Health and Wellbeing Progress – Recommendation 6

Drugs misuse

The Scottish Government and NHS(S) should assess the scale and nature of drugs misuse – especially prescription and non-prescription painkillers – amongst the veterans community in Scotland and introduce remedial measures. This should be taken forward by the Joint Group and network, and included as part of the Mental Health Action Plan.

2019 SVC evaluation of status:

Partially implemented

2019 update provided by the Scottish Government:

The new Drug and Alcohol Information System (DAISy) will be introduced no later than December 2019. DAISy will gather key demographic and outcome data on people who engage in drug and alcohol treatment services and a field identifier for veterans has been included. This will provide useful data on the nature and scale of drug misuse among veterans across Scotland. Alongside this is potential to link this dataset to other health and social care datasets, providing a more detailed picture of service demand.

2020 SVC evaluation of status:

Not implemented

2020 update provided by the Scottish Government:

The DAISy system will record details of individuals receiving treatment for alcohol and drug problems and will have the facility to highlight veteran status, so that the scale and nature of those receiving treatment can be measured. Timeframes for DAISy have been reviewed externally and an implementation date has been set for before the end of the current calendar year Once implemented, we will use the first quarter of data collection to construct metrics around alcohol and drug treatment in the veterans population. The Scottish Government has established a Short Life Working Group (SLWG) on Prescription Medicine Dependence and Withdrawal. Its remit is to consider, in a Scottish context, the recommendations made in the Public Health England Prescribed Medicines review (of the evidence for the dependence on, and withdrawal from, prescribed medicines). The group has met virtually during the COVID period and will report its finding (in the form of draft recommendations) to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport by the end of October. It is envisaged that a public consultation will then follow.

2021 SVC evaluation of status:

Implemented, but work should continue

2021 update provided by the Scottish Government:

The Drug and Alcohol Information System (DAISy) was implemented on 1 December 2020 and went live across Scotland on 1 April 2021. Public Health Scotland are developing a series of reports for use at local and national level to better understand the issues related to alcohol and drug harms. This will include issues for veterans.

The Short Life Working Group on Prescription Medicine Dependence and Withdrawal presented its draft recommendations to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport at the end of 2020. These recommendations were then published as a consultation in spring 2021. The consultation has now closed and Scottish Government is considering the responses together with the Short Life Working Group prior to making finalised recommendations to the Cabinet Secretary. The Veteran’s Mental Health Action Plan will include recommendations to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all Veterans, including where problematic alcohol or drug use is causing damage to their lives or the lives of their families.

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