AFTER last week’s shock statistics showed that drug admissions to hospitals are at a record high in the Borders, MSPs are getting involved.

They will now join the ongoing Scottish Affairs Committee inquiry into the rise of problem drug use in Scotland.

And aim to examine how prescription and recreational drugs can lead to problematic use.

The committee will also hear from four academic experts to consider the effectiveness of methadone as a treatment, the internet’s role in making drugs more accessible, and recent law’s banning ‘legal highs’.

The news comes after it was revealed that drug related deaths have more than doubled in the Scottish Borders.

Official ISD Scotland statistics published on May 28 revealed that in 2017/18, the number of acute Border hospital stays due to drug use was 123 per 100,000.

Higher than the previous record of 111 in 2011/12 and a rise of over 30% since 2014/15.

These figures include hospital stays due to overdose as well as mental and behavioural admissions.

Opioid drugs, like heroin, accounted for over half of all stays.

Almost double the amount from 2012/13.

Although drug-related admissions per population in the Borders is below the national average, numbers are rising at a faster rate than elsewhere in Scotland.

The Scottish Affairs Committee inquiry into drug use in Scotland started the evidence sessions with former drug users and academic experts earlier this month.

And are now holding the first of two evidence sessions in which several members of the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee will participate.

John Lamont MP, member of the Scottish Affairs Committee, commented: “While reported drug use remains lower in rural areas compared to our cities, these figures show that the problem is getting worse in places like the Borders.

“The issue we have is there simply isn’t the same amount of accessible support for vulnerable people compared to drug users in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

“The Scottish Affairs Committee has launched an inquiry into drug use and we’ve already identified areas of concern.

“Vulnerable people are being let down by a complete failure to tackle drug use in Scotland. This is a problem we need to get to grips with and do so fast.”

Hospital stays due to drug use in the Borders have increased in under 14-year olds by 33 percent since 2016/17, which is higher than the national average.

And the acute hospital stays from women have almost doubled in the same time with 70 stays in 2017/18, almost reaching the national average of 88 stays.

Scotland wide, there were 29 admissions a day, involving nearly 8,000 patients.

And more than 10,000 hospital stays.

Of which, 58 per cent were due to Opioid abuse.

Scottish Male drug use has dramatically increased since 2012/13 by over 80 percent.

However, in the Borders it has reportedly dropped since 2016/17.

Rachael Hamilton MSP said: “It is extremely worrying to see admissions to hospital due to drug use rise in the Borders.

“Drugs ruin communities, increase criminal activity and exploit vulnerable people.

“The Scottish Conservatives launched our drugs strategy last year, and it set out clear and concise ways to fight drug misuse.

“I hope the Scottish government wake up and realise that they have had years to sort this out, and yet they seem fixated on independence at any cost.

“They need to get back to the day job and help these people."