NEDAC Coronavirus Update

Coronavirus General Information

The majority of people will experience milder symptoms but specific service-user populations may be at special risk of COVID-19 related illness or complications. Typically, this includes women who are pregnant, people who are 65 years or older; have asthma or other chronic pulmonary, cardiovascular, liver, haematological, neurologic, neuromuscular, or metabolic disorders such as diabetes; are immunosuppressed; or are residents of a nursing home or other chronic- care facility.

Measures you can take are:
- Avoiding any contact with people who have symptoms
- Avoid non-essential use of public transport
- Avoid social contact with family and friends instead use phone, social media etc to keep in touch
- Social distancing can make some people feel more isolated including people who use drugs so if it's possible to check up on anyone affected by phone or social media this can help. Mental health foundation have produced guidance for ways people can look after their mental health during the outbreak:
- If you need to contact services such as GP, contact by phone first

If you, or someone you live with, develops symptoms of COVID-19, the Government and Health Protection advice to self-isolate is:
- Stay at home for 7 days if you have a new continuous cough or high temperature
- Stay at home for 14 days if someone in the household has a new continuous cough or high temperature even if they don't have symptoms

More information on Self Isolation Advice

Please help us help each other keep healthy at this time by following official guidance:
- Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
- Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
- Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
- Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority
- Keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 hotspots (cities or local areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely). If possible, avoid traveling to places - especially if you are an older person or have diabetes, heart or lung disease.

If you've developed a new continuous cough and/or a fever/high temperature in the last 7 days, stay at home for 7 days from the start of your symptoms even if you think your symptoms are mild.

Phone your GP if your symptoms:
- Are severe or you have shortness of breath
- Worsen during home isolation
- Have not improved after 7 days
- You should also phone your GP if you develop breathlessness or it worsens, especially if you:o are 60 years old or over
- Have underlying poor health
- Have heart or lung problems
- Have a weakened immune system, including cancer
- Have diabetes
- If your GP is closed, phone NHS 24 (111).

If you have a medical emergency, phone 999 and tell them you have COVID-19 symptoms.

For more information about the current Coronavirus situation, please visit the Scottish Government's website


Harm Reduction for People who Inject Drugs

Needle Exchanges

Lyndsay and Gilmore - Crewe Road -
Operating as normal, they are adhering to social distancing and allowing 2 people into the store at any one time, if waiting outside please adhere to guidleines and stay 2m apart

Spittal Street - OPen as normal (Mon, Tues, Thurs Fri 12.30 - 16.30)
They are operating a 1 person in 1 person out policy

Craigroyston Health Clinic - CGL - Phone 0131 469 5044 to arrange, they have limited items and cannot see people in the building but will give to people outside obeying the social distancing advice.

As a result of the Coronavirus measures, people who use drugs should be advised that when collecting new equipment from Injecting Equipment Provision services, try and take enough equipment to last two weeks and ask for naloxone.

As a last resort, if people can't get new equipment,make sure existing works are cleaned in the following way by using 3 cups and remember not to share these cups.

Container 1 - First cup of water
The syringe should be filled to the top by drawing up the water to fill the full barrel. This water shpuld be squirted out (away from any other paraphernalia) ideally down a sink or toilet.

Container 2 - Thin Bleach
Then, the syringe should be filled with thin bleach in the same way and again squirted down a sink or toilet keeping well away from any other paraphernalia.

Container 3 - Second cup of water
Then the syringe should be filled with clean water in the same way as the previous 2 steps, repeating once or twice to ensure the barrel is clean and clear of bleach.

For more information on safer injecting:

Advice and resources concerning COVID-19 and people who use drugs from across Europe can be found on the EU Drug Agency (EMCDDA) website -

Services who support people who use drugs

Guidance has been produced by Scottish Drug Forum and partners to support local areas and services in their contingency planning for COVID-19 in relation to people who use drugs and particularly the provision of opiate substitution treatment and injecting equipment provision.

The Guidance is not meant to replace local contingency planning but to aid further development with regard to meeting specific challenging issues that areas are likely to be faced over the coming months.

For information on this COVID-19 Guidance:

People who use drugs are a particular risk group with very specific needs

There are particular challenges in relation to Scotland's population of people who have a drug problem many of these are aged over 35 and have multiple morbidities, often including COPD - a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties - so are a very vulnerable high risk group in relation to COVID-19. People can temporarily have a lowered immune system due to use of different drugs even where they do not have significant underlying conditions.

An information flyer, created by SDF in consultation with NHS Scotland and public health, has been designed to inform people who inject drugs how they can reduce their risk of infection and contains advice regarding the acquiral and use of injecting equipment provision during the outbreak.

The flyer also describes potential scenarios that may occur during the outbreak which will impact specifically on people who inject drugs, such as:

- A potential reduction in needle exchange service hours
- What to do if you cannot get new injecting equipment
- What may happen to the drug supply
- Advice on what may happen in case of withdrawal symptoms
- Advice on other ‘downer’s like benzodiazepines
- Where to access services details and further information on the COVID-19 outbreak

Click here to download the A5 information flyer on for people who inject drugs and COVID-19

