Drug treatment options - adult services

If you or someone you know wants to get support with drugs, there's lots of help available. 

Here are some of the common treatment options for people with drug problems, along with information on how they can help you to change your life.

Your options

Everyone’s recovery from an addiction to drugs is different. The best course of treatment for you will depend on your experiences and your situation.

All of our services are slightly different, so please contact your local service directly to discuss the support that's right for you. Typically, your options will include:

Making changes yourself

If you're not at risk of withdrawal, you can take steps to cut down or quit drugs yourself. We have put together a list of steps you can take to address your drug use and make positive changes.

How to cut down your drug use 

If you use drugs every day and notice unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you're not taking drugs, you shouldn't stop using suddenly. It can cause harmful withdrawal symptoms. Get in touch with your local treatment service to arrange a safe detox.

Groups and meetings

Joining a recovery group or attending regular meetings is a good option for anyone looking to get help with drugs. Making positive changes in your life is always easier when you have other people to support you.

Read about peer support 

Groups can be helpful in the time between first seeking help, and getting further treatment such as a prescription or detox.

There are groups for people struggling with an addiction to any drug, and some take different approaches to others. Groups like SMART recovery use therapy that focuses on thoughts and behaviour. Others, like Narcotics Anonymous and Cocaine Anonymous, are more about peer support from other people with similar experiences.

There are also online groups like Breaking Free Online. You can find more groups and support options further down this page.


If you’re dependent on heroin or another opioid, you might get a prescription for medication-assisted treatment such as methadone or buprenorphine. You can use this medication to help you cut down or stop using.

If you come to one of our services and decide medication is the right option for you, we will work with you to make sure you are on the right dose.

A doctor will give you a titration plan. This is to stop you having unpleasant withdrawal symptoms while you work towards stabilising on the ideal dose. 

Once you are on the ideal dose, the doctor will work with you to decide how long you should be on the medication for. You can then work together to create a safe reduction plan with the aim of a detox, if that's your goal. 

We understand that recovery isn't everyone's goal. We will only suggest reducing or stopping medication-assisted treatment if you are ready and it's safe. 

Speak to your doctor to find out more about medication, or get in touch with your local service.


A drug detox will help you to either switch safely from a drug to a medication, or come off drugs altogether. The detox will be part of a bigger recovery plan, and a medical professional will manage and guide you through it.

This might be an in-patient treatment at a service or medical facility, or it could be something you do at home. You might be given medication to help you with the detox, and the withdrawal in particular.

A detox isn’t the end of treatment – it’s usually the beginning of your recovery. You’ll probably need to follow it up with regular support, whether that’s one-to-one meetings, counselling, or joining a support group.


Drug rehab is an option for people who are already drug-free. It involves spending time as an in-patient at a rehab clinic, where you'll be encouraged to talk to other people and discuss your experiences. 

The aim of rehab is to understand what led you to where you are now, and your reasons for using drugs, so that you can stay drug-free. 

It can last for up to six months, but you'll get lots of help and support all the way through. 

Our services in Scotland

We don’t prescribe any medication at our Scottish services, but we work closely with partners in the NHS. We will make sure you can access any prescribing and other health services you need to reach your goals.


Other organisations that can help