For many years, Scotland has faced an addiction crisis.  However, in early 2021, the Scottish government reported a drastic increase in drug and alcohol-related deaths.

While First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has since announced that £250 million will be allocated to tackle Scotland’s addiction crisis between now and 2026 to support drug and alcohol partnerships and public rehabs, more must be done now to ensure that lives can be preserved and addictions can be overcome appropriately.

In this blog, we address Scotland’s addiction crisis, delve into the rise in addiction rates across the rest of the United Kingdom, and outline the readily available treatment for those struggling with addiction.

If you live in Scotland and have become dependent on drugs or alcohol, you must reach out to us for immediate support.  Likewise, if you are worried that a family member or friend is struggling with an addiction, it is paramount to seek advice on how best to help them.


What Is Scotland’s Addiction Crisis?

Since 2019, the number of people struggling with addictions in Scotland has increased rapidly.  Unable to access the treatment they need, drug and alcohol-related deaths are now higher than ever before.  With more than 1,339 deaths registered in the last year alone, Scotland has been forced to declare an addiction crisis.

Though treatment is available for drug and alcohol addictions across Scotland, the addiction crisis highlights major flaws in the services offered across the nation.  Not only is treatment available via the NHS limited, but waiting times are somewhat prolonged, with the average person believed to wait at least three weeks for life-saving treatment.

Regrettably, these factors contribute to a reduction in the number of people seeking addiction treatment.  As a result, two years after declaring their addiction crisis, mortality rates are higher in Scotland than in Europe and some American states.


Addiction Statistics In Scotland

Across Scotland, more than 60,000 people are believed to have a drug addiction.  Meanwhile, 24% of adults over the age of 16 consume an alarming amount of alcohol each year.

As the number of people struggling with drug and alcohol addictions soars, hospital admissions do, too. In 2020, Public Health Scotland stated that 14,976 drug-related admissions were made.  An additional 35,781 people were admitted for alcohol-related illnesses.

Although addictions do not discriminate, and many factors contribute to the risk of addiction, research concludes that poverty, inequality and deprivation are associated with Scotland’s addiction crisis, with NHS Scotland confirming that addictions are 17% more likely to impact those in deprived areas.  Furthermore, men are twice as likely to consume dangerous levels of substances.

While drug and alcohol-related deaths have been observed in adults of all ages, the largest increase has been noted in those aged 35 and 54.


Rise In Addiction Rates Across The United Kingdom

While Scotland’s addiction crisis is fatal and must be resolved, a rise in addiction rates across the rest of the United Kingdom has also been recorded.

According to the Office For National Statistics, in England and Wales, drug-related deaths have hit a record high.  A 19% increase in alcohol-related deaths in the last year alone has additionally been acknowledged.

Northern Ireland has also faced an increase in addiction rates. In 2020, the number of drug-related deaths was 218, the highest on record.

This rise in addiction rates across the United Kingdom shows that more must be done to help those struggling with addictions.


Tackling Scotland’s Addiction Crisis

 As touched on above, the Scottish government has announced that £250 million will be provided to ensure that Scotland’s addiction crisis can be tackled in the next five years.

This budget will essentially increase the number of treatments available and ensure that a more substantial number of patients can be supported to reduce and prevent substance-related deaths.

However, Scotland’s addiction crisis must be tackled immediately to ensure that lives can be conserved now and not just in the future.

Though many steps must be implemented to enable more individuals to take advantage of addiction treatment, eliminating the stigmas surrounding addictions, rehab and treatment may help tackle Scotland’s addiction crisis in the interim.

Providing education and greater insight surrounding addictions, the consequences of addictions and the support available via rehab providers and charities could further assist Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom as they aim to reduce the number of drug and alcohol-related deaths recorded across the nation.


Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Across Scotland, numerous private inpatient and public outpatient rehabs are on hand to administer a range of addiction treatments.  Though private addiction treatment is often overlooked, it is the most beneficial form of addiction treatment.

Understanding that no one person or addiction is the same, we bestow our clients with a personalised addiction treatment programme here at Nova Recovery.  Combining several industry-leading treatments, we have successfully helped thousands of individual’s overcome their struggles with substances.

Below, we have outlined just a number of the treatments that we administer at our private rehab hospital.

  • Medically induced detoxification
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Dialectical behavioural therapy
  • Well-being therapy
  • Relapse prevention
  • Aftercare

As approximately 50% of individuals affected by addictions find their lives impaired by a mental health disorder, we additionally provide dual diagnosis treatment.

Dual diagnosis treatment incorporates addiction treatments, such as detoxification and cognitive behavioural therapy, with mental health treatments, such as mindfulness and motivational interviewing, to ensure that both disorders can be treated and overcome simultaneously.


Contact Nova Recovery Today

As time is of the essence when it comes to addiction treatment, at Nova Recovery, we pride ourselves on offering immediate help, support and guidance to those in need.  Our treatment can also be commenced within a matter of days of an initial enquiry being made.

If you find your life impaired by addiction or have come to realise that a loved one or friend has developed an unhealthy relationship with drugs or alcohol, you must contact us as soon as possible.

To find out more about our treatments, our hospital and our admissions process, contact us today by calling 01475 303998.  Alternatively, email to request a callback.



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John Gillen - Author - Last updated: May 14, 2024

John has travelled extensively around the world, culminating in 19 years’ experience looking at different models. He is the European pioneer of NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) treatment to Europe in 2010; and recently back from the USA bringing state of the art Virtual Reality Relapse Prevention and stress reduction therapy. His passion extends to other metabolic disturbances and neurodegenerative diseases. The journey continues. In recent times, John has travelled to Russia to study and research into a new therapy photobiomudulation or systemic laser therapy working with NAD+ scientists and the very best of the medical professionals in the UK and the USA, together with Nadcell, Bionad Hospitals own select Doctors, nurses, dieticians and therapists. Johns’ passion continues to endeavour to bring to the UK and Europe new developments with NAD+ Therapy in preventive and restorative medicine and Wellness. In 2017 John Gillen was made a visiting Professor at the John Naisbitt university in Belgrade Serbia.