SMMGP - Substance Misuse Management Good Practice

Substance Misuse Management Good Practice

Supporting good practice in drug and alcohol treatment

SMMGP News Archives - 2009

Please note that the older the news item the more likely it is that details such as contact names and addresses, or links to 3rd party web sites, may have changed.

Top of Page
Divider

Fetal Alcohol Forum Newsletters Now Online

(Posted 21st December 2009)
The National Organisation on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - UK (NOFAS-UK) is dedicated to eliminating birth defects caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy and to improving the quality of life for children, adults, families, careres and communities affected by Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).

The Fetal Alcohol Forum is their "International Medical Network devoted to Fetal* Alcohol Spectrum Disorders".

With their kind permission, we have just added a Fetal Alcohol Forum Newsletters section to the Resource Library. This new section will hold editions of their Fetal Alcohol Forum Newsletter - the May and December 2009 editions are currently available.

For more information about NOFAS-UK and the Fetal Alcohol Forum, please see the NOFAS-UK website.

Top of Page
Divider

SMMGP September Policy Update Now Online

(Posted 14th December 2009)
The November 2009 SMMGP Policy Update is now available in the SMMGP Clinical & Policy Updates section.

The following items are covered:

If you would like to receive these SMMGP Updates via e-mail as soon as they are released, please join the SMMGP. Membership is completely free, you can join instantly online, and there are lots of benefits - see the Free SMMGP Membership Application page for more details.

Top of Page
Divider

New "Post-its from Practice" Section Open

(Posted 27th November 2009)
SMMGP Clinical Director Dr Chris Ford writes the regular "Post-its from Practice" articles for Drink & Drugs News (DDN) Magazine, with occasional input from other clinicians.

With kind permission from DDN, all past and future "Post-its from Practice" articles will now appear in the brand new Post-its from Practice section in the Resource Library.

Top of Page
Divider

RCGP: More Conference Presentations Now Online

(Posted 17th November 2009)
Fourteen more presentations and posters from the RCGP 14th National Conference, in Liverpool on 7-8th May 2009, have been added to the Conference Reports & Presentations section. They include:

Top of Page
Divider

SMMGP 4th National Conference Presentations Online

(Posted 16th November 2009)
The following presentations from the SMMGP 4th National Conference are now available from the Conference Reports & Presentations section in the Resource Library:

Top of Page
Divider

October SMMGP Clinical Update Now Online

(Posted 6th November 2009)
The October SMMGP Clinical Update is now available in the SMMGP Clinical & Policy Updates section in both online and downloadable versions.

If you would like to receive these Updates via e-mail as soon as they are released, please join the SMMGP. Membership is completely free, you can join instantly online, and there are lots of benefits - see the Free SMMGP Membership Application page for more details.

Top of Page
Divider

"Road to Recovery" Guardian Interview

(Posted 3rd November 2009)
Judith Yates, who works as a GP in Birmingham and is an SMMGP member who frequently posts on our online forums, was recently interviewed by the Guardian (28 October, "Road to Recovery" supplement) as part of a series of articles on drug treatment.

Judith's interview, and the client's journey she describes, eloquently highlights the many "primary" benefits of treating people within their own communities.

The supplement can be downloaded below in Adobe Acrobat PDF format:

Top of Page
Divider

27th Edition of "Network" Now Online

(Posted 31st October 2009)
Issue 27 of "Network", the SMMGP Newsletter, is now available to read online, download in Adobe Acrobat PDF format, or browse as a "digital publication" from the Newsletters section in the Resource Library.

The following items are now also available on the site to accompany this issue of Network:

If you would like to receive copies of Network via post and/or e-mail as soon as they are released, please join the SMMGP. Membership is completely free, you can join instantly online, and there are lots of benefits - see the Free SMMGP Membership Application page for more details.

Top of Page
Divider

NICE Consultation on Alcohol Disorders

(Posted 18th October 2009)
NICE is developing three pieces of guidance relating to alcohol use disorders (prevention) over the next two years - one public health (PH) document and two clinical guidelines (CG). Each piece of guidance will focus on a different element of the care pathway, from the prevention and early identification of alcohol use disorders through to the clinical management of acute alcohol withdrawal and alcohol-related liver disease and pancreatitis. The third piece of guidance will focus on the management of alcohol dependency and psychological interventions.

