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Hepatitis C Action in Wales – roles and responsibilities Addressing the health and well- being of substance users Presenters: Josie Smith & Mike Mallett.

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Presentation on theme: "Hepatitis C Action in Wales – roles and responsibilities Addressing the health and well- being of substance users Presenters: Josie Smith & Mike Mallett."— Presentation transcript:

1 Hepatitis C Action in Wales – roles and responsibilities Addressing the health and well- being of substance users Presenters: Josie Smith & Mike Mallett Health Protection

2 Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users Background Welsh Government identified need to address wider issues of health and well-being of service users Establishment of multidisciplinary ‘Harm Reduction Expert Group’ Remit established Work undertaken by Public Health Wales

3 Aims To provide a summary of existing evidence and best practice and develop recommendations for action on: Oral health Sexual health Safer injecting and other drug modes of use Wound management Blood borne viruses Reducing fatal and non-fatal poisonings (overdose) Targeting especially vulnerable groups Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

4 Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users Oral Health

5 UK studies indicate that nearly 70% of drug users reported oral health problems compared to half of non-drug users... however... 60% of non-drug using group regularly attended dental health services compared to under 30% of drug users 1 Barriers to accessing services may include: 2 Homelessness / social exclusion Low self-esteem Fear / anxiety Unsympathetic / Stigmatising behaviour by professionals Being refused treatment by dentists 1.Charnock S et al. A community Based programme to improve access to dental services for drug users. BDJ 2004; 196: Sheridan J, Aggleton M, Carson T. Public dental health: dental health and access to dental treatment: a comparison of drug users and non-drug users attending community pharmacies. BDJ 2001;191: Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

6 Oral Health There are a number of reasons for increased dental need amongst people with substance misuse issues: (http://www.smmgp.org.uk/download/others/other060.pdf)http://www.smmgp.org.uk/download/others/other060.pdf Poor nutrition Lack of dental hygiene Low pain tolerance Masking of dental pain / self-medicating pain High sugar consumption / Carbohydrate cravings Use of carbohydrate additive in drug mix Lack of access to dental services Apathy towards dental (and general) health care Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

7 Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users Oral Health Dental treatment and rehabilitation has been shown to impact positively in recovery from problematic drug use. 3 (some of the) Recommendations : All providers should consider dental and substance misuse problems as associated co-morbidities and dental care should be incorporated in each individuals care planning. 4 Ensure regular access to dental hygienists / dental health service practitioners with experience of this client group and encourage registration For highly socially excluded groups including homeless populations, provide outreach or mobile dental services 3. Robinson PG, Acquah S, Gibson B. Drug users: oral health-related attitudes and behaviours. BDJ 2005; 198: D’Amore MM, et al. Oral health of substance-dependent individuals: Impact of specific substances. J Subst Abuse Treat 2011;21:179-85

8 Sexual Health Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

9 Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users Sexual health Sexual health may be defined as ‘a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence’. 1 “it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity…” 1. World Health Organization. Defining sexual health. Report of a technical consultation on sexual health, January 2002, Geneva. Geneva: WHO; Available at:

10 Sexual health Casual sex encounters are often facilitated by alcohol or drug use increasing the likelihood of the consequences of sexual risk taking such as unprotected sex. 2,3 STIs HIV Pregnancy Sexual violence 2.Downing J et al. Factors associated with risky sexual behaviour: a comparison of British, Spanish and German holidaymakers to the Balearics. Eur J Public Health 2010; 21: Bamber E. Improving the sexual health of drug users. Br J Sex Med 2009; 32:7-9. Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

11 Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users Sexual health (some of the) Recommendations: Discussion around sexual health, contraception, STI and BBV screening should be included as part of care planning discussions Condoms should be provided in a range of substance misuse settings free of charge and no limits should be placed on quantities. Advice should be offered with regard to correct use of condoms Proactive/assertive outreach sexual health services should be in place for hard-to-engage groups of problematic substance users who would otherwise not access mainstream services. Where this is not possible, staff should be encouraged to support service users to attend mainstream sexual health clinics

12 Safer injecting and other modes of drug use Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

13 Safer injecting and other modes of drug use Injecting drug use Issues include: What drug or combination of drugs are being injected Selection of appropriate equipment including the size of barrel as well as length and gauge of needle and paraphernalia Intended method of administration intravenous (IV), subcutaneous (SC) or intramuscular (IM) Preparation of the substance Site of injection Environment – Hygiene issues include clean hands, preparation area, public or inside Safe disposal of used injecting equipment to reduce risk of reuse or sharing Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

14 Safer injecting and other modes of drug use Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

15 Safer injecting and other modes of drug use Snorting (insufflation) Swallowing / bombing Smoking Rectal administration Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

