Outcomes map: Substance use and addiction

In this document, we break down the outcomes and indicators which can be used by social investors, charities, funders and social enterprises to measure the success of an intervention in tackling substance use and addiction.

An addiction is a ‘persistent, compulsive dependence on a behaviour or substance’. There are generally considered to be two forms of addiction: substance addiction (e.g. alcohol addiction, drug abuse or smoking) and process addictions (e.g. gambling, shopping, eating or sexual activity). At present, this overview covers outcomes related to substance addictions only. Process addiction will be explored at a later date.

It should be noted that not all consumption of addictive substances would be classified as an ‘addiction’ and that lower levels of consumption or, in some cases, ‘bingeing’ can also have important (usually negative) effects for a host of stakeholder groups. As such, this overview covers outcomes that are associated with general consumption of substances and is not limited to addictive behaviours only.


This is one of 13 outcomes maps produced by NPC in partnership with the SROI NetworkInvesting for Good and Big Society Capital. Each map examines a particular issue area or domain, and aims to document the relevant outcomes and indicators that are currently being measured by charities, government, academics and practitioners working in this field.

Click here to see all the titles in the series.