Substance Use

The Health Promotion Service Substance Use Programme aims to reduce health inequalities, and improve the health and well being of individuals who are using, or have used substances, and their carers.

The aims of the Substance Use Programme are accomplished through a number of routes most notably early intervention and prevention initiatives, reducing the barriers experienced to healthy living, improving knowledge and skills and increasing the number and quality of opportunities for co-production. 

'Substance' includes:

  • Controlled/ illegal drugs, such as heroin and cocaine
  • New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), sometimes called legal highs
  • Alcohol
  • Performance and Image Enhancing Drugs (PIEDS)


Currently the main focus for the Substance Use programme is NPS:

1.      Substance Use:

New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), sometimes called legal highs, are detrimental to the health and well-being of many individuals in Edinburgh and East Lothian, their carers and the wider community. In conjunction with a number of partners across Lothian the Substance Use Programme is working to identify the most vulnerable populations, assess their needs and help implement initiatives to bring about a positive change in behaviour. Tools being utilised to reach these populations include extensive outreach activities, targeted harm reduction messaging and increasing the understanding and ramifications of NPS use to professionals engaging with the most vulnerable populations.

Last Reviewed: 21/01/2016