Deaths involving legal highs in Scotland

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Just published (online) in the International Journal of Drugs Policy – some well known researchers behind this: Mortality related to Novel Psychoactive Substances in Scotland, 2012: an exploratory study Abstract Background The growth of Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) over the last decade, both in terms of availability and consumption, is of increasing public health concern. Despite recent increases […]

Naloxone as a bridge to recovery

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Yesterday at the Scottish Recovery Walk I spotted folk wearing Take Home Naloxone tee shirts. Recovery and harm reduction were on the march together, just as it should be. Jason Schwarz blogged last week, welcoming increasing availability of Naloxone in Michigan, but poses ‘the big question’: What comes after the overdose rescue? Are these people […]

Why recovery needs to embrace harm reduction

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Weave harm reduction in Despite my focus on recovery I have a strong harm reduction ethos at my core. Sure, I challenge services to be recovery-orientated, but I firmly believe that the reverse needs to be true. Rehabs and other services with a recovery goal ought to have harm reduction practices woven into their fabric. […]

Commissioning, harm reduction and recovery: a conversation

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The intent of the recovery-orientated drugs policies of the UK and Scottish Governments is to allow more people to find their way to lasting recovery. After years of a harm reduction focus, it’s understandable that it might take some time to build up an expertise and experience around recovery. While there can be little doubt […]

Enforced ‘recovery’ unethical

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Wales and Scotland and have national naloxone programmes, England does not. In light of the jump in drugs deaths related to opioids, concerns have been raised again about the situation. John Jolly, CEO of Blenheim, writes powerfully on his blog about the shame of this and points the finger at disinvestment in harm reduction and […]

Drug deaths – what’s changing?

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One thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven people died from drug-related causes in England and Wales last year. That’s a 21% jump with a significant rise in deaths related to heroin and morphine. The data for Scotland, released last month, showed a 9% drop compared to 2012, though this was still the fifth highest on record. What’s […]

Methadone’s bad press

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There’s something odd about methadone. Well, maybe not so much about methadone, but about the way it’s seen. It gets bad press. Think back to lurid headlines in the Scottish tabloids a couple of years ago – the ones partially responsible for the Chief Medical Officer’s Expert Review on ORT. This is a paradox, for […]

Stigma – a good thing?

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Stigma discredits individuals and groups, reducing social status and creating ‘spoiled identities’, says Goffman. It’s not a good thing. But hang on a minute – might it have a positive function? Could it actually help in terms of public health? Help by changing behaviour through societal pressure. If so, that would be a good thing, […]

Cannabis-like new psychoactive substances – warnings

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In Europe drug seekers have the luxury of 651 websites from which to buy their ‘legal highs’ or NPS. Alternatively in many towns and cities you can just pop down to the nearest head shop or indeed the nearest corner shop. NPS are more accessible than most drugs. Cannabis-like new psychoactive substances are popular and […]