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Healthcare staff get new guidance on problems from illicit drug use

A guide to help nurses and other healthcare staff tackle a range of problems due to illicit drug use has been produced by the European drugs agency.

A guide to help nurses and other healthcare staff tackle a range of drug problems affecting different types of patient has been produced by the European drugs agency.

The overview of interventions to address illicit drug use, aimed at both public health planners and front-line healthcare staff, has been pulled together by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

The guide draws on insights from 30 countries including the UK and covers issues ranging from tackling deaths from the painkiller fentanyl to reducing harm from alcohol and drug use at music festivals.

Different needs

It also examines how to respond to the needs of particular groups such as older opioid users and vulnerable young people, and in different settings, including prisons and workplaces.

The guide, called Health and social response to drug problems: A European guide, was launched at Lisbon Addictions 2017, a conference organised by the agency.

The agency’s director, Alexis Goosdeel, said: ‘This innovative new guide surveys some of the main public health challenges in the drugs field today and provides a map with which to navigate the various stages of designing, targeting and implementing effective responses.’

Response options

Each section covers the associated physical and mental health issues of a given topic, such as cannabis use, the response options such as treatments, and the European picture including preventive approaches.

The guide also spotlights areas such as scaling up hepatitis C treatment to eliminate the virus, e-health interventions and drug consumption rooms.

It will act as a long-term strategy for the agency.


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