Heroin-Assisted Treatment in Scotland and England under the spotlight in latest Drugs Uncut episode

The latest episode of ‘Drugs Uncut’ – the Scottish Drugs Forum podcast – has been released and is available to download and listen to for free.

In this episode we take a look at heroin-assisted treatment, which has recently begun delivery in both Scotland and England.

Heroin-assisted treatment is the practice of prescribing pharmaceutical grade diamorphine, which is then self-administered via injection under the supervision of clinical staff. This clinical model was originally developed in Switzerland and was also the model used for the Randomised Injectable Opiate Treatment Trials (RIOTT) in the UK.

In December 2019, the new Enhanced Drug Treatment Service opened its doors in Glasgow.

The service, the first of its kind in Scotland, aims to treat 20 patients with the most severe, long-standing and complex opioid problems in its first year, and 40 in the second year.

It follows the opening of a similar service at Foundations Teeside in Middlesbrough in October 2019.

In this episode, we were grateful to sit down with key staff involved in the design and delivery of each service to find out more about how they operate.

We caught up with Danny Ahmed, clinical partner at Foundations in Middlesbrough and clinical lead of the heroin assisted treatment programme in the service to find out how the service has been received so far.

We were also delighted to have Dr Carole Hunter, Lead Pharmacist of Alcohol and Drug Services for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and member of the UK’s Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs, to discuss the new service in Glasgow just before it began service delivery.

It was fascinating to hear the two approaches to heroin-assisted treatment, which signals an important development in treatment provision across the UK.

The episode is available to download for free now via your favourite podcasting platform or you can listen using the player below.

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Any comments, feedback or questions for the show would be greatly appreciated and can be sent to andyc@sdf.org.uk or online using #DrugsUncut