New OST Programme
Earlier this week (6 February 2018), Public Health England launched a new opioid treatment quality improvement programme.
The programme can be seen both as a vital component in a strategy to tackle the recent and sustained rise in the number of drug-related deaths and as part of the ongoing desire to get harm reduction and recovery approaches in harmony.
There is a consensus across much (but by no means all) of the substance misuse field that recovery should be the ultimate goal for most dependent drug users but that many individuals are unable (or sometimes unwilling) to become drug free at different points in their lives.
But promoting recovery while still providing harm reduction when it is required or desired is an extremely tricky goal to achieve once it is translated into contracts and targets. This is particularly so in times of austerity with the pressure to get service users through the system to make room for new ones.
Details of the quality improvement programme are thin on the ground at the moment. While it is reassuring to know that PHE intends to work alongside treatment providers and service user organisations, we know nothing about timescales nor what a “quality improvement programme” will look like — identification and sharing of best practice, expert advice and input available locally?
Here’s the PHE’s press release:
Whatever the quality improvement programme looks like, it is clear that it is needed. Despite all the criticisms of OST in prison, a recent piece of research I conducted found that many opiate users found it easier to access a script inside than in the community.
The mission of Breaking Free Group is to create the widest possible access to evidence-based psychological interventions.
To realise this, we have developed a powerful and adaptable digital health platform which targets the underlying psychological and lifestyle factors that drive addictive behaviours.
Breaking Free Online is a clinically-robust computerised treatment and recovery programme for substance misuse. It is enhanced by Staying Free, a powerful relapse prevention toolkit in an Android and iOS smartphone app. It has been commissioned by over 60 Local Authorities and implemented across the spectrum of alcohol and drug services by several leading national service providers.