Prevention of Drug Deaths – Creation of an Early Warning and Response System in Scotland

11:45 – 13:00

Scotland’s rate of drug-related deaths is one of the highest in the world. The scale of avoidable lives lost as a result of drugs contributed to the stalling of Scottish life expectancy and widening of inequalities, further exacerbated by the experience of isolation and exclusion associated with the (COVID-19) pandemic.

RADAR (Rapid Action Drug Alerts and Response) is an early warning and action system that targets timely and effective action to prevent the avoidable loss of life from drugs. Public Health Scotland co-designed RADAR with partners and lived experience stakeholders.

The RADAR system gathers data from a range of non-healthcare sources such as Police Scotland. Delegates attending this session will hear how this data is combined with health and social care intelligence to create a validated, trusted single source of public health information.

Change is not easy, and it is made even more challenging by the stigma that surrounds drug use in Scotland. RADAR was created to allow action where uncertainty, coupled with multiple competing priorities, acted as barriers and stalled action.

This session will tell the story of the co-design journey and describe the opportunities and challenges of bringing together a diverse and passionate stakeholder group.

Vicki Craik

Public Health Intelligence Adviser – Drugs Team, Public Health Scotland

Vicki Craik is a Public Health Intelligence Adviser within the Drugs Team at Public Health Scotland (PHS).

Hailey Zislis

Health Improvement Manager – Drugs Team, Public Health Scotland

Hailey Zislis is a Health Improvement Manager on the Drugs Team at Public Health Scotland.