Dundee still holds the dubious honour of having the highest rate of drug misuse among pregnant women in Scotland.
New figures show that between 2014/15 and 2016/17, the council area’s rate of drug misuse was 32.4 per 1,000 maternities, which has fallen slightly, but is still more than twice the national average of 13.1.
It is the second year in a row Dundee has had the highest rate of drug misuse among mothers of all local authorities in Scotland.
As a health board region, Tayside has the second-highest rate of pregnant women taking drugs, at 21.6 per 1,000 maternities. Lothian, the highest, had 27.3 per 1,000 births.
The figures are grouped into three-year rolling aggregates and refer to 2014/15-2016/17. Dundee’s rate was more than double that in the other council areas in Tayside and Fife.
In December, it was revealed 16 babies had been born in Tayside already addicted to drugs in the last 12 months.
North East Scottish Conservative MSP Bill Bowman praised the work of local charities such as Addaction, but said the figures would still cause “revulsion”.
He said: “Bringing a new life into this world is a huge responsibly. To some this responsibility may be too much and they turn to addictive substances.
“Most people will react with revulsion at the thought of babies coming into a world of drugs. Every child should have the best possible chance from birth.
“Scotland is plagued by high rates of substance abuse and the health service is toiling to keep up. We have seen excellent initiatives set up to help women turn their lives around.
“I have marked the work of Addaction in the Scottish Parliament recently. I am hopeful that concentrating on these women as people, and not statistics, will curb the problem of addiction at its root.”
A spokeswoman for NHS Tayside said: “Substance misuse services identify, assess and respond to a wide range of issues, recognising the significance of family, relationship, housing, mental health, employment and education in recovery.
“Dundee City has a high estimated prevalence of people with problem drug use and, as a result, NHS Tayside will provide more care to mothers with recorded drug misuse than in other areas in the country.
“Women who are identified as misusing substances or are on methadone replacement therapy follow a dedicated antenatal pathway in addition to antenatal care to provide appropriate support.
“Some women receive additional support from a specialist midwife, working alongside teams and other agencies with the aim of producing the best outcome for the woman and baby.”