We're keen to get SMMGP Members' views on the first two NICE documents in this suite, scheduled for publication by May 2010, details of which can be found on the NICE web site by following the links below:

Please submit your comments on the draft clinical management guideline using the Consultation Comments Pro Forma document provided below (in Microsoft Word format):

Please let us have your comments by Friday 6th November 2009

Send your comments by e-mail to:

Elsa Browne
SMMGP Project Manager
E-mail: elsa.browne@nta-nhs.org.uk

Top of Page
Divider

Save DLA & AA: Have You Signed the No 10 Petition Yet?

(Posted 12th October 2009)
The following message is currently being circulated by Benefits and Work:

There is evidence from several reputable sources that Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Attendance Allowance (AA) are definitely under threat. We would strongly urge campaigners to sign the DLA and AA petition on the No 10 website, posted on 7 September by Peter Hand of Mencap.

So far it's collected 15,450 signatures and is the 13th largest petition on the site, which is not bad, but far short of what's needed.

We know lots of people are very sceptical about petitions on No 10 - they feel they achieve very little other than dismissive responses from civil servants. Some also don't like the fact that you're asked to give an email address and your home address.

However, the petition is up and running and, unless it gathers lots of support, it could be used as evidence that there's actually little concern about the future of DLA and AA.

Bear in mind that signing up to the Benefits and Work campaign is not like signing a petition - we aren't going to be passing on your details to anyone else. So the fact that almost 26,000 people have now signed up to the campaign can be ignored by politicians.

But politicians know that virtually every signature on a No 10 petition belongs to a voter and, with an election less than a year away, every signature really could make a difference.

So, please do sign the petition and spread word of it around forums and to people on your e-mail list.

Top of Page
Divider

SMMGP September Policy Update Now Online

(Posted 6th October 2009)
The September 2009 SMMGP Policy Update is now available in the SMMGP Clinical & Policy Updates section.

The following items are covered:

If you would like to receive these SMMGP Updates via e-mail as soon as they are released, please join the SMMGP. Membership is completely free, you can join instantly online, and there are lots of benefits - see the Free SMMGP Membership Application page for more details.

Top of Page
Divider

SMMGP Statement on Recovery

(Posted 13th Sep 2009)
We wish to make clear SMMGP's position on recovery and to emphasise the pivotal and on-going role of primary care in delivering recovery-oriented treatment. We note the renewed emphasis on the term 'recovery' in drug treatment, which is driven by both user-led initiatives and from the centre (e.g. Recovery Oriented Integrated Treatment Systems, Recovery Academy, NTA).

Last year SMMGP membership was consulted on the UK Drug Policy Commission (UKDPC) Recovery Consensus Statement and most members fully endorsed it.

The SMMGP Statement on Recovery can be found in the About Us section of the site.

Top of Page
Divider

August SMMGP Clinical Update Now Online

(Posted 7th September 2009)
The August SMMGP Clinical Update is now available in the SMMGP Clinical & Policy Updates section in both online and downloadable versions.

If you would like to receive these Updates via e-mail as soon as they are released, please join the SMMGP. Membership is completely free, you can join instantly online, and there are lots of benefits - see the Free SMMGP Membership Application page for more details.

Top of Page
Divider

Proposals to Modify NDTMS Codes - We Need Your Help!

(Posted 20th August 2009)
Proposals to modify the codes used to record the types of drug treatment being provided on the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS).

SMMGP recently received a request from Colin Bradbury, NTA Treatment delivery manager, to participate in a consultation exercise on the content of the 2010/11 National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) core data set for adult drug users in treatment.

We would like to present our collective organisational view and would therefore appreciate hearing your views on the subject. If you wish to, use the NTA form (below) or simply put your thoughts in an e-mail to us. We will then collate the information received from members and present a collective response to NTA.

