New e-learning course on bacterial infection and drug use available for free to people in Scotland


Scottish Drugs Forum is pleased to announce the launch of a new e-learning resource dedicated to raising knowledge and awareness of bacterial infections that can be obtained through drug use.

The course, ‘Bacterial Infections and Drug Use’, gives participants the opportunity to explore harm reduction information relevant to bacterial infection and provides an overview of the main signs and symptoms which practitioners should be aware of.

The organisation is continuing to invest in developing a centre for excellence for training on drug-related topics, with over 40 innovative courses available from our skilled trainers.

Alongside our face-to-face training, SDF has been supporting the development of e-learning courses on a variety of topics as it is recognised as an effective tool for individuals who may experience constraints on available time and budget.

The course can be completed in under a half a day in one sitting, or alternatively be completed in separate sittings to provide a fully flexible learning experience.

By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Recall different types of bacteria often associated with drug use
  • Explain how bacterial contamination can occur in the context of drug use
  • Describe harm reduction information for bacterial infection in the context of substance use
  • Recognise the signs and symptoms of bacterial infections
  • Produce an effective response to potential outbreaks which can be implemented in your service

Although the course has been designed to meet the needs of people who may come into contact with people who use drugs, various other audiences will benefit from the e-learning, including; GPs, nurses, teachers, police, housing workers, social workers and mental health workers.

Throughout the course, participants are encouraged to think about and develop a response relevant to their services.

Emma Hamilton, Scottish Drugs Forum, who helped develop the content of the course, said: “In recent years in Scotland, there have been a number of serious outbreaks of bacterial infection among people who use drugs. This has highlighted the need for people who support people who use drugs to be skilled up on the variety of potential infections that can be acquired through drug use.

“Early identification of bacterial infection is important. This allows early treatment which improves the chances of people making a fuller recovery. In the case of an outbreak, transmission of infection can be prevented and the outbreak contained only if people have the information and support they need to keep themselves and others safe.

“Although the consequences of an infection can be life-threatening, there is also the added burden of shame and stigma that people can experience if they have a wound infection; which can lead to people not seeking help. Having skilled workers who are confident in their ability to discuss treatment interventions is potentially lifesaving.”

David Liddell, Scottish Drugs Forum’s CEO, said: “As was highlighted in the report on the anthrax outbreak, high-quality services with informed, skilled and confident staff are a crucial part of the response to outbreaks of infection. These form a crucial element in Scotland’s response to problem drug use.

“SDF continues to invest in our training capacity, which includes both face-to-face delivery and e-learning. I am delighted that Government endorses and supports e-learning developments and recognises that it has a distinctive and key role in improving services and our preparedness for infection outbreaks. We have now developed four e-learning courses that are available free to people in Scotland.”

The e-learning course can be accessed via the SDF Workforce Development website here