Jargon Buster



Completely stopping the use of alcohol or other drug.


A condition that compels a person to satisfy their need for a particular stimulus and to keep satisfying it, no matter what, despite life damaging consequences. Addiction does not always entail dependence. Detoxification can result in the end of physical dependency whilst psychological dependency can persist.


A statutory, voluntary or private sector organisation providing services or some other intervention to address alcohol or other drug problems.


A beverage containing the psychoactive chemical ethanol, produced by fermentation of sugar. Alcohol has the potential to intoxicate the person consuming it dependant on the amount consumed and the physical and mental condition and wellbeing of the drinker.

Alcohol and Drug Partnership (ADP)

A multi agency component of the Aberdeenshire Community Planning Partnership providing strategic leadership for alcohol and drug issues.

Alcohol Brief Intervention (ABI)

A short, evidence-based, opportunistic structured conversation about alcohol with a client that seeks in a non-confrontational way to motivate and support them to think about or plan a change in their drinking behaviour to reduce consumption and risk or harm.

Alcohol Related Brain Damage (ARBD)

Various types of brain damage caused by heavy drinking and lack of proper nutrition (includes Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome and alcoholic dementia).


Binge Drinking

A pattern of consumption twice the sensible drinking limits on a person’s heaviest drinking day (8 or more units for men and 6 or more units for women in one session).

Blood Borne Virus (BBV)

A microscopic infectious agent transmitted through the exchange of blood or other bodily fluids. Includes Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), etc.



Someone who voluntarily helps another person who cannot manage without their support due to illness, fragility, disability or use of alcohol or other drugs.


The systematic process of specifying, choosing and monitoring services on the basis of identified need to deliver particular outcomes under contract or service level agreement.


A group of people with a common interest or identity, such as geographic, ethnic, cultural, religious, sexual orientation or health status.

Community Health Partnership (CHP)

The part of NHS Grampian charged with managing and delivering health services in Aberdeenshire and modernising them to improve health and reduce inequalities in health.

Community involvement

Communities helping to direct the decisions about services affecting their lives by sharing their views, experiences and ideas.

Community Planning Partnership (CPP)

A partnership of public and voluntary organisations working together with the community to deliver better services.

Community Safety Partnership (CSP)

A multi-agency partnership to improve the quality of life for those who live, work and visit Aberdeenshire by leading efforts to reduce crime, disorder, anti-social behaviour and to improve community safety and well-being.

Curriculum for Excellence

The brand name used in Scotland to describe a coherent, more flexible and enriched curriculum in nursery, primary and secondary schools.



Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics splits up Scotland into 6,505 areas representing about 500-1,000 households. These areas are called data zones and are the key geographies for disseminating government statistics and for supporting policy making.


A state where the body adapts to having a psychoactive substance present so that its ongoing use is necessary for normal physiological functioning and an increased dose is required to gain psychoactive effect. Discontinuation or rapid reduction of use produces withdrawal reactions and a decreased tolerance to ongoing use. Dependance does not always entail addiction. Detoxification can result in the end of dependency.


The process of coming off an addictive substance to be free of dependency and withdrawal symptoms. In treatment, normally medically supervised.

Diversionary Activity

Diversionary activities can be defined as activities and interventions that divert people towards social, organised or constructive activities and may be a route towards a more positive lifestyle.


A substance that has psychoactive properties. Drugs include legal substances such as over-the counter and prescription medicines, alcohol, tobacco, and ‘legal highs’. Other drugs such as opiates, psychostimulants, depressants, hallucinogens and steroids may be illegal to use and possess unless lawfully prescribed.


Early Intervention

Help offered as soon as possible when someone first shows signs of having difficulties to prevent the problem escalating and becoming more difficult to deal with later on.

Excluded Children

Children excluded from schools due to unacceptable, abusive or violent behaviour.


Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

A continuum of permanent birth defects caused by maternal consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. Women should not drink alcohol if pregnant or planning to become pregnant to eliminate the risk of FASD.


Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC)

A national approach to supporting and working with children and young people that aims to provide the best start in life and improve their life opportunities.


Harm Reduction

The philosophy of reducing harm caused by alcohol and other drugs without necessarily seeking abstinence. Approaches can include using needle exchanges, substituting prescribed methadone for street heroin, changing routes of use from injecting to smoking, or cutting down on the quantity of alcohol or other drugs consumed.

Harmful Drinking

A pattern of alcohol consumption probably causing mental, physical or social damage (typically over 50 units per week for men and over 35 for women).

Hazardous Drinking

A pattern of alcohol consumption beyond sensible drinking limits that may lead to harm in the future (typically between 22-50 units per week for men and between 15-35 units for women).

Health inequalities

Non-random variations in health or access to services between people due to their socio-economic status or other factors.

Healthy Working Lives (HWL)

An award programme that supports employers and employees in developing health promotion and safety themes in the worplace.


Performance targets in the NHS around the areas of Health improvement, Efficiency, Access and Treatment that reflect Ministers’ priorities.


Legal High

A class of psychoactive substances previously legal and now controlled under New Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

Licensing Board

A statutory body under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 responsible for determining applications for liquor sales.

Licensing Forum

A body established under law to enable the community to keep under review the operation of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 in its area and to give advice and make recommendations to the Licensing Board.


Mainstream Services

Using universal or services routinely available to the general public to deliver support rather than through narrowly available specialist services. Also known as generic services’.

Mutual Aid

A self-help group in which participants support each other in recovering or maintaining recovery from alcohol or other drug problems, or from the effects of another’s problems, without professional therapy or guidance.



The term for substances controlled under the New Psychoactive Substances Act 2016. Previously referred to as Legal Highs.



The sale of alcoholic drink for consumption off of the premises by a shop, off-licence or pub authorised to do so under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.


The sale of alcoholic drink for consumption on the premises by a pub or restaurant authorised to do so under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.


The identifiable impact on, or consequences for, individuals and the community due to the planned actions, interventions or services.


Excess availability or density of retail alcohol outlets associated with increased alcohol consumption and related health and social harms.



An agency working in cooperation with others as a member of the Alcohol and Drug Partnership to implement this strategy.


A collection of partner agencies with mutual understanding, parity of esteem and shared objectives founded to co-plan and share responsibility for service design to optimise outcomes for service users.

Peer Support

People provide emotional and practical help to each other who have a common experience or background.

Person Centred

An approach that puts the individual at the centre of assessment and care by directing the process of the basis of their views and wishes.


The use of more than one drug (alcohol included) often with the intention of enhancing or countering the effects of another drug.

Prescription Medicine

A drug that is legally available only with written instructions from a doctor or dentist to a pharmacist.


Information, advice or early detection and intervention to stop a problem or reduce its severity.

Problematic Use

The ongoing use of a substance despite persistent negative social, health or criminal justice consequences caused or exacerbated by the effects of the substance. Often, but not necessarily, associated with addiction. A less judgemental synonym of ‘substance misuse’.


Affecting mood, emotion, or state of consciousness and function of the brain.



A deeply personal, unique and voluntary journey of change to regain control and move towards a life free from addiction to become an active and contributing member of society.

Recovery Capital

The sum of internal and external resources to which an individual has access that can help promote and sustain recovery from addiction. Internal resources include: self esteem, confidence, resilience and hope. External resources include: access to suitable housing, employment, family, relationships and social support.

Recovery Community

Networks of people and activities such as peer-support and mutral aid that offer support for recovery from alcohol and other drug problems.

Recovery Orientated System of Care (ROSC)

A network of formal and informal services working together to help individuals sustain long term recovery.


The process of coming to terms with life without alcohol or other drugs through the development or use of recovery capital.


An individual or community’s capacity to cope with or overcome adversity or threatening circumstances that might otherwise harm their will-being. Protective factors such as coping strategies and recovery capital strengthen resilience.


Self Medicate

Use of alcohol or other drugs to help cope with enduring difficulties such as poor mental wellbeing or mental health problems.

Sensible Drinking

A pattern of responsible drinking within sensible drinking limits that does not cause problems to the drinker or those around them.

Sensible Drinking Limits

Whilst no amount of alcohol is fully safe, sensible less likely to cause harm for men and women is 14 units per week spread across 3 or more days and including at least 2 alcohol free days.

Substance Misuse Service

Any statutory, voluntary or community based agency that provided a mechanism of support, care or motivation to address alcohol or other drug use.

Service user

A person who uses any service.

Single Outcome Agreement (SOA)

The means by which the Community Planning Partnership agrees their strategic priorities for Aberdeenshire. The SOA expresses those priorities as outcomes to be delivered by the partners, while showing how those outcomes should contribute to the Scottish Government’s national Outcomes.

Social Norm

The pattern of behaviour in a particular group, community or culture, accepted as normal and to which an individual is expected to conform.


The negative effects of a discriminatory label placed on individuals or groups often to the disadvantage of those individuals or groups.


Consideration of the widest possible set of factors (the “big picture”) and broadly defined long term goals to address a particular problem.


A collective term for materials with a psychoactive effect such as alcohol, other drugs and solvents.


Tiered Interventions

Tier 1: Information, brief interventions and referral to other services provided by mainstream community services.

Tier 2: Open access alcohol and other drug services (offering extended interventions, advice, harm reduction and referral to specialist services).

Tier 3: Referral only specialist community based structured alcohol or other drug services.

Tier 4: Highly specialist and residential services.


Needing a higher dose of a substance to attain the same effect.


Unit of alcohol

The standard UK measurement of alcohol content where one unit equals 10ml (~8g) of ethanol. A half pint of 3.5% ABV beer, one 25ml measure of 40% ABV spirit or a small glass (125ml) of 8% ABV wine equals one unit.



Being more at risk of harm than others.



A state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Whole Population Approach

An approach to reduce alcohol consumption and risk of alcohol related disease across a population. If average population consumption is reduced then average consumption falls for everyone and the number of those drinking at harmful levels will fall as a consequence. If everyone’s alcohol harm risk falls, the heaviest drinkers benefit most.


A variety of symptoms that occur after chronic use of alcohol or some other drugs is reduced or stopped.

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