For further information please see the covering letter and consultation guide below in Adobe Acrobat PDF format:

Please let us have your comments by Wednesday 30 September 2009

Send your comments by e-mail to:

Elsa Browne
SMMGP Project Manager
E-mail: elsa.browne@nta-nhs.org.uk

Top of Page
Divider

New Funding Opportunities from the NIHR Public Health Research Programme

(Posted 20th August 2009)
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Public Health Research programme - new funding opportunities now available...

Who we are and what we do
At the NIHR Public Health Research programme we have a budget of £10 million a year to identify and commission research into non-NHS public health interventions, aimed at improving the health of the public and reducing health inequalities.
We will seek to answer the questions that matter most to public and voluntary sector services by commissioning research into a broad range of interventions, with a focus on effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.
We are now accepting research proposals to both our workstreams: commissioned, in response to a specific research questions and researcher-led, where researchers propose the topics.

Commissioned call for proposals
We are launching our commissioned workstream with applicants invited to submit outline proposals on the following research questions:

Research Question (Reference 09/3003): What types of injecting and non-injecting equipment can effectively and cost effectively reduce the harm associated with injecting drug use? (primary research)

Research Question (Reference 09/3004): What is the relative effectiveness and cost effectiveness of home based support programmes in improving the mental well being of older people living in their own homes? (primary research)

To find out more about how to apply and download the full commissioning briefs visit the Public Health Research programme's website.

The deadline for submitting proposals to both these commissioning briefs is Wednesday 9 September 2009, before 1pm.

Researcher-led call for proposals
The next cut-off date for submitting researcher-led outline proposals is Wednesday 23 September 2009, before 1pm. Potential applicants should visit the Public Health Research programme's website for further information and guidance on the programme and the application process.

Suggest a research topic
We welcome suggestions of public health topic that requires further research. Anyone can make a suggestion online at: www.phr.ac.uk/suggest.

Contact us
NETSCC, Public Health Research, Alpha House
University of Southampton Science Park SO16 7NS
Tel: 023 8059 9695
E-mail: info@phr.ac.uk
Web: www.phr.nihr.ac.uk

Top of Page
Divider

Appointment of SMMGP Clinical Update Writer

(Posted 14th August 2009)
SMMGP announces with pleasure the appointment of Dr Euan Lawson as our Clinical Update writer. Euan is a substance misuse GP with wide experience in the field. He is currently based in Lancashire and is also a part time tutor at Lancaster University. Keep a look out for Euan's first clinical update soon and - a warm welcome to Euan!

You can find the SMMGP Clinical Updates in the SMMGP Clinical & Policy Updates section in both online and downloadable versions.

If you would like to receive these Updates via e-mail as soon as they are released, please join the SMMGP. Membership is completely free, you can join instantly online, and there are lots of benefits - see the Free SMMGP Membership Application page for more details.

Top of Page
Divider

RCGP: Certificate in the Management of Alcohol Problems in Primary Care

(Posted 10th August 2009)
Alcohol is the drug of choice for many people in Britain, with more than 85% of the population consuming it regularly. It is a widely available, cheap and an integral part of most western societies. Whilst most people drink responsibly at low risk levels, the damage that is done to health and society by excessive alcohol consumption is far greater and more widespread compared to any illicit substances. It affects all parts of society and imposes a huge burden on the NHS, both financially and in terms of human suffering. Whilst the UK made great advances over the last decade in harm reduction and treatment provision for users of illicit substances, alcohol was not part of the agenda and has suffered a serious funding problem.

The Substance Misuse Unit of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has now developed a course aimed at treatment and intervention for alcohol related problems in primary care. Its structure is similar to the RCGP Part 1 Management of Drug Misuse Certificate, consisting of an e-learning module which has been developed by Department of Health, and a workbook; both which are completed before attending of a face-to-face training event.

This course is the first of its kind, specifically dealing with working with alcohol use in primary care. The timing could not be better, as the NHS introduced a DES (Direct Enhanced Service) that provides financial support and structure to develop new alcohol services based in primary care. The course is designed to enable candidates to deal with alcohol related problems across a wide range of issues, from identification of problem drinkers and brief interventions, to safe community detoxification. It is open to everyone working in primary care, but is aimed at GPs, including those who want to develop a special interest. Healthcare professionals already working in substance misuse who wish to gain more competence in alcohol treatment will find it useful as many clients oscillate between the use of illicit substances and alcohol, or use them together.

