Alcohol and drugs workforce: mixed-methods research compendium

A mixed methods study evaluating issues concerning the drugs and alcohol workforce in Scotland.

1. Introduction

Scottish Government announced a National Mission on drug-related deaths[1] in January 2021 to address Scotland's record numbers of drug fatalities. Similarly Scotland's alcohol death rates are also consistently higher than those of England and Wales, as well as the rest of Europe[2]. In addressing these challenges the Scottish Government is committed to building a resilient and skilled workforce in the drug and alcohol treatment sector.

To support this work, Health and Social Care Analysis have undertaken a programme of research to better understand the drug and alcohol workforce. This programme has entailed both synthesising existing datasets and generating new data, which has resulted in the production of the following series of documents:

  • A rapid evidence review of the literature around the workforce in drug and alcohol services in Scotland and elsewhere;
  • A review of skills and qualification offerings relevant to this workforce, both in higher and further education settings as well as continuing professional development (CPD)/upskilling opportunities for those already working in the sector;
  • A survey of all frontline services currently delivering on behalf of Alcohol and Drug Partnerships (ADPs), run between 20 November and 17 December 2021;
  • A series of reference groups with select survey respondents, undertaken in March 2022, to gather further qualitative data.

The purpose of this paper is to summarise the main findings from each of these workstreams, categorised under three key themes: recruitment, retention and service design. It will also present considerations for how the qualitative and quantitative evidence arising from this research might be used to inform policy development as well as service design going forward. This summary will be accompanied by reports for each of the aforementioned workstreams which explore the issues here in full.



Back to top