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  • Project by Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Aimed to improve standards of care by filling the knowledge and experience gap among frontline clinicians regarding the risks of the non-medical use of prescription drugs.
  • Developed a convenient, evidence-based learning app to help busy clinicians build their confidence in how to identify, assess and manage harms associated with the non-medical use of prescription drugs and other medications.
  • Delivered between January 2019 and June 2021.

Patterns of drug use are changing, leading to a significant increase in the purchase of prescription medication online and from illicit street markets, including benzodiazepines and stimulants used as cognitive enhancers (ADHD medications).

This project from Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust set out to fill the knowledge and experience gap among frontline staff regarding the risks of misuse of prescription medications in order to improve clinical standards of care for people who are at risk.

The ATOMIC (Addiction TO Medication: Improving Care) learning app was developed as an innovative, convenient and evidence-based intervention to give busy clinicians the flexibility to use mobile devices to build their expertise and confidence in how to identify, assess and manage harms associated with non-prescription drug use in young people.

The app contents were drawn from a comprehensive review of international research evidence and developed in collaboration with service users and a multi-disciplinary group with expertise in their care.

The intervention, based on the principles of continuous professional development, includes interactive elements, pre-and post-training testing and a completion certificate. Although COVID-19 has inevitably led to delays in evaluation, a range of clinical staff who offer support and treatment to young people across the NHS have tested the app and found it to be useful, easy to use and informative.

So far, the project has clearly illustrated staff appetite for new learning though innovative and convenient tools to improve clinical practice. The ATOMIC app is now available free of charge to clinicians in the UK and beyond. Several hundred clinicians have already completed the app and there is an ongoing evaluation of its sustainability and clinical impact. Further dissemination is planned via local, national and international organisations.

Contact information

For more information about this project, please contact Dima Abdulrahim, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust.

About this programme

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