Preventing Drug Misuse Deaths

21 March 2017

New valuable information just released.

Recently published guidance from Public Health England (PHE) provides information on drug misuse deaths. Although the research does not include statistics for sexual orientation and gender identity, inequalities and mental health issues are cited as risk aggravators, and sexual health services as a secondary line of support, as quoted below:

 

PRIMARY AND SECONDARY CARE

Other services that will be in contact with people who might be misusing drugs include:

  • GPs
  • pharmacists
  • sexual health services
  • emergency departments

These should all be using simple, locally-agreed screening tools to identify people who could benefit from help. Having identified them, these services can then provide brief interventions that might change a person’s behaviour or put them in touch with their local drug treatment services.

Across healthcare, people who use drugs, as for any patient, should be provided with health screening and interventions that are appropriate to their age and health status. But people who use drugs may also need earlier and additional screening and interventions specific to the heightened risk of the many conditions that drug use causes or exacerbates.

Secondary healthcare services, in particular, need to make it easier for drug users to access their help. Some need get out into the community locations (such as drug services) where their patients are. Here they can make contact with, screen and assess potential patients, and perhaps provide treatment on site and, ultimately, save lives.