Scotland has the highest rate of drug-related deaths in Europe. In 2022, 1,051 people died due to problem drug use. Alcohol specific causes were responsible for a further 1,276 deaths. Alcohol and drug problem use account for over 5 per cent of all hospital admissions and impact on our wider health, crime, and have a wider economic impact.
Audit Scotland last reviewed drug and alcohol services in 2009, and have since published briefings in 2019 and 2022. We believe that this is the right time to carry out a wider review of services and assess what progress has been made to reduce drug and alcohol related harm, assess how effective investment in these services has been, and assess how responsive services are to the needs of those who require them.
Our audit will primarily focus on treatment and recovery services, but we will also consider how well embedded prevention is in national strategies and the adequacy of investment in this area.
Our objectives are to provide an independent assessment of drug and alcohol services and to make recommendations on how services can make better use of the resources at their disposal to improve the outcomes for those who need them.