Substance use amongst inpatients on mental health wards: practical guide for mental health services

Guidance for NHS health boards providing inpatient mental health services on responding to substance use on mental health wards. This should be used in conjunction with existing local guidance for responding to substance use incidents on inpatient wards.

4. Principles

This guidance has been designed to support a safe response to substance use on inpatient wards and to align with Scottish Government policy and public health efforts to promote harm reduction and support recovery.

To provide effective care and treatment, all services must take a person-centred, trauma-informed approach to mental health and substance use, and should provide treatment in a safe and therapeutic environment, free from prejudice and stigma which is aligned with the principles of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003.

These principles should also be balanced carefully with an assessment of risk, including the risk of harm to the patient, risk of untreated substance use, or risk to other patients and staff on the ward. The speed of response and any subsequent decisions made in response to an incident from all agencies involved should be firmly rooted in this assessment.



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