The alcohol certificate is the latest addition to a range of courses established by the RCGP Substance Misuse Unit (SMU). The SMU's first course, the Certificate in the Management of Drug Misuse, is now widely recognised as the current standard to gain the accreditation as GP with Specialist Interest in Substance Misuse. Since 2004, more than 9000 candidates have passed Part 1 of the certificate, and nearly 1700 have completed Part 2. It is a great success for everybody involved and the alcohol certificate aspires to become an integral qualification for anyone who works in alcohol and drugs service provision in the future.

The RCGP Certificate in the Management of Alcohol Problems in Primary Care, the official title of the course, will start with a face-to-face national training event in York on the 24th September. It will be rolled out to the rest of England over the next couple of months. The e-learning module is already available at the Alcohol Learning Centre, an online resource run by the Department of Health. Candidates should complete the e-learning module before attending the face-to-face event. The course fee is £250, which includes the attendance at one of the face-to-face training days and a training pack. The e-learning module is free of charge.

Please see the Courses & Events page for details of coming local and national face-to-face events.

To learn more about the certificate, or to book a place at a face-to-face event, please contact:

Sally O'Neill
Substance Misuse Unit of the RCGP
Tel: 020 7173 6092
E-mail: eventssmu@rcgp.org.uk

Top of Page
Divider

SMMGP July Policy Update Now Online

(Posted 5th August 2009)
The July 2009 SMMGP Policy Update is now available in the SMMGP Clinical & Policy Updates section.

The following items are covered:

If you would like to receive these SMMGP Updates via e-mail as soon as they are released, please join the SMMGP. Membership is completely free, you can join instantly online, and there are lots of benefits - see the Free SMMGP Membership Application page for more details.

Top of Page
Divider

SMMGP Away Day a Great Success!

(Posted 13th July 2009)
The SMMGP gathered at a venue in York recently for an Away Day meeting to discuss the project's current status and future development plans.

With only one full-time employee, the SMMGP draws on the skills and knowledge of a small team of dedicated and enthusiastic experts from various fields spread across the UK. The Away Day was a rare opportunity for all team members to actually meet in person.

Everyone in attendance agreed that the day was a great success and the facilitator of the meeting commented that "there was a great energy" and that the SMMGP struck him as "a really good team."

The day also provided a perfect opportunity to celebrate Judith Yates' birthday with an unhealthily large amount of chocolate cake!

A few photos from the day are shown below - click on any photo to see a larger version.

Top of Page
Divider

June SMMGP Clinical Update Now Online

(Posted 9th July 2009)
The June SMMGP Clinical Update is now available in the SMMGP Clinical & Policy Updates section in both online and downloadable versions.

If you would like to receive these Updates via e-mail as soon as they are released, please join the SMMGP. Membership is completely free, you can join instantly online, and there are lots of benefits - see the Free SMMGP Membership Application page for more details.

Top of Page
Divider

RCGP: CodeineFree Exhibitor Report on the RCGP Conference

(Posted 10th June 2009)
CodeineFree are a small self-help group set up and run by people who understand the effects of Codeine addiction first hand. They attended the RCGP 14th National Conference in Liverpool on 7-8th May 2009 as first-time exhibitors and have produced a report detailing their experiences and conclusions.

The report is available, along with presentations and other documents from the event, in the Conference Reports & Presentations section.

Full details of CodeineFree can be found on the CodeineFree web site.

Top of Page
Divider

SMMGP May Policy Update Now Online

(Posted 8th June 2009)
The May 2009 SMMGP Policy Update is now available in the SMMGP Clinical & Policy Updates section.

The following items are covered:

If you would like to receive these SMMGP Updates via e-mail as soon as they are released, please join the SMMGP. Membership is completely free, you can join instantly online, and there are lots of benefits - see the Free SMMGP Membership Application page for more details.

