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Coronavirus latest

We're doing everything we can to ensure that people who use our services can continue to receive the best care and support possible during this worrying time.

The health of the people who use our services, our staff and volunteers is always our top priority.

To help reduce the spread of the virus, we may need to reduce some of services or carry out appointments by phone, where we can. Please contact your local service or worker and they will let you know what that means for you. Please read more about how we will continue to support you.

Please read our COVID-19 risk assessment for details about how we are keeping our staff and service users safe. 

We will keep adding to this page when we have more information. Updated 5th June 2020.

The NHS website will provide you with the most up to date information and will be able to answer most of your questions.

What is coronavirus?

It is an infection that is passed from person to person. It can be spread through the air as droplets from coughing or sneezing. It can also be carried on your hands and passed onto others by touching surfaces that an infected person has touched.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Some people have no symptoms early on in the infection. Common symptoms can be a temperature (feeling hot) and a cough. Certain people, due to their underlying health conditions, are classed as higher risk, and for them, the infection is more serious. People at higher risk will be getting a letter in the post from their GP. If you do not get a letter you can still check yourself on the NHS website.

How can I keep myself safe?

All of us should stay 2 meters away from each other. Wash our hands with soap for 20 seconds regularly. Cough and sneeze into tissues or into the elbow.

For those at higher risk people are being advised to beshielded” i.e. to stay inside, in one place, for 12 weeks. You can find out more on the Government website which allows you to register your details for extra help.

Consider having a reliable, trustworthy adult to act as your “nominated individual to help you collect shopping, medication or prescriptions. It can be a worrying time so looking after your mental health is even more important than ever, here are some tips if you are worried about coronavirus;

  • Connect with people regularly – talking to others can really help.
  • Support and help others – try to think of things you can do to help those around you
  • Do things that you enjoy - focus on your favourite hobby or learn something new

Visit the NHS website for more tips to help your mental wellbeing.

It is important to sleep well as it can reduce stress and make you feel less anxious. Here are some tips to help you get a better night's sleep;

  • Try not to have caffeine or nicotine three hours before you go to bed
  • Avoid daytime naps or long periods of sitting or lying around
  • Try to have a regular bedtime routine

Take a look at our sleep hygiene factsheet for more tips.

If you need support or have any questions please get in touch with your local service.

Keep using your needle syringe provisionit's important to keep supplies of clean injecting equipment. Check any changes to opening times of your usual service.

Naloxone- kits are available from your local drug and alcohol service and could save a life, please ask for one.

Changes to supply - expect a change in the street drugs that you buy. They may be different to what you are used so take extra care, for example, test with small doses first.

Safe storage - if you are storing more drugs keep them out of sight and locked away from others.

Online support groups – there is online support groups that can help such as Narcotics Anonymous. See the Online and Telephone Support links below for more suggestions.

Download the COVID-19 advice for people who use substances leaflet for more advice and information.

Slowly reduce - for some slowly reducing your alcohol drinking is safer than stopping suddenly.

Thiamine - it is important to take Thiamine tablets to reduce the harm that alcohol might be doing to your body. Find out more information on our factsheet.

Mixing - if you mix alcohol and other drugs such as, benzos (benzodiazepine/diazepam) or pregabalin (gabas) it risks stopping your breathing.

Withdrawal - if you find yourself without a supply of alcohol and experiencing withdrawal symptoms please download our COVID-19 advice for managing alcohol dependency for more information on how to stay safe.

Online support groups – there is online support groups that can help such as DrinkCoach or Alcohol Anonymous. See the Online and Telephone Support links below for more suggestions.

To keep everyone safe we are asking all staff, volunteers and service users NOT to come to our services or the community pharmacy if you think you might have symptoms of coronavirus. Instead please phone us.

We are working hard to make sure that our Harm reduction services remain open for you-

  • Needle Exchanges - please check the opening times of your local service as their opening hours may have changed.
  • Naloxone - we will be making sure that as many people as possible have naloxone and will continue to provide training and advice through leaflets and on the phone where we can’t see you in person.
  • Download our information leaflets on using drugs and alcohol safely.

We are setting up systems so that we can keep in touch with you if you aren’t able to visit the service. You may be contacted by your key worker over the phone or Whatsapp, discuss with your worker what method you would prefer.

Your service may also be offering group work over video calls or Facebook, talk to your service about what alternative support is available to you.

We are working closely with our community pharmacy colleagues to cause the least disruption to your prescription as possible.

  • Opioid substitute medication – in many cases you will be given larger supplies to take away with you so that you don’t have to go to the pharmacy as often. if you want to start an opioid substitute medication like methadone or buprenorphine, we may need to do it in a different way. Discuss how this will work for you with your local service.
  • Supervised consumption (taking your medication at the pharmacy) is being stopped in many places – it will be restarted in the future but until then you will be given more medication to take away.
  • Safe storage - please think about how you can keep the larger amount of medication, any illicit substances and paraphernalia out of sight and reach of children and other vulnerable people. Locked away is the best. Read our leaflet on safe storage for more information.
  • Daily dose - keep taking the same prescribed daily doses, even though you have a bigger supply available to you. Taking more than prescribed can lead to overdose.
  • Thiamine- this is important medication to help protect your body if you drink alcohol dependently. Larger amounts of thiamine, for example up to three months supply may be supplied to prevent you having to go to the pharmacy as often. Find out more information on our factsheet.
  • Detoxing - unless absolutely critical, we will not be routinely offering people detoxes or dose reductions as we may not be able to provide you with the level of support that we would nedd to in order to keep you safe. Please contact your local service for more information.
DrinkCoachAlcoholics AnonymousNarcotics AnonymousBreaking Free OnlineCocaine AnonymousRecovery WrxDrugfam
NHS latest adviceAdvice for people at high riskInformation on ShieldingTips to help with anxietySleep hygieneHarm reduction advice for people who use drugsHarm reduction advice for people who drink alcoholThiamine factsheet