Novel Psychoactive Treatment: UK Network (NEPTUNE) II: From guidance to good practice: A multi-dimensional approach to spreading improvement

  • Delivered by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, in partnership with Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust and other stakeholders.
  • A national learning programme.
  • Aims to improve frontline clinicians’ knowledge and understanding of club drugs; improve detection, assessment and management of acute and chronic harms associated with the use of club drugs; and increase delivery of evidence-based interventions.
  • Targeted, setting-specific, evidence-based resources, with associated tools to be developed.

Contact: Dr Owen Bowden-Jones, Club Drug Clinic and Community Assessment and Primary Services (CAPS)

The use of new drugs known as club drugs, including novel psychoactive substances (NPS) and ‘legal highs’, is increasing. The drugs are associated with significant morbidity, but there is little clinical experience of treating problems resulting from these drugs.

NEPTUNE, a Shine 2012 project, addressed the gap in experience and knowledge in the management of acute and chronic problems resulting from the use of club drugs.

NEPTUNE II aims to maximise the impact of NEPTUNE by influencing the clinical practice of frontline staff, nationwide. It will provide learning resources and tools across a range of health settings, in ways that are convenient and easy to use. It will improve access for people with drug-related harms to specialist, evidence-based treatment.

The NEPTUNE guidance will be turned into setting-specific resources with tools, including template bundles. A learning programme will be developed for each of the target clinical settings: specialist drug treatment services, emergency departments, primary care, mental health services, and sexual health and HIV services.

National clinical data collection tools will be reviewed and developed to facilitate recording of new drugs and improve assessment of need.

The aim is to embed and ‘mainstream’ knowledge about harm resulting from the use of club drugs through a national learning programme and other means such as inclusion in the curricula of key organisations – leading to improved patient outcomes and treatment safety.

The NEPTUNE II team will also work to influence policy-makers to embed the project’s learning into performance management and other national requirements.

An independent evaluation will be carried out during this project and will be published once the project has been completed.

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