MEMBERS OF THE Developing a caring Wales (DACW) consortium have agreed an action plan to help combat the potential risk posed by the fentanyl family of synthetic opioids.
The group – which brings together a number of high-profile voluntary sector agencies from across the country – has agreed six priorities to help tackle use of the substances, which are many times more potent than heroin.
While evidence does not suggest that these drugs are currently in widespread use in Wales, members of DACW believe fentanyls have the potential to present a significant threat to vulnerable people throughout the country.
In response, DACW members will:
- remain vigilant over the use of fentanyls in communities across in Wales, and recommend that all agencies receive testing strips to identify use
- call for a pilot at-home fentanyl urine testing scheme, with training and support for users at risk of exposure to fentanyls
- ensure drug samples are routinely sent to WEDINOS for testing, and encourage police forces, health services and other partners to follow suit
- train all frontline members of staff in fentanyl and novel psychoactive substance awareness
- recommend the continuation and extension of the naloxone programme, to include specialist advice for users at risk of exposure to fentanyls
- support access to effective substitute treatment, and back initiatives to ensure there are no waiting lists for drug treatments in Wales
DACW also welcomes the work of the independent Advisory Panel on Substance Misuse and Enhanced Harm Reduction Group in reviewing evidence around safer injection facilities.
Chair Jean Harrington said: “This joint statement of purpose from members of the DACW consortium shows agencies throughout Wales are committed in their response to the threat of fentanyls on our streets.
“We stand ready to work with our partners in government and across the country to tackle the impact of these dangerous substances.”
DACW position paper
Read the DACW position paper on fentanyls (October 2017) by clicking here.