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RPS: Pharmacies can continue to reduce drug deaths in Scotland


RPS: Pharmacies can continue to reduce drug deaths in Scotland

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has urged the Scottish government to work with it to continue driving down the number of drug-related deaths in Scotland which fell to its lowest level last year since 2017.

RPS Scotland director Laura Wilson said she welcomed the “initial steps” the government took to allow community pharmacies to help reduce the number of drug-related deaths to 1,051 in 2022, including making emergency supplies of naloxone available in pharmacies.

Heroin, morphine and methadone were implicated in over eight out of 10 drug-related deaths last year, with males twice as likely to die than females and the average age of victims increasing to 45.

However, Wilson said more needed to be done and described the latest figure as “still far too high.” Scotland still has the highest rate of drug deaths in Europe with 248 deaths per million people aged 15 to 64. UK and Finland are the next highest with 88 and 79 deaths per million people respectively.

“Every death from drug misuse is a tragedy for the individual as well as family, friends, and their wider community,” she said, insisting she was looking forward to working “with all stakeholders” to ensure the RPS’s other recommendations are implemented.

Those include giving all pharmacists access to patient records, allowing pharmacists to manage patients’ movements between different care settings and introducing “safer consumption facilities.”

The RPS’s policy on Pharmacy’s Role in Reducing Harm and Preventing Drug Deaths was published in June 2021.



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