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Drug Misuse

Drug and Alcohol Misuse

NHS National Services Scotland ISD Scotland & NHS National Services Scotland

Publication News

Estimating the National and Local Prevalence of Problem Drug Use in Scotland 2012/13 - Revised Publication

A key constituent in the calculation of the prevalence estimates is the baseline level of individuals receiving specialist advice and treatment through Scotland's network of Alcohol and Drug Partnerships. In order to address concerns that we had previously under-reported the true level of persons receiving such treatment, and to minimise the impact of any potential bias this may have introduced to the resulting estimates, we made the decision to undertake a review of the original data submissions in consultation with all Alcohol and Drug Partnerships across Scotland.

This exercise has highlighted that there was a deficit in the treatment numbers incorporated into the original prevalence estimates for Glasgow City and East Renfrewshire council areas. Following submission of new data extracts, we have been able to successfully re-calculate prevalence estimates of problem drug use during 2012/13 for these areas in particular and their associated larger geographies, including Scotland as a whole.

We have revised the original publication and published updated estimates here on Friday 4th March 2016 to reflect this more up to date and accurate position.

Drug Misuse Information

The illicit use of drugs and particularly opiates, benzodiazepines and psychostimulants, causes significant problems within Scotland as it does in other parts of the UK and Europe. These problems can be social in nature (for example, crime, unemployment, family breakdown and homelessness) or associated with health problems (for example, dependency, overdosing, mental health problems, injecting-related injuries and the transmission of communicable diseases).

The Health Improvement Team at ISD aims to enhance development, coordination and dissemination of drug misuse information in Scotland. The team publishes information from ISD's own data sources and provides links to other relevant sources. Its remit used to include management of the Drug Misuse Information Scotland website but information from this site is now being transferred to the Scottish Public Health Observatory (ScotPHO) website and the Drug Misuse Information Scotland website will be decommissioned soon. ScotPHO is a collaboration led by the Health Improvement Team at ISD Scotland and the observatory team at NHS Health Scotland, and includes the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, National Records of Scotland and Health Protection Scotland. ScotPHO aims to take a lead in determining Scotland's future public health information needs. In 2012 ScotPHO launched a new, modern version of their website and has worked hard to present data in an accessible way. This makes ScotPHO an ideal place to host the Drug Misuse information.

The Drug Misuse section on the ScotPHO website can be found here:

The ScotPHO site will also contain the information previously included in the annual Drugs Misuse Statistics Scotland publication. This bulletin was last published in February 2012 and the different sections will now be updated individually with the latest data being made available on the website. Topics include:

  • Services and treatment for drug misusers (eg statistics on individuals having used drug treatment services, as captured in the Scottish Drug Misuse Database and prescription statistics.
  • Health impact of drug misuse (eg statistics on hospital stays; general practice consultations, maternity and neonatal information, blood-borne viruses and drug-related deaths)
  • Criminal justice and Social Harm (eg drug-related offences and court proceedings, criminal justice social work, drug misuse and treatment in Scottish prisons and social harm in neighbourhoods)

All ISD publications relating to Alcohol and Drugs from 2010 onwards can be found at:

More information on the Scottish Drug Misuse Database can be found on the Scottish Drug Misuse Database page.

© ISD Scotland 2010
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