Diamorphine assisted treatment in Middlesbrough: a UK drug treatment case study

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Abstract

Introduction
Diamorphine Assisted Treatment (DAT) is a treatment offer for individuals with Opioid Dependency (OD), who have failed to benefit from standard treatment model (Opioid Substitution Therapy [OST]). In the Middlesbrough DAT service, self-administered injectable synthetic heroin (diacetylmorphine) is offered to participants, twice daily under the supervision of medical staff in a controlled and safe environment. This case report evidences outcomes from the first operational DAT service in England outside of a research trial.

Method
Descriptive quantitative data from participants who engaged within the first year of operation of DAT (n=14) is presented detailing engagement, harm reduction, and psychosocial outcomes, and criminality of the cohort.

Results
The DAT service was associated with high engagement, a large reduction in positive toxicology screens for street heroin, reduced homelessness, increased engagement with psychosocial interventions and a substantial reduction of criminal offences. Poly-drug use (specifically the consumption of street tablets) impacted treatment engagement for a proportion of the sample.

Conclusions
We present this work as an example of bottom-up policy making within the context of UK drug treatment and implications for practice discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
JournalJournal of Substance Use
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sep 2022

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