Nottingham Insight

Adult drug users (2015)

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Topic title Adult drug users (2015)
Topic owner CDP Executive Group
Topic author(s) Caroline Keenan, Clare Fox and Jane Bethea
Topic quality reviewed December 2015
Topic endorsed by Substance misuse strategy group
Topic approved by CDP Executive Group
Current version December 2015
Replaces version 2012
Linked JSNA topics
Insight Document ID 161698

Executive summary


Drug misuse is associated with a range of psychological, physical and social issues and addressing these remain a key national and local priority. Whilst solid progress has been made in improving the impact of drug misuse, the changing nature of drug misuse represents further challenges for the City.

This JSNA chapter describes local need in relation to drug misuse, outlines services in place to address misuse issues in adults and also identifies unmet needs and gaps in provision.   

This JSNA chapter focuses on drug misuse in adults.  A chapter on substance misuse in young people is also available.

Unmet needs and gaps

  • Evidence suggests 18-24s are more likely to frequently use illicit drugs yet this age group is underrepresented within structured drug treatment populations.  This suggests that more work is required to understand the needs of this group and ensure their access to effective treatment.
  • Some BME groups are underrepresented within Nottingham’s treatment system.
  • The prevalence of drug misuse is increased within homeless people and a lack of stable accommodation is often considered a barrier to recovery.
  • Drug treatment has been shown to have a positive impact on families affected by drug misuse.
  • This JSNA relies heavily on data sourced from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System which excludes unstructured treatment. It also relies on extrapolated national level data to inform levels of local need.
  • The use of novel psychoactive substances (NPS) represents an emerging risk and the extent of the impact of these substances is not yet fully understood.

Drug misuse is associated with a range of mental health problems and the causal pathway of these factors is somewhat unclear.


Recommendations for consideration by commissioners

The assessment has identified the following recommendations for commissioners

  • Commissioners should ensure that 18-24 year olds who would benefit from a treatment intervention have the necessary access to services. It is also recommended that work is undertaken to understand why this age group appear to be underrepresented within the treatment population.
  • Treatment should be easily accessible for BME groups and again barriers to access need to be better understood to inform local service provision
  • Commissioners should continue to ensure that treatment services provide outreach to homeless people who misuse drugs and work with partners to improve access to stable accommodation.
  • Effective family interventions should continue to be commissioned and provided.
  • Commissioners should ensure that drug treatment interventions continue to address psychological health as well as physical health. Access to mental health support should be clearly visible within treatment pathways.
  • Consideration needs to be given to how unstructured treatment data could be collated and analysed using a more robust methodology.

Efforts should be made to increase local knowledge on the prevalence of NPS use and the associated health and social impact of use.



Key contacts

Caroline Keenan, Senior Performance and Insight Officer, Nottingham City Council

Clare Fox, Strategy and Commissioning Manager, Nottingham City Council,

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