MAT Standards

What is the Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Standards?

Evidence based standards to enable the consistent delivery of safe, accessible, high-quality drug treatment across Scotland. These are relevant to people and families accessing or in need of services, and health and social care staff responsible for delivery of recovery oriented systems of care.

The Drug Deaths Taskforce was set up in September 2019 and prioritised the introduction of standards for Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) to help reduce deaths, and other harms, and to promote recovery. The standards provide a framework to ensure that MAT is sufficiently safe, effective, acceptable, accessible and person centered to enable people to benefit from treatment for as long as they need.

Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) Opioid Substitution Therapy, or OST, are the medicines which are used to treat opioid dependence. The main OST medicines used are buprenorphine and methadone. Diamorphine is also available in the specialist Enhanced Drug Treatment Service in Glasgow. Opioids act on nerve cells in the brain to block pain messages and boost feelings of pleasure. At lower doses they can make you sleepy. But at higher doses they can slow your breathing and heart rate which can lead to death. Over time, with continued use, you will develop:
  • Tolerance – when you need more of the drug to achieve the same effect.
  • Dependence – you need to take opioids to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
  1. All people accessing services have the option to start MAT from the same day of presentation.
  2. All people are supported to make an informed choice on what medication to use for MAT, and the appropriate dose.
  3. All people at high risk of drug-related harm are proactively identified and offered support to commence or continue MAT.
  4. All people are offered evidence based harm reduction at the point of MAT delivery.
  5. All people will receive support to remain in treatment for as long as requested.
  6. The system that provides MAT is psychologically informed (tier 1); routinely delivers evidence-based low intensity psychosocial interventions (tier 2); and supports individuals to grow social networks.
  7. All people have the option of MAT shared with Primary Care.
  8. All people have access to independent advocacy and support for housing, welfare and income needs.
  9. All people with co-occurring drug use and mental health difficulties can receive mental health care at the point of MAT delivery.
  10. All people receive trauma informed care.



  • People can get a prescription or other treatment support they request on the day they present to any part of the service. People have the right to involve others, such as a family member or nominated person(s) to support them in their journey throughout their care. Staff will help people to do this if they choose this form of support.
  • People are informed of independent advocacy services that are available and feel able to use them to discuss the issues that matter to them.
  • People are aware that treatment is not conditional on abstinence from substances or uptake of other interventions.
  • People who have stopped accessing MAT or who have undergone detox are supported to easily come back into services for the care they need.
  • If people miss appointments, services do not discharge them and actively get in touch to find out what people need to continue in treatment.
  • People are made aware that abstinence is offered as a choice along with other treatment options.
  • People will be given information and advice on recovery opportunities within their community.
  • People can expect support from community pharmacists, dentists and GPs as part of their care plan, including being able to ask to move their drug treatment to their GP when appropriate.
  • People are clear about what choices are available to them throughout their journey through services and are aware of their right to make their own decisions about their care plan.
  • People feel listened to and involved in all decisions. They understand the different medication options available, including appropriate dose options.
  • People feel able to talk about and review the choices they have made with their worker at any time. They have support if they choose from advocacy or a family member or nominated person(s) and are encouraged to do so.
  • People feel able to provide feedback, including complaints, to the service on the way they have been treated, through formal or informal channels.
  • People can expect a service that is welcoming and treats them with dignity and respect, working with them to improve their health and wellbeing.
  • People can get treatment and care for as long as they want to.
  • People can expect that different organisations will work together to meet their needs and that information about them will be shared and stored appropriately.
  • People feel involved in the design, delivery and evaluation of MAT services.
  • The service will ensure people are aware of their right to have someone, such as a family member or nominated person(s), to support them while they are in MAT and staff will actively assist and support people who choose this option.
  • Family members or nominated person(s) are welcomed at visits and treated with dignity and respect. Their own experiences and points of view are acknowledged and valued when people request that they attend.
  • Family members or nominated person(s) feel involved in choices about care plans and are encouraged to support the person in following their treatment plan.
  • Family member or nominated person(s) are confident that if they contact a service with immediate concerns for the safety of their loved ones, or themselves, or of those around them, including children, they will receive appropriate and timely support.
  • There are clear pathways that enable family members or nominated person(s) to use independent advocacy to raise concerns if, for example, they feel they have not been fully informed in decisions about the persons care.
  • Family members or nominated person(s) have a named worker as a main point of contact with services and are confident that services are working together and sharing information appropriately.
  • Family members or nominated person(s) feel involved in the design, delivery and evaluation of MAT services.
  • Family members or nominated person(s) feel able to provide feedback, including complaints, to the service on care planning and treatment, through informal or formal channels.
The Inverclyde Alcohol and Drug Partnership has an ambition to improve partnership working across community and justice settings, establishing how to replicate some of the good work already done within the community, in more restrictive environments. Our aim is to learn in partnership with key stakeholders who are a part of justice journeys and recognise that families, people accessing service and service providers will have major contributions to our learning as we begin to map justice systems and pathways to prepare for improvement action.

For all additional information on the MAT Standards. Please visit Medication Assisted Treatment for Scotland. Access, Choice, Support.

Progress on the implementation can be found in the national benchmarking reports. 

Each area is rated on their progress against each Standard annually.

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