Police warning over substance abuse – Two girls hospitalised

August 1st, 2018 by

Police warning over substance abuse

Detectives in Bodmin are currently investigating an incident which left two teenagers needing medical assistance following suspected substance abuse in Bodmin.

Officers were notified at about 11:00pm Sunday 29 July to reports of two teenage girls who had taken an unknown substance and became very unwell as a result.

The girls, a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old, were both taken to Treliske Hospital where their condition was stabilised. The 16-year-old girl was later released from hospital, the 17-year-old girl is currently recovering in hospital.

DC Andy Petherick said: “The substance that these girls are believed to have taken came in the form of yellow tablets which were in the shape of a shield with ‘EA7’ written on them, similar to the one pictured.

“We are urging young people to stay away from substances. You do not know what is in them or how strong the drug may be or how your body will react to them.”

Anybody with information about this incident are asked to contact police via 101@dc.police.uk or by calling 101 and quote log number 989 29/07/2018

 

 

 

https://www.devon-cornwall.police.uk/News/NewsArticle.aspx?id=e5f87eac-1c6f-49ca-ba0f-f71f9de860f8

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Alprazolam (Xanax) – What are the Facts?

July 30th, 2018 by

Public Health England briefing

Over the past year, there has been increasing media coverage about alprazolam (typically referred to by the brand name Xanax), highlighting what is being seen as a rise in the number of young people using it. Most of the media reports have described individual cases or reports from treatment services, and there has been little discussion of the research evidence or the actual data.

As with all media coverage which highlights potential changes in drug trends, there is a risk that the evidence isn’t clearly presented or even available, and that raising the profile of a particular drug can inadvertently increase interest from some drug users.

What is alprazolam?

Alprazolam is a medicine in the benzodiazepine family of drugs. Benzodiazepines are most commonly prescribed for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia, and they are also prescribed to control seizures caused by epilepsy.

The most frequently prescribed benzodiazepine in the UK is diazepam, known by the tradename Valium. In comparison, alprazolam is a faster acting drug and is about 10 times stronger, meaning that it can rapidly cause feelings of sedation.

Like other benzodiazepines, alprazolam can cause problems when taken without medical supervision. In the short term, its misuse can cause over-sedation, collapsing and overdose. Longer-term use can lead to physical dependence and severe withdrawal upon reducing or stopping use.

Furthermore, taking any benzodiazepine with alcohol and/or other drugs increases the risk of harm. This is particularly the case when benzodiazepines are mixed with other sedative drugs.

Alprazolam is not available from the NHS, but can be obtained on a private prescription in the UK. Illicit alprazolam, normally in the form of counterfeit Xanax tablets, can be bought from street level drug markets and is also available to purchase from illegal websites and social media apps.

What is being said about alprazolam (Xanax)?

There have been a growing number of personal stories reported in the media, often about young people who have developed problems with alprazolam (Xanax), as well as anecdotal reports that they are self-medicating for anxiety issues.

There have also been discussions around alprazolam in political circles. In January this year, the MP Bambos Charalambous led the first debate in the House of Commons to discuss its misuse.

Sometimes, the use of alprazolam (Xanax) is portrayed in the media as a major epidemic among young people. There is currently no evidence of this, but, as we explain further down, there is some evidence that prevalence is increasing. It is important to understand that patterns of drug use change over time. Some drugs rapidly emerge but then their use quickly declines, other drugs persist and cause significant and sustained harm. It is currently too early to know which category alprazolam will fall into.

What do we know about alprazolam use?

As the media coverage of alprazolam continues, PHE has been asked to comment, particularly on trends. There is some evidence to suggest that use is a growing problem, particularly among young people and young adults. However, the data we have does not give a clear picture of the prevalence of alprazolam use, as some of these data cover all benzodiazepines and not alprazolam specifically, making it more difficult to detect changes in use.

