Taskforce work and projects

Following the creation of the Drug Deaths Taskforce (DDTF), the First Minister announced in her 2019 Programme for Government that there would be additional funding made available to the group to “Support innovative projects, test new approaches and drive forward specific work to improve the quality of services”. This commitment meant that the DDTF had £9 million to invest in 2020/21 and £5 million in 2021/22. 

A list of all the funding allocations to date can be found on this page.


ADP Funding

£3 million per year was identified by the Taskforce for spend by ADPs in 2020/2021 and 2021/2022; allocations were based on the prevalence of drug problems.  To receive this funding ADPs were required to submit a proposal, clearly setting out how they will use this funding to address gaps in delivering the Taskforce’s six evidence-based strategies to help reduce drug-related deaths[1].  These include:

  • Targeted distribution of naloxone;
  • Having an immediate-response pathway for non-fatal overdose;
  • Optimising medication-assisted treatment (MAT);
  • Targeting people most at risk;
  • Optimising public health surveillance; and
  • Ensuring equivalence of support for people in the criminal justice system


A List of projects funded through Scotland’s Alcohol and Drug Partnerships (ADP) can be found below:




Amount Awarded

Details of Project

East Ayrshire

East Ayrshire ADP Fund


• Naloxone supply - support development of Injecting Equipment Provision bus.

• Contribute to Ayrshire non-fatal overdose pathway.

• Reduce unplanned discharges by employing a development worker to lead and implement change.

• Peer worker to target those not in and dropping out of services.

North Ayrshire

North Ayrshire ADP Fund


• Funding for Naloxone kits for distribution from non-treatment services.

• Contribute to Ayrshire wide non-fatal overdose pathway.

• Panel review-Pilot of depot buprenorphine.

• Support for people leaving hospital or prison and experiencing homelessness.

• Peer supply of naloxone

South Ayrshire

South Ayrshire ADP Fund


• Outreach service which provides prescribing, Mental Health assessment etc.

• Contribute to Ayrshire wide non-fatal overdose pathway.



Borders ADP Fund


• Improve peer supply of naloxone.

• Supervision costs for existing patients on Opioid Substitution Therapy.• Establish further Injecting Equipment Provision outlet.

Dumfries and Galloway




Dumfries and Galloway ADP Fund


• Community pharmacist to provide buvidal to those most at need for 18 months.






Fife ADP Fund


• Peer distribution of Naloxone.

• 4x specialist pharmacist services in areas with higher needs.

• Increase capacity to support people on release from prison.

Clackmannanshire and Stirling



and Stirling ADP Fund



• Create a dedicated team to review drug related deaths & suicides.




Falkirk ADP Fund



• Increase capacity of existing assertive outreach team and provide weekend support.

Aberdeen City


Aberdeen City ADP Fund



• Peer supply of naloxone.

• Pharmacist to prescribe to those most at risk as well improving the supply of naloxone.

• Employ a social worker to link with duty team and provide assertive outreach to those at risk.




Aberdeenshire ADP Fund



• Increase supply of Naloxone.

• Improve the non-fatal overdose pathway to treatment, engaging primary care.

• Develop clearer pathways for people at risk in a number of settings.

• Employ a researcher to carry out an audit risk factors.



Moray ADP Fund



• Increase capacity in the provision of Opioid Substitution Therapy.

• Increased hours for community café & IT equipment.






Glasgow City


Glasgow City ADP Fund



• Embed alcohol/drug workers in out of hours mental health services in hospitals.

• Alcohol and Drug Partnership Intelligence Hub to address current gaps in analyst capacity for information gathering.

• Increase nyxoid availability at prison release (13k).

• PHC harm reduction team (58k).


East Dunbartonshire

East Dunbartonshire

ADP Fund




• Increase naloxone supply.

• Enhance current assertive outreach programme.

• Increase capacity of Opioid Substitution Therapy through a pharmacy prescriber.

• Peer support worker, targeting those who are at most risk.

• Increase capacity of the Drug Treatment and Testing Order



East Renfrew

East Renfrew ADP Fund




• Distribution of Naloxone by using postal kits.

• Recruiting & training peer researchers.

• Provide funding to local recovery community.



Inverclyde ADP Fund



• Improved approaches to naloxone supply.

• Residential rehab access for those at most risk.



Renfrew ADP Fund




• Recruitment of Drug Death Prevention Officer to develop a Drug Deaths Prevention Strategy.

• Scoping study be carried out in relation to non-fatal overdoses which will be supported by the Community Engagers.

• Training audit of Alcohol and Drug Recovery Service staff to ensure that our workforce is delivering evidence based interventions.



