Funding for new treatment standards for drug users

Implementation Group meets for the first time.

A total of £4 million is being spent on introducing new treatment standards which will ensure drug users start receiving support on the day they ask for it.

The funding was announced following the first meeting of the Implementation Group which is responsible for overseeing delivery of the national mission on drug deaths. The money is part of the additional £50 million which has been allocated to tackling the crisis this year.

The Implementation Group includes people with lived experience, representatives from the Royal Colleges, the third sector, Alcohol and Drug Partnerships (ADPs) and Scottish Government Ministers.

The same day service is one of 10 new Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) standards being introduced to ensure consistency across the country. The term MAT is used to refer to the use of medication, such as opiods, together with any psychological and social support, in the treatment and care who experience problems with drug use.

Drugs Policy Minister Angela Constance said:

“I am delighted that the Implementation Group will oversee the introduction of same day support for drug users along with the other MAT standards announced by the Scottish Government last month.

“The MAT standards are key to our national mission and I have set a deadline of April 2022 for the implementation of all 10 of them. These standards reinforce a rights-based approach for people who use drugs and the treatment they should expect, regardless of where they live.

“The Implementation Group, which I will chair, will meet at least quarterly and take the lead on the delivery of these standards and all other elements of the national mission to turn the tide on drug deaths.

“Its membership is wide-ranging – from people with lived experience to those who work on the front-line and medical experts.

“Backed by £50 million a year for the next five years, we will work to ensure the necessary actions required to improve and save lives are being delivered across all parts of government and services.”

Implementation Group member Sandra Holmes, who has experience of a family member with problematic drug use, said:

“Families are so important when it comes to making decisions about the treatment of loved ones.

“I want to see services made accountable as I feel that for far too long it's families who have kept our loved ones alive.

“Therefore I am pleased to be part of the Implementation Group so that I can have some input into how MAT standards are introduced and ensuring there is a whole new approach to how services treat and care for our loved ones in addiction.”

Scottish Drugs Forum CEO David Liddell said:

“I am delighted to be part of the Implementation Group which will ensure the delivery of the national mission on drug deaths.

“I welcome the chance to work across Government and across organisations who all have a part to play in tackling this crisis. Implementation of the Medicated Assisted Treatment Standards are a huge development and will make a substantial impact for people seeking treatment.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the group to monitor the delivery of the MAT Standards”


MAT standards information

Implementation group membership:

Angela Constance – Minister for Drugs Policy

Keith Brown – Cabinet Secretary for Justice

Shona Robison – Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government

Kevin Stewart – Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care

Maree Todd – Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport

Vicky Irons – Integration Joint Board Chief Officer for Dundee

Annemargaret Black – Integration Joint Board Chief Officer for Stirling and Clackmannan

Gillian Ferguson – ADP Co-ordinator for Glasgow

Vared Hopkins – ADP Co-ordinator for Dundee

Dave Liddell – CEO of Scottish Drugs Forum

Justina Murray – CEO of Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs

Jardine Simpson – CEO of Scottish Recovery Consortium

Sandra Holmes – Lived Experience Representative

Rachel McGrath – Lived Experience Representative

Martin Coyle – Lived Experience Representative

Michael Kehoe – Royal College of Psychiatrists committee member

Chris Williams & David Shackles – Royal College of GPs Joint Chairs

Catriona Morton – Royal College of GPs Deputy Chair

David Caesar – Interim Deputy Chief Medical Officer

Amanda Croft – Chief Nursing Officer


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