It’s been a busy year for Scottish Drugs Forum. The organisation has been involved in a number of new initiatives and events, as well as continuing to run our programmes of training and education, for trainees, workers and organisations working across the field.
Communication is an important part of the Forum’s remit and we’ve expanded that with the advent of our new podcast show ‘Drugs Uncut’ as well as continuing to inform through social media, enewsletters and other various channels.
There have been many publications produced this year also, including a number of toolkits and resources for both staff and people who use drugs.
The holiday season, and the run up to it, is a very busy time but it is also a time for reflection – an opportunity to look back and to see what we may have missed over the last twelve months or so.
SDF have therefore put together a festive content calendar to bring you resources, both new and unreleased, and some more established from earlier in 2019 that you may have missed.
The calendar offers a glimpse into what has been a difficult year for many – where drug-related deaths have increased for the fifth consecutive year running – and what actions have been taken as a result.
We must not forget during this festive period those who continue to need support. However, the festive period is also a time for optimism and although our calendar does not have a new chocolate every day, it does contain many useful and insightful resources which reflect the many and varied ways in which both SDF and our partners work.
So let’s open the first door……
The 1st of December was World Aids Day and to recognise the occasion, SDF and and Waverley Care co-produced a briefing which detailed information around the frontline responses to the current outbreak of HIV among people who inject drugs in Glasgow.
As part of the briefing, we developed a video for service providers, demonstrating how to talk to someone about rapid HIV testing, carry out a test and deliver results. We know that staff delivering services to people who inject drugs don’t always have the knowledge or confidence to deliver HIV testing, and are particularly unsure how to deliver a positive result. The video demonstrates delivering both a positive and negative result, and can be viewed here.
2nd of December
SDF has responsibility for organising and hosting the Scottish Needle Exchange Workers Forum (SNEWF), and earlier this year the theme for the day was ‘What’s the Crack?’ – looking at the current trends around powder and crack cocaine use in Scotland.
Dr Andrew McAuley, of Health Protection Scotland and Glasgow Caledonian University, delivered a presentation around the trend of injecting cocaine in Glasgow and it’s relationship with the current HIV outbreak, watch it here.
3rd of December
Today we are looking at lived experience and so are delighted to share Garth Mullins’ presentation from our Connections During Crisis conference. Garth is a drug user activist and award-winning radio documentarian based in Vancouver, Canada where he is host and Executive Producer of the Crackdown Podcast where people who drugs cover the drug war as war correspondents.
Garth used to use injectable heroin but is now prescribed methadone. Garth was the keynote speaker at the conference and his address raised many questions given the current causes for concern in Scotland.
4th of December
Alongside conference presentations, podcasting is another form of communicating a message and it is something that SDF added to its communication strategy earlier this year with the launch of Drugs Uncut. We were delighted that Garth Mullins could join us on the first epsidoe as our guest.
Strategy Co-ordinator for Drug Death Prevention, Kirsten Horsburgh, Andy Coffey, SDF’s Communication Officer and Austin Smith, Policy and Practice Officer heard insights from Garth on what Scotland could learn from Canada, and in turn what they could learn from us.
For today’s look behind the calendar’s door we are hearing about Edinburgh in a presentation from Susan Carmichael, who’s a Blood-Borne Virus Prevention Nurse with the Harm Reduction Team for NHS Lothian.
Susan spoke at the Scottish Needle Exchange Workers Forum (SNEWF) ‘What’s the Crack? event in July and gave an update on the increase in crack cocaine smoking and injecting being seen by the service in Edinburgh City Centre, and East and West Lothian.