Top of Page
Divider

RCGP 14th Conference Presentations Now Available Online

(Posted 21st May 2009)
The highly successful 14th National RCGP Conference ("Working with Drug & Alcohol Users in Primary Care - Family Medicine: From Cradle to Grave") was held in Liverpool on 7-8th May.

Presentations and other documents from this event are now available from the Conference Reports & Presentations section.

Top of Page
Divider

Encouraging GPs to Treat Drug Users...

(Posted 21st May 2009)
We are pleased to include an article from one of the presenters at the RCGP 14th National Conference ("Working with Drug & Alcohol Users in Primary Care - Family Medicine: From Cradle to Grave").

For several years GPs have been encouraged to get involved in drug treatment. Charles Cornford explores policy to try to uncover the reasons behind this.

Read the full article below in Adobe Acrobat PDF format:

Top of Page
Divider

SMMGP Website Survey 2009 - Please Help!

(Posted 19th May 2009)
We would be very grateful if you could take one or two minutes to complete our very short and completely anonymous questionnaire to let us know what you think of the SMMGP website. The results will help us improve the site, and shape future developments.

This survey deadline is Friday 12 June 2009 ...please complete it as soon as possible!

Go to the SMMGP Website Survey 2009 >>>

We will post the results on the site once the survey is complete.

Top of Page
Divider

Calling GPs Dealing With Adolescent Substance Misuse

(Posted 14th May 2009)
The RCGP SMU have been doing some preliminary work with the NTA Youth Team to look into the sort of training that you might want in order to support this work.

It has become very clear that, while there are a number of you out there doing it, you are quite isolated from each other.

The RCPsych Young Peoples' Substance Misuse Psychiatrists Group are working on a "parameters of good practice" for working with this group, and the NTA "Clinical management Guidance for Secure Estates and Community for Young People" are due to published shortly so there is the potential to link this new development in with the publication of these documents.

The SMU would be interested to hear from any of you already doing this work, and maybe set up an e-mail group for you to have an opportunity to link in with each other, us to share the work we have done to date, and generally find out how this is working in "real terms".

Dr Charlie Lowe from Plymouth has been part of the preliminary meetings we have had with the NTA, RCPsych, RCN, ANSA and a couple of other practitioners and would be happy to coordinate this network.

If you'd like to be part of that network let us know at the SMU and we'll put you in touch with them.

Top of Page
Divider

26th Edition of "Network" Now Online

(Posted 12th May 2009)
Issue 26 of "Network", the SMMGP Newsletter, is now available to read online, download in Adobe Acrobat PDF format, or browse as a "digital publication" from the Newsletters section in the Resource Library.

If you would like to receive copies of Network via post and/or e-mail as soon as they are released, please join the SMMGP. Membership is completely free, you can join instantly online, and there are lots of benefits - see the Free SMMGP Membership Application page for more details.

Top of Page
Divider

April SMMGP Clinical Update Now Online

(Posted 7th May 2009)
The April SMMGP Clinical Update is now available in the SMMGP Clinical & Policy Updates section in both online and downloadable versions.

If you would like to receive these Updates via e-mail as soon as they are released, please join the SMMGP. Membership is completely free, you can join instantly online, and there are lots of benefits - see the Free SMMGP Membership Application page for more details.

Top of Page
Divider

Virtual SMMGP Network Newsletters

(Posted 13th April 2009)
All past editions of the SMMGP Network Newsletter can now be read online as "digital publications" in the Newsletters section of the Resource Library.

Reading the digital publications is a bit like reading the printed versions because you can literally "turn the pages" on screen (just click on the corners). You can also zoom in simply by clicking where you'd like to look more closely, then zoom back out by clicking again. There are many other useful features available, such as content searching, book-marks and notelets which you can attach to the pages.

If you prefer the standard web page Newsletter versions, or downloadable PDFs, then they are still available in addition to the new virtual versions.

If you would like to receive copies of Network via post and/or e-mail as soon as they are released, please join the SMMGP. Membership is completely free, you can join instantly online, and there are lots of benefits - see the Free SMMGP Membership Application page for more details.

Top of Page
Divider

SMMGP March Policy Update Now Online

(Posted 8th April 2009)
The March 2009 SMMGP Policy Update is now available in the SMMGP Clinical & Policy Updates section.

