A new booklet from Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF) aims to highlight good hygiene practices for people who inject drugs in order to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses.

Created in partnership with NHS Lothian and in conjunction with SDF Peer Research Volunteers, the booklet was initially designed in response to an outbreak of infections related to the bacteria Group A Streptococcus (GAS) among people who inject drugs. During the outbreak it was discovered that some people were hesitant to have wounds and sores checked, heightening the risk of infection. The booklet therefore seeks to inform people who may be at risk of acquiring an infection to be aware of good hygiene practices. In this way, they can prevent any issues occurring, and if they do occur, know what action to take.

Sophie Given, SDF’s National Training and Development Officer for Harm Reduction and Emergency Responses, said:

“Although this resource was designed specifically during an outbreak of Group A Streptococcus, the information and lessons are key to the prevention of any bacterial or viral infection. At this moment with the spread of COVID-19, it is now more important than ever for people who inject drugs to be informed about good personal and environment hygiene practices.”

The SDF anticipates there will be an unprecedented demand on health services with the current coronavirus outbreak. Therefore, it is important that people who inject drugs have an awareness of how to prevent bacterial infections and have a basic knowledge of how to monitor wounds, they say.

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