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Healthcare professionals and partners

Preventing drug related deaths and blood-borne viruses

There are a number of public health harms associated with drug use, including overdose or unintentional injury, which might lead to premature drug-related death; and the spread of blood-borne viruses via injecting or sexual activity.

We work with partners to provide guidance and materials to help service users, families and treatment commissioners and providers to reduce drug-related deaths and blood-borne viruses.

The 2010 Drug Strategy sets out a fundamentally different approach to tackling drugs and reducing drug use and dependence. It also recognises that previous drug strategies have focused on the harms caused by heroin and crack cocaine, and that tackling these harms remains vitally important.

Key to successful delivery in a recovery-orientated system will be that all services are commissioned with, among others, the Drug Strategy's best practice outcome of preventing drug-related deaths and the spread of blood-borne viruses.

Open access and low threshold services that provide interventions to tackle these public health harms are a vital gateway into treatment. They can act as a platform for people who use drugs to access structured, recovery-focused treatment.  Having a sense of control over of their drug use can mean they are more able to later go on and make the more dramatic changes that recovery requires.

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