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Leaders in Scottish Pharmacy convene to address drug deaths

Professor Catriona Matheson, former Chair of the Drug Deaths Taskforce for Scotland, will chair a session at the Inaugural Pharmacy in Practice Conference, collaborating with a distinguished panel of experts to leverage the pharmacy profession’s expertise in reducing the impact of harmful substances use on individuals and communities.

Sarah Donaldson
Adrian MacKenzie
Catriona Matheson
Laura Wilson
Sam Reid

The panel will explore innovative ways to drive change and improve health outcomes with the ultimate goal of reducing drug-related deaths in Scotland. A diverse group of experts, including Specialist Pharmacist in Substance Use Sarah Donaldson, Laura Wilson (RPS Director for Scotland), Adrian MacKenzie (Medication-assisted treatment standards Pharmacy Clinical Lead Healthcare Improvement Scotland), and Sam Reid (Director at Buchanhaven Pharmacy), will join Professor Matheson to work towards a consensus on effective strategies.

Community pharmacy, a cornerstone of healthcare delivery, has played a vital role in providing care to individuals affected by substance use challenges, especially during the recent pandemic. With adequate support and funding, the conference aims to explore additional services and enhance existing ones. The focus is not only on potential new services but also on optimizing the delivery of current services and care.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society Strategy to Reduce Drug-Related Deaths has received widespread support, and the conference will concentrate on supporting this and other strategy documents. The emphasis is on operationalising recommendations to ensure tangible impact and positive outcomes for the pharmacy profession and the community it serves.

Professor Matheson commented;

“Pharmacists understand the importance of using an evidence-based approach because of their scientific training, making them invaluable assets in the drive to reduce drug harm. If the pharmacy profession can come together and demonstrate the leadership required, hopefully, other groups can do the same.”

Johnathan Laird, Managing Director of Pharmacy in Practice, highlighted the societal responsibility of the pharmacy profession in addressing harmful drug use. He said;

“For decades, pharmacists across Scotland have cared deeply for the most vulnerable victims of harmful substance use. The calibre of professionals, including panellists Sarah Donaldson, Laura Wilson, Adrian MacKenzie, and Sam Reid, joining us for our inaugural Pharmacy in Practice Conference gives me great hope that we can find a consensus on how the pharmacy profession can come together to tackle this complex problem.”

The Inaugural Pharmacy in Practice Conference is set to take place in Edinburgh this May, uniting leaders and stakeholders from across the pharmacy profession in Scotland to tackle the critical issue of drug-related harms and deaths.