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Policy in detail: Improving drug and alcohol treatment and services

It is vital that people who are dependent on drugs or alcohol get the support they need to make a full recovery. We are:

  • investing in drug and alcohol treatment and support services
  • making sure that people get faster access to specialist drug and alcohol treatment by setting national targets to reduce waiting times
  • developing plans to improve the delivery of effective alcohol treatment and support services
  • improving the skills of the drug and alcohol workforce to ensure high quality services focused on recovery
  • working with local Alcohol and Drug Partnerships to get a better understanding of the needs and outcomes of people affected by drugs and alcohol which will help to improve recovery services

National waiting times targets

A national HEAT - Health Improvement, Efficiency, Access, Treatment - target required that by March 2013, 90 per cent of people would wait no longer than three weeks from referral to treatment for drug or alcohol problems. Statistics show that this has now been exceeded.

Drug treatment

Before the Road to Recovery national drugs strategy was implemented, people with drug problems waited as long as a year for a specialist appointment. Latest statistics show that 94.2 % of people started specialist drug treatment within three weeks of their referral - exceeding the 90 % national target.

Waiting times performance data is published on the ISD website on a quarterly basis.

Alcohol and Drug Partnerships

There are 30 dedicated partnerships on alcohol and drugs across Scotland known as Alcohol and Drugs Partnerships (ADPs).

ADPs operate in each local authority area, and are firmly embedded within wider arrangements for community planning - e.g. Community Planning Partnerships. ADPs are responsible for developing local strategies to tackle alcohol and drug issues on the basis of local need. They have a key role in delivering the Alcohol Framework and The Road to Recovery. The Scottish Government provides funding to ADPs.

The Scottish Government provides support to ADPs, through specialist advisors. The priorities for support include:

  • improving skills to use data for evidencing progress against core outcomes
  • delivering recovery-oriented systems of care through system redesign (including the transition from prison back to community and the importance of ensuring effective pathways are in place to support through-care arrangements)
  • implementing a whole population approach to addressing problem alcohol use
  • strengthening the Scottish Government’s engagement with the social work/care sector in relation to drug and alcohol policy objectives and drug and alcohol workforce development.