The following items are covered:

If you would like to receive these SMMGP Updates via e-mail as soon as they are released, please join the SMMGP. Membership is completely free, you can join instantly online, and there are lots of benefits - see the Free SMMGP Membership Application page for more details.

Top of Page
Divider

3rd West Midlands Conference Docs Online

(Posted 23rd March 2009)
Presentations from the 3rd West Midlands SMMGP, RCGP & NTA Conference ("Primary & Secondary Care: Partners into the Future"), held on 27th February 2009, are now available in the Conference Reports & Presentations section of the Resource Library.

Top of Page
Divider

25th Edition of "Network" Now Online

(Posted 19th March 2009)
Issue 25 of "Network", the SMMGP Newsletter, is now available to read online or download in Adobe Acrobat PDF format from the Newsletters section in the Resource Library.

If you would like to receive copies of Network via post and/or e-mail as soon as they are released, please join the SMMGP. Membership is completely free, you can join instantly online, and there are lots of benefits - see the Free SMMGP Membership Application page for more details.

Top of Page
Divider

New Articles!

(Posted 10th March 2009)
We are excited to publish two articles that appear in shortened versions in Network 25 (available soon). Jim McVeigh and Michael Evans-Brown give a detailed account of anabolic steroid use in the UK, and the associated risks and harms, and Linda Harris Clinical Director of the RCGP Substance Misuse Unit provides a response to the NTA regarding the criminal justice questions on the Treatment Outcome Profile.

Read the full versions below in Adobe Acrobat PDF format:

Top of Page
Divider

Botulism Warning

(Posted 9th March 2009)
Possible contaminated heroin at risk of causing wound botulism in injecting drug users.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has advised the Department of Health that in the week between 22/02/09 and 02/03/09, five heroin injecting drug users (IDUs) (four males and one female) have been reported to the Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections (HPA CfI), from London, East of England and the South East with clinically diagnosed wound botulism.

The Department of Health will be making information directly available through the NHS, National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse and drug user networks. The Home Office is also alerting police networks in the UK of the current position. More information is available on the HPA website (see links below).

Top of Page
Divider

New NICE Guidance - Needle & Syringe Programmes

(Posted 9th March 2009)
New NICE guidance published at the end of February 2009 aims to reduce the transmission of blood borne viruses through the optimal provision of needle and syringe programmes (NSPs). With an estimated 150 000-200 000 injecting drug users within the UK, this guidance highlights the important role these programmes can play in tackling the spread of viruses, including Hepatitis C and HIV, and helping drug users to access further treatment.

Needle and syringe schemes have been provided throughout England for over 20 years with the majority being run by pharmacies and other drug services. By highlighting the importance of needle and syringe programmes and explaining how they can operate effectively - for example by increasing the accessibility of schemes in terms of opening times, locations and the services they provide - this guidance aims to encourage their use amongst existing injecting drug users.

Recommendations include:

Further information is available on the NICE website.

Top of Page
Divider

February SMMGP Clinical Update Now Online

(Posted 20th February 2009)
The February SMMGP Clinical Update is now available in the SMMGP Clinical & Policy Updates section in both online and downloadable versions.

If you would like to receive these Updates via e-mail as soon as they are released, please join the SMMGP. Membership is completely free, you can join instantly online, and there are lots of benefits - see the Free SMMGP Membership Application page for more details.

Top of Page
Divider

Questioning the Good Practice in Harm Reduction Report

(Posted 19th February 2009)
The following points were raised by an SMMGP member in response to the January SMMGP Policy Update about the NTA report "Good Practice in Harm Reduction". We asked for comment from the NTA, and their reply is also provided below:

Question from SMMGP Member

I would respectfully point out that the claim regarding reduction in drug related deaths fails to acknowledge the fact that there was an increase between 2003-4, largely accounted for by deaths involving heroin/methadone and morphine(1).

Your Update also disregards the fact that drug related deaths are at their highest for 5 years(2). In fact, as you should be aware, the total number of drug poisoning deaths in 2007, including a staggering 16 per cent rise in deaths involving heroin and morphine compared to 2006, increased to 2,640.

