Core Principles

Two basic principles underpinned our work:

  1. Drug-related deaths are preventable and we must act now.
  2. Scotland and the Scottish Government must focus on what can be done within our powers

There was also a range of principles that underpinned different aspects of the work presented in our final report.


A big cultural shift is required in Scotland to tackle the harms associated with drug use. Three principles for change are central to this cultural shift:

  1. this is everyone’s responsibility;
  2. broad culture change from stigma, discrimination and punishment towards care, compassion and human rights is needed; and
  3. families and people with lived or living experience should be at the heart of the development and delivery of services


Three principles for change must be integral to the care provided for every individual:

  1. parity of treatment, respect and regard with any other health condition must be ensured;
  2. services must be person-centred, not service-centric; and
  3. there needs to be national consistency that takes account of local need


Two core principles underpin co-ordination:

  1. appropriate resource is required to bring about meaningful change, but it must be targeted to where it is most needed; and
  2. strong decisive leadership is essential to success.