An introduction to the Drugs Research Network Scotland

Hello, and welcome to the newly established Drugs Research Network Scotland (DRNS)! Although still in infancy, we are now ready to formally introduce ourselves and answer your key questions.

So, who is DRNS?
DRNS is a team of people with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, but with a shared interest in drug-related research. Members include academics, policy-makers, service providers, people with lived/living experience of problem drug use, and affected family members.

What are the aims of DRNS?
DRNS aims to develop a Scottish drugs research strategy that produces high-quality drug-related research to inform Scottish drug policy, improve practice, and reduce the harms associated with problem drug use.

Why is DRNS important?
Scotland has a long history with problem drug use and recent figures from the National Records of Scotland (2017) show that there is an urgent need for intervention. In 2016, drug-related deaths in Scotland were at their highest since their records began in 1996. A total of 867 drug-related deaths were registered in Scotland in 2016 which is 23% more than in 2015, and 106% more than in 2006.

Figure 1. National Records of Scotland (2017)

To address this crisis and reduce the harms associated with problem drug use, Scotland needs an evidence-based approach to policy and practice. DRNS aims to contribute to this evidence base by producing and supporting high-quality drug-related research in Scotland.

How will DRNS achieve their aims?

DRNS will provide research support for projects based around four research themes.
These four themes are:

  1. Families: improving the health and wellbeing of children and families affected by, and at risk of, problem drug use.
  2. Harms: understanding and reducing the harms which arise from, or contribute to, drug use problems.
  3. Health, Social Care and Well-being: understanding the factors that improve well-being and contributing to sustained recovery from problem drug use.
  4. Prevention: understanding the factors that reduce the likelihood of a person developing problematic drug use.

Along with direct research support, DRNS will additionally be hosting a range of different knowledge exchange and skills building events for people who are interested in drug-related research. By attending DRNS events you can learn about new research in the field, develop your research skills, and network with those who share an interest in drug-related research.

How do I get involved with DRNS?

So, if you have an interest in drug-related research then it is time to get involved! Check out our upcoming events below and keep up to date with DRNS news by following us on Twitter and Facebook, and by subscribing to the DRNS monthly newsletter. You can find out more information on the DRNS website or by contacting us at

You can also gain early access to events by signing up for free DRNS membership!

Upcoming events

Maximising the impact of Scottish drugs research: inception to publication

Wednesday 28th November

Glasgow Grand Central Hotel

DRNS are hosting their first annual conference based around the theme: maximising the impact of Scottish drugs research. The conference aims to develop delegates’ skills to become effective and impactful drugs researchers. Supported by the Society for the Study of Addiction, DRNS will be hosting presentations and workshops on a range of topics including:

  • Involving people with lived/living experience of drug use in research
  • Ethics and governance issues
  • Getting your work published in academic journals
  • Writing a successful grant application
  • Informing and influencing government through effective policy briefs

To book your place, click here.

We are also inviting drugs researchers to present a poster of their research findings. This is a great opportunity for you to share your findings, discuss your data, and network with other researchers in your field. There will also be a prize for the best poster! Present a poster by submitting an abstract here.

We look forward to seeing you there!

About the blog contributors

The Drugs Research Network – Scotland (DRNS) is an interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral and multi-institutional collaboration that aims to develop a Scottish drugs research strategy that will build capacity, maximise research investment and deliver robust and high quality research evidence to inform policy and practice relevant to problem drug use and recovery in Scotland. The Salvation Army Centre for Addiction Services and Research, based in the Faculty of Social Sciences, were  awarded the bid to host the Drugs Research Network Scotland.