West Dumbarton

West Dumbarton ADP Fund




• 1.5 assertive outreach workers as a part of the navigators team to reach those at most risk.

• Navigator arrest referral scheme.

Argyll & Bute

Argyll & Bute ADP Fund





• Increasing Naloxone distribution & training.

• Develop the near fatal overdose response.

• Review and improve pathways and routes into treatment.

• Increasing capacity of Advocacy service



Highland ADP Fund





• Coordinator to develop peer supply of naloxone.

• Develop and improve the non-fatal overdose system.

• Data linkage programme to better understand drug deaths and harm.


North Lanarkshire

North Lanarkshire

ADP Fund




• Develop non-fatal overdose pathway.

• Improve supply of naloxone.

• Develop a recovery charter to engage business.

• Increase capacity within prison through care.


South Lanarkshire


South Lanarkshire

ADP Fund



• Pharmacy provision of Naloxone.

• Peer worker to work with ambulance etc. to tie up pathway between ambulance A&E and hospital.

• Improve access to depot buprenorphine.

• Rapid response assertive outreach service for those at risk.

• To provide diversion to treatment from the justice system


City of Edinburgh


City of Edinburgh ADP Fund




• Maintain Naloxone supply, supply kits to non-drug services.

• Increased capacity in secondary care.

• Homeless case workers & outreach Injecting Equipment Provision/inter-disciplinary team for remand prisoners & through care




Lothian MELDAP

East Lothian MELDAP ADP Fund



• Improve distribution of naloxone, along with safe storage boxes for medication.

• Develop pathway for non-fatal overdose to respond within 2 days.

• Increased capacity to support accelerated access to MAT.

• Engagement and Inclusion Service for those at most risk.



Lothian MELDAP

Mid Lothian MELDAP ADP Fund



• Recruiting a band 6 Substance Misuse Community Psychiatric Nurse to provide assertive outreach and supply naloxone.


West Lothian

West Lothian ADP Fund




• Employ a Naloxone champion to address the gaps in Naloxone.

• Partial funding of advanced nurse practitioner to increase MAT capacity.

• Identify issues relating drug death support prevention activities.


Orkney ADP Fund



• Introduce a postal naloxone service on the islands.

• Ensure that everyone who has a non-fatal overdose will receive follow up support.



Shetland ADP Fund



• Increase distribution of naloxone.

•Piloting of a new service level agreement with community pharmacy.



Angus ADP Fund




• Improve the supply of naloxone, through a dedicated coordinator.

• Identify a gap in developing constructive activities.

Dundee City


Dundee City ADP Fund



• Part fund co-ordinator to support non-fatal overdose.

• Increase GP prescribing to those most at risk.

• Increase capacity for assertive outreach.

• Support people for 8 weeks post-liberation from prison.


Perth and Kinross


Perth and Kinross

ADP Fund






• The introduction of a mobile unit to provide assertive outreach.

• Introduce depot buprenorphine.

• Rollout Motivational Interviewing training across Children’s Services.

Western Isles

Western Isles ADP Fund



• Develop a postal service top supply naloxone.

• Process data on non-fatal overdoses that had naloxone administered  received from Scottish Ambulance Service more quickly.




Research Programme Fund

When applications were made to the Research Programme Fund, A review panel, of 18 members from a wide range of backgrounds, including those with lived experience, were brought together to review and score these applications.  Scores were allocated on the basis of best value and relevance to current policy/practice, proposed methodology and approach, skills and experience of the project team, justification of resource/ value for money and plans for dissemination. These were then collated and projects ranked. The panel then met to review scores and make recommendations for funding, these recommendations were then sent to the Minister for Drug Policy for approval.


A list of projects funded through the Research Programme Fund can be found below:




Amount Awarded

Details of Project

University of West of Scotland

Primary Care in the prevention of Drug related deaths




Understanding the role and potential of primary care in the prevention of drug related deaths.

Glasgow Caledonian University

Evaluating public health interventions




Evaluating the impact of public health interventions in Scotland's Drug-Related Death epidemic.

Glasgow Caledonian University

Evaluation of peer-to-peer naloxone




A mixed methods evaluation of peer-to-peer naloxone training and supply in Scotland.

University of Stirling

Drug Consumption Rooms

£37, 284



Perceptions and attitudes of strategic decision-makers and affected families across Scotland towards drug consumption rooms to prevent drug-related deaths.

The Summary Report is available here.

Simon Community Scotland





PHOENIx after overdose for people experiencing homelessness: pilot randomised controlled trial.

University of Stirling

Patterns and Practice - SAS




Ambulance call-outs to drug overdoses in Scotland: patterns & practice.

