Urgently establishing the balanced programme of initiatives and actions tailored to Scotland’s unique needs, to save lives.

Evidence into action

The Taskforce’s 15 volunteer members have expertise in developing and delivering the policies and services that protect those at risk of a drug-related death. Chaired by Professor Catriona Matheson, the task force has been charged with helping to tackle Scotland’s unique challenge by identifying evidence-based strategies that will make a difference to those most at risk, and using its expertise, influence and networks to put these into practice. The Taskforce membership features those with health, social services, research, police, criminal justice and emergency service backgrounds but also those who bring lived experience of drug and addiction issues ensuring that the Taskforce has access to the fullest possible spectrum of expertise and testimony.

The Taskforce is pursuing six areas of strategy which hold the most current promise for maximum impact.  Evidence gaps are also being addressed through research and practical tests of change.

Some of these range from the immediate and pragmatic such as naloxone opioid overdose reversal treatment availability, whilst some are concerned with making deeper changes to service delivery such as introducing national standards to Medication Assisted Treatment that put people at the centre rather than the service.

The national response to Covid19 has highlighted that innovation can be both rapidly developed and implemented in times of crisis, and this is an approach that the Taskforce will seek to emulate.