Key milestones in the drugs field in Scotland.


An outbreak of HIV occurs among people who inject drugs in Edinburgh but is not identified due to a lack of a reliable test.


HIV outbreak are first identified among people who inject drugs in Edinburgh and then in Dundee.

Funding Provided

The Scottish Office provides £0.5 million funding to establish community-based drug services.

SDF Founded

SDF founded with grant of £26,000 from Scottish Home and Health Department.

McClelland Report

The McClelland Report is published. First recommendation for needle exchanges.

Needle Exchange

First needle exchange services available in Scotland.

Drug Liaison Committees

Drug Liaison Committees established. The first drug policy and service planning structure in Scotland.

UK Advisory Council

UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs Report AIDS and Drug Misuse Part Two describes HIV as ‘a greater threat to public health than drug misuse per se’.

Scottish Needle Exchange Workers Forum

Scottish Needle Exchange Workers Forum established by Scottish Drugs Forum.

Glasgow Drug Problem Service

Glasgow Drug Problem Service opens providing methadone-based medication-assisted treatment.

Drugs in Scotland Report

Drugs in Scotland: Meeting the Challenge report published with extensive input from Scottish Drugs Forum.

Drug Action Teams established

Drug Action Teams established to co-ordinate design, commission, and co-ordinate local services in health board areas.

Scotland Against Drugs established

Scotland Against Drugs established – a zero tolerance campaign with cross-party support set up by Michael Forsyth and chaired by Sir Tom Farmer.

SDF Dance Event Guidelines

SDF produces guidelines for good practice in harm reduction at dance events.

Drugs policy moves to Justice Department

Drugs policy moves from the Scottish Office Department of Health to the Justice Department with major focus on crime reduction.

Divisive Campaigns

Scotland Against Drugs campaigns prove divisive.

The New Futures Fund

The New Futures Fund launched by Scottish Enterprise to target problems of social exclusion and disadvantage, particularly in relation to the labour market in Scotland. SDF heavily involved in its delivery for drug users.

Scottish Parliment Report Published

Drug Use in Scotland: A Shared Agenda for the Scottish Parliament published. Report by SDF and the All-Party Working Group.

Major Investment

Major investment in treatment and care services.

Quality standards for drug services

SDF produce first quality standards for drug services.

User Involvement

First SDF funded post ‘User Involvement’ people with lived and living experience interview their peers to ensure their experience and opinion is available to those designing, commissioning, and managing services.

Scottish Parliament Committee Enquiry

Scottish Parliament Committee Enquiry into Drug Misuse and Deprived Communities.

Addiction Worker Training Project

SDF Addiction Worker Training Project begins. Provides salaried training, support, and work experience to people with lived experience.

Drug-related death conference

SDF holds Scotland’s first national drug-related death conference.

Naloxone pilot programme

SDF develops proposals for a Naloxone pilot programme having led a multi-agency fact-finding trip to the Chicago Recovery Alliance, USA.

Scottish Drug Services Directory

Scottish Drugs Forum’s online Scottish Drug Services Directory launched.

The Road to Recovery

New Scottish Government Strategy The Road to Recovery published.

Drugs stigma conference

SDF organise Scotland’s first drugs stigma conference.

Hepatitis Action Plan

The Hepatitis Action Plan 2008-2011 launched.

Older drug users

SDF produces research on needs of older drug users in conjunctions with European services.

Legal highs conference

SDF holds Scotland’s first national ‘legal highs’ conference.

Naloxone programme

World’s first national naloxone programme approved for Scotland.

National Guidelines

National Guidelines for Services Providing Injecting Equipment published with input from Scottish Drugs Forum’s peer research and from the Scottish Needle Exchange Workers Forum.

Alcohol and Drug Partnerships

Alcohol and Drug Partnerships established to co-ordinate design, commission and co-ordinate local services in local authority areas.

National Naloxone Co-ordinator

National Naloxone Co-ordinator post created in Scottish Drugs Forum.

Framework launched

The Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework launched.

Hepatitis Scotland

Scottish Drugs Forum’s Hepatitis Scotland initiated.

National Emergency Plan

National Emergency Plan to deal with outbreaks of infection developed by the Scottish Government this includes recommended role for Scottish Drugs Forum.

STRADA closed

The drug and alcohol workforce’s training project STRADA is closed. Staff are transferred to SDF which begins workforce development activity.

Outbreak of HIV

Outbreak of HIV in people who inject drugs in Glasgow identified.

Consumption rooms

Plan for drugs consumption room and heroin-assisted treatment in Glasgow developed.

e-Learning resources

First SDF e-Learning resources produced.

Study identifies issues

SDF Older Injecting Drug Users Study identifies issues of general physical and mental health, social isolation and other issues and makes recommendations.

Staying Alive in Scotland

SDF Staying Alive in Scotland strategy updated.

Peer supply of naloxone

First peer supply of naloxone in Scotland is made in Glasgow.

Safer Drug Consumption facility declined

Lord Advocate James Wolffe KC declined to approve the plan for a Safer Drug Consumption facility, siting that the issue was a public health matter rather relating to justice.


SDF establishes the #StopTheDeaths communications initiative - We can prevent drug deaths.

SDF Treatment conference

SDF conference identifies the low rate of people in treatment and the protection being in treatment can offer people against drug related deaths.

SQA Approved

SDF becomes a Scottish Qualifications Authority-approved assessment centre.

Podcast launched

SDF Drugs Uncut podcast launched.

Scottish Affairs Committee

SDF suggest to Scottish Affairs Committee that there should be recorded police warnings issued to people found in possession of drugs for their own personal use.

Medication Assisted Treatment Standards

Scottish Drugs Forum’s work on developing practice in low threshold prescribing informs new Medication Assisted Treatment Standards.

COVID-19 lockdown

Weekly SDF webinars during the COVID-19 lockdown ensure a sharing of learning and emerging good practice.

Police Recorded Warnings

Police Recorded Warnings for drug possession are extended to cover all drugs.

Peer Naloxone Network

SDF establishes the National Peer Naloxone Network.

How to Save a Life

SDF develops the national How to Save a Life media campaign.

Living Experience

SDF Living Experience project begins.

The National Drugs Mission Plan

Scottish Government launches The National Drugs Mission Plan 2022-26.

CORRA Local Support Fund

SDF begins support to the CORRA Local Support Fund top build the capacity of community-based groups.

Addiction Worker Training Programme

Scottish Drugs Forum’s Addiction Worker Training Programme receives national funding for the first time.

Safer Drug Consumption Facility Approval

Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC gives approval for Safer Drug Consumption Facility agreeing to publish a prosecution policy that it would not be in the public interest to prosecute drug users for simple possession offences committed within a pilot safer drugs consumption facility.

The National Traineeship

Scottish Drugs Forum’s Addiction Worker Training Programme celebrates its 20th anniversary and 400th trainee. The programme is renamed The National Traineeship.


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