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New Bid to Track Drug and Drink Problems

A TWO-year project to develop more effective systems for monitoring people with drug and alcohol problems is being launched today by Dundee University.
The SUMIT (Substance Misuse Information - Tayside) project is a £300,000 scheme being funded through NHS Tayside and the Alcohol and Drug Partnerships in Dundee, Angus and Perth and Kinross.
The aim is to develop a collaborative approach across agencies and improve the management of information about the thousands of patients involved in alcohol and drug care and treatment across Tayside.
The project leader, Dr Brian Kidd, a senior lecturer in Addiction Psychiatry at the university, said information relating to patients with substance misuse problems was frequently disjointed and not helping to deliver an effective service.
"Good quality information on substance misuse has previously been very hard to get your hands on," said Dr Kidd. "We are dealing with a large and complex population who often have problems across a number of areas including their health, social circumstances, childcare, criminal justice and unemployment.
"All of that activity throws up a wide array of information and what we will be doing with this project is finding the best way to join all of that up in a sensible way."
He added: "The end result for patients and authorities is that it will allow us to plan care more effectively based on need, ensure a higher-quality service, direct resources in a more cost-effective manner and get better outcomes for everyone."
Dr Kidd said approximately 4,000 people in Tayside were being treated for drug misuse problems, and many more with alcohol abuse problems.
"There are ambitious and expansive national strategies to try and tackle (substance misuse]," he said. "We need to develop much better information management at the local level."