16 Safer injecting and other modes of drug use (some of the) Recommendations: Specialist substance misuse services and NSP’s promote and support the development of peer-led training and promotion of safer use of drugs Support staff training and development with regard to new and emerging drugs in order to deliver harm reduction information Establishment of a health and wellbeing clinic within each local health board, offering assessment and first aid or triage to a variety of problems faced by people who use drugs Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

17 Wound care Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

18 Wound care People who inject drugs (PWIDs) are at increased risk from a variety of infections and health problems associated with the injecting process. 1 Localised bacterial infections and soft tissue damage Abscesses and sores Systemic illnesses and life threatening conditions Relatively minor infections can become much worse as there is a delay in seeking appropriate intervention 1.Health Protection Agency. Shooting up. Infections among injecting drug users in the UK London: HPA; Available at: Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

19 Wound care Self-report data indicates that, per annum, 30-40% of PWIDs suffer an abscess, sore or open wound 1 Estimated cost to NHS - £47 million to the NHS per year 2 Higher rates are reported in higher risk groups including homeless and crack injectors 1 In the UK since 2000 there have been 163 cases of wound botulism 93 of Clostridium novyi infection 52 confirmed cases of anthrax 35 of tetanus 2. Hope V et al. Frequency, factors and costs associated with injection site infections: findings from a national multi-site survey of injecting drug users in England. BMC Infect Dis. 2008; 8: 120. Available at: Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

20 Wound care Barriers: Evidence from 500 current or recent ex-injecting drug users in Wales 3 indicated that: – 11% were not registered with a GP, –28% had not informed their GP of any drug use. –43% (n=214) reported suffering from an injecting related problem, of which 32% had not sought medical intervention Not registered with a GP Difficulty getting to services because of finance Accessibility Previous poor experience within health services 3.National Public Health Wales: Needs assessment of harm reduction and health care services for substance misusers across Wales. Cardiff: NPHS; 2006 Available at: assessment%20of%20harm%20reduction%20and%20health%20care%20services%20for%20substance%20misusers%20across% 20Wales.pdf assessment%20of%20harm%20reduction%20and%20health%20care%20services%20for%20substance%20misusers%20across% 20Wales.pdf Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

21 Wound care Recommendations: Prevention of infection Early identification Clear and rapid referral pathways to specialist services for the treatment of infections and wounds Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

22 Blood borne Viruses Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

23 Blood borne viruses Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users In Wales estimated to be around 12,000 – 14,000 individuals infected with Hepatitis C (HCV) Number of chronic hepatitis B (HBV) infections not clear

24 Blood borne viruses (HCV) Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

25 Blood borne viruses (HBV) infection is found in: –ex and current injecting drug users –ethnic minority groups –men who have sex with men (MSM) –sex workers –Those with history of incarceration However, an effective vaccination is available to prevent infection with hepatitis B although HBV vaccination coverage is poor among many risk groups Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

26 Blood borne viruses An effective response to blood borne virus infection must have three key aims: Prevention of further infection Diagnosis of infection Treatment or management of infection Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

27 Reducing fatal and non-fatal poisonings Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

28 Reducing fatal and non-fatal poisonings In deaths related to drug misuse were recorded in England and Wales. An increase of 15.2% in Wales History of overdose – self report data from Harm Reduction Database – Naloxone – Just under 40% reported one or more previous overdose Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

29 Reducing fatal and non-fatal poisonings Risk Factors: Co-ingestion of multiple substances, especially central nervous system depressants such as opioids, alcohol and benzodiazepines contributes to a substantial proportion of these deaths. 1 Individuals are particularly vulnerable in the transitional periods of their opioid drug using career, for example; after detoxification treatment, release from prison, exiting drug treatment (especially unplanned exits) or leaving residential treatment. 2 Are we seeing fatal and non-fatal poisonings in those using new psychoactive substances? 1.Ghodse H et al. Drug-related deaths in the UK. Annual Report London: International Centre for Drug Policy; Available at: 2.Goodwin A. Measuring the harm from illegal drugs. The Drug Harm Index London: Home Office; Available at: [http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ /rds.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs07/rdsolr2207.pdfhttp://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ /rds.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs07/rdsolr2207.pdf Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

30 Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

31 Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users Reducing fatal and non-fatal poisonings (Some of the) Recommendations : Appointment of drug-related death prevention outreach workers to target those most at risk of drug related death in the community Appointment of substance misuse liaison nurses in emergency departments (where they do not currently exist) Ensure that emergency department staff: –Consistently offer information on overdose prevention –Offer signposting/referral to harm reduction or substance misuse treatment services for those treated for a near-fatal overdose, particularly to repeat- overdose patients Ensure continuity of care through community-based harm reduction or substance misuse treatment services for released prisoners

