National Mission on Drugs Annual Report

Minister welcomes progress in key areas.

The second annual report on the National Mission on Drugs has highlighted a wide range of initiatives and projects aimed at reducing deaths and improving the lives of people impacted by drugs.

It sets out the progress made from April 2022 to March 2023 against the National Mission Plan.

It highlights:

  • a total of £141 million invested in drug and alcohol services and programmes.
  • successful rounds of funding to ensure multi-year support for services of all sizes across Scotland
  • £14 million for three new residential rehabilitation facilities
  • the opening of the first national family drugs treatment service and a new mother and child recovery house in Dundee.
  • a rapid review into improving care for people with co-occurring substance and mental health conditions

The report, also notes significant progress on rolling out Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) standards, increasing uptake in residential rehabilitation placements and the availability of life-saving naloxone. Official statistics for 2022 also saw the largest year-on-year decrease in drug related deaths and the lowest annual total since 2017.

Visiting Creative Change Collective in Paisley, to hear about its work with those recovering from addiction, Drugs and Alcohol Policy Minister Elena Whitham said:

“Since becoming Minister I have visited a number of treatment and recovery services and seen the transformational change the National Mission has already delivered. I believe the tireless work of people across Scotland will have contributed to that reduction in drug-related deaths and my thanks go to all those working to provide potentially life-saving, and life-changing, support.

“Through our £250 million National Mission, we are doing everything within our powers to tackle drug deaths. It has helped support more than 300 grassroots projects across the length and breadth of the country and we have also expanded and improved access to residential rehabilitation. There has also been substantial progress in rolling out the Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) standards.

“However, the number of deaths is still too high and we know there is a huge amount of work still to be done. As we near the half-way mark in our five-year mission, our aim now is to continue to shape and hone support to ensure it’s reaching those who need it most.

“We will also increase our focus on a whole-government approach to addressing mental health, homelessness, justice and children and families.

“Following the period covered by this report, we have continued to make progress, supporting moves to establish the UK’s first official Safer Drug Consumption Facility and drug-checking facilities. Police Scotland has also completed its force-wide rollout of naloxone, using the kits more than 300 times.”

Creative Change Collective project director Mark MacNicol said:

“We are delighted to welcome the Minister to watch one of our recovery groups sharing their work. We are pleased to have been able to roll our Recovering Voices programme out as a pilot in four local authority areas thanks to funding from the Scottish Government via the Corra Foundation. Our unique anonymous drama model is like drama therapy for people who usually have no interest in drama or therapy and allows people to express themselves and explore the impact their addiction has had in a safe and supportive environment.”


National Mission on Drugs Annual Report: 2022-23 - (


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