About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland reports on the waiting times for people accessing drug and alcohol treatment services between 1 January to 31 March 2021. It contains information on the number of people seen for treatment, types of treatment accessed, and length of time waited.

The Scottish Government set a standard that 90% of people referred for help with their drug or alcohol problem will wait no longer than three weeks for treatment that supports their recovery.

Updated on 14 October 2021

The data tables from January to March 2021, on the Waiting Times – Trends tab and Area of Wait filter and Waiting Times – Distribution tab and Area of Treatment filter have been updated to include data which was previously missing. No other data has changed.

Main points

  • During the quarter, 95.6% of the 9,013 people who started their first drug or alcohol treatment waited 3 weeks or less, an increase from the same quarter in the previous year (94.4% of 9740 people).
  • 95.7% of the 5,005 people starting alcohol treatment waited 3 weeks or less.
  • 95.3% of the 3,910 people starting drug treatment waited 3 weeks or less.
  • 98.0% of the 98 co-dependency clients who started a treatment waited 3 weeks or less
  • At the end of the quarter, 2,032 people were waiting to start their first drug or alcohol treatment. Of those waiting 18.3% had waited more than 5 weeks.
  • In prisons, 97.4% of the 612 people who started their first drug or alcohol treatment during the quarter waited 3 weeks or less.


It should be noted that the statistics released for this reporting period are in part affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The data in this publication are a snapshot of a dynamic database. This means that data for previous quarters may not be the same as found in previous publications for the same time period. Updated data for the most recent quarter are provisional and may be revised in future publications.

From 1 December 2020 NHS Ayrshire & Arran, NHS Dumfries & Galloway, NHS Grampian, and NHS Western Isles began recording waiting times information on the Drug and Alcohol Information System (DAISy). The remaining NHS Boards transferred to DAISy in April 2021.

The introduction of a new 'co-dependency' client type will affect trends in the number of referrals and first treatments for the drug and alcohol client types. DAISy holds data in relation to drug and alcohol treatments and waiting times from services throughout Scotland delivering tier 3 and 4 interventions. DAISy replaces the previous systems:

  • Drug & Alcohol Treatment Waiting Times (DATWT)
  • Scottish Drug Misuse Database (SDMD)

This publication presents information gathered from both DATWT and DAISy.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please email phs.datwt@phs.scot.

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

Requesting other formats and reporting issues

If you require publications or documents in other formats, please email phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

To report any issues with a publication, please email phs.generalpublications@phs.scot.

Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 20 November 2023
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