Preliminary hospital admission data in England for 2017 indicates that there has been an increase in the number of people aged under 20 admitted to hospital with benzodiazepine poisoning. Over the same period, enquiries to the National Poisons Information Service about the treatment of alprazolam poisoning have increased substantially. PHE has examined UK police seizures data for drugs that were submitted for forensic analysis, which showed that the number of alprazolam seizures was far greater in 2017 than in previous years, increasing from fewer than ten seizures in 2016 to over 800 in 2017.

Many of the Xanax tablets available on illicit markets are not of pharmaceutical grade, but are in fact counterfeit. This is a major concern because these counterfeit products may contain very variable amounts of alprazolam, making it hard for drug users to decide how much to take. Counterfeit Xanax has also been shown to sometimes contain other drugs and/or potentially dangerous adulterants.

Information we have received from TICTAC, a drug analysis laboratory, has confirmed that samples produced to look like real Xanax tablets actually contained other drugs such as etizolam, which is another benzodiazepine linked to a large number of deaths in Scotland. TICTAC also found that ‘fake’ tablets that did contain alprazolam varied greatly in strength, with some tablets having more than 10 times the normal dose of an authentic Xanax tablet.

The unpredictability of dose can be very dangerous to drug users who will not be able to judge how much alprazolam (or other substituted drugs) the tablets contains until after they have consumed it and are experiencing harmful effects.

What is being done and what should be done?

What PHE is doing

At PHE, we’ve been looking at all national data and other intelligence to try to get a better understanding of alprazolam use in England. We are also talking to experts and others to build a clearer picture.

Our locally based PHE Centre teams are working closely with local authorities, providing them with data, guidance and other bespoke support to help them assess local treatment need, and commission services to meet that need. This may include specific support for those misusing alprazolam depending on the size of the problem in their area.

We are piloting Report Illicit Drug Reactions (RIDR), an online reporting system for harm caused by illicit drugs, particularly new psychoactive substances (NPS). This system also captures the harms caused by misused medications, such as alprazolam.

When new drugs or patterns of use emerge, the particular health consequences associated with them may not always be fully understood at first. For example, the bladder problems caused by ketamine were not originally recognised until different treatment services began to join the dots and find the link between the two. RIDR seeks to speed up the identification of harms, so that health and treatment services can rapidly deliver the most appropriate interventions. PHE encourages frontline staff to use RIDR to report clinical harms they are seeing in their local areas. This helps build a better understanding of the emerging problems and their geographical distribution.

PHE holds a quarterly clinical network meeting with experts on new drugs and emerging drug trends, which provides the opportunity to discuss data from RIDR, the latest NPS-related research, and other sources. After each meeting, we update the RIDR dashboard to log current issues and concerns. Alprazolam has featured on the dashboard since September 2017.

What are we doing in Cornwall & Isles of Scilly?

Our treatment services have responded to this emerging pattern of use by learning more, training their staff, producing information for young people, raising awareness of the problem locally, and offering advice, support and treatment to young people having problems.

Drug Watch, an information network, put together a briefing on alprazolam for professionals and the public (see below) which we are disseminating.

We seek to ensure that staff working in services in contact with vulnerable groups are well-informed; and support the development of appropriate responses.

It is especially important that any local communications to professionals and young people are proportionate so that they raise awareness and knowledge without driving up interest and drug-seeking.

Download PDF FileAlprazolam Infosheet DrugWatch

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Drug and alcohol services for adults and young people

April 10th, 2018 by

Addaction to continue to deliver Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly community drug and alcohol services for adults and young people

Addaction is to continue delivery of alcohol and drug services across Cornwall for the next five years.

The national charity has been delivering the services in the county for the past five years to both adults and young people, and has been successful in retaining the contract with Cornwall Council.

The budget for alcohol and drug treatment reduces by £120,000 in 18/19 and to a total of £451,000 by March 2020, so we are pleased that we had a high quality successful bid to deliver these services to Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly.

Addaction has bases in Redruth, Penzance, St Austell, Liskeard, Bodmin and Truro – where the YZUP service is also based.

