Alcohol and Drug Partnership (ADP) describes which of the 31 ADP areas the patient lives in, based on the postcode of their home address. ADPs are multi-agency partnerships established by the Scottish Government to deliver a co-ordinated approach to alcohol and drug related work in all local areas. This work is based on a partnership approach involving the statutory, voluntary and private sectors, and engaging the wider community. For more information about ADPs go to the Scottish Government website.


Drugs related to cannabis. The cannabis plant contains various cannabinoids. The primary psychoactive compound in cannabis is the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In addition to natural cannabinoids (for example, THC), this group of drugs includes synthetic (artificial) cannabinoids which are the psychoactive compounds in designer drugs with names like 'Spice'. Cannabidiol (also known as CBD) is another cannabinoid which is recognised within this group of drugs. Many CBD preparations available in the UK (for example, cannabis oil) do not contain THC and therefore do not have a psychoactive effect. Other preparations with a higher THC concentration may produce a strong psychoactive effect. Use of cannabinoids can lead to a state of relaxation, euphoria, introspection, anxiety, paranoia, increase in heart rate and hunger. Synthetic cannabinoids have also been associated with seizures, difficulties breathing and death.


A strong stimulant which is commonly snorted, inhaled as smoke, or dissolved and injected into a vein. This group includes powder cocaine and crack cocaine. The effects of cocaine may include loss of contact with reality, an intense feeling of happiness, or agitation, a fast heart rate, sweating and large pupils. High doses can result in very high blood pressure or body temperature. After a short period of use, there is a high risk that dependence will occur. Its use is associated with stroke, heart attack, lung problems, blood infections, and sudden cardiac death.

Day case

A patient who has a planned admission to a specialty for clinical care. The patient is not expected to, and does not, remain overnight.


If an area is identified as deprived, this can relate to the fact that the people who live there have a low income, it can also mean that there are fewer resources and opportunities in that area. The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (external website) (SIMD) is a relative measure of deprivation across small areas in Scotland, called data zones. A data zone is a small geographical area with up to 1,000 residents. SIMD has over 30 indicators in 7 domains (income, employment, education, health, housing, geographical access to services and crime) at data zone level, which have been combined into an overall index. Rates are reported by quintiles (see quintile). SIMD is updated roughly every three years and the version used depends on the year when the patient was discharged from hospital. More information can be found on the PHS SIMD webpage and in the Deprivation section in Methods.

Diagnosis grouping

Diagnosis grouping is broken down into: Mental and behavioural, Overdose, and Any diagnosis (a combination of Mental and behavioural and Overdose). Each of these groups is based on ICD10 diagnostic codes. See the analytical definitions section in Methods for further details.


The end of a period of health care in a hospital setting. Each period of health care begins with a referral or admission and is ended by a discharge.


European Age-sex Standardised Rate (EASR) – the rate that would have been found if the population in Scotland had the same age and sex composition as the hypothetical standard European population. See EASR section in Methods for further details.


Hallucinogens are a group of drugs that alter perception of surroundings, including visual and auditory effects and changes to consciousness and emotion. These substances may be synthetic, for example LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) or naturally occurring, for example psilocybin (the active ingredient found in 'magic mushrooms'). Most hallucinogens are not known to have long-term physical toxicity or risk of dependence, however, long term use may lead to psychological harm or exacerbation of existing mental health conditions.  Unintentional injury as a result of behavioural changes due to the effects of a hallucinogenic substance is also a risk.


See Opioids.


The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) is used to record diagnoses following hospital discharge, including deaths. The 10th revision is used in the analysis in this publication.


A patient who occupies an available staffed bed in a hospital. This includes patients who remain overnight (whatever the original intention) or who are expected to remain overnight but are discharged earlier.


See Opioids.

'Multiple/other' drug type

The 'multiple/other' drugs category includes volatile solvents (such as glue, gases or aerosols) and multiple drug use. This category may also be used to indicate multiple drug use when individual substances are not known or cannot be coded using existing diagnosis (ICD10) codes.

New patient

A person admitted to hospital as an inpatient or day case patient within a given time period (for example, a financial year), who has not had a similar drug-related stay in hospital within the previous ten years.

NHS board

One of 14 Scottish territorial NHS boards in which the patient lives, based on the postcode of their home address.

People who are resident outside Scotland are included in a separate category labelled 'Outside Scotland'. Those with no fixed abode or unknown are placed in the category 'Other/Not Known'.


Drugs similar to heroin or morphine. Opioids include opiates (drugs derived from opium, including morphine and heroin (diamorphine)) and semi-synthetic and synthetic drugs such as methadone, hydrocodone, oxycodone and fentanyl. Opioids are most often used medically to relieve pain. The side effects of opioids may include itchiness, sedation, nausea, respiratory depression, constipation, and euphoria. Frequent, escalating use of opioids typically results in dependence. Tolerance develops with continuous use, requiring increasing doses and leading to a withdrawal syndrome upon stopping suddenly. Accidental overdose or use alongside other depressant drugs commonly results in death from respiratory depression.

Other stimulants

The 'other stimulant' category includes stimulants other than cocaine (such as caffeine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, BZP, PMA). See the FRANK website for more information about specific substances.


A person admitted to hospital as an inpatient or day case patient within a given time period (for example, a financial year).

Provisional data

Submissions of data from hospitals are not yet complete. When all submissions have been received, the final figure may be different to that reported at the time of publication.


A fifth of the Scottish population, as defined by the SIMD (see Deprivation above). The five groups of data zones range from the most deprived (1) to the least deprived (5).

Sedatives/ hypnotics

Drugs that induce sedation by reducing irritability or excitement. This group of drugs includes ‘prescribable’ benzodiazepines (drugs such as diazepam), ‘street’ benzodiazepines (for example, etizolam and alprazolam) and z-hypnotics (for example, zopiclone). While low doses reduce anxiety and produce a peaceful effect, higher doses may result in slurred speech, staggering gait, poor judgement and slow, uncertain reflexes. Higher doses may also be used as a hypnotic to induce sleep. In the event of an overdose, or if combined with another sedative, many of these drugs can cause unconsciousness and even death.


A period of health care in a hospital setting known as a continuous inpatient stay (CIS). A CIS is made up of individual episodes (where the patient is under the care of an individual consultant). A patient may have a number of stays during a given reporting period. Each stay begins with a referral or admission and is ended by a discharge.

Last updated: 21 March 2024
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