University of Stirling


prescribing among ORT




Exploring the utility and safety of benzodiazepine prescribing among people receiving opiate replacement therapy in Scotland.

University of Stirling


Overdose prevention

Intervention in

Community Pharmacies




Feasibility and acceptability of an overdose prevention intervention delivered by community pharmacies for patients prescribed opioids for chronic non-cancer pain.

University of Dundee


change intervention




Designing a behaviour change intervention to reduce the risk of overdose.

University of Dundee


Coronavirus outbreaks on those who use drugs




Assessing the impacts of novel coronavirus outbreaks on people who use drugs, drug-related deaths and the effectiveness of service responses to them: a systematic review to inform practice and drug policy responses to COVID 19 in Scotland.




Innovation and National Development Fund

The Multiple Complex Needs sub-group developed an Innovation and National Development Fund with the Drug Deaths Taskforce. A letter was sent to all local areas with information on this fund and how to apply. Local areas then sent in applications which were endorsed by the sub-group and reviewed by a panel made up on members from the Taskforce, including Lived Experience representation.

A list of projects funded through the Innovation and National Development Fund can be found below:




Amount Awarded

Details of Project

Police Scotland

Police Officer Carriage of Naloxone


Training of Police Officers for the carriage of naloxone. The test of change has been initiated in response to ongoing year-on-year increases in drug-related deaths (DRDs) in Scotland, with the country recording the highest levels of DRDs per capita globally. Figures from the National Records of Scotland indicate opiates/opioids were implicated in, or a potential contributory factor, in 86% of DRDs in 2018.

Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS)

SAS Naloxone Distribution of Take Home Naloxone

£ 589,829

(until 2023)

Funding to support the SAS to provide take home naloxone. This will enable naloxone to be distributed to those most at risk, who have experienced a non-fatal overdose. Following the success of a pilot programme in the SAS, the Taskforce funded 3 regional naloxone leads to take this forward across Scotland.





Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs (SFAD)

Holding on (nee. Families as lifesavers)


Split over 3 years


This project helps the families of people at risk of dying through drugs, and work started on this in January 2021.


Families as Lifesavers, helps family members to increase their understanding of drug addiction, while building coping strategies for themselves and teaching them how to connect with their relative.





21/22 - £42,370 22/23 - £25,210 = £67,580.

Turning Point Scotland

Glasgow Overdose Response Team

£ 1,391,670


Split over 3 years

Glasgow Overdose Response Team was a 12-month test of change developed by Turning Point Scotland and Simon Community Scotland and funded by the Drug Deaths Taskforce. The Team was formed following consultation with frontline workers and people with lived and living experience to identify the most significant actions that could be taken immediately to reduce the high level of drug deaths. It has since been expanded to cover the remaining areas in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board area and all of Lanarkshire, as well as being extended for a further year.






£1,015,000 - FIRST YEAR - £559,000 SECOND YEAR - £456,000


NHS Lothian

We Start by seeing the person



Split over 2 years 

Note: This project could not go ahead.

Our project comes from listening to the stories of the people we have been trying to help. In Edinburgh City Centre, The Salvation Army Wellbeing Centre (WBC), the Harm Reduction Team (HRT) and the Edinburgh Access Practice (EAP) have separately developed good models of care. At the start of the Covid 19 pandemic, with the suspension of many of our standard activities, the three services joined forces and worked seamlessly to provide continued “open door” care during Covid


This new way of working has had enormous benefits for this group, and as such we would like to continue this way of working long term post covid. This new model of working has so far relied upon good will of staff with extra capacity available during Covid due to the suspension of our usual roles

Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF)

MAT standards delivery support



Split over 2 years 

Support from SDF to support and deliver the MAT standards with the Drug Deaths Taskforce. This has involved the running of webinars and events to support the development of, consultation on and eventual implementation of the MAT Standards.

University of St. Andrews

MAT Projects


Designing and Implementing Effective Telehealth MAT Projects. While telehealth has been around for well over a decade, and has been used in North America for example to extend the reach of specialist prescribing for opioid use disorder to geographically remote populations, it has not been used extensively in Europe for the same purpose. We hope that drawing up consensus guidelines will encourage and support service providers around Scotland to start running a program of MAT via telehealth.

Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF)

Peer to Peer Naloxone


Split over 2 years

Developing and supporting peer to peer naloxone supply by people who have experience of drug use. With this is mind, we seek to maximise peer to peer naloxone with a coordinated and supported approach by delivering high quality training to peers, providing ongoing support and developing a national peer network to enhance the delivery of naloxone provision by people who have experience of drug use. Importantly, this will include paying community peers as sessional workers.







of Stirling

Drug Checking Service



Split over 2 years 



Researching and developing key components of a new Scottish drug checking programme. This two-year project (18th Nov 2020-17th Nov 2022) aims to directly address two of the six evidence-based strategies identified by the Drug Deaths Taskforce to help reduce drug related deaths: targeting people most at risk, and optimising public health surveillance.

Scottish Recovery Consortium

Continuum of Recovery for Near-fatal overdose



Split over 2 years 




Wraparound support following a non-fatal overdose, including residential rehabilitation. This approach supports people into an immediate response pathway for non-fatal overdose which combines the community based response with a residential rehabilitation service. This is the first time this has been done in Scotland. This is a proactive partnership approach involving local planning and commissioning, community treatment services, residential rehabilitation services and the individual at risk.



Against Violence

The Pathfinder Programme



Split over 2 years

A referral pathway facilitating support at the earliest point of interaction with the criminal justice system. Police will refer individuals, suspected to be in possession of controlled substances, to a peer navigator who will proactively engage with them to ensure they can access holistic support. If subsequent forensic testing indicates that the substance was controlled, a report would be made to COPFS, sharing the individual’s identifiable needs and engagement with services, this will inform decision making, including whether diversion is supported in their case.


Medics Against Violence have been funded to operate the programme in one area in the first year, and two in the second year, with around 4 navigators and one coordinator. 

Renfrewshire ADP


Support Navigators



Split over 18 months

Two Recovery Support Navigators (RSNs) to engage with individuals (who have co-occurring substance use and MCNs) within the Emergency Department in order to increase the likelihood of them accessing local treatment and care services.


Fife ADP

Peer Advocacy Project



Split over 2 years

Two peer workers to develop a peer advocacy service and enable those with lived and living experience to have a visible presence within existing services, they will also provide advocacy training.


Change Grow Live

Community Recovery Hub


An Advanced Nurse Practitioner who will support people in the community to access holistic health and social care services, including mental health and drug services. The proposal is to develop a ‘one-stop’ approach through a Community Recovery Hub, where individuals can access support for all their needs. 


Angus ADP

Angus-Multi-Agency Locality Hub



Split over 2 years

Project manager for the development of 3 local hubs, with a multi-agency and profession “team”, linking to existing resources in order to improve pathways and provide “sticky” services (Hard Edges Scotland, 2019) and the support transition through services.

South Lanarkshire ADP

MCN Integrated Care Pathway


A coordinated approach to the development of a trauma informed, integrated care pathway for individuals with multiple complex needs that will provide responsive access to care and treatment within mental health and drug and alcohol treatment services.

South Lanarkshire ADP

Navigating exPEERience



18 months)

Two peer navigators focused on multiple complex needs embedded within the existing respond and recovery beacons (hubs) which are psychologically informed environments that promote trauma informed practice.

South Lanarkshire ADP

Family First Responder Volunteers

£26,706 (may increase due to volunteer payments) over

18 months


Staff time to coordinate volunteering roles/training to support Families to become volunteer First Responders.

Mid Lothian HSPC

Coordinating Mental health and drug services


Nursing role to address the complex needs of people accessing mental health/drug services. The role will help to break down silos and between mental health, justice, homelessness and substance misuse services.

East Ayrshire

East Ayrshire Recovery hub

£396,000 (over two years)

A Recovery Hub, available 7 days a week (Including evenings), offering a welcoming place for all, helping to raise the profile of recovery, and reducing stigma across East Ayrshire. The hub approach encourage attendance not only for those experiencing drug/alcohol issues but also their families, carers, friends, and children. An accessible and non-judgemental peer guided community hub, partners will be able provide their services from the premises and beyond, moving from a service centred model to an inclusive person-centred approach.

East Renfrewshire HSCP

East Renfrewshire Peer Navigators

£75,000 (over 18 months)

The introduction of a small-scale peer navigator in the area.  Two peer navigators will be recruited, these post holders will work to engage with people who present at the newly established Mental Health Assessment Units or are released from Prison.  The navigators will support people to access drug services and community recovery groups.

East Dunbartonshire Justice Social Work Services

Wayfinders: Paving the way towards positive destinations

£76,060 (over two years)

The project will place a peer navigator within justice settings.  The aim is to provide a person centred, strengths-based trauma informed response to supporting people in the justice system who also have problems with drugs.  The navigator will build trusting relationships with people and support them to engage with recovery services in the area.  The peer navigator role will work with people before they leave custody to limit the risk of harm, relapse, or reoffending.


Navigating Early Help: Providing peer support for people in the police custody stage of the justice system.

