Project

Developing an Intervention to Manage Benzodiazepine Dependence and High Risk Use in the Context of Escalating Drug Related Deaths: A feasibility study

Funded by Chief Scientist Office.

Collaboration with NHS Grampian, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, NHS Lanarkshire, NHS Lothian and University of Aberdeen.

Scotland has the highest rate of drug related deaths in Europe. These are deaths in people who use drugs such as heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and gabapentin. It is a feature of deaths in Scotland that people use combinations of drugs. This is very risky and increases the chance of a drug related death. Most deaths involve illegal drugs like heroin in combination with other drugs but some deaths are of people in treatment who still use illegal drugs. A feature of deaths in recent years has been the high number involving street supplies of benzodiazepines (BZD), in particular a drug called etizolam. This is not available on prescription in the UK so is coming from illegal sources. People who use heroin (an opiate) can be treated by prescribing a safer replacement drug (e.g. methadone). However it is not currently recommended to treat people who use benzodiazepines with a similar replacement although drugs such as diazepam could be used. Clinicians find it very difficult to reduce the risk of a drug related death in people using street benzodiazepines. This study will test a new intervention, designed by consulting people who use street BZD and clinicians. The intervention involves prescribing and psychosocial support. This study will help the research team plan a big trial to test the intervention with more people. This will provide clinicians the evidence they need to reduce drug related deaths from street BZDs in Scotland.

Total award value £327,547.00

People

Professor Catriona Matheson
Professor Catriona Matheson

Professor in Substance Use, Faculty of Social Sciences

Professor Tessa Parkes
Professor Tessa Parkes

Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences

Mr Joe Schofield
Mr Joe Schofield

Research Fellow, Faculty of Social Sciences

Dr Karen Berry
Dr Karen Berry

Research Fellow, Faculty of Social Sciences

Dr Peter Matthews
Dr Peter Matthews

Senior Lecturer, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology

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