Dundee is the drugs death capital of Scotland, according to new figures.
Statistics released by the National Records of Scotland showed that there were 38 drug-related deaths in the city in 2016, up from 36 the year before.
The figure is equivalent to an average of 0.23 deaths per 1,000 people living in the area — the highest rate in Scotland — and almost twice the national average of 0.12.
Of the 38 deaths recorded in the city, 37 involved opiates/opioids, the majority of which were heroin or heroin replacements such as methadone.
Dave Barrie, who is the service manager at Addaction Dundee, said the figures showed the city still has a “significant” problem with drugs.
“These recent figures are concerning. Here in Dundee, we are aware that the city has a significant problem with heroin, methadone and other opiates and there are a lot of resources going into dealing with it.”
The majority of drug deaths in Dundee last year — 34 — were found to be accidental overdoses.
Mr Barrie added that drug users should think of the impact their addictions can have if things go wrong.
He said: “We are supporting the families that are left behind, who have lost loved ones to drugs. The consequences of a death from drugs lasts forever and one death is one too many. It’s a significant problem in terms of the impact that using opiates has, and a major concern.”
An NHS Tayside spokeswoman said substance misuse remained a “priority” for the health service, and that a “great deal” of work — including overdose awareness training — was ongoing to address the problem.
As a whole, Scotland recorded 867 drug deaths last year, the second year in a row it has risen.
David Liddell, chief executive of the Scottish Drugs Forum, branded the figure a “national tragedy”. He added that new approaches such as drug consumption rooms should be examined to reduce deaths.
Aileen Campbell, minister for public health in Scotland said there was “no easy solution” but recognised that action had to be taken. She said: “Each number represents an untimely death and is a tragedy. We are continuing to do all we can to prevent others from experiencing this heartbreak.”