About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides the Scottish Public Health Observatory (ScotPHO) quarterly update on a number of topic areas. Of these topics, the Alcohol, Allergic Conditions and Drugs pages contain new data.

Main points

Alcohol - treatment for alcohol misuse

  • In 2019/20, there were 8,915 patients dispensed drugs for alcohol dependency, a 1.3% increase from the previous year (8,804 patients). The number of patients had previously decreased between 2015/16 and 2018/19.
  • In 2019/20, 61% of those dispensed drugs for alcohol dependence were male and 39% were female.

Allergic conditions

  • In 2020/21, 93 people per 100,000 were hospitalised for an allergy-related illness at least once during the year, compared to 163 people per 100,000 in 2019/20. This sharp decrease is a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic caused a large disruption to healthcare services, and had an impact on individuals’ health and their use of healthcare services. Therefore, this data should be interpreted with caution.
  • Asthma continues to be the most common allergic condition, accounting for 69% of the approximately 5,100 allergy-related hospital admissions from 2020/21.

Drugs - treatment for drug misuse

  • In 2020/21, the dispensing of opioid substitution therapy (OST) drugs (including methadone) was equivalent to 13.5 defined daily doses (DDDs) per 1,000 population per day. This was an increase compared to the 2018/19 figure (12.8 DDDs per 1,000 population per day), which was the lowest in the recent time series.
  • The minimum number of individuals in Scotland prescribed methadone was 24,128 in 2020/21.
  • The minimum number of individuals in Scotland prescribed buprenorphine was 6,312 in 2020/21.


The Scottish Public Health Observatory (external website) collaboration is led by PHS and includes the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, National Records of Scotland, the Medical Research Council/Chief Scientist Office Social and Public Health Sciences Unit and the Scottish Learning Disabilities Observatory.

The aim of the collaboration is to make public health information more accessible, to promote the reduction in inequalities and to inform health improvement in Scotland.

Further information

Data from this publication are available from the publication page on the ScotPHO website (external website).

The next release of this publication will be 14 December 2021.

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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: 13 June 2022
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