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The pharmacist who volunteers at festivals: ‘I help people reduce their risks from taking illegal drugs’

Dr Rachel Britton started out as a community pharmacist, but her career has taken a more unique path since – these days she’s more likely to be found at music festivals and pop-up events in university towns, dispensing advice to young people on how to take illegal drugs. ‘I’ve always had an interest in drugs,…
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Milton Keynes man slapped with suspended sentence after postage blunder revealed illicit hair loss and ED meds supply

A Milton Keynes man has been handed a two-year suspended sentence for illegally supplying thousands of packs of hair loss and erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs. The illegal activity was uncovered by the Royal Mail when Keith Morgan, of Little Brickhill in Milton Keynes, failed to pay the full postage on packages containing the medicines. Mr…
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MHRA seizes over £2m worth of counterfeit medicines in UK drugs bust

More than £2m worth of falsified medicines have been seized in the UK in less than three weeks, the Government’s medicines watchdog has revealed. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said on Wednesday (24 October) that it intercepted one million doses of medicines, worth over £2m, between 9 and 27 October. These included…
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Pregabalin and gabapentin reclassified as class C drugs, Government announces

Pregabalin and gabapentin will be reclassified as class C drugs next year following a rising numbers of deaths linked to the drugs, the Government has said. The Home Office announced yesterday (15 October) that the prescription-only anti-convulsant medicines will be reclassified from April 2019. Under the changes, pregabalin and gabapentin will face tighter controls to…
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Brexit will affect UK’s ability to tackle illegal drugs trade, experts warn

Leaving the EU’s drug authority after Brexit will affect the UK’s ability to tackle the illicit drugs trade, health experts have warned. In a letter published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) yesterday (26 September) health experts – including NHS Lothian director of public health and public policy Alison McCallum – said that not being…
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A unique role in supporting recovery from addiction

Pharmacists have a valuable role to play in supporting substance misusers and are uniquely placed to intervene. Steve Taylor explains how pharmacy services can make a difference

The lowdown on legal highs

Drug abuse in the UK is widespread, and recently there has been an increase in availability of newer synthetic ‘designer drugs’. These are legal, or recently classified drugs, which mimic the effects of their illegal counterparts. One of the main issues with these is the lack of knowledge of their effects, compared to heroin, LSD, alcohol and tobacco, and other wellknown drugs. This article will look specifically at these ‘legal highs’.

Charity’s suggestion that pharmacies could sell cocaine ‘completely incompatible’ with pharmacist role, says RPS

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has responded to a charity’s suggestion that specialist pharmacies should be the ‘main outlet’ for sales of cocaine and MDMA, stating that the role of a pharmacist is ‘completely incompatible’ with supplying illicit substances. Transform, a drug policy reform charity made the proposal in How to regulate stimulants: A practical…
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Pharmacy teams warned over rise in use of ‘street benzos’ linked to deaths

Public Health England (PHE) has issued a warning to pharmacy teams over illicit tablets being sold on the street as benzodiazepines which have been linked to a recent rise in admissions to hospital as well as deaths. The warning, which was sent out to healthcare professionals earlier this week (24 July), cited ‘significant evidence from…
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Top tips for running a supervised consumption service

Community pharmacists have a vital role in helping substance misusers recover through guided methadone consumption, writes Kathy Oxtoby Lorraine Maden, lead clinical pharmacist for the mental health, drug and alcohol charity Addaction, is passionate about the role of community pharmacy in substance misuse.  ‘Pharmacists have so much to offer and are the healthcare professionals who have…
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