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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-14055: Michelle Ballantyne (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 24 January 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking in response to the reported increase in prescription drug addiction.

Answered by: Shona Robison 2 February 2018

The Prescribing of medicines is managed by clinicians in discussion with patients within the context of their long-term recovery. It should be in line with good practice, reviewed regularly to achieve the best possible health outcomes and on-going support should be provided to patients who are prescribed medicines that are known to be addictive.

The Scottish Government has recently discussed with NHS 24, the information and support available through NHS inform and the telephone 111 service, for people with prescribed drug dependence.

In addition to this the Scottish Government are introducing a range of measures to help tackle this problem including:

  • committing to continuing the development of a Single National Formulary to reduce unwarranted medicine variation, increase patient safety while ensuring a person-centred approach.

  • liaising with Public Health England to consider if its review of prescribed medicines addiction could extend to include Scotland.

  • refreshing the polypharmacy strategy to tackle inappropriate practice

  • developing a chronic pain strategy that aims to tackle the issue of over-treatment and highlight the issue of high strength opioid medicines misuse.

  • refreshing the drug treatment strategy to meet the wide-ranging health and social needs of those at risk as a result of their substance use.

Linked in to the aims of Realistic Medicines, the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer’s strategy document Achieving Excellence in Pharmaceutical Care, published in August last year, commits us to considering how pharmacists can make better use of tools and interventions to assist people in using their medicines safely and effectively.