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Mobile harm reduction unit launched in Renfrewshire to tackle drug-related deaths

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A mobile harm reduction unit has been introduced in Renfrewshire in a bid to bring down drug-related deaths. 

The service has been launched by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) with a “central aim of moving services to the heart of local communities”. 

A Harm Reduction Response Team (HaRRT) will engage with people consuming drugs or alcohol and support those wishing to access treatment and care services for the first time. 

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It will provide access to a free supply and disposal of injecting equipment, blood testing, and wound first aid alongside the training and distribution of Naloxone. 

Naloxone is a medication used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. 

The initiative is launched after Scotland recorded 1330 drug-related deaths in 2021.

It is the first time the figure has dropped even slightly in eight years, but it remains the second-highest yearly total on record.

READ MORE: What the latest figures reveal about Scotland’s drug deaths crisis

Joanna Campbell, the injecting equipment provision manager for for Alcohol and Drug Recovery Services at NHSGGC, said the team will provide a “safe and confidential environment within the community”.

She said: “Every drug death within our communities is one too many and NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde continues to work in conjunction with Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), Renfrewshire Council and Renfrewshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership to reduce the harm that substances can have.

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“Alcohol and drugs can have a severe impact on people’s lives if they do not have support or access to the relevant care services available to them.

“HaRRT provides a safe and confidential environment within the community and will help signpost users to treatment programmes that can assist with addiction issues.

“Having this service available in Renfrewshire will be a welcome addition to the services already in place across the area.”

Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership will provide advice to substance users on how they can be safer when taking drugs while offering support and care opportunities.

Karen Reynolds, service manager for the partnership, said: “HaRRT is one of many forward-thinking exciting service developments for Alcohol and Drugs Recovery Services in Renfrewshire, with the central aim of moving services to the heart of local communities.

“The flexible and agile ability of how HaRRT can respond to local needs and the close working relationships with many Renfrewshire partners, hopes to reduce the harm and the negative impact associated with problematic alcohol and drug use.

“Unfortunately, sometimes those most in need are not always in the care of services so the hope is that HaRRT will begin to bridge this gap and connect people into treatment.”

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The Harm Reduction Response Team is part of the Alcohol and Drugs Change Programme that oversees work to meet the recommendations of the Renfrewshire Alcohol and Drugs Commission.

 

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