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Government Guidance for Providers of Services for People who use Drugs or Alcohol

Posted on 16/04/20

Public Health England and the Department of Health & Social Care have released guidance for commissioners and providers of services for people who use drugs or alcohol.

What you need to know

  • drug and alcohol services do not need to close at the current time and are important to keep operating as they protect vulnerable people who are at greater risk from coronavirus (COVID-19) and help reduce the burden on other healthcare services
  • services should keep face-to-face contacts between staff and service users to a minimum and minimise the use of biological drug testing and breathalysers, where safe to do so
  • follow up-to-date guidance for infection prevention and control, including hand-washing, surface-cleaning, isolating people and sending staff home
  • arrangements for prescribing and dispensing of medicines used in drug and alcohol treatment will need to be changed to take account of service and pharmacy closures, staff unavailability, patients having to maintain social distance or self-isolate, including the most vulnerable being shielded and the need to reduce the spread of COVID-19
  • measures to reduce drug and alcohol-related harm, such as needle and syringe programmes (NSP), take-home naloxone, thiamine, advice on gradual reduction of alcohol consumption and e-cigarettes should all be increased where possible
  • drug and alcohol treatment staff are included in the government’s definition of key workers whose children can – if they cannot be kept safe at home – continue to attend school
  • usual expectations on services for local monitoring and reporting, contract and performance management and contract re-tendering can all be scaled back to enable services to focus on delivery

Read the full guidance here

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