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.


Context within new Scottish drugs landscape

The development of this research framework coincides with the refreshing of the Scottish drugs advisory landscape, following the dissolution of the Drug Strategy Delivery Commission (DSDC) in November 2014. With a focus on a collaborative way of working between Government, sponsored organisations, academics, ADPs and drug services, the priorities identified within this document will inform the new groups making up the advisory landscape, articulate a clear direction of travel for those working in the drugs field and directly influence Government policy.

While the delivery of the research highlighted in this document will sit with all of those involved in the drugs field in Scotland, a number of potential approaches are being actively developed to facilitate this. These include:

Scottish Addictions Research Network

The creation of a dedicated collaborative research infrastructure for drug use research in Scotland would help create an environment within which local ADPs, national drugs organisations and academic institutions could more effectively develop, deliver and disseminate programmes of research to improve outcomes in Scotland. Such an approach could also increase opportunities for links and collaborations with UK and international partners and increase the likelihood of access to national programme funding streams.

Work is also underway to provide Scotland with a seat at the European Research Area Network on Illicit Drugs (ERANID) which would allow Scottish researchers to bid for larger pan-European research projects which would be of benefit to Scotland and wider European partners.

The creation of a dedicated National Coordinator post to facilitate this collaborative approach is being scoped.

Student PhD's/internships

Potential co-funded PhDs in the area of problem drug use research. These PhDs would be delivered in Scottish academic institutions but would be delivered in a collaborative way, involving partners, to achieve the best outcome in terms of academic impact likely to affect outcomes in Scotland as well as building Scottish research potential in the field. The National Coordinator post could have responsibility for identifying potential PhD opportunities and act as the liaison between the hosting academic institution and Government while identifying suitable funding streams to support these posts.

Peer research

Specific, planned research projects could be undertaken by individuals with lived experience with support from Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF) and others. This would be an example of the involvement of service users in the design and conduct of research. This approach is widely held to be a useful and innovative method of research, for example many NHS funding sources now require service user involvement as a precondition of funding. This would be another method to increase and develop research capacity within Scotland whilst supporting the employability journey for those in recovery.


Email: Michael Crook

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