Wed 29 Apr, 2020

Pharmacy provision of Opiate Substitute Treatments and needle exchange programmes have a vital role in protecting patients and communities and must be protected throughout the coronavirus crisis Scottish Greens MSP John Finnie has said.

Mr Finnie, co-convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party group on drug and alcohol misuse, has written to Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick backing calls from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) to ensure Naloxone is available for all people who use drugs.

The RPS has called for contingency plans to be put in place to ensure substance misuse services can continue uninterrupted, warning that failure to do so risks an increase in drug-related deaths.

The society also warned that a lack of support for people with drug addictions could result in them disregarding stay at home rules in order to source illegal drugs, making community transmission of COVID-19 more likely.

John Finnie MSP said:

“Any interruption to substance misuse services puts individuals and communities at significant risk. Fundamentally this is about protecting lives, not just for people struggling with addictions themselves but for others in the community as well.

“Naloxone is a lifesaving medicine and ensuring it is available immediately to those who need it will save lives and reduce the burden on the NHS. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s members are on the front line of tackling Scotland’s ongoing drugs crisis and their warnings must be heeded.”

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