It is even more regrettable that you chose not to point out that deaths from heroin and morphine appear to be increasing year on year, or the fact that in 2007 there were 196 deaths involving cocaine, the highest recorded number of deaths involving cocaine since the ONS database began in 1993.

A further notable omission are the deaths relating to methadone, which increased by a wholly unacceptable increase of 35 percent over 2006 to 325 and once again the highest level since 1999.

An even more glaring omission is the fact that in males no less than 67 per cent of drug poisoning deaths were attributable to 'drug misuse'.

In the light of the foregoing, I have to consider whether your Update 'Good practice in Harm Reduction' is being unrealistically optimistic or, like the title, misleading. I will reserve judgement pending your comments.

(1)Office of national Statistic in 2007s: April 2007.
(2)Office of national Statistics: Health Quarterly Statistics autumn 2008.

Official Response from NTA

Dear SMMGP

Your correspondent may be confusing the timing and purpose of different reports. "Good Practice in Harm Reduction" was written before the autumn 2008 ONS figures were released and was intended to highlight common themes of good practice in partnerships that performed well in the NTA/Healthcare Commission review of harm reduction in 2006-7.

We share his concern that drug-related deaths are high and rose in 2007. Since 2007 the NTA has been working on the Department of Health action plan to reduce drug-related harm. This plan, set out in the document "Reducing Drug-Related Harm: An Action Plan", includes government action on campaigns, improving delivery and surveillance. More specifically, the NTA has made available a range of harm reduction materials as part of the "Harm Reduction Works" campaign, will be issuing updated guidance on local confidential enquiries into drug-related deaths, and is about to run a pilot on providing naloxone to users and carers.

While drug-related deaths are an important issue deserving of this greater attention, we do not think it is either "optimistic" or "misleading" to draw attention to examples of good practice from which other partnerships might learn and which, if copied, might help to prevent some drug-related deaths.

Regards,
Tim Murray
Policy Officer
National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse

Please feel free to discuss the points raised above on the SMMGP Online Forums.

Top of Page
Divider

SMMGP Policy Update - Good Practice in Harm Reduction...

(Posted 6th February 2009)
The January SMMGP Policy Update is now available in the SMMGP Clinical & Policy Updates section.

Good Practice in Harm Reduction Report, NTA (October 2008)

January's Policy Update is dedicated to the NTA's "Good Practice in Harm Reduction Report" (October 2008). The aim of the report is to highlight good practice in harm reduction based on interviews with local drug partnerships that performed well in the 2006/07 National Treatment Agency (NTA) and Healthcare Commission (HCC) service reviews, and to identify good practice in interventions to reduce drug-related harm related to blood- borne virus and overdose.

Drug-related deaths have gone down in recent years but by 2004 government targets had not been met. Harm reduction was selected as a priority for the 2006/07service review because of concerns about the increasing incidence of blood-borne viruses being recorded by the Health Protection Agency (2007) and failure to reach the government targets on drug related deaths.

If you would like to receive these SMMGP Updates via e-mail as soon as they are released, please join the SMMGP. Membership is completely free, you can join instantly online, and there are lots of benefits - see the Free SMMGP Membership Application page for more details.

Top of Page
Divider

More SMMGP Member Survey Results Added

(Posted 28th January 2009)
The following survey results are now available in the SMMGP Member Survey Results section of the Resource Library:

Top of Page
Divider

Example Treatment Follow-Up Form

(Posted 12th January 2009)
Dr Steve Ryder, of the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, has kindly provided an example of a helpful chart used in Nottingham to monitor the side-effects of hepatitis C treatment.

The document is available in the Other Resources section of the Resource Library.

Top of Page
Divider

New Release Web Site Launched

(Posted 10th January 2009)
Release is the national centre of expertise on drugs and drugs law - providing free and confidential specialist advice to the public and professionals.

Release also campaigns for changes to UK drug policy to bring about a fairer and more compassionate legal framework to manage drug use in our society.

Release has recently launched a completely re-vamped web site with new branding and logo. Visit the site at Release.