Certificate in the Management of Problem Drug Use

Certificate overview

RCGP Scotland has re-launched it's well-regarded two-part course designed to assist primary care professionals help and care for people affected by drug use. The revised course focuses on a holistic approach to helping people who use drugs, their families and communities, including new priorities and changes in management and treatment. The ethos of the course is to promote reducing harm and drug deaths within a recovery focused framework.

RCGP Scotland has received funding from the Scottish Government to deliver this certificate at a heavily subsidised rate for primary care professionals working in Scotland. Building on the success of the previous courses, this updated certificate reflects the changing picture of problem drug use in Scotland and new priorities in management and treatment.

Part One consists of an e-module provided by SLD Training and two half day online sessions for people working at a generalist level and those intending to provide treatment as part of a locally or nationally enhanced service. This can be completed in isolation or used as an introduction to Part Two.

Part Two aims to allow participants to develop additional competencies relevant to, and suitable for, care and treatment interventions at a specialist level. Participants must complete Part One (or an equivalent qualification) prior to applying for Part Two.

Target audience:

This course is open to all professionals working in Primary Care in Scotland including, but not limited to:

  • GPs
  • Practice/Community Nursing Staff
  • Pharmacists
  • Prison healthcare staff
  • Third sector Workers in clinical settings
  • Allied Health Professionals

The course will be delivered remotely in 2021/2022

Part one

Suitable for those working at a generalist level and those intending to provide treatment as part of a locally or nationally enhanced service.  Part One includes completion of a national e-module followed by two half day interactive online sessions. This is an introduction to the certificate and can be taken as a standalone course or as a prelude to Part Two. Those who have already completed Part One (or an equivalent qualification) can apply directly for Part Two.  

E-module to be completed online (before first session)

The next course will take place in November 2022

Cost: £50

To register your interest please contact drugsmisuse@rcgp.org.uk


To support the aims of the new Scottish Drugs strategy – Harm reduction, Reduce Stigma, Drug Death Prevention. In addition, the course will introduce participants to the basic principles of care for people who use drugs.


Participants will gain knowledge of practical harm reduction, drug death prevention, medication assisted treatment (e.g. methadone, buprenorphine), support for families and children and recovery journeys.

Participants are required to complete an e-module  before the beginning of the training and provide a certification of completion. This will be provided by SLD Training. A link to complete this module will be send to all participants within in three weeks of booking.

Part two

The current certificate will be delivered over six months from March 2022 – September 2022

The next certificate will be delivered in spring 2023

Cost: £200

To register your interest please contact drugsmisuse@rcgp.org.uk

Part Two Course Overview

Available to people who have completed the Part One (or an approved equivalent) this is an in depth course delivered over 6 months using tutor led small groups to encourage self -directed learning and change in practice in the field of care for people affected by drug use.

The course is equivalent to 55 hours of CPD over 6 months including attendance on online sessions and tutor led sessions as well as self-directed learning and Quality Improvement activities. The course is assessed by submission of a portfolio of evidence and discussion about this with the personal tutor. The Certificate is awarded when this submission is assessed by the examination panel.

Undertaking the Part 2 is a rewarding, but significant commitment and participants must be confident that they will be able to complete the work before enrolling. Where appropriate support from line management should be sought to allow designated time to complete the work.


Part Two aims to allow participants to develop additional competencies relevant to, and suitable for, care and treatment interventions at a specialist level. Completion of this Certificate will equip participants to be competent in the holistic management of people affected by drug use in their clinical setting.


Participants will gain in depth knowledge of evidence-based management of people with problem drug and their families with an emphasis on incorporating this into their practice. Areas covered will including prescribing medication assisted treatment, delivering harm reduction interventions, recognising and managing risk of drug related death, supporting families and protecting children, managing multi-morbidity in people who use drugs and supporting the recovery journey.


  • Participants will attend virtual and tutor led half day sessions (4)
  • Use significant research papers to inform prepare a presentation for their tutor group
  • Produce a 1500 word essay on a chosen topic 
  • Undertake a Quality Improvement (QI) activity in their practice and arrange a virtual field visit to another organisation working in the field 

Provisional Course timetable

February 2022- Receive course materials (3 hours commitment)

  • Familiarise yourself with the learning materials, course structure and assessment process.
  • Preparatory reading for NTD

March 2022 - In Person National Training Day (6 hours commitment)

  • Participation at one day in person event scheduled for 04 March 2022 based in Stirling
  • Travel subsistence available to eligible participants, further information will be provided to successful applicants.
  • Meet and work with your tutor and group

April 2022 onwards - Preparation for Tutor Led Sessions (6 hours commitment)

  • Preparatory reading
  • Submission of Discursive Essay to tutor (prior to Tutor Led Session 2)
  • In-depth review of one area of UK Clinical Guidelines 2017 and relevant research paper – prepare presentation
  • Begin Completion of Assessment Folder/Professional Development Plan (PDP)

Arranged by individual Tutors - Tutor Led Sessions 1 and 2 (6 hours commitment)

  • Prescribing and Social/Family
  • Presentations on Research Papers
  • Discussions based on case studies
  • Preparation for course assignments

May - July 2022 - Course assignments (25 hours commitment)

  • Field Visit (virtual)
  • Continuing completion of Assessment Folder including Service User Engagement, Drug Death Prevention and Prescribing Activity
  • Prepare and implement QI change project
  • Patient logbook
  • Structured reading in preparation for TLS 3 and 4

Arranged by individual Tutors - Tutor Led Sessions 3 and 4 (6 hours commitment)

  • Preventing Drug Deaths and QI Activity
  • Presentations on Research Papers (TLS3)
  • Poster presentation to group on QI projects (TLS4)
  • Discussion based on case studies

Arranged by individual Tutors - Assessment process (3 hours commitment)

  • Continue completion of Assessment Folder/ PDP, logbook and assessment report for submission to tutor
  • Assessment viva with tutor and signing off assessment report
  • Submission of Assessment Folder by candidate, to reach RCGP Scotland by specified date (candidates will be informed of date nearer to the time)

Mid September 2022 - Final Assessment board

Assessment Board meeting – candidates will be advised if any remedial work is necessary.

Total commitment: 55 hours

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