People across Scotland can stay up to date with local drug treatment and pharmacy service changes during the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to a new online tool.
As a result of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, many services have altered how they are delivered or are operating reduced hours.
This poses a risk to people who use drugs and those who support them due to confusion over where and how best to seek appropriate help or sterile injecting equipment during a time of change and uncertainty.
In an effort to centralise information across Scotland, third sector organisations Scottish Drugs Forum, Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs and We Are With You (formerly called Addaction) have collaborated to produce a single database which enables drug services and pharmacies to submit weekly updates which are then shared through each of the lead partner’s websites and social media.
For increased accessibility, the database can also be accessed as a user-friendly map so that people can see which supports are available in their locality.
David Liddell, CEO of Scottish Drugs Forum, said:
“It has been a cause of great concern to hear that some of the most vulnerable people in our society have not been able to access basic support with their drug problems during a particularly challenging time for all of us. This tool will ensure that services and people with drug problems have access to real time information on current service provision.
“It complements the Scottish Drug Service and Needle Exchange Directories websites which provide information of where people can get help with problems associated with their substance, or simply sterile equipment so that their risk of blood borne viruses and other infections are reduced.
“Key to the success of this tool are the collaborative efforts of not only the lead partners, but also of all the contributors across Scotland who have been ensuring it can be kept as up to date as possible. To them we extend our thanks.
Justina Murray, CEO of Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs, said:
“Every day since Scotland entered the COVID-19 lockdown period, families and their loved ones have been contacting the Scottish Families Helpline seeking real time and urgent information about how to access local alcohol and drug treatment and support services.
“We have heard many stories over the past few weeks of people desperately trying to engage with these lifeline services, but with no success. They are finding phone lines are ringing out or are permanently engaged; the premises they are told to attend are in fact closed up; or they are not being notified of contingency arrangements when their key workers are unavailable.
“We warmly welcome the development of this new national information resource which will provide our own Helpline Advisers and other support organisations with vital, up-to-date information on what is currently available in each area of Scotland.”
Andrew Horne, Executive Director of We Are With You, said:
“It has been a real team effort to create a map of all Scotland’s drug and alcohol services’ revised arrangements during the Covid-19 lockdown. People can now see, at the click of a button, which services are being delivered across the country.
“Whether it’s new arrangements for emergency 1-1 support, or injecting equipment delivery services, people can get accurate information from a central source. We can all get through these times if we work together and look out for each other.”
The database can be viewed via a spreadsheet or can be accessed as a map.
Use the map below or click here to view it with full search functionality