This dashboard presents the number of drug-related hospital stays, the number and characteristics of patients admitted to hospital, the substances involved and the geographical variations within Scotland.

Hospital activity data are collected across the NHS in Scotland and are based on nationally available information routinely drawn from hospital administrative systems across the country. The principal data sources are the SMR01 (general acute inpatient and day case) and SMR04 (mental health inpatient and day case) returns.

Information is provided for financial years 1996/97 to 2021/22.

The following differences in the time periods used should be noted:

  • Time trends for ‘new patients’ start from 2006/07. Before 1996/97, diagnosis coding within SMR01 and SMR04 records was based on International Classification of Diseases 9th Revision (ICD9). ISD introduced International Classification of Diseases 10th Revision (ICD10) coding into SMR from 1996 onwards. The coding of drug misuse diagnoses changed markedly between these two ICD versions. As the identification of ‘new patients’ incorporates a ten-year look back of SMR records, figures in the period from 1996/97 to 2005/06 would be based partly on ICD9 codes and would be likely to overestimate the number of ‘new patients’ throughout this period.
  • Alcohol and Drug Partnerships (ADPs) were established in 1997. Therefore, time trends for ‘ADP of residence’ locations start from 1997/98.

In autumn 2018, Public Health Scotland (PHS) (previously Information Services Division; ISD) conducted a customer consultation (external website) in relation to a proposed change to include stays due to drug poisoning/overdose in the definition of a drug-related hospital stay. Responses to this consultation indicated that users agreed with the proposed change. Therefore, the revised definition was implemented and came into effect for the Drug-Related Hospital Statistics report (external website) published on 28 May 2019. You can read a full report describing the results of the consultation (external website).

In January 2020, PHS conducted a further customer consultation in relation to: Drug-Related Hospital Statistics dashboard usability; data visualisation; dashboard content; and, the Drug-Related Hospital Statistics publication report. Responses to this consultation indicated that users were broadly supportive of the dashboard and its features but suggested some improvements, many of which are implemented in the release of these statistics on 27 October 2020. You can read a full report describing the results of the consultation (external website).

In previous publications, following the above-mentioned consultations, the definition of drug poison/overdose stays comprised selected 'T' codes from the ICD 10 chapter of Injury, Poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes. Eight of these codes could be used to identify a drug poisoning/overdose stay alone, and six further codes required a mental and behavioural diagnosis code (an 'F' code) in addition to be considered a relevant stay (See Methods). As part of our continuous process of review and quality improvement, a logical inconsistency was identified in this approach. Following consultation with clinical colleagues, a minor change to the definition was made, allowing either an F code, or one of the eight main T codes.


Last updated: 21 March 2024
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