Policy actions  2 of 4

Drugs education and prevention

Education and prevention is integral to our approach to reducing the number of people with problem drug use in Scotland.

We published Scotland’s strategy to improve health by preventing and reducing alcohol and drug use, harm and related deaths, Rights, Respect and Recovery in November 2018. The strategy emphasises prevention and early intervention for young people and for those most at risk of becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs. Commitments include:

  • identifying and implementing actions to reduce inequalities
  • working with experts and those with lived experience to address stigma

We will revise the programme of alcohol and drug use education in schools alongside a comprehensive approach to early intervention for those who are at risk of developing problem drug use.

We are continuing to develop guidance and resources that will provide accurate, evidence-based, relevant and current information around alcohol and drug use, and how to access help.

Research and guidance

We carried out a mapping exercise of substance misuse prevention and education activity in Scotland in November 2016. Surveys were sent to local authorities and alcohol and drug partnerships to collect information on the type of activities being delivered in their area for school age children and young people under 25. We have provided the analysis report from this exercise. 

We also published a literature review on 'what works' in drug education and prevention in December 2016. The review will help inform approaches taken towards substance misuse prevention and education for young people in Scotland. 

In December 2017 we also produced a summary of the findings of the literature review

We have also provided best practice guidance produced by Mentor-ADEPIS who support the delivery of effective alcohol and drug education prevention in schools and other settings. Mentor UK are jointly funded by Public Health England and the Home Office.

Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance User Survey (SALSUS)

SALSUS is our main source of information on alcohol, drug and tobacco use among Scotland's young people. It is vital because the survey data acts as the official measures of progress towards targets for reducing smoking and drug use, and to monitor their priority of addressing harmful drinking.

We have commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct the 2018 wave of SALSUS. The fieldwork of collecting 30,000 responses from young people took place between November 2018 and January 2019 and will provide both national and local level data. More information on SALSUS can be found in our social research pages.