More should be done to address the link between health inequalities and drug abuse, health experts have warned.
An independent group gathering evidence on opioid replacement therapies (ORT) for the Scottish Government said improvements to drug treatment services must be made.
The group recommended that ORT, in particular the use of methadone, should be used in Scotland, provided it is one of a randge of treatment options, including community and residential rehabilitation.
Services should also become more “aspirational” in supporting individuals’ recovery, the group said.
Dr Brian Kidd, who led the review, said progress is required in a number of areas.
He said: “There is need the need to explore how generic services – such as GPs and community pharmacists – can play a broader role in reducing drug related harm in our communities.
“ORT must be one of a comprehensive range of treatment options in every area.”
Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Harry Burns said: “ORTs have had a beneficial effect in preventing the spread of viruses among drug users. However, they often simply switch one form of drug use for another, albeit a safer one.
“That’s why we need to find more ways of helping people access a range of treatments and support, tailored to their needs and their aspirations for sustained recovery.”