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Harm Reduction Goes Digital in South Lanarkshire

A Digital Harm Reduction Toolkit, designed by Carezapp, is being utilised as part of a wider Harm Reduction response to help prevent and respond to individuals experiencing a crisis within South Lanarkshire.

Carezapp allows staff to monitor real-time information to prevent and respond to crisis situations for identified individuals in the community. The toolkit consists of non-contact sensors that can monitor doors and windows, presence and movement in a room or area, and/or physiological data (such as breathing and heart rate) and button presses. It also includes a mobile WIFI router and tablet device for communication and alert verification. It is intended to be used for monitoring individuals’ general wellbeing and safety. It can send alerts or notifications to staff and selected others within a support network (including family and or friends) about a service user’s care and support needs, as well as potentially harmful side-effects of various activities, conditions or assessed risks.

The toolkit is being used as one part of a response to wider Harm Reduction activities within a new Outreach Crisis Response service in South Lanarkshire. The service aims to prevent and respond, in person where required, to crisis situations for homeless people or those at risk of homelessness, reducing the harm experienced by individuals (physical and psychological), preventing loss of accommodation and drug deaths wherever possible and connect individuals into appropriate services.

The work of the service is underpinned by a psychologically and trauma informed approach. Other interventions that will be provided as part of the new service include;

o Harm reduction information and advice. Understanding how people ‘use’ alcohol and other drugs.

o Distribution of Injecting Equipment Provision (IEP) including new needles, foil, sharp bins etc. as part of harm reduction.

o Targeted distribution of naloxone (peer distribution model) to individuals and friends / family

o Immediate response pathway for near-fatal overdose

o Dry Blood Spot testing, where appropriate, for HIV, Hep B and Hep C.

o Condom distribution

o Emergency food parcels

o Access to period products

o Identification of emergency accommodation if homeless or at risk of losing accommodation

o Engaging with family members out of hours to provide support to keep people safe out of hours.

o Sustaining existing engagement with services

o Addressing barriers to engagement with services

o Assertive linkage to treatment and care services


Daniel Lowe, Executive Director of Housing and Technical Resources said:

Housing Services was delighted to work with Turning Point Scotland and partners across Health and Social Care and Community addictions services in designing and introducing our new Out of Hours crisis response service. The service was designed to meet identified and urgent support needs at peak periods, supported by Rapid Re-Housing Transition Plan and Drug Task Force funding. Although early days the demand and value of the service has been clearly demonstrated over recent months.

Turning Point Scotland’s Head of Alcohol and Other Drugs, Patricia Tracey said “We are delighted to be working in partnership with committed organisations and individuals who are as excited as we are to push the boundaries of Harm Reduction and move to digital. In Turning Point Scotland, we already deliver a ‘suite’ of harm reduction interventions but we know we can do more and be more creative. We are currently developing a partnership which will look to test and embed digital harm reduction options across Scotland, working closely with individuals who have lived and living experience. The Digital Harm Reduction Toolkit, designed by Carezapp adds to the wealth of experience, skills and knowledge brought by our Harm Reduction Practitioners, helping to provide us with real-time information to respond in crisis situations.”

The DHRT will be implemented as part of a 1-year test of change of changed commissioned by South Lanarkshire Council through Drug Death Taskforce Funding. The Crisis Response Outreach Crisis Team is being developed, delivered and led in partnership with Turning Point Scotland.

The service aims to supplement the local authorities current out of hrs service by providing a range of interventions to respond to individuals experiencing a crisis within a defined group of identified individuals within the community or in temporary / supported accommodation.

Turning Point Scotland works with adults who are experiencing a range of support needs. This includes housing and homelessness, learning disability, autism, acquired brain injury, fluctuating mental health, physical disabilities, problematic alcohol and/or other drug use and involvement in the criminal justice system. We believe that people matter. We believe they are the experts on their support needs. It is for us to work creatively with them and with partners to ensure we meet those needs. Every day the organisation works with well over 4,000 people, helping around 8,700 every year.

Carezapp is a technology enabled support system for care in homes, whether in a person's own home, care home, supported living, social housing, assisted living or other residential care settings. It connects people and available supports, providing better insights through smart technologies that empower people, delivering real-time information and peace of mind. Carezapp is a Vidatec company based out of Dundee, Scotland. -

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