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Street artist the Rebel Bear highlights drug deaths with new mural

The mural protesting against drugs deaths has appeared in Dundee (The Rebel Bear/Instagram/ @the.rebel.bear/PA)
The mural protesting against drugs deaths has appeared in Dundee (The Rebel Bear/Instagram/ @the.rebel.bear/PA)

A street artist has drawn attention to Scotland’s record-high drug death rate with a new mural.

Artist the Rebel Bear has created an image of a man in a kilt with a Saltire painted on his face surrounded by drug paraphernalia with a needle in his arm.

It appeared on a wall in Dundee ahead of the publication of Scotland’s 2021 drug death figures by National Records of Scotland (NRS) on Thursday.

Figures for 2020, published last year, showed that 1,339 people died from substance misuse – the highest number on record in the country.

Street art
The Rebel Bear has previously created street art about the pandemic (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Scotland’s drug-death rate was more than three and a half times the rate for the UK as a whole and the worst in Europe.

The artist said it was “the Bear’s comment on Scotland having the highest drug death rate in Europe” and much higher than that of England and Wales.

The Rebel Bear added: “How many good men and women have we lost due to addiction?

“How many potential leaders and heroes have fallen through the cracks due to neglect and a lack of care?

“It would appear that Scotland has a new battle to fight.”

The work has appeared in Bell Street car park in Dundee, next to the Tayside Drug Problem Services building.

During the pandemic, the Rebel Bear has become known for creating artworks referencing coronavirus which have popped up on walls in Edinburgh and Glasgow.