The charity provides free, confidential and non-judgmental support to anyone affected by their own or someone else’s alcohol or drug use.

Associate director James Sainsbury said: “We’re delighted to continue our work in Cornwall and I want to congratulate the whole team on our excellent work.”

During the past five years, Addaction Cornwall and Isles of Scilly has supported 6,047 different adults and is currently treating 1,899 adults in the county.

Addaction has also been successful in securing funding of £780,000 from the Government’s Life Chances Fund to set up a project in Cornwall to cut the number of people frequently attending the hospital A&E departments due to alcohol or drugs.

Known as ‘frequent attenders’, there is a group of people who take up a disproportionate amount of time, resources and finances for hospital A&E departments because of their regular attendance due to alcohol or drug use.

Addaction will be using a combination of assertive outreach, high intensity work and partnership work to get this group to address their use and attend less.

“Around 35% of A&E admissions are down to alcohol and by tackling the frequent attenders we can help the hospital free up their resources to help others. The work will involve linking in with people from housing, the police, the council and other professionals to make sure we’re addressing all their needs and issues at once,” said James Sainsbury.

The project will be launched thanks to the Life Chances grant which is used to set up a social impact bond that will continue to fund the project outcomes. To date Addaction has been awarded the largest contribution for it from Life Chances.

Addaction is the first substance misuse charity in the UK to run a social impact bond and the Cornwall project will be watched with interest by officials and researchers to see if it will work elsewhere in the country.

A pilot project has been running in Treliske A&E and it will officially launch with an extended service from April 1st.

James Sainsbury said: “No service in the UK has been able to fully address the issue of frequent attenders before. We’re hopeful this innovative approach will significantly improve the lives of this group of people and give a new way forward for other services across the country.”

Minister for sport and civil society, Tracey Crouch, said: ‘This funding will benefit some of the most vulnerable people in society and provide vital support to help them transform their lives.

‘The UK is a world leader in using social impact bonds to make a positive impact in society and these projects will achieve real results in communities across the country.’

The Government Outcomes Laboratory (GoLab) based at Oxford University will be monitoring the effectiveness of this project as a funding model for care services.

To find out more about Addaction visit www.addaction.org.uk where you can also access a free, confidential web chat facility.

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Addaction HOT team has arrived…

October 30th, 2017 by

Addaction HOT team has arrived…

RCHT now has Addaction outreach workers within its safeguarding team, supporting patients with alcohol and drug addiction.  The Addaction Hospital Outreach Team (HOT) consists of two workers: Joanne Sutcliffe and Lee Derrick. Jo and Lee are managed by Addaction Operational manager Lynda Edward.

The Addaction HOT team is working in partnership with the Alcohol Liaison Team, the Psychiatric Liaison Team, Adult Safeguarding and Shelter to focus on individuals who are attending for multiple admissions at RCH in an attempt to identify and address the reasons behind their serial admissions.

Amongst those individuals with multiple presentations is a cohort of people with severe and enduring alcohol and drug problems. The HOT Team aims to identify, with the help of ALT and Safeguarding within the hospital, those individuals and to provide intensive multi-agency care packages to prevent further harm to the individual and minimise, where possible, attendance at the hospital.

The HOT Team also works to bridge the gap between home, community and the hospital to ensure individuals with complex needs are adequately supported. The team’s work has included work with the Palliative Care Service, liaison with Safeguarding and Mental Health Service, liaison with the Specialist Midwifery Team and the Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy (IDVA) service.

The HOT team would like to thank the RCHT wards for the support that they have shown both of them in their new role.  You can read more on Jo and Lee in the full article on the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Website HERE

Joanne Sutcliffe  – Tel: 07973789348 email: jo.sutcliffe1@nhs.net
or joanne.sutcliffe@addaction.org.uk

Lee Derrick – Tel: 07580833895 email: lee.derrick@nhs.net or
lee.derrick@addaction.org.uk

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Safer Cornwall are a working partnership involving: