About Pathfinder

Pathfinder is a service for people with problematic drug use. We take referrals from Police Scotland for individuals arrested or cautioned for Class A or C drug use and work with them through a community outreach model to provide support and to connect them with community organisations that can aid their recovery.

Where we work

The first stage of the Pathfinder project is based in Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. We are taking a quality improvement approach to this programme and alongside the provision of consistent support will run tests of change to continually improve the service as it develops.


We will work with a range of partners in Highland including Police Scotland, the Highland Drug and Alcohol Partnership, The Highland Community Justice Partnership, The Inverness Custody Navigators and a wide range of statutory and third sector services in the community.

Drug deaths in Highland

In 2019 24 people in NHS Highland lost their lives to drugs. 23 of these deaths involved an opiate drug, 9 also involved a benzodiazepine, most commonly etizolam, and 4 also involved cocaine. 20 were recorded as 'accidental self-poisoning'. Pathfinder is funded by the Scottish Drugs Deaths Taskforce and aims to tackle this issue in the areas we work.

Other related factors

We recognise that drug issues rarely arise alone. We know that many people who are addicted to drugs have significant trauma in their background. We also know that violence is never far away. Pathfinders take a trauma informed approach and will support people to address trauma in their lives. We will also work with partners to support them to safer lives free from violence.

From HADP & partners

The Highland Alcohol and Drugs Partnership along with a range of other partners has recently launched the HOPE app. Created with input from people with lived experience it contains a wealth of information on overdose prevention. The app can be dowloaded from the App Store or Android.

In the news

Pathfinder recently featured in an article in the Press and Journal