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Salvation Army Centre for Addiction Services and Research

Salvation Army Centre

The Salvation Army Centre for Addiction Services and Research was established in February 2017 to take forward the Salvation Army (TSA) Drug and Alcohol Strategy (SDAS) through collaborative working between TSA and the Faculty of Social Sciences in the University of Stirling. 

Within the Centre, the University of Stirling will deliver the following:

  • new, interdisciplinary research on addictions and on interventions that can prevent related problems for individuals, families and communities
  • research on the impact of TSA services
  • research synthesis through literature reviews, practice reviews and knowledge exchange activities
  • dissemination of new and synthesized research through publication, including on-line publication
  • policy analysis and policy briefing to inform the work of the Salvation Army
  • education through accredited university programmes
  • training for front line Salvation Army workers through cascaded training, short courses, workshops and stand-alone accredited modules


Key staff

Dr Tessa Parkes (Centre Director)

Dr Joanna Miler (Knowledge Exchange Fellow)

Tania Browne (Research Assistant)

Dr Rebecca Foster (SHARPS Research Fellow)

Dr Maria Fotopoulou (Lecturer in Criminology)

Dr Hannah Carver (Lecturer in Substance Use)

Professor Catriona Matheson (Professor in Substance Use)

Dr Mary Ondiek (Knowledge exchange Assistant)

Laura Mitchell (Operations and Development Manager)

Dr Peter McCulloch (Research Fellow)

PhD students

Andriana Manta

Hazel Booth

Tracey Price

Wendy Masterton

Current Projects

Details of current projects can be found via the sections below.

The Drugs Research Network Scotland (DRNS), which is hosted by the Centre, is an interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral and multi-institutional collaboration that aims to develop a Scottish drugs research strategy that will build capacity, maximise research investment and deliver robust and high quality research evidence to inform policy and practice relevant to problem drug use and recovery in Scotland. Read more on the Drugs Research Network Scotland website.

We are conducting  several knowledge syntheses relating to problem substance use and homelessness:

  • We have recently completed a meta-ethnography to examine what constitutes effective problem substance use treatment from the point of view of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. We synthesised primary qualitative research to gain a deeper understanding of the components of effective treatment for problem alcohol and drug use from the perspective of the service user and developed a model/framework which conceptualises these components. Read more about this research.
  • We have also recently completed a systematic state-of-the-art review to examine the use of peer support models within services for people impacted by homelessness and problem substance use. We synthesised 62 international papers to compare and contrast the study findings and identify the key learning points. Read this review.
  • We are also conducting a realist review of harm reduction interventions for those experiencing homelessness. The aim of this review is to synthesise qualitative and quantitative literature to gain an understanding of the components, mechanisms, contexts and outcomes of harm reduction interventions. 


National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funding was awarded in 2018 for a two year feasibility and acceptability study to develop and test the use of a peer-to-peer (using Peer ‘Navigators’) relational intervention. The study aims to develop, implement and evaluate key features of a peer-delivered, relational intervention drawing on psychologically informed environments. The intervention, delivered by ‘Peer Navigators’, focuses on providing trusting and supportive relationships, engaging with, and then actively supporting, people who are homeless to address a range of health and social issues on their own terms. The study is progressing well and findings will be available following the end of the study in April 2020. Read the full study protocol.

The study explores the merits and challenges of an intervention to reduce drug-related deaths among those prescribed strong opioids for chronic-non cancer pain (CNCP). The current medical response to an opioid-related overdose is the administration of injectable Naloxone. Naloxone is a short-acting opioid receptor antagonist which reverses the potentially fatal effects of opioid overdose. Naloxone is available under the Scottish Take-Home Naloxone National Programme to anyone at risk of overdosing on opioids but is not currently widely distributed within the CNCP population. The intervention would involve an intra-nasal naloxone package, including information and education for recipients and family members. It would be delivered by community pharmacists.

To identify and understand these merits and challenges, the research team are speaking with the following key groups: community pharmacists, people who have been prescribed strong opioids for CNCP, and family members of people prescribed strong opioids for CNCP. Another strand of the study is a service improvement data collection exercise to assess the potential size of the population at risk of DRD. On the basis of study findings, a bespoke intervention will be developed. The findings will be used to inform further research and service delivery. The study involves partnerships with NHS Fife, the University of St Andrews and Glasgow Caledonian University. It is funded by an NHS Fife Research and Development bursary.

Funding has been awarded by Society for the Study of Addiction for a knowledge exchange project to explore the ‘Youth in Iceland Model (YiIM)’ in Scotland. The YiIM model (now Planet Youth) was developed in Iceland in the 1990s and is a community-based approach which aims to prevent young people’s substance use through reducing risk factors and increasing protective factors. Key components are parents, organised extracurricular/recreational activities, schools, and the central involvement of young people. Schools are encouraged to strengthen supportive networks between themselves, parents, and other community organisations. The approach has resulted in significant reductions in young people’s substance use over the last 20 years. Planet Youth has been adapted in more than 30 countries worldwide.

This project aims to specifically explore whether the YiIM is applicable to a Scottish context/city by bringing together a diverse group of people in Dundee. Several small group meetings are being held during 2020 to explore the evidence to determine if the YiIM could be developed for/implemented in Dundee. The group includes individuals NHS Tayside Public Health, Police Scotland, Dundee City Council Education, Leisure and Culture Dundee, Dundee Alcohol and Drug Partnership, a young person/comic artist and a family member. Project outputs will include a broadcast quality video and comic book style briefings.

Chief Scientist Office (CSO) funding was awarded for a six month scoping study to establish whether there is a case to develop Managed Alcohol Programmes (MAPs) in Scotland. MAPs are programmes where alcohol is provided in measured, regular doses throughout the day as a harm reduction intervention. They are targeted at people who experience homelessness and problem alcohol use who find it hard to engage with higher threshold (harder to access and be retained in) addictions services. Several studies of MAPs in Canada have had promising results, with participants experiencing fewer withdrawal seizures; reduced alcohol-related harms; improvements in relationships, quality of life, wellbeing and safety; ability to retain their housing throughout the study period; and evidence of cost-benefits.

This study involved qualitative interviews with stakeholders/commissioners; service managers/staff in third sector organisations; and with those who meet the criteria for MAPs to ascertain their views on their potential. Case note review was also conducted to scope the target eligible population in terms of the number of people who need or would benefit from this type of service. The findings from this study can be found here.

A review is being conducted, funded by Health Research Board Ireland, with colleagues in Liverpool John Moores University, to examine the evidence of drug treatment for people who are homeless and examines the evidence of effective interventions in the areas of engagement, retention, and treatment outcomes. The evidence review will comprise two parts: the first part will present a description of current services in Ireland in primary care, mental health, and drug treatment settings for homeless people who use drugs; the second part will be a review of reviews providing a systematic evaluation of the international evidence regarding interventions aiming to address the needs of this population.

See beyond. See the lives (#SeeTheLives) is an anti-stigma campaign developed by researchers from University of Alberta, University of British Columbia and University of Calgary along with the leaders of two prominent Canadian parent advocacy organisations who represent families affected by substance use. #SeeTheLives is a series of four short videos which feature three parents whose child’s death was related to substance use and one parent who has lost a child to suicide. By reading very personal letters written to their children, these four parents share intimate stories about their loved ones, express their experiences with stigma, and offer insights into what needs to change to address substance use and mental health ( The aim of this project is to the develop a Scottish version of the #SeeTheLives campaign in Canada, involving family members affected by the death of a loved one to alcohol, drugs or those who have died as a result of poly-substance use (both alcohol and drugs). This project is being conducted in collaboration with Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs (SFAD) and Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), with funding being provided by SHAAP. The first stage of the project will involve a workshop for family members, and then the creation of videos for the website. The website will contain videos of four family members reading their letters and the full letters and resources will also be provided. The website will also contain additional letters written by those who attended the workshop

Previous Projects

Between November 2017 and May 2018, we hosted three inter-connected knowledge exchange events which brought together a diverse group of interested participants to identify the key issues in relation to homelessness and problem substance use in Scotland. During these events explored innovative local, national and international approaches and facilitated dialogue regarding needs, opportunities and the current appetite for change in this area. We have gained follow-up funding to host an event for policymakers in early 2019. Read the final report and watch our video with further information.

Homelessness health and harm reduction briefing 

Online Library

The University of Stirling has been home to Scottish Addiction Studies (SAS) for 32 years, providing high quality teaching and research in the addictions. Originally intended for our own online students, the SAS Library was made generally available in 2001 and is currently undergoing an overhaul so that it can continue to provide an invaluable resource in all aspects of substance use and recovery, to students, practitioners, policy-makers and the academic community. SACASR staff are updating the Scottish Addiction Studies Online Library which is now running an improved webhost/updated management system and contains over 1000 thematically organised searchable documents. You can access the library here.

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If you are interested in finding out more about the Centre and/or would like to contact the team then you can email or telephone 01786 467750.