£441,882 (over 20 months) 


This proposal is set within Greenock Police Custody Suite which is one of the largest in Scotland, which means many people held in custody are from areas out with Inverclyde.  The project will result in a peer navigation team being created, with the team based within the custody suites.  The aspiration is that the navigators will support people as they leave custody, linking them into treatment and recovery services in their area of origin.  This will mean people are better supported through the transition and at reduced risk of death or harm.

South Lanarkshire

Navigating forward - supporting people to improve their life chances both during and after involvement with justice services.

£91,500 (over 18 months)

This project will test the feasibility of peer support for people who have problems with drugs during their transitions from the justice system, specifically those on Community Payback Orders.  Navigators with lived experience will build trusting relationships with people, helping build self-esteem and hope which will in turn help to limit the risk of drug related deaths and re-offending.  People will be connected to recovery networks (The Beacons in South Lanarkshire) which will support them on their recovery journey in the longer term.

NHS Grampian

 Developing Psychologically Informed Environments (PIEs) across the Aberdeenshire ROSC

£179,622 (over two years)

Funding to pay for the salary of a senior Psychologist, who can lead work to introduce a Psychological Informed Environment (PIE) across the system.  The Psychologist will take a leadership role, working with staff to upskill and coach them to ensure they are competent and confident to work in a PIE approach.  This will mean staff are more able to support people. 

NHS Grampian



Hospital addiction care


£303, 388 (over 2 years)



This projects aim is to upgrade and expand the existing alcohol liaison service and associated volunteer peer supporters in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary into a Hospital Addictions Care Team supporting people who present to hospital with drug or alcohol issues


Dundee HSCP

Dundee Whole System, Multi-agency integrated response to substance use and mental health.

£450,000 (over two years)



This is a large-scale service redesign project which will result in better integration of mental health and addiction services.  The applicant will take a staged approach to adapting their current practices and provision using data from the Dundee Drugs Commission and Independent Inquiry into Mental Health in the area.  This project will ultimately result in integrated services and community-based hubs which will improve the accessibility and appropriateness of services provided to support people.

Edinburgh HSCP

Expansion & Evaluation of Milestone House Intermediate Care Unit


This project is to expand and stabilize provision of the Milestone House Intermediate Care Unit (MICU) which has developed as a response to COVID and which is becoming an important component in the local system of care. Its aim is to expand and refine exceptional emerging practice and develop a sustainable service model for local commissioning and potential replication elsewhere.



Edinburgh CHAI

Welfare Benefits Outreach Worker – Recovery Hubs


(over 2 years)

With this grant CHAI will develop an outreach welfare benefits service in Edinburgh, to provide income maximisation, advice on benefits, money, housing, and representation in Tribunal/ Court to hard-to-reach individuals affected by substance misuse who do not engage with the recovery hubs.


REACH Advocacy

Developing a rights-based approach to the delivery of the MAT standards.


(over 2 years)

The aim of this project is to work with the MAT Programme team to identify target areas to scale up the implementation of MAT and provide training and workforce development in order to influence a systems and cultural change. The project will use a co-production approach

NHS Borders

Capacity building in Tier 2 psychological interventions in NHS and Third Sector services to support compliance with MAT Standard 6.


This project aims to build capacity within drug services to provide Tier 2 psychological interventions to support individuals whose current complexity or instability means they are not in a position to engage with their recommended psychological therapy. This will support work to meet MAT Standard 6 and will also include a workforce development role to ensure improved competency.

NHS Dumfries & Galloway

Pharmacist clinical input for rapid access and follow-up.

£75,112           (over 2 years)

The project's aim is to reduce drug related deaths and meet treatment waiting times in rural localities by providing same day prescribing and allowing quicker access to treatment. An additional aim is to improve patient experience, by providing a flexible treatment model which would facilitate an open-door drop-in resource, whilst providing long term maintenance treatment provision in patient’s local communities.

Edinburgh HSCP 

Trauma informed, person- centred care and support for people who are homeless and have multiple complex needs.

£120,000 (over 2 years)

Additional funds to cover salaries for a new Senior Psychologist post.  This post is required to lead work to introduce ‘Psychological Informed Environments (PIEs) around the system of people who are homeless and have complex needs.  The project will focus on staff coaching and supervision across the system to ensure that that the care provided to people is trauma and psychologically informed, which will result in more coordinated and compassionate care for people accessing services.  This, in turn, will support the introduction of the MAT standards the DDTF has developed.


Other areas of funding

The Taskforce have also funded the Digital Inclusion Project (£500,000) and a thematic evaluation through the CORRA Foundation (£70,000).