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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

Medication-Assisted Treatment Standards for Drug Users Published

The Scottish Drug Deaths Taskforce has published 10 Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Standards to reinforce a rights-based approach for people who use drugs and outline the treatment they should expect, regardless of where they live.

MAT is the term used to refer to the use of medication such as opioids, together with any psychological and social support, in the treatment and care of people who experience problems with drug use.

Crucially, these standards will help ensure that people start receiving support on the day that they ask for it and emphasise the importance of allowing people to make informed choices based on the type of medication and help available to them.

Funding from the additional £50 million for drugs services announced by the First Minister in January will ensure that all Alcohol and Drug Partnerships (ADPs) are supported by the SNP Government to embed the standards by April 2022.

Minister for Drugs Policy Angela Constance MSP said:

“I want to thank the Drug Deaths Taskforce for their work on developing these standards and all those who gave their views following the interim report.

“We now have a set of standards which are safe, accessible and person-centred. These will help ensure consistency of treatment across the country.”

Chair of the Drug Deaths Taskforce Professor Catriona Matheson said:

"The evidence is clear that using street drugs and not being in treatment is dangerous and life-threatening. The Taskforce wants more people at risk to be in treatment programmes. I thank everyone who contributed to the rapid development of the Standards and who are now involved in their roll-out and adoption. Commitment like this will help save lives."

Kenneth Gibson MSP added:

“I am pleased that the hard work and expertise put into this process has resulted in a set of standards that includes same day treatment, a proactive approach and trauma informed practice.

“This will give organisations like the North Ayrshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership an effective framework to offer treatment at the right time, and help bring people back from the brink.”

With MAT standards, people:

· Accessing services have the option to start MAT from the same day of presentation

· Are supported to make an informed choice on what medication to use for MAT, and the appropriate dose

· At high risk of drug-related harm are proactively identified and offered support to commence, re-commence or continue MAT

· Are offered evidence-based harm reduction at the point of MAT delivery

· Will receive support to remain in treatment for as long as requested

· Working in the field will be advised that the system that provides MAT is psychologically and trauma informed (Tier 1); routinely delivers evidence-based low intensity psychosocial interventions (Tier 2); and supports the development of social networks

· Have the option of MAT shared with Primary Care

· Can access advocacy and support for housing, welfare and income needs

· With co-occurring drug use and mental health difficulties can receive mental health care at the point of MAT delivery

· Receive trauma informed care



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