Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Progress on drug treatment standards not good enough or fast enough – minister

Medication assisted treatment standards were laid out last year by the Scottish Government (PA)
Medication assisted treatment standards were laid out last year by the Scottish Government (PA)

Progress in meeting key drug treatment standards has not been good enough or fast enough, Scotland’s drugs minister has said.

Medication assisted treatment (Mat) standards were laid out last year by the Scottish Government as a way to help stem the rising levels of drug deaths, with a target that they would be met by April this year.

However, two months after the deadline, one of the most important standards has only been met by a single alcohol and drug partnership, according to a report from Public Health Scotland.

The Scottish Borders area is the only one to have fully met the requirement to provide treatment on the same day a person struggling with addiction presents themselves.

The Scottish Borders has also met all of the five most important standards, which include informed choice of treatment, assertive outreach, harm reduction support alongside treatment, and making sure treatment lasts as long as people want it.

In Ayrshire, the three alcohol and drug partnerships have met all but one of the first five standards – on same day treatment – while Aberdeenshire has met three.

All authorities have made some progress on at least one of the standards, but both Moray and Argyll and Bute have made no progress on three of the five.

Speaking at Holyrood on Thursday, Angela Constance said: “Every life lost to drugs is as tragic as it is unacceptable.

“I offer my condolences to everyone who has felt this loss, and my determination to turn the tide of this public health emergency.

“Families, and people with real life experience of drug and alcohol problems, tell me that at the very heart of our national mission there must be a commitment to change and accountability at all levels, from the front line to national leaders.

“I want to make clear to Parliament that overall the pace and scale of change is neither good enough nor quick enough.”

The minister praised the Borders region for its work and issued a challenge to other authorities, saying: “All of these standards are crucially important and connected but access to same day treatment is life-saving.

“In this regard, Borders, where I visited recently, stands out as a beacon for what can be achieved, and my challenge to other areas is simple – if Borders can do it, why can’t you?”

As a result of the PHS report, Ms Constance said she is using Government powers to compel local bodies to implement the standards.

“This ministerial direction has been issued to all health boards, integration authorities and local authorities spelling out what must be achieved, and the oversight arrangements I am putting in place to hold local leaders to account for implementing the Mat standards fully,” she said.

“The Scottish Government, this Parliament and communities require a whole-systems response across these local partners.”

Angela Constance
Drugs minister Angela Constance called on all local health boards to act (PA)

Local bodies will be required to devise improvement plans for how they will implement the standards, as well as identifying one senior leader to provide quarterly reports on progress,

In areas where the same day treatment standard has not been met and drug deaths are high, the reporting will be every month.

The report also recommends the target date for the first five standards be pushed back to April next year with partial implementation of the remaining five also achieved by that date.

Ms Constance indicated that the push for safe consumption facilities has taken another step to realisation.

The facilities have been controversial in recent years, with the UK Government unwilling to provide the necessary exemption to the Misuse of Drugs Act that would allow them to open.

But the minister said a plan for a site in Glasgow is now in the hands of the Crown Office and “if appropriate” will be passed to the Lord Advocate for consideration.

Dorothy Bain QC, who was appointed Scotland’s top legal officer last year, has previously signalled her willingness to look at proposals for a facility.