Nearly 500 children in Scotland lost a parent to drugs in a year, a shock report reveals.
An NHS Scotland analysis of drug fatalities in 2016 also found that 85% of heroin users were in contact with services that could have saved them in the six months before their deaths.
Dundee has the worst record for narcotics deaths in the country, with 38 losing their lives in 2016.
That figure is likely to be dwarfed by this year’s death rate, with reports of 12 people dying from drugs in the city in January alone.
Of the 464 children who lost a parent or parental figure from drugs-related deaths in 2016, nearly a quarter (22%) were living with them at the time.
Dundee’s Drugs Commission is investigating how the drugs scourge can be defeated, with ministers saying they will not shy away from adopting controversial policies to do so.
Alex Cole-Hamilton, for the Scottish Liberal Democrats, slammed the SNP’s “dramatic cuts” to drug and alcohol services.
He also backed heroin-assisted treatment and sending addicts to get the help they need rather than to prison.
“It is heartbreaking to learn that 464 children lost a parent or parental figure in 2016 as a result of a drug-related death,” he added.
“It is time that Scotland learned from the lessons of other countries that have taken radical steps to reduce unnecessary and tragic drug-related deaths.”