Mapping Drug Use, Interventions and Treatment Needs in Scottish Prisons: A literature review

Published: January 2022

This Literature Review was written by Claire Toomey and Maria Fotopoulou, University of Stirling and Sarah Armstrong, University of Glasgow for the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research.

Problem drug use features prominently in profiles of people entering prison in Scotland and for a considerable percentage, continues while they are in custody while it has also been noted that people start using drugs when they enter prisons. It is evident then that both upon entering prison but also upon release, drug treatment and harm reduction services are needed to serve the needs of this population group.

However, there has been very little research systematically exploring the prevalence of drug use and service provision of people in prison in Scotland. To fill this gap in knowledge, a SCCJR development grant allowed the investigators to recruit a researcher to conduct a literature review and mapping exercise.

This report summarises a literature review conducted over an 8-week period (between 1st June 2021- 25th July 2021), and addressing 3 key factors:

  1. The prevalence and patterns of drug use in Scottish prisons.
  2. Current treatment and harm reduction services offered in Scottish prison settings.
  3. The treatment and harm reduction needs of people in Scottish prisons.

The video below is a recording from the launch of the report which took place on Wed 27 April 2022. The speakers are Prof Sarah Armstrong, University of Glasgow and Claire Toomey, University of Stirling.

Authors / Editors

Prof Sarah Armstrong

University of Glasgow

Dr Maria Fotopoulou

University of Stirling

Research Themes

Punishment, Citizenship and Communities

Violence, Drugs and Alcohol