TopicsBehaviourScotland: a drug programme to help reduce harm and save lives

Scotland: a drug programme to help reduce harm and save lives

Publication: Rapid Action Drug Alerts and Response (RADAR) quarterly report (October 2022), Public Health Scotland

The RADAR programme’s first report provides a snapshot of drug use and trends across Scotland. It presents a range of indicators from a variety of sources, and includes data on drug-related hospitalisations, suspected drug-related deaths, treatment referrals and toxicology results.

What are the main findings?

  • Much of the health harm associated with drug use in Scotland occurs as a result of two or more drugs.
  • Opioids and benzodiazepines are the two most commonly reported drug types implicated in harm, but patterns of harm and use vary by age and geographical area.
  • New drugs are constantly appearing on the market, with five new drugs detected for the first time in Scottish prisons in 2022.
  • The most common drug category recorded in general acute hospital admissions between April and June 2022 was opioids (approximately 46% of all admissions). 

Expert Thought: Dr Tara Shivaji

Consultant at Public Health Scotland

Drug-related deaths in Scotland are the highest in Europe. The RADAR programme takes a whole-system approach to gather and disseminate intelligence nationally on harms, which is critical to informing rapid action to reduce harm and save lives.

Image Credit | Shutterstock


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