Grampian Substance Misuse Alert Cascade

Grampian Substance Misuse Alert Cascade Protocol

The new Grampian Substance Misuse Alert Cascade Protocol aims to support agencies that work with substance using clients to manage risk information and be confident that appropriate messages will reach those that need to know.  The system will also become a repository for pieces of intelligence that might gain relevance with accumulation.

Over recent years there has been a rise in the volume of information circulating relating to specific, heightened or new risks associated with the use and misuse of illegal or un-prescribed drugs or substances. These risks have involved historic drugs of abuse, novel psychoactive substances (NPSs or legal highs?) with unknown properties, misuse of prescription drugs and the contamination of any of these with infectious or other agents.

When information surfaces regarding risks associated with these substances, it is cascaded between agencies across Grampian (and beyond). It has been unclear who is responsible for the validation of accuracy, consideration of an appropriate dissemination list or any specified local circumstances and advice. Most alert messages are circulated by more than one agency and no central point tracks the course of the information.

This has presented a number of risks to effective communication namely:

  • individuals who needed or could have used the information may not have received it;
  • individuals might have received messages that arose from unsubstantiated events or were of no relevance to them;
  • information may have been shared out of context possibly causing unnecessary disquiet or alarm;
  • individuals who have received such messages have had no clear direction on how to respond;
  • there is often significant unnecessary duplication of email communications.

The system is intended to be a two way process.  Information that clinicians/workers think might be useful to other colleagues working with substance users can be submitted to the mailbox.

The Grampian Substance Misuse Alert Cascade Protocol will be used to lay down a systematic approach to this communication.

Messages can be sent to and will be received from nhsg.substancemisusealert@nhs.net also contact this mailbox for further information .

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