THE Scottish Borders is among the cleanest areas in Scotland when it comes to drug use.

Figures just released show that an estimated 510 people in the region were either regularly using opioids, such as heroin or methadone, or illicitly taking benzodiazepines, such as anti-anxiety drugs, sleeping pills or valium.

But the 2015/16 data capture places the Borders towards the bottom of the problem area table.

Experts used figures for drug-related hospital admissions, registrations for drug treatment services and Criminal Justice Work reports as part of the major research.

The data was collected by the Information Services Division of NHS Scotland.

A spokesperson said: "As much of the problem drug using population is hidden, drug prevalence figures can only ever be estimates, combining available data on observed cases with an estimate of the unknown population.

"Estimates are derived from statistical models, where techniques commonly known as capture-recapture, are used to quantify the potential size of the hidden population of individuals with problem drug use. "Multiple data sources are used to reveal as much of the underlying problem drug using population as possible, and to measure how often people appear in any combination of one or more of the data sources."

With an estimated 0.73 percent of the adult population considered a 'problem drug user' the Borders compares well against other areas.

There is an estimated 1,100 (1.2 percent) users in neighbouring Dumfries and Galloway, 920 (1.4 percent) in East Lothian and 4,000 (1.94 percent in South Lanarkshire).

Only North Ayrshire and Aberdeenshire have a lower percentage of users on mainland Scotland.

The most prevalent areas for drug use in adults between 16 and 65 were Inverclyde (2.9 percent), Glasgow (2.7 percent), Renfrewshire (2.36 percent) and Dundee (2.3 percent).