Date of prep: December 2020
Prescribing information and
adverse events reporting
For healthcare professionals only
The Scottish Drug Deaths Taskforce has made a number of recommendations to the Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing relating to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The aims of these objectives are to reduce harms and deaths amongst people who use drugs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following are the key issues and recommendations from the Drug Death Taskforce to the Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing to mitigate harms from COVID-19-related service disruption and decline in the context of the existing drug-related deaths crisis.
Write to Health Boards and Health and Social Care Partnerships
There is a need to highlight the importance of maintaining service-level provision of drug and alcohol services during the COVID-19 outbreak and to plan for additional capacity to these services on the basis of public health surveillance.
Protect harm reduction and treatment staff from redeployment
This is to ensure workforce capacity for injecting equipment provision (IEP), opioid substitution therapy (OST) and take-home naloxone (THN) delivery and ensure non-fatal overdose follow-up pathways are maintained. These services add value to necessary COVID-19 response measures as well as mitigate unintended consequences, and so prevent additional burden on the NHS.
Consider people who use drugs (PWUD) as a priority group
Levels of supervision of OST
Provision of Naloxone
This should be reviewed as a matter of urgency to ensure they contain the range of licensed, approved OST medicines (methadone, buprenorphine in its various forms, including injectable long-acting preparations) so that there is equity of provision and choice for patients and prescribers.
Laboratory facilities e.g. for oral fluid testing and oral toxicology testing needs to be maintained to ensure treatment is optimal.
Homeless population who have substance problems
Public Health Surveillance
There is a need for public health surveillance and the need for real-time information and data should be prioritised. This includes information on the impact of COVID-19 on drug-related deaths, but also the impact on illicit drug supplies and levels of quality. This will better enable Health Boards, ADPs and service providers to provide a suitable response.
This circular is being shared under the Open Government Copyright licence.
Pharmacy in Practice is a UK pharmacy publication with its roots in Scotland.