Heroin Addiction

Scotland’s first heroin assisted remedy service opens in Glasgow – Holyrood


Glasgow has opened a new £ 1.2 million pharmaceutical drug treatment facility for heroin dependence, the first of its kind in Scotland.

The Enhanced Drug Treatment Service (EDTS) pilot project aims to reduce the risk of overdose, stop the spread of blood-borne viruses such as HIV, and reduce the number of people injecting drugs in public ,

The facility is licensed by the Home Office and is provided by the Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership (GCHSCP).

It is expected that up to 20 patients will be treated in the first year and up to 40 patients in the second year. The center will be open daily from 9 am to 5 pm and will be run by a multidisciplinary team of specialists supported by other health and social services.

EDTS targets individuals whose addictions continue to require conventional treatment and care, including methadone, as well as support from community addiction counselors and residential rehabilitation.

It will focus on people whose addictions are most affecting their own health, as well as their communities, public services and the city center.

Patients must be "fully committed to treatment" and visit the center twice a day, seven days a week, Glasgow City Council said in a statement.

Heroin-assisted treatment will only be available to patients who have been "with the Glasgow Homeless Addiction Team". Suitability for treatment is "assessed and those who meet the criteria will receive a prescription for pharmaceutical grade diamorphine injections".

Susanne Millar's GCHSCP interim head said the service was "geared towards people with the most chaotic lifestyles and serious dependencies who did not respond to existing treatments."

"Unfortunately, last year Glasgow suffered a record number of drug-related deaths and there was an increased number of non-fatal overdoses," said Millar, who also chairs the Glasgow Alcohol and Drug Partnership.

"This challenging social problem requires innovative treatments and this gold standard service is groundbreaking in Scotland."

She said that while some people "ask why health services are spending money to provide heroin to people with substance abuse problems," she said, "We can not afford not to do this."

"We not only strive to save the lives of individuals, but also to reduce the spread of HIV and the effects of addiction on families and communities in Glasgow.

"Successfully treating an addiction not only helps them but also reduces pressure on front line health and law enforcement agencies while reducing antisocial behavior and drug-related crime in communities."

Saket Priyadarshi, associate medical director and senior medical officer at Glasgow Alcohol and Drug Recovery Services, said the center was "a much needed and welcome addition to the comprehensive treatment and care services that Glasgow already has."

"We have known for some years that there are people who continue to suffer despite conventional treatment. It is only appropriate that, as in other areas of medicine, we can offer addiction patients the next line of treatment, "he said.

"Heroin Assisted Treatment is a highly evidence-based intervention undertaken with intensive psychosocial support to address the diverse health and care needs of the population."

The number of deaths from drug use in Scotland reached an all-time high of 1,187 last year. This makes Scotland the country with the highest drug deaths per capita in industrialized countries.

It is also planned to open a facility in Glasgow for safer drug use to provide people who consume their own street drugs in the presence of trained medical staff with a "safe, clean place" who "is able to to respond to an overdose event, "said the council.

A recent report by the Scottish Affairs Committee noted that "there is a solid evidence base for a safe drinking facility in Glasgow that would be a practical step towards reducing the number of drug-related deaths in Scotland."

The committee also recommended that the British government give the Scottish government permission to hold a trial against safe consumption spaces as an "immediate solution" to the crisis.