Scotland’s drug harms early warning system has been showcased in a new video produced by Public Health Scotland (PHS).

The Rapid Action Drug Alerts and Response (RADAR) programme, led by PHS, uses innovative data collection methods to gather, assess and share information to reduce the risk of drug-related harms.

The initiative has been developed in collaboration with a range of partners, including people with lived experience of substance use, and allows national data to be combined with information from healthcare, prison, police and toxicology services, alongside reports from drug services, people who use drugs, and the wider public.

In addition to producing quarterly reports, RADAR issues alerts to raise awareness among people who use drugs and the services who support them. There are two current alerts, one for bromazolam (a street benzodiazepine) and one for nitazenes (a group of synthetic opioids).

View the video here:

Dr Tara Shivaji, Consultant at Public Health Scotland, said:

“The RADAR programme allows us to develop a much-needed picture of drug use and harms across the country, providing a structured way to quickly identify emerging risks so that evidence-based interventions can be developed and deployed.

“The drugs market is constantly evolving, which is why effective surveillance of drug harms is required. As a result of the RADAR system, we were able to identify an increase in synthetic opioids, like nitazenes, in the drug supply in Scotland at a relatively early stage, allowing harm reduction information to be shared with those at risk.”

Find out more about RADAR

View current RADAR alerts on bromazolam and nitazenes

View the latest RADAR Quarterly Report



Last updated: 12 February 2024