Type of Drug Misused

The Database collects a range of details about the particular drugs which the patients/clients are using, or where the patients/clients had stopped using drugs at the time of contact, the drugs which had previously been misused. Agencies are requested to report the use of all relevant drugs including those prescribed to clients as part of a treatment package for addiction and being consumed as instructed by the prescriber. Where a patient/client indicates that they have a problem with more than one drug, agencies are asked to identify and record one of the drugs as the main drug of misuse (see Definitions, Annex 1). The report below describes separately information on the main drug of misuse and information about all the drugs (i.e. main and secondary) which individuals were reported to be using. As in previous years, Methadone, Dihydrocodeine, Diazepam and Temazepam have been categorised into cases where these drugs have been prescribed for the personal use of the patient/client or cases where at least some of the drug had been obtained illicitly (or where the source is unknown).

Main drug reported

Table 18 presents the range of main drugs reported to the Scottish Drug Misuse Database. Table 19 presents trend information on the maindrug reported for the years 1992/93 to 1997/98. Asummary for 1997/98 and trends for selected drugs are presented in Chart 11 and 12 below.


Main Drug Used 1997/98

  • At a Scotland level, Heroin predominates as the main drug of misuse among new patients/clients reported to the Database, accounting for over a half (51 per cent) of reports.
  • In just over one in five (21 per cent) of individuals the main drug reported was one of Methadone, Dihydrocodeine, Diazepam or Temazepam which had been prescribed as part of a treatment programme.


Selected Main Drug Used 1993/94 - 1997/98

  • Heroin consolidated its position as the principal main drug reported to services during 1997/98 with a year on year rise in the proportion reporting its use.
  • In recent years, reports of non­prescribed Methadone and Dihydrocodeine as main drug used have remained fairly stable.
  • Use of Temazepam as main drug by individuals seen at services has markedly fallen in recent years to fewer than one in a hundred reports, although it has a larger presence when all drugs reported are considered (see chart 15).

Main drug by age group

Table 20 presents the main drug reported by age group and sex of the individual patient/client. Chart 13 below presents, for three age groups, trends in the percentage reporting specific main drugs used.

Main Drug Used, by age group 1993/94 - 1997/98

  • Chart 13 shows that Heroin has been the most commonly reported main drug in each of the age groups over the five year period shown.
  • The charts also show that the substantial increase in Heroin reports between 1995/96 and 1997/98 affects all age groups but is particularly marked in the under 20 year olds ­ 55 per cent had Heroin as their main drug in 1997/98compared with 29 per cent in 1995/ 96.
  • The proportion in each of the age groups reporting non­prescribed Methadone shows little change between 1993/94 and 1997/98.
  • In1997/98,theproportion of new individuals seen at services reporting Methadone as their main drug and prescribed for their own use is 5 per cent in the under 20s, 14 per cent in the 20­29 age group and 19 per cent in the over 30s.


All drugs reported

It is common for problem drug users seen at services to report consumption of more than one type of drug and agencies returning to the Database are encouraged to obtain and record details of all relevant drugs.

Information on all drugs reported to the Database is presented in Table 21. A summary of all drugs reported, ordered by the number of times these drugs were recorded, is shown in Chart 14. The chart also highlights whether the drug was reported as the main drug or as a secondary drug.

All and main drugs 1997/98

  • In 1997/98, Heroin continues to predominate as the most frequently reported drug overall with 5163 reports of its use by individuals seen at services.
  • The importance of other drugs becomes more apparent when all drugs reported are considered; for example, only 67 of the 946 reports (7 per cent) of non­prescribed Temazepam were reported as the main drug.

Trend information on all drugs reported for the years 1992/93 to 1997/98 is presented in Table 22. Chart 15 below shows trend information for selected drugs.

Selected all drugs of misuse 1993/94 - 1997/98

  • Sixty per cent of individuals reported use of Heroin as their mainorsecondarydrug in 1997/98 compared to 57 per cent in 1996/97 and around 45 per cent in the mid 1990's.
  • Reports of Temazepam use have declined sharply since prescribing restrictions were introduced in 1995. In 1997/98, 13 per cent of individuals reported any use of Temazepam (i.e. prescribedornon­ prescribed) compared with 24 per cent in 1996/97 and around 40 per cent in the early to mid 1990's.
  • The proportion reporting use of non­prescribed Diazepam has increased each year with around a quarter of individuals reporting use of the drug without prescription in 1997/98, double the proportion in 1993/94.


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