Humankind have opened what is believed to be the UK’s first pharmacy technician-led community dispensary embedded within a specialist substance use treatment service.
The new dispensary, which is licensed by the Home Office and located within the Calderdale Recovery Steps drug and alcohol treatment service, will ensure that people can access the vital medication they need to help them manage their drug use.
The dispensary is run by Humankind, one of the UK’s drug and alcohol treatment providers, in partnership with The Basement Project and Calderdale Council.
Speaking about the dispensary, Calderdale Council’s Public Health Manager Niamh Cullen said: “For our most vulnerable and poorly service users it’s important we see them as often possible, build strong relationships with them and offer easy access to other health and recovery services onsite, in Calderdale we are really concerned about the number of premature deaths amongst those using drugs and alcohol in our communities”.
The new service is facilitated by registered pharmacy technicians and nurses with support from recovery staff. The staff are able to issue medication such as methadone and buprenorphine to help people manage and reduce their use of illicit substances.
Talking about the impact of the service, Roz Gittins, Director of Pharmacy at Humankind, said: “We’re really pleased to be able to offer another option for people who may otherwise remain at greater risk of drug related death. I’m really proud to see pharmacy technicians being able to use their skills in this way and hearing first hand from people the difference it’s already making.”
By integrating the dispensary into the service, Calderdale Recovery Steps hopes to remove some of the barriers that people who use drugs face when trying to access their medication, such as the cost and time of travelling to a pharmacy located far from their home.
The dispensary is a targeted service that anticipates working with approximately 20 of Calderdale Recovery Steps existing clients with the aim of providing intensive and holistic support that meets their additional needs.
Mark, who is receiving medication from the dispensary, is pleased to have the service, he said: “It’s much better coming here. Everything is in one place and I don’t have all the extra travel. I like the people and it makes a difference.”
To find out more about Calderdale Recovery Steps, visit http://calderdalerecoverysteps.org.uk/.