Drink and Drugs News DDN November 2018 - Page 17

ck NEW NATIONAL REPORTING SYSTEM: RIDR Cases like ketamine bladder started conversations about how services might work together to speed up our response to emerging drug-related harms. Policymakers, practitioners and other stakeholders thought that one way to do this would be through a centralised national reporting system modelled on the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) yellow card scheme, which has been tracking adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs for over 50 years. The thinking was that if frontline health professionals could report the adverse drug reactions that they were seeing on the ground, Public Health England (PHE) would be able to build a more consistent and up-to-date picture of new drug-related health harms as they emerged and reduce the time taken to develop effective treatment responses. Working with the MHRA, PHE launched the Reporting Illicit Drug Reactions (RIDR) system in March 2017. The system is intended to be used by health professionals who work in emergency departments, general practice, alcohol and drug treatment, sexual health, mental health and other settings where staff come into contact with people presenting with acute or chronic problems with NPS and other drugs. Professionals can submit reports by registering with the RIDR website and giving information about the adverse reactions they have seen, including the individual’s symptoms, suspect substance(s), frequency of use, dose and date of presentation. Since the project launched, 347 reports have been received from a wide range of settings, including prisons, A&E and drug services. More than 60 per cent of the reports to date have been about SCRAs. The most commonly reported adverse reactions are depressed levels of consciousness, slurred speech and drowsiness indicating nervous systems disorders; other common adverse reactions include agitation and acute psychosis. As well as making reports to RIDR, health professionals can also access the RIDR ‘dashboard.’ The dashboard gives a brief, up-to-date summary of the latest reported adverse drug effects drawn from RIDR reports and other sources. The RIDR project is supported by a national multi-disciplinary clinical network and is led by Dr Owen Bowden-Jones, consultant psychiatrist and clinical adviser to PHE’s Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco and Justice Division. Dr Bowden-Jones recognises that ‘working with people using NPS and emerging drug combinations is a challenge for all of us on the frontline. Often the dealer doesn’t know what they are selling and so the user doesn’t know what they have taken, so the clinician will have no idea of the potential harms. This situation requires careful clinical assessment to work out the best way to help.’ It is our hope at PHE that RIDR will prove a powerful tool in our hands as health professionals, offering a way of receiving and sharing valuable intelligence from the ground up. To support you in understanding new and emerging drug-related health harms, we’ve developed a four point checklist: • Get a headline summary of the latest guidance and intelligence on NPS and other drug health harms: report-illicit-drug-reaction.phe.gov.uk/latest- information/ • Report the adverse illicit drug reactions that you encounter: report-illicit- drug-reaction.phe.gov.uk/ • Get comprehensive guidance on managing the acute and chronic harms of club drugs and NPS: neptune-clinical-guidance.co.uk/clinical-guidance-2/ • Complete free, easy-to-use and accessible e-learning on club drugs and NPS: neptune-clinical-guidance.co.uk/e-learning/ Laura Pechey is a programme manager in the Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco and Justice Division of Public Health England (PHE) www.drinkanddrugsnews.com ExpEriEncE cOunts If you’re interested in helping the world have honest conversations about drug use, please read on, say Prof Adam Winstock, Dr Monica Barratt, Dr Larissa Maier and Prof Jason Ferris GLOBAL DRUG SURVEY (GDS) is comprised of a network of international experts in the field of drugs, health, epidemiology and public policy. GDS uses an encrypted, online survey platform to conduct annual anonymous surveys, and over the last six years more than 550,000 people have taken part. Now in its eighth year, our latest survey GDS2019, launching this month, will be translated into 23 languages, with partners in more than 35 countries. Because we are independent, we can focus our attention on achieving our mission of making drug use safer regardless of the legal status of the drug. All our research is approved by university ethics committees and to date has led to 50 peer-reviewed publications in the last six years. Addressing issues such as overdose prevention, blood-borne viruses, irrational drug policies, inequitable application and human rights violations is central to shifting the way we can reduce harm from drug use on a global scale. GDS complements work done by research and advocacy groups who work for change in these important areas, by focusing on the drug use patterns and potential harms of the hidden masses of non-dependent drug users. In addition, we aim to identify new drug trends before they enter the wider population. Creating a voice that is trusted for sharing that information is a challenge, especially given that the most trusted source of information on drugs is from others who use drugs. GDS sees its role as translating the expertise and ex per - ience of hundreds of thousands of people who use drugs into engaging, credible and useful information about drug use behaviour and free harm reduction resources that are shared by our global media network and via our website. Taking part in the Global Drug Survey is as important this year as any other year. The world of drugs has changed dramatically in the last decade and we are exploring this brave new world. We’ll be looking at some fascinating areas from LSD micro-dosing and the acceptability of psychedelics in psychiatry to how you’d rate different drugs, including alcohol, in terms of value for money. We’ll be looking at the impact of health warnings, revisiting drugs and policing, and researching the complex issue of sexual assault and consent in the context of drug and alcohol use. We’ll continue our assessment of dark- net drug markets and novel psychoactive drugs and ask the question ‘just how much do you trust the person you get drugs from?’ As always, the survey is encrypted, anonymous and confidential and we don’t collect IP addresses. The first time anyone sees the results is when our media partners share them in May 2019. To take part in the world’s largest drug survey, GDS2019, visit www.globaldrugsurvey.com/GDS2019 The authors are members of the GDS Core Research Team November 2018 | drinkanddrugsnews | 17