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The University of Edinburgh hosts Scotland’s Drugs Research Network


A new network to boost research into the impact of drug use on people and communities in Scotland is to be hosted by the University of Edinburgh.

The network will bring together universities, NHS boards, and other partners to develop the Scottish drugs research strategy and generate high-quality evidence that will inform developments in policy and practice.

The University is to host the Drugs Research Network Scotland (DRNS) for the next three years, taking over from the University of Stirling.

DRNS is a Scottish Government funded initiative developed in efforts to develop high quality research evidence to aid the development of future policy.

Based at the University of Edinburgh, the network will be a cross-College initiative including medical and social sciences researchers. The team will work in partnership with experts from all of the Scottish Higher Institutions, NHS Boards, and the broader drug policy community.

The network will also develop links with leading researchers elsewhere in the UK and in other countries.

The collaborative project will focus on bridging lived and living experience of drug use.

DRNS will collate and explore the latest areas of research, and bring together experts on themes related to harmful drug use such as such as mental health conditions, trauma and poverty.

In addition it will be exploring the impact of criminal sanctions and policies on drug users, the role of illicit substances in healing and therapy, and exploring the wider social determinants of drug use in Scotland.

Researchers say the interdisciplinary group will create a thriving research network by including academics from a range of disciplines, and representatives from other organisations.

Dr Anna Ross of the School of Health in Social Science, co-convener with Dr Lisa Schölin of the Queen’s Medical Research Institute said: ” This collaborative network will co-ordinates efforts and share knowledge among researchers working on drugs research in Scotland, and enable us to draw on multiple disciplines to explore the topic of drug use in Scotland. We are delighted with the opportunity to host the DRNS which will facilitate knowledge exchange within and between the network, and other stakeholders working in this vital area of research.”

The Drugs Research Network Scotland (DRNS) is funded from a £150,000 award from the Scottish Government.