Scottish National Research Framework for Problem Drug Use and Recovery

This document identifies the most important current research priorities relating to problem drug use and recovery in Scotland.


In August 2013, the Drugs Strategy Delivery Commission (DSDC) published their Independent Expert Review of Opioid Replacement Therapies in Scotland (DSDC, 2013). This document highlighted a need in Scotland to address long standing gaps in terms of the availability of effective information systems and relevant research into problem drug use and recovery.

Following up on this recommendation, a steering group was convened to progress this work and a set of themes, under which key research priorities could be set out, was produced. These themes were identified as: Families; Harms; Prevention and Recovery.

Going forward:

  • A research steering group was convened to progress the DSDC recommendation
  • The steering group contacted Scottish academics to ask for an opinion on research gaps and priorities
  • The steering group met to agree the key themes
  • A reference paper was produced and circulated which attempted to summarise a number of previous publications which had identified research gaps or areas which should be prioritised in the drugs field
  • Scottish Government hosted a workshop with wider stakeholders and academics to address each theme and identify specific gaps in knowledge for each
  • The steering group produced a draft framework, based on the workshop discussion, to share with stakeholders for consultation
  • Feedback from the consultation then informed this final document

Additional information about the work of the steering group and the development of these themes and priorities is included at Annex A. Details about the membership of the steering group, and of those involved in the workshop discussion with wider stakeholders, is included in Annex B.

Under each theme a key aim has been included, followed by a number of objectives which will deliver this aim, the research priorities are then set out below these.

These aims have been informed by the driver diagram developed by the Scottish Government's Drugs Policy Unit, in conversation with stakeholders, and will continue to develop over time. A copy of the driver diagram is included in Annex C.

Likewise, this document attempts to set out what are the current research priorities under these themes, over time these will evolve and change and the framework will need to be able to adapt accordingly.


Email: Michael Crook

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