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DOCUMENT 1987 HTM file
High time for harm reduction
Impelled by the injecting-related AIDS crisis, Merseyside was where harm reduction in the UK first took root. From there in 1987 came this groundbreaking call for a turn away from what was seen as a failed attempt to prevent use to mitigating the harm. Expressed modestly as a “prudent” suggestion, with Russell Newcombe’s essay, “harm reduction” had come of age.
At issue was whether by successfully referring heroin users to treatment, probation services in England would protect them from fatal overdose and prevent drug-related crime. Yes to one, but not the other, were the answers; in fact, crime went up.
What would happen to rates of infection with hepatitis C if we closed down all the needle exchanges? In three UK municipalities, the answers were predicted to be more infections, lost low-cost opportunities to improve and save lives, and in two of the areas, greater health-related costs overall. Conclusion was that these services are among the best investments UK health services can make. town
STUDY 2018 HTM file
Impact of current and scaled-up levels of hepatitis C prevention and treatment interventions for people who inject drugs in three UK settings – what is required to achieve the WHO’s HCV elimination targets?
What would it take for the UK to meet the World Health Organization’s target of a 90% reduction in hepatitis C by 2030? According to projections in three diverse areas, current levels of harm reduction services are averting a great deal of transmission, and adding only moderate rates of treatment for hepatitis C would put Britain on course to achieve the elimination target.
Part review, part ‘call to action’, the featured paper highlights the lack of awareness of evidence-based interventions for transgender people, and advocates for ‘culturally-sensitive’ approaches embedded in both general and specialised substance use programmes.
Taking a public health and human rights-based approach, the 2018 strategy from Scotland strives to improve citizens’ lives by preventing and reducing the harms of drinking and drug use.
How confident can we be that take-home naloxone programmes are effective without the ‘gold standard’ randomised trial? Judged against nine criteria for establishing the presumption of causality, evidence that the provision of naloxone reduces overdose-related deaths among opioid users.
Important implications for overdose prevention policy and practice in Scotland and the UK from this qualitative study which provides the first detailed insights into how people who inject drugs experience administering naloxone rescue kits.
REVIEW 2018 HTM file
Drug consumption rooms: an overview of provision and evidence
Refreshing its overview of the use of drug consumption rooms, the European Union’s drug misuse monitoring centre says the evidence still contradicts concerns that such facilities encourage drug use, delay treatment entry, or aggravate problems arising from local drug markets – finding instead that both the users and the community stand to benefit.
Based on detailed treatment records kept by the Canadian province of British Columbia, a slow taper liberally interspersed with stabilisation periods offers the best chance of sustainably withdrawing from methadone without severe relapse, but still very few manage to avoid this risk – an argument for careful consideration and informed consent before making the attempt.
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