Heroin in Scotland - Scotland's Forgotten Older Addicts - Rehab Guide
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Heroin in Scotland – Scotland’s Forgotten Older Addicts

We’re going to take you on a journey through the history of heroin in Scotland. From back then until now, get ready because you’re not going to believe what we’re about to share with you.

In 2018, the number of drug-related deaths increased and was recorded at an astonishing 1,264 people, which was 27% more than the year before. Who exactly is contributing to these totals, and where are the bulk of drug users coming from?

Irvine Welsh is the Name

In 1993, author Irvin Welsh published a novel detailing the journey of various characters as they continue their individual journeys through heroin addiction. What was once simply a novel became the nickname for the heroin users, which were a part of the Edinburgh drug scene.

The Trainspotter generation during this time was in their prime and just starting as drug users. Trainspotter drugs of choice were heroin and cocaine. But, now, years later, this older age group are no longer as young as they once were, and they’ve now become old heroin addicts.

And because they’ve aged and most have spent their entire lives battling with addiction on and off, it’s no wonder the deaths in Scotland 2018 skyrocketed the way they did. But, if the older age group is now dying before reaching their 60s, who are taking the drugs now? The drug problems in Scotland are becoming more apparent amongst younger kids that are now making up the new drug users. If something isn’t done to stop this epidemic, they will be just like the drug users that came before them that became known as ‘the Forgotten Generation.

A New Age

Out of all the other areas in the UK, Scotland has the worst problem with drug and alcohol usage. While all drugs can lead to death, some specific ones are to blame for the recent deaths.

These new drugs are not only more potent, but they’re also becoming cheaper for addicts to purchase on the street.

What Drugs Are They Using?

During the era of the Trainspotters, heroin and cocaine were making an appearance on the scene. Its popularity was quickly noticed, and many became addicted to using it.

Over the years, many of these drugs have evolved and become stronger and taken on different names. The newer drugs being abused include:

Benzodiazepines are known as pharmaceutical drugs and are prescribed by physicians for several ailments like anxiety disorders and sleeping problems. If you don’t have a prescription for this medication, it’s illegal for you to have it in your possession.

This is where street valium comes into play; the issue with street valium is that it can be made up of different drugs in one. The majority of people who use them find themselves also drinking alcohol, which can add to its already high toxicity levels.

All the drugs used now are easy to get addicted to, and some people find they become addicted from the first use.

What is the Government Doing About It?

The government understands that now is the time to do something to get control of heroin in Scotland and other drug-related issues before another generation begins to lose their lives before they’ve aged out of their 40s. The first thing they have sought to do is continue providing resources and methadone prescriptions to addicts even during the pandemic. The First Minister outlined a range of actions to tackle the crisis, and more than £250 million is to be invested in making improvements.

How are they doing this, you might be wondering? Since the beginning of the pandemic, programs like individual and group therapy sessions were not available. The benefits of these sessions are that addicts in recovery have a safe place to come and talk to others who know how they feel.

The Drugs Deaths Taskforce aims to support and further invest in a range of community-based interventions and an expansion of residential rehabilitation.

But, that’s not the only thing the government is doing when fighting against the war on drugs.

Drug Deaths Task Force

The drug task force is to spend most of their time studying the varying drugs currently used in the area.

After studying things like where these drugs are coming from and how much is being used, the next step is to strategize and find ways to stop the drug use. Once they’ve come up with a strategy, they then present that strategy to lawmakers.

From there, it’s up to the lawmakers to implement the strategy and do what’s necessary to make the changes and taken control.

Heroin in Scotland: From Then Til’ Now

We’ve taken you through the journey of heroin in Scotland, where it was and how much it’s evolved since then. The older drug user is succumbing to years of drug abuse, and they’re being replaced by a new era of drug users that need help if they have any hope for a new future.

If you or someone you love needs treatment, contact The Rehab Guide. We want to provide you with the resources you need to get your life back because, in the blink of an eye, life can pass you by.



Author 'John


Trained in addictionology in the Johnson Model, and specializing in substance abuse for individual and couple counselling. John's personal experience has given him a wealth of insights, which he integrates into practice. His extensive training has allowed him to gain expertise in individual and group counselling, concurrent disorders, case management, executing treatment plans and relapse prevention. He started this free helpline as a result of a life change and to help others get sober and live a life free from drugs and alcohol. John covers a variety of topics relating to addiction and recovery in his articles.


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