A week ago, the National Aids Trust (NAT) published a briefing on the HIV outbreak in Glasgow. I was shocked and saddened when I first saw the figures of the HIV outbreak in Glasgow. (I thought it was bad enough in Birmingham, with around 20 cases in the last 18 months). If the high toll of Drug Related Deaths was not enough, HIV is rearing its ugly head, again. I really thought we buried that one years ago.
The number of individuals engaged in structured drug treatment programmes in England has declined over recent years, but this has been a trend which has occurred alongside another development, that of an increasing number of drug related deaths (DRDs), culminating last year with ONS reporting the highest number of DRDs on record. Delivery of needle and syringe programmes (NSP) in England is not monitored in the same way as drug treatment programmes, at least at a national level, but local monitoring systems provide information which points to a different picture than that which national drug treatment programme data might suggest.
Firstly, let me apologise for the lack of updates in the last few months. As some of you may aware, Matt Johnson has stepped down as Chair and I have stepped up as Interim Chair. I would like to thank Matt for all the hard work he has done for the NNEF. He is now busy making a difference to many vulnerable and unfortunate people in Africa.
The last few months have seen some interesting developments. Sadly, Drug Related Deaths are still increasing and it is sad some areas have low naloxone coverage. In the next few weeks, I will be training Police officers on the use of naloxone. I am proud that the Birmingham City Centre Team will, hopefully, be the 1st Force in the UK to actually carry this life saving medication whilst patrolling the streets.
I would like to start by thanking Jamie Bridge for all his hard work and dedication to the NNEF as Chair in recent years and I'm looking forward to taking on the role of Chair in 2017 and I'm delighted Jamie is continuing on the planning group along with Philippe and Nigel as Deputy Chairs.