Source: Estimating the National and Local Prevalence of Problem Drug Use in Scotland 2009/10, NSS Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland
Source: Estimating the National and Local Prevalence of Problem Drug Misuse in Scotland, Centre for Drug Misuse Research, University of Glasgow.
Source: Estimating the National and Local Prevalence of Problem Drug Misuse in Scotland, Centre for Drug Misuse Research, University of Glasgow Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health.
Source: Estimating the National and Local Prevalence of Problem Drug Misuse in Scotland Centre for Drug Misuse Research, University of Glasgow Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health.
The evidence source is treated by NHS ISD Scotland as an official statistic.
The 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009/10 estimates were produced using an internationally recognised capture-recapture methodology, where the data are available. The methodology relies upon re-sampling a population of unknown size to estimate its size from the number of individuals who appear in more than one sample. Essentially, the more often the same individuals appear in successive samples the smaller the unknown population is likely to be.
Data are collected from 4 data sources:
1) Clients registering with specialist drugs services
- The Scottish Drug Misuse Database
- Drug Treatment Services
2) Drug-related hospital admissions
3) Police reports to the Procurator Fiscal under the Misuse of Drugs Act (individuals with problem drug use only)
4) Social enquiry reports mentioning drug problem(s) and hepatitis C tests (injectors only)
The data are analysed to produce estimates of the number of people with drug use problems at a variety of geographical levels including:
- Council area
- NHS Board area
- Alcohol and Drug Partnership area
- Police Force area.
The estimates are also broken down by gender and age (males only).
The validity, reliability and precision of any drug prevalence estimation method are important issues. The study employs the 'capture recapture' methodology (involving log-linear modelling). The capture-recapture methodology explicitly models various relationships and dependencies between data sources and to an extent between different genders and age groups. For a given set of data, differing estimates can be obtained and these estimates are evaluated in terms of validity and precision. Statistical techniques have been developed to maximise the validity of capture-recapture methods, such as undertaking sensitivity analyses. The study will use the 'boot-strapping' process to achieve 95% confidence intervals.
For more information on the methodology employed in these studies, please see:
Table 1: Estimated numbers of people with drug use problems (opiates and/or benzodiazepines): Scotland 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009/10.
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Scotland point estimate
95% confidence range
(43,664 - 78,443)
(54,451 - 57,234)
(58,300 - 61,000)
population aged 15-64
* The age range was changed for the 2006 and 2009-10 estimates to bring them in line with European statistical requirements and to assist in making UK and international comparisons.
** The 2009/10 estimates are for financial year, whilst the 2000, 2003 and 2006 estimates were for calendar year. The change to financial year was made to bring the estimates in line with other available information sources on drugs (eg Scottish Crime and Justice Survey and Scottish Drug Misuse Database) and also to align them with the reporting format of the other UK administrations.