Background and Objectives
The Scottish Government is committed to tackling issues relating to drug dependence in Scotland, through a range of policies across health, justice and social care. One area of focus is the need to understand public attitudes towards those in our society involved in crime, disorder and danger. Inherent negative attitudes towards those recovering from drug dependence are not supportive of their recovery. Current and former drug users have been found to be more likely to recover if their families and wider community are supportive and engaged in the recovery process  .
Previous research conducted in 2010 on behalf of UK Drug Policy Commission ( UKDPC) established a degree of sympathy amongst the Scottish general public towards those with a history of drug problems. They felt that in order to recover from drug dependence, those with drug problems should have the same opportunity as others to get a job and be part of the community. This research, however, also found that feelings of blame and intolerance towards people with a history of drug dependence were higher in Scotland than in the UK as whole.
In order to inform an effective and proportionate response to the problem of stigma towards drug users in Scotland, the Scottish Government Justice Analytical Services Division commissioned Progressive to undertake research to provide up to date information about public attitudes in relation to this issue.
Aims and objectives
The overall aim of the research was to provide data on the current extent and nature of stigma amongst the Scottish general public towards people with drug dependence and people who have recovered from drug dependence.
Associated objectives were for the 2016 findings to be compared with those from the UKDPC study (2011), and act as a baseline representative sample of Scottish public opinion in order to track changes in public attitudes over time.