New Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Standards have been published for Scotland.
MAT involves medication together with any psychological and social support, in the treatment and care of individuals who experience problems with drug use.
The standards address how people are encouraged to engage in and remain in treatment to address their drug and other health problems; how services are accessed and the treatment experience people have, as well as the broader social supports people may access while in treatment.
David Liddell, CEO of Scottish Drugs Forum, has welcomed the Standards:
“The Medication Assisted Treatment Standards are a huge step forward and are, in the view of SDF, the biggest development in the sector for more than a decade. We must succeed in their effective implementation in order to begin to make a substantial impact on fatal overdoses.
“This has been a long time coming and the need to improve services has only grown. The implementation of these new services standards will transform the treatment experience of people in medication assisted treatment. At any one time there are over 20,000 people in treatment in Scotland, but it is estimated that as many as three times that number would benefit from being similarly engaged.
“The treatment of people with a drug problem is a key issue in improving Scotland’s response to problem drug use. These standards are published along with some of the evidence base for implementation and some of the ways we will be able to measure progress towards achieving these standards. But the best evidence and measure will be the response and feedback of those using services.
“There is a clear recognition within the Standards of the need for immediate access and support to stay in treatment. Too often the power imbalance between those receiving and those providing services has not been acknowledged, and poor and even punitive practice has developed in place of a therapeutic relationship. We need to raise the expectations of people in treatment – high quality relevant information and informed choices and, for some people, independent advocacy will play a role.”
Consultation on the implementation of the Standards were formally launched at a free online event on Friday the 20th of November. The event can be viewed again here.