32 Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users Targeting especially vulnerable groups Nota Bene

33 Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users Targeting especially vulnerable groups Within this document and in alphabetical order, vulnerable groups include: Asylum seekers and refugees Black and minority ethnic groups Children and young people in care Commercial sex workers Gypsies and travellers Homeless people People with learning disabilities People with mental health problems Older people **Clearly these groups are not mutually exclusive and there will be considerable overlap between them **

34 Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users Targeting especially vulnerable groups Asylum seekers and refugees Lack of reliable data on the prevalence of drug use as they are likely to be very reluctant to admit to any involvement with drugs. 1 Asylum seekers and refugees rarely access drug services. Barriers include: –lack of awareness –fear of the authorities –Stigma –Language and communication may also be an issue for this population –NHS staff may not be aware of the rights and entitlements of asylum seekers and refugees to primary and secondary care 1. 1.McCormack M, Walker R. Drug prevention for young asylum seekers and refugees. A review of current knowledge. Mentor; Available at:

35 Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users Targeting especially vulnerable groups Black and minority ethnic groups (BME) Research suggests that black and minority ethnic drug users find treatment services less accessible than the rest of the population. This may be a particular problem in relation to south Asian communities 3. Both a perceived lack of understanding of culture and occasionally racism are reported as barriers to service use 2 Children and young people in care Children and young people who are homeless, looked after by local authorities or in foster care are recognised as being at greater risk of substance misuse 3. Research suggests that care leavers have higher levels of self reported drug use than the general population 4 2.UK Drug Policy Commission. Drugs and diversity: ethnic minority groups. Learning from the evidence. [Online]. Available at: %20Drugs%20and%20diversity:%20ethnic%20minority%20groups%20(policy%20briefing).pdf %20Drugs%20and%20diversity:%20ethnic%20minority%20groups%20(policy%20briefing).pdf 3.National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse. Models of care for treatment of adult drug misusers: Update London: NTA; Available at: 4.Ward J, et al. One problem among many: drug use among care leavers in transition to independent living. Research study 260. London: Home Office; Available at:

36 Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users Targeting especially vulnerable groups Gypsies and travellers Recent research suggests that levels of problematic drug and alcohol use are lower than the rest of the population but are increasing. 5 Homeless people A significant proportion of the homeless population have substance misuse problems. Estimates vary but studies in London (2004/05) indicated that 35% of street homeless have reported drug problems and 32% alcohol problems. 6 Homeless people with substance misuse issues usually have multiple complex problems. 7 5.National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Community based interventions to reduce substance misuse among vulnerable and disadvantaged young people. PH4. London: NICE Available at: 6.Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN). Rough sleeping report for London 2004/05. London: CHAIN; Pleace N. Effective services for substance misuse and homelessness in Scotland: evidence from an international review. Edinburgh: Scottish Government; 2008 Available at:

37 Targeting especially vulnerable groups People with learning disabilities It has been estimated that 0.8% of those with mild and moderate learning disabilities have substance misuse problems although this is likely to be an underestimate since it is based on those known to services. 8 People with mental health problems It has been estimated that between 30% and 70% of those presenting in health and social care settings have co-existing mental health and substance use problems. 9 Substance use may lead to and can exacerbate symptoms of mental illness. Those with dual diagnosis tend to have poorer prognosis and greater disability Taggart L et al. An exploration of substance misuse in people with intellectual disabilities. J Intellect Disabil Res. 2006; 50: Crome L et al The relationship between dual diagnosis: substance misuse and dealing with mental health issues. Research Briefing 30. London: Social Care Institute for Excellence; Available at: Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users

38 Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users Targeting especially vulnerable groups Older people Substance misuse among older people has to date received relatively little attention. Evidence from the Office of National Statistics Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS) found that: –3% of men and 1% of women aged between 65 and 74 and 0.5% of men aged over 75 reported alcohol dependence in the last 6 months. 10 –Those who begin misusing substances after the age of 65 are most likely to misuse alcohol. 11 –Prevalence of drug dependence in the past year for those aged over 65 was less than 1% for both men and women McManus S et al. Adult psychiatric morbidity in England, Results of a household survey. [Online]. Available at: 11.Badrakalimuthu VR, Rumball D, Wagle A. Drug misuse in older people: old problems and new challenges. Adv Psychiatr Treat 2010; 16:421-9

39 Finally... Consultation process Publication online Thanks to all contributors and the Harm Reduction Expert group Addressing the health and well-being of Substance users


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