Free e-Learning course on cocaine and psychostimulants in Scotland


A new, free to access e-learning course on cocaine and other psychostimulants in Scotland will be launched this Tuesday by the Scottish Drugs Forum.

The course – ‘Cocaine and Other Psychostimulants – has been developed to increase participants’ understanding of the psychostimulant drugs taken by people who use drugs in Scotland, and the current trends.

Cocaine is easily accessible and widely used across Scotland. Its use is not confined to one demographic: it spans across a broad range of socio-economic and age ranges.

Using cocaine can result in harms including impacts on physical and mental health, relationships, social functioning and financial issues.

The number of people seeking help from specialist services for cocaine use has increased significantly in recent years. In 2015/16 8% of people seeking help from specialist services reported cocaine or crack cocaine as their main drug of concern, in 2019/20 this had risen to 21%.

In 2019 there were 365 cases where cocaine was implicated in, or potentially contributed to the cause of death – accounting for 29% of all drug-related deaths, the highest ever recorded. This is the equivalent of one person dying every day of the year.

The course defines those who may use cocaine, and the risks associated with the drug. The e-learning element will also help participants learn about harm reduction techniques and how to support those who use the drug.

Various audiences will benefit from the e-learning, including those who come into contact with people who use drugs, teachers, police, housing workers, social workers, mental health workers and the general public.


Graham Mackintosh, SDF’s Development and Training Officer, said:

“This e-learning course has been designed to equip workers and members of the public alike who are determined to reduce the harms associated with cocaine and psychostimulants in people who they may come into contact with.

“The course will guide participants through all the information they need about the history of cocaine and psychostimulants, as well as up to date statistics on the use of the drug in Scotland and harm reduction advice.”

The course is available to access through the Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF) Training website, which has been adapted to continue to provide people flexible training opportunities throughout the pandemic.


Adelle Still, SDF’s Interim Workforce Development Programme Manager, said:

“SDF are committed to providing service staff, and the wider public, the opportunity to increase their knowledge around cocaine and psychostimulants – despite the current restrictions – using a range of technologies, such as our free to access e-learning courses.

“This course is an important addition to our e-learning portfolio, and the topic of cocaine and psychostimulants is a key area for learning within the drugs field.

“We are delighted therefore to be able to provide this training opportunity, which will equip people who are determined to reduce the risks of harm amongst people who use cocaine and psychostimulants and also access their services with an up-to-date understanding of the issues.”

To access the course, go to: https://www.sdftraining.org.uk/online-learning/1214-cocaine-and-other-psychostimulants.


SDF also offer a range of other free to access e-learning courses, which are also available via the SDF training website.

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