For people who use drugs, general advice is
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds regularly including after going to the toilet, before eating/drinking and when you blow your nose, cough or sneeze
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue or your inner elbow, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing or taking drugs
- Effective handwashing is the most effective way to prevent infection, but where handwashing has not been possible use alcohol hand gel sanitiser
- Wipe down any drug packaging or wraps with alcohol wipes as soon as possible after buying
- For preparing drugs, always prepare a clean surface, cleaned down with anti-bacterial spray or alcohol wipes, if it's not possible use something like clean kitchen roll and dispose of it afterwards
- Do not share any paraphernalia, including needles, water, spoons of equipment for injecting straws or equipment for snorting, pipes for smoking or dabbing in shared bags.
- New equipment greatly reduces the risk of ALL infections
- If fresh equipment is not available guidance for cleaning works is below and pipes or snorting equipment can be wiped down with alcohol wipes

You can view a briefing for safer drug use during COVID-19 outbreak here:

There is also information on general hygiene and harm reduction tips from Crew here:


People Living with HIV

For people living with HIV, current advice from Terrence Higgins Trust is that people on HIV treatment with a good CD4 count (anything over 350) and an undetectable viral load are not considered to have weakened immune systems. HIV Scotland suggest that if your CD4 count is less than 350, if you're not on treatment or if you have a detectable viral load, then it is particularly important that you follow social distancing guidance.

More info on HIV and COVID-19 available at:

Terence Higgins Trust - Coronavirus

HIV Scotland - Coronavirus


COVID-19 Mental Health Resources

While many of us may be feeling worried or stressed about the impact of Coronavirus, there are things that we can be doing to look after our mental wellbeing at this time. On this page, you will find some additional resources that might help you to look after your mental health:

The World Health Organization has developed a mental health guide. It includes information for how to look after your mental health and wellbeing if you are self-isolating, if you are a healthcare worker, team leader or manager of a health facility, or a care provider for children or older adults and people living with underlying health conditions.

NHS and Public Health England - Every Mind Matters The NHS has provided some information around how to best look after your mental health and wellbeing while you are staying at home.

The BBC has created a guide that includes useful tips around what people can do to protect their mental health during this time.

Mental Health Foundation has developed some tips for what people can be doing to look after their mental health and the mental health of their friends and family.

Mind has provided information around coronavirus and wellbeing, including tips for staying at home, looking after your mental health and wellbeing and a checklist for whether you are ready to stay at home.

SAMH has a hub of information and guidance around looking after your mental health while the virus developments are ongoing.

Young Minds provides information about how to talk to your child about coronavirus, as well as some tips for how to look after your mental health while you are self-isolating.

CALM has provided free resources to help support people's mental and emotional wellbeing, including soothing meditations and sounds.

Women's Aid
has created a page dedicated to safety advice for women who are isolating in a household with their perpetrator.

Drinkline and FRANK

Drinkline, the national alcohol helpline is available weekdays 9am to 8pm and weekends 11am to 4pm on 0300 123 1110.

FRANK also has a helpline for difficulties regarding drugs, which is open 24 hours, 7 days a week on 0300 123 6600.


CoronaVirus and Keeping Well

If you're feeling anxious and overwhelmed at the moment, you're not alone. Here are some ideas, based on the 5 Ways to Wellbeing, you can take to look after and improve your mental health and wellbeing.
Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life during this challenging time.

1. Connect with other people
Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. They can:
" help you to build a sense of belonging and self-worth
" give you an opportunity to share positive experiences
" provide emotional support and allow you to support others

There are lots of things you could try to help build stronger and closer relationships:
" if possible, take time each day to be with your family, for example, try arranging a fixed time to eat dinner together
" try switching off the TV to talk or play a game with your children, friends or family
" make the most of technology to stay in touch with friends and family. Video-chat apps like Skype and FaceTime are useful, especially if you live far apart
" search and download online community apps on the NHS apps library
" do not rely on technology or social media alone to build relationships. It's easy to get into the habit of only ever texting, messaging or emailing people

2. Be physically active
Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. Evidence also shows it can also improve your mental wellbeing by:
" raising your self-esteem
" helping you to set goals or challenges and achieve them
" causing chemical changes in your brain which can help to positively change your mood

Find out more about getting active
" find free activities to help you get fit
" if you have a disability or long-term health condition, find out about getting active with a disability
" start running with our couch to 5k podcasts
" find out about getting started with exercise
" do not feel that you have to spend hours in a gym. It's best to find activities you enjoy and make them a part of your life

3. Learn new skills
Research shows that learning new skills can also improve your mental wellbeing by:
- Boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem
- Helping you to build a sense of purpose
- Helping you to connect with others

Even if you feel like you do not have enough time, or you may not need to learn new things, there are lots of different ways to bring learning into your life.
Some of the things you could try include:
- Try learning to cook something new. Find out about healthy eating and cooking tips
- Work on a DIY project, such as fixing a broken bike, garden gate or something bigger. There are lots of free video tutorials online
- Consider signing up for a course online. You could try learning a new language.
- Try new hobbies that challenge you, such as writing a blog, taking up a new sport or learning to paint
- Do not feel you have to learn new qualifications or sit exams if this does not interest you. It's best to find activities you enjoy and make them a part of your life

4. Give to others
Research suggests that acts of giving and kindness can help improve your mental wellbeing by:
- Creating positive feelings and a sense of reward
- Giving you a feeling of purpose and self-worth
- Helping you connect with other people

It could be small acts of kindness towards other people, or larger ones like volunteering in your local community.
Some examples of the things you could try include:
- Saying thank you to someone for something they have done for you
- Asking friends, family or colleagues how they are and really listening to their answer
- Donate to the local food bank

5. Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)
Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you.
Some people call this awareness "mindfulness". Mindfulness can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.

Read more about mindfulness, including steps you can take to be more mindful in your everyday life.




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