The role of GPs and primary care in the prevention of drug deaths in the wake of COVID-19 will be explored by a University of the West of Scotland (UWS) academic.

The study, led by Dr Aileen O’Gorman, Programme Leader of Contemporary Drug and Alcohol Studies at UWS, will examine the role of primary care teams in areas of extreme deprivation in responding to drug-related harm and deaths, post COVID-19.

UWS is one of ten research projects approved by the Drug Death Task Force from the £1 million research fund established to inform the work of the Taskforce, set up by the Scottish Government last year to tackle rising numbers of drug deaths.


Dr O’Gorman said: “People who live in the most deprived areas of Scotland are at high risk of death from drug overdoses and other serious health conditions including COVID-19.

“Through complex systems mapping and interviews with GPs, patients, family members and health and social care providers, this collaborative project will provide an opportunity to explore opportunities for improvement in primary care support for patients and wider communities.”

The award winning research team includes: Dr Aileen O’Gorman, UWS (Principal Investigator); Professor Anne Whittaker (University of Stirling); Professor Roy Robertson and Professor Stewart Mercer (University of Edinburgh); Dr Alison Munro and Dr Andrea Mohan (University of Dundee); Professor Betsy Thom (Middlesex University); and two people with lived experience of addiction who will help the team deliver the project and disseminate the findings to communities affected by drug use, practitioners and policymakers.

Find out more about the Scottish Government research projects here.

Find out more about UWS Contemporary Drug and Alcohol Studies here.