Renfrewshire Council

5. What we know about alcohol and drugs in Renfrewshire

The Commission considered a range of information and data in relation to alcohol and drugs, which was gathered from a range of local and national sources. The most up to date local and national information has been considered, with key statistics highlighted below.


As at 31 March 2020, there were 1001 individuals attending alcohol services in Renfrewshire. (Source- Waiting Times Framework)

In 2017/18 there were 50 alcohol specific deaths in Renfrewshire. (Source - NRS (June 2019)

Renfrewshire had the 7th highest rate of alcohol specific deaths in Scotland in 2018. (Source—NRS (June 2019)

807.71 hospital admissions per 100,000 population were recorded in Renfrewshire in 2018/19, compared with a rate of 669.13 for Scotland. (Source—SCOTPHO profiles)

In 2018/19 in Renfrewshire, alcohol was available at 439 licenced premises. (Source: Renfrewshire Council Liquor Licensing Statistics 2018/19)

53 Renfrewshire under 18's treated for acute alcohol intoxication in 2018-19. (According to local data provided by NHS GGC)

47% of those who drank alcohol in Renfrewshire had drunk 6 or more units if female, or 8 or more if male on a single occasion in the previous year. (Source - Renfrewshire HSCP Health and Wellbeing Survey 2017/18)

1 in 3 men and 1 in 6 women in Greater Glasgow and Clyde are drinking to harmful levels. (Source—The Scottish Health Survey 2018, Scottish Government)


As at 31 March 2020, there were 773 individuals attending drug services in Renfrewshire. (Source—Waiting times Framework)

In Renfrewshire, there were 50 drug-related deaths registered in 2018. This was the largest number recorded in the past decade. Etizolam was implicated in, or potentially contributed to the cause of death in 36 of these deaths. (Source - NRS July 2019)

Drug related hospital admissions increased to a record high position in Renfrewshire over the two year period 2016/17 to 2018/19, to a rate of 210.38 per 100,000 population. This is slightly above the Scottish average but below that over the period for the NHS GGC health board area which stood at 270.32 per 100,000. (Source - PHO)

In 2015/16, there were an estimated 2,700 people who use drugs in Renfrewshire with a prevalence rate of 2.36% (the defined population described here is opiate and benzodiazepine users rather than all people who use drugs). (Source - ISD Scotland (2019)

The Injecting Equipment project has 8 outlets across Renfrewshire and during 2019/20 there were 1,269 clients and 112,16 transactions. (Source—NHS GGC)

605 people were referred to drug support services in 2018/19. (Source—Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership)

Children and Young People

Between 2011 and 2017, surveys indicated that early initiation of substance use amongst Renfrewshire secondary pupils decreased significantly from 48% to 29%. (Source - Children Count Survey, Renfrewshire Council/Dartington Service Design Lab)

In 2019/20 146 young people received a service from RADAR, Renfrewshire Council. (Source—Renfrewshire Council)

As at 22 October 2020, there were 70 children/young people on the Child Protection register, 38 of whom had parental alcohol and or drug use as a concern. (Source - Renfrewshire Council)


Approximately 75% of cases handled by daily tasking and community wardens involve incidents of alcohol and/or drug use. (5,000 cases per annum). (Source- Renfrewshire Council )

Between 1 April 2019 and 31 January 2020, there was a 9.2% decrease in drug crimes overall. Conversely, during this period there was a 27.2% increase in supply of drug crimes. (Source - Police Scotland)

In 2019, 59.3 drug related crimes were recorded in Renfrewshire per 10,000 population, compared with a rate of 81.32 in 2009. (Source—SCOTPHO)

Of the 1,026 tests carried out when entering prison in 2016/17, 79% of people were positive for drugs (including drugs prescribed as part of a treatment programme) and 76% were positive for illegal drugs (including illicit use of prescribed drugs). (Source -Scottish Prison Service)

The Scottish Prison Service regular survey of prisoners suggests that around two-thirds of young people were under the influence of alcohol when they committed their most recent offence. Around 8 out of 10 had used drugs in the 12 months prior to entry to prison and half reported being under the influence of drugs at the time of their most recent offence. (Source - Scottish Prison Service)