DRUG deaths in West Dunbartonshire have shot up by four times in two decades, new figures show.

Statistics released by the National Records of Scotland have shown the deepening of the drugs crisis in the west of Scotland, including Clydebank and surrounding areas.

In 1996, just 5 people lost their lives through drugs.

The number rose sharply to 20 people in 2018.

Just one year earlier, 15 people died through drugs - a 25 per cent increase in just one year.

In 2018, 19 of the reported deaths were caused by accidental overdoses, and just one through long-standing drug abuse.

This figure shows a continuing trend in the area, which saw 100 per cent of deaths in 2017 coming through accidental poisonings.

In West Dunbartonshire, heroin and other opiates proved to be the biggest killer, being found to be a part of 16 deaths in 2018.

A new drug was also reported for the first time this year - "street benzodiazepine".

A total of 12 people lost their lives, at least in part, due to the new illicit drug.

With the release of the new statistics, Scotland has been dubbed the "drug capital of the world", overtaking the US.

It was reported earlier this week that the number of deaths in 2018 would have to hit 1,180 to leapfrog America - the final number came in at 1,187.

US President Donald Trump has previously declared a national emergency in the country in response to the "opioid crisis".