Quantitative estimates of the current and future burden of hepatitis C virus (HCV) disease are required to plan a public health response to the HCV epidemic with regard to both prevention and treatment. A forward projection model was used to estimate the numbers of both current and former injecting drug users (IDUs) who acquired HCV and progressed to moderate and severe disease in Glasgow and Scotland during 1960-2030. The model was designed to synthesize information on the incidence and cessation of injecting drug use, the incidence of HCV infection among IDUs, the rate of HCV disease progression, and the annual number of IDUs developing HCV-related decompensated cirrhosis. During 2003, a total of 17,400 and 42,900 HCV-infected IDUs were estimated in Glasgow and Scotland, respectively; this compares with approximately 5,000 and 13,900 diagnosed, respectively, and 13,200 and 32,200 with chronic HCV, respectively. The number of IDUs developing HCV-related decompensated cirrhosis in Scotland is estimated to double between 2000 and 2020. As many as 16% and 27% of former IDUs in 2005 aged 30-39 and 40-49 years, respectively, were estimated to have moderate disease, which highlights the potential benefit of targeting HCV testing at former IDUs who belong to these age groups. In conclusion, the identification and treatment of a larger proportion of former IDUs with HCV disease and education about the importance of minimal alcohol consumption are needed to help achieve a greater impact on the future morbidity and mortality of this disease.