The ‘We Are With You’ Survey: A Survey of Hidden and Hard to Reach Illicit Drug Users in Crisis

Iain McPhee, Barry Sheridan

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


We are with you are an independent provider of substance use services. In light of increases in drug related deaths, and some indication of changing patterns in the use of substances, and in the context of government lockdown, this survey provides data on those hidden and hard to reach populations of individuals, who may be experiencing problems with the use of substances, but do not or cannot access help, support and treatment.

A total of 4501 individuals participated in this survey. An amended version of the DAST screening tool was included as part of the survey, and feedback for problem severity scores (PSS) was included with harm reduction advice on how and where to seek support relative to their PSS. The DAST-10 is a globally recognised clinical assessment tool (Addiction Research Foundation, 1982).

• One third of 18-45-year olds report substantial or severe problem severity scores
based on these scores, these respondents could benefit from specialist addiction services
• Cannabis and cocaine were the most commonly reported drugs used during the previous 12 months, and during the previous 12 weeks
• Non prescribed medications were used during the past 12 months across all age groups
• The majority of respondents reported living in large urban and city Local authorities
• The gender ratio reflects known attendance at specialist services
• Suitable accommodation, stable relationships and being employed act as protective factors in relation to DAST-10 problem severity scores and in reported negative health consequences.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of the West of Scotland
Commissioning bodyAddaction (We Are With You)
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2020


  • drugs research
  • addiction severity
  • quantitative analysis
  • drug treatment


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