In April 2021, REACH began a partnership project with Public Health Scotland (PHS) to deliver education and training on the new Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) standards to lived/ living experienced individuals and staff from statutory and non-statutory services.
The MAT standards make up part of the latest guidance from the Scottish Government to help achieve Scotland's National Mission of reducing drug related deaths and harms. The ten standards not only outline guidance on pharmacological approaches to care and treatment but contain psychosocial measures for patients, such as trauma informed practice, mental health support, advocacy and social support. This holistic set of guidance is designed to promote wrap around support for patients by attempting to address root contributors to substance misuse such as stigma, poverty and deprivation as identified by Nicola Sturgeon in her drugs policy statement in 2021.
To compliment this approach, and to ensure that these standards are baked into legislative frameworks, REACH disseminated this education and training on the MAT standards within a wider human rights based approach. To achieve effective dissemination, REACH developed a 1-day awareness workshop which focused on upskilling individuals on key topics such as; social factors contributing to substance use disorder as a health condition; Human Rights legislation; practical educational frameworks to use when applying a Human Rights Based Approach; as well as the MAT Standards themselves and how they aim to ensure that the human rights of individuals are upheld, fulfilled and protected.
Since 2021 to the present day, REACH have delivered this training to 835 participants across 16 localities in Scotland.
In addition to the content, REACH designed these workshops to be delivered to a cross population of lived/ living experience individuals, families & communities, workforce and policy leads. REACH believed this cross population aspect to learning was imperative for effective implementation of these standards, as those designing service policy are often not the individuals experiencing the service. Therefore, this approach attempted to close this social proximity gap, and promote collaborative working, by having patients, staff members and policy makers all present in the same learning space.
From these 1 day awareness workshops, REACH have collated quantitative and experiential data from participants on the challenges, and areas of good practice, to implementing MAT in the various localities across Scotland.
REACH look forward to sharing the outcomes of this project through this experiential and quantitative data. We hope our upcoming independent report from this project will aid any further work on the implementation of the MAT standards and help support the ongoing efforts to achieve the National Mission of reducing drug related deaths and harms.