New online system, Report Illicit Drug Reaction, was launched today to improve knowledge of the harmful effects of new psychoactive substances.
Last year, according to the 2015 to 2016 Crime Survey for England and Wales, one in 40 (2.5%) young adults aged 16 to 24 took a new psychoactive substance and there is evidence of widespread use among vulnerable adults such as prisoners and homeless people. Whilst specialist services are responding, these harms are often poorly understood in frontline healthcare services and there is little guidance available to them.
Public Health England (PHE) in collaboration with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is piloting a national system to help better monitor the negative effects of NPS and share best treatment practice across a variety of settings, including A&E, sexual health clinics, mental health services, prison health services, drug treatment services and GP surgeries.
The UK-wide, easy to use Report Illicit Drug Reaction (RIDR) system will be accessible to all front line health staff. Information about the drug and its effects will be recorded anonymously using an online portal. Data from the tool will be analysed by experts to identify patterns of symptoms and harms. This will be used to inform treatment guidance and help staff deal more quickly with unknown substances, and improve patient safety.