Integrated Care for drug users: Principles and practice
Appendix 4 Scottish Drugs Forum - study of service provision
needs of psychostimulant users - Summary
The Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF) were commissioned by the Psychostimulants Working
Group of the Scottish Advisory Committee on Drugs (SACDM) to undertake a short
project on the service provision needs of psychostimulant users in spring 2002.
This work has also helped inform the present document on integrated care for
The primary aim of the study was to obtain a snapshot of the views and experiences
of stimulant users on their needs and available service provision.
The two qualitative methods were used: one-to-one interviews and focus groups.
The study focused on three psycho-stimulants: cocaine, crack cocaine and amphetamine.
The study sought to identify the views and service needs of different groups
of stimulant users, including both primary and secondary psychostimulant users.
The total sample of respondents was thirty-three. Questions related to seven
- Their reasons for psychostimulant use
- The problems they experienced relating to stimulant use
- The services they had accessed
- The support they had received at services
- Their views on service satisfaction
- Their views on future service provision
- The study showed that stimulant users are not a homogenous group. They include
opiate users who also use psychostimulants, primary (and heavy) psychostimulant
users, and recreational users.
- Users felt there was an information and training deficit among health professionals
and specialist drug agency workers regarding psychostimulants.
- Users felt that drug services are primarily, and predominantly, geared to
dealing with problems of opiate use.
- Stimulant users are not keen to discuss their drug use with GPs, due to
GPs' lack of knowledge about stimulants. There was also concern about losing
their methadone script if the GP knew about their stimulant use.
- Many respondents stated a preference to be seen by drug agency workers who
had personal experience of drug use.
- Alternative therapies were regarded positively by respondents as a treatment
option for those experiencing problems.
- Respondents expressed a need for employment skills and help in finding work.
- Respondents expressed a desire for counselling to explore the reasons behind
their drug use.
Overall users felt:
- There should be different approaches to care which recognises the diversity
- Drug agency workers and health care professionals generally need more information
and training about psychostimulants.
- There is a need for improved co-ordination between agencies.
- There is a need for early access to confidential, trustworthy advice and
information without recourse to a GP.
- Short-term prescribing of dexamphetamine may be helpful to keep users off
- The present variety of treatment approaches should be encouraged.
- Employment support and associated aftercare services are needed.
- Ex psychostimulant users should be involved in delivering services.
The Psychostimulants Working Group and the EIU would like to thank all service
users and recruitment sources for their assistance and help. SDF would particularly
like to thank all those who participated in the focus groups.