax, said the region is suffering too many drug deaths.
He added: “The past history has been very poor for the Grampian region.
“Any concerted plan which involves all partners is to be welcomed.
“Targets don’t achieve results so lots of hard work is necessary.”
Mr Mason added that when speaking to organisations across the city, it is still not clear what is causing the spike in deaths.
He said: “That’s the problem. I have been speaking to people about the subject and depending on who you speak to they have particular areas of concern.
“I wish there was coherence and I think we could make some faster and better progress.
“It must stem from the lack of good education from early years to make sure children are educated on the problems with drugs and the use of drugs.”
Other measures being considered are making sure access to alcohol services are available locally in communities with particular focus on target areas of greatest need.
The partnership also wants to reduce the incidence of fatal drug overdoses through “innovative developments” and by increasing the distribution of overdose reversal drug
North-east Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald said: “I think it’s right to be pro-active and get ahead of the trend.
“There is an issue of increasing drug deaths among older drug users who have been using drugs for a long time and those who have survived over a number of years.
“Some of the drug deaths reflect a generation whose lives have been fundamentally undermined by drugs.
“Clearly anything that can be done to stop young people getting into the same self-destructive pattern of behaviour is to be welcomed.”