Pharmacy can help reduce drug harms and deaths

We have published a policy document on pharmacy’s role in reducing drug harms and preventing drug deaths in Scotland.  The report highlights areas where pharmacy can contribute effectively to the treatment and prevention of drug harms and makes recommendations for how improvements can be achieved.

The report makes 14 recommendations including:

  • Naloxone must be available from every community pharmacy and staff trained to use it.
  • All pharmacists should have access to shared patient records and clear communication pathways with other health care professionals involved in the care of people who use drugs.
  • Regulated Supervised Drug Consumption Rooms (SDCRs) should be introduced and use of Heroin Assisted Treatment (HAT) should be expanded as treatment options with pharmacy input from the start.

Our England and Wales teams are also working on developing the policy for their respective countries.

Laura Wilson, RPS Scotland Policy and Practice Lead, said: “It’s concerning that drug related deaths and hospital admissions continue to rise in Scotland.  Many of these deaths are preventable. Pharmacists, and pharmacy teams, already play a big role in supporting and providing treatment to people who use drugs, as well as offering harm reduction services and advice. The RPS wants to build on this fantastic work by enabling them to do even more to reduce harm from drugs.

“We are calling on the Scottish Government, pharmacy organisations, contractors and members of the profession to work together to reduce harm from drugs and improve the health of people who use drugs. We are also asking for significant resource, expertise and finance to be made available.

“Scotland needs to take action to reduce its high level of drug deaths, and pharmacy is well placed to play a critical role within this.”

Read the policy here.