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Home > Older people with drug problems in Scotland. A mixed methods study exploring health and social support needs.

Matheson, Catriona and Liddell, David and Hamilton, Emma and Wallace, Jason (2017) Older people with drug problems in Scotland. A mixed methods study exploring health and social support needs. Glasgow: Scottish Drugs Forum.

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Background: The population of problem drug users in Scotland is aging. This research was commissioned by the Scottish Government to provide a better understanding of the issues facing Older People with a Drug Problem (OPDP) in Scotland so that policy and practice can be targeted appropriately. The aim of the study was to identify and explore the health care and social support needs of older drug users (>35 years) in a cross sectional sample across Scotland. 

Methods: A mixed method study design was used in which semi structured, face to face interviews collected both qualitative and quantitative data from participants. Data collection was undertaken by four peer researchers in a range of non NHS services across Scotland. A face to face questionnaire collected structured quantitative data. In depth, qualitative interviews provided insights into the views and experiences of OPDP. 

Conclusion This research highlighted, very starkly, the issues facing those aged thirty five and over with a drug problem. In particular it highlighted that issues facing this group (average age 41) that would be equivalent to people in the general population fifteen years older. The report suggests that the working group consider actions in the following areas: isolation and loneliness, mental health, general health, pain management , retention, stigma, gender impact of welfare reform, advocacy, vulnerability.

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