Notes from the fourth meeting of the National Intelligence Network on the health harms associated with drug use, held in London on 4 June 2014. The meeting had a specific focus on hepatitis C. A series of presentations from PHE looked at prevalence, testing in prisons an modelling the impact of treatment. Further presentations from the field considered good practice in substance misuse settings from a hepatologist and a drug service point of view drug, including how workforce development can improve outcomes.
Injecting drug use continues to be the most important risk factor for HCV infection in the UK. Data from the Unlinked Anonymous Monitoring (UAM) survey of people who inject drugs (PWID) suggest that levels of infection in this group remain high in 2013 (50% in England, 32% in Northern Ireland and 47% in Wales); in 2013 to 2014, 57% of PWID surveyed in Scotland tested positive for antibodies to hepatitis C.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published two public health guidance documents on NSPs: PH18 (2009)1 and PH52 (2014). 2 The economic arguments for NSP investment come from the economic modelling report accompanying PH18. Modellers explored the level of syringe coverage, opiate substitution therapy (OST) participation, and hepatitis C treatment required to reduce HIV and hepatitis C prevalence among people who inject drugs.
In March 2014 NICE updated their guidance on needle and syringe programmes. Unlike the previous guidance this has a strong focus on both young people and the use of performance and image enhancing drugs. NNEF planning group member Vicky Fenwick has produced a one page summary.
This guidance makes recommendations on needle and syringe programmes, including those provided by pharmacies and drugs services for adults and young people (including those under 16) who inject drugs, including image- and performance-enhancing drugs.
In this new consolidated guidelines document on HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care for key populations, the World Health Organization brings together all existing guidance relevant to five key populations – men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, people in prisons and other closed settings, sex workers and transgender people – and updates selected guidance and recommendations.
Scottish Drugs Forum in conjunction with NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and Frontier Medical have created a new advice booklet for people injecting New Psychoative Substances (NPS). The guide is intended to inform people of the risks associated with injecting NPS, drugs commonly called legal highs, or any unidentified white powders.
Notes from the third meeting of the National Intelligence Network on the health harms associated with drug use, held in London. The meeting included sessions and presentations on: smoking and substance misuse; the updated NICE guidelines on needle and syringe programmes (NSP); and image and performance enhancing drug use. The meeting also included updates from service providers and the DrugWatch network.