Drug Deaths Task Force: status update 30 March 2020

Status update from the Drug Deaths Task Force March 2020.

To members and stakeholders,

This short note is intended to update on the operations of the DDTF within the context of current Covid19 working environment:

The Task Force – like many other initiatives – is adapting to current working conditions. Both our working groups and our Leadership group have been meeting online to best continue our analysis and dissemination of evidence-based practice. We are taking care to balance our objective of pursuing a strategy that will reduce drug-related deaths with momentum and urgency, whilst giving Task Force members, health and justice services the scope to focus appropriately on immediate Covid19 priorities.  Furthermore we recognise Covid19 has implications for risk of Drug Related Deaths.

There are three key areas where we are particularly active and seeking to focus in the short term to mitigate any potential rise in risk of Drug Related Deaths as an indirect result of Covid19:

  • Naloxone Availability and Provision
    We will continue to raise awareness of the potential benefits of appropriate naloxone distribution and push for its wider availability.  The Scottish Ambulance service pilot continues and the Police Pilot scoping continues.
  • Medication Assisted Treatment
    With pharmacies across Scotland having to adopt to new working practices, and prescription collection becoming less frequent, we believe that the dispensing of consolidated MAT prescriptions could pose an increased risk. We are in touch with ADP’s clinicians and specialist pharmacists regarding this, and have given advice on best practice to mitigate risk.
  • Public Health Surveillance
    Again, our health services, particularly public health are under pressure with other demands right now, but the quality of information they can give in relation to cases of fatal and non-fatal overdose is invaluable is developing effective strategies to reduce DRD’s. We will continue to liaise with health colleagues as supportively as we can to access any available insights.
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