Cornwall Drug Alert Briefing 2nd July 2020

July 2nd, 2020 by

Pills and tablets being sold as prescribed drugs – RISK OF HARM, RISK TO LIFE

There have been multiple cases of overdose across Cornwall in the last fortnight where a range of tablets of differing colours, pretending to be prescribed drugs have been involved. These drugs have been illicitly produced and sold.

The drugs are being made to look like Benzodiazepines -Valium, Lorazepam, Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam) and Alprazolam (Xanax), coming as coloured tablets, or as Pregabalin (so far). They often come in blister packs or labelled plastic pharmacy pots, which look like they are pharmaceutically prepared, but they are not.

Testing of seized tablets shows that some do not contain any of the drugs they proport to be at all, instead containing dangerous chemicals for non-medical use. With others, the content of each tablet differs very widely, despite the tablet markings indicating a set dose.

If you, or anyone near you, take any of these drugs and overdose, an ambulance and hospitalisation will be required ASAP.

Naloxone will not reverse an overdose of these drugs but may assist if they have been taken in combination with opioid drugs.

  • Drowsiness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Shallow breathing
  • Impaired motor function
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired balance
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fainting
  • Coma

Benzodiazepine drugs in overdose can show a range of symptoms but may include;

  • Drowsiness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Shallow breathing
  • Impaired motor function
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired balance
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fainting
  • Coma

Harm Reduction Advice

➢ Buying drugs from a unknown source is a risk

➢ Try small dosing/testing unknown substances/supplies

➢ Avoid using alone

➢ Report any unusual symptoms & seek medical assistance

➢ Call 999 if urgent medical assistance is required or you think an overdose is occurring

If you witness someone experiencing these symptoms or are experiencing them yourself in suspected overdose:

  1. Call 999 for an ambulance
  2. Give immediate first aid basic life support (recovery position and monitor the airway, breathing & pulse).
  3. Do not assume that a person who is still functioning normally will not worsen later.

Further help and support can be found from

Tel: 0333 200 0325

 For further advice or to discuss this briefing further you can get in touch with The Cornwall Drug and Alcohol Action Team at DAAT@cornwall.gov.uk

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Finding drug packets in West Cornwall

April 21st, 2020 by

Following a number of findings of similar drugs packets, a high number of used and partially used packets of Clonazepam tablets have been found in a cemetary in West Cornwall. It is a known site for young people to congregate so YZUP have issued the below information around use of Clonazepam which will be included on their social media pages.

 

 

 

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keeping drugs out of schools

February 6th, 2020 by

Schools around the county have been engaging with the Youth and Missing Officers and the K9 division for some time now when it comes to keeping drugs out of schools.

Both Treviglas and Fowey are no exception! Both schools welcomed the Police teams in to schools to carry out a spot check on whether drugs had infiltrated the school and the answer was,… No!

No surprises there because of the extensive joint work previously carried out educating and supporting students around this subject.

This school lead operation will continue to happen throughout the county as it really does send a clear message, “ Drugs and education do not mix”

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From Addaction to We Are With You

January 31st, 2020 by

In February Addaction will change their brand and name nationally to We Are With You (or With You for short).

This change follows 18 months of research and consultation with service users, staff and volunteers and reflects the way they work with people experiencing issues with drugs, alcohol and mental health. We Are With You reflects the ethos of the organisation and their aim to focus on the person and help they offer, not the problem.

Over the last few years Addaction have focused on improving how people find and engage with support, and finding ways to motivate people to change and focus on relationships not problems. This led to the realisation that the name ‘Addaction’ did not reflect this.

Research showed that more people would access support if they changed their name. it was agreed that the new name should be more inclusive and reassuring while also appealing to all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds.

As part of the rebrand they will be launching a new website which will include anonymous web-chat support and self-service advice. The website will be live in late February at http://www.wearewithyou.org.uk/

 

 

 

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Special Recognition for Coastline Housing and the DAAT

December 9th, 2019 by

Coastline Housing and Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) staff attended the Markel 3rd Sector Awards on Friday 6th December in relation to their work with Naloxone.

Coastline Housing have been working on the Naloxone initiative with Cornwall and Isles of Scilly DAAT since 2015. Provision of Naloxone is an evidence-based intervention that can save lives by blocking or reversing the effects of a Heroin or opioid overdose, and Coastline Housing have been working with the DAAT to incorporate it into their services.

Coastline Housing were nominated for the Collaboration (Integration) Award which recognises ways of working in partnership with other organisations or services, achieving outcomes that would otherwise not have been achieved, and they were finalists in 4 categories:

  • Lynsey Johns, a Leadership Award for her outstanding leadership across supported accommodation, which has positively affected the quality of care;
  • Derek Law, for Making a Difference, where  significant changes have been made that have positively impacted on outcomes for people using their services;
  • Lynsey Johns, Amanda Addo,  Lee Newnham and Zena Mower Bryant  an Innovative Quality Outcomes Award, recognising their work and that of their teams around Trauma Informed Care (TIC) and the creation of psychologically Informed Environments (PIE) where people using their services feel physically and psychologically safe;
  • Jo Cowling and the DAAT for the collaborative work around Naloxone.

The judges also gave special recognition to the work of Coastline colleagues who have impressively trained over 400 people and saved 26 lives using Naloxone to reverse the effects of opiate overdoses.  This very significant work keeps people alive until they can access further treatment and social support enabling them to move forwards positively in their lives.

Marion Barton of the DAAT: “It is such a privilege to be part of this vital work, to work alongside such outstanding and dedicated colleagues and to enjoy this special occasion where their work is nationally recognised. Thank you to Allister Young, Louise Beard and all managers and staff at Coastline, Addaction colleagues and also my manager, Kim Hager for supporting the continuation of such amazing work with Naloxone.”

 

 

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New commissioned street outreach response team

October 30th, 2019 by

Rough sleepers across Cornwall will receive outreach support thanks to Addaction and Cornwall Housing funded via Cornwall Council.

Addaction Cornwall, who currently provide drug and alcohol support in the area, has been awarded the Rough Sleepers Outreach Contract by Cornwall Housing.

As part of the project, Addaction outreach workers will be employed to engage and support some of Cornwall’s most vulnerable people currently living on the street. The project will run in partnership with the charity Homeless Link’s StreetLink service.

If a member of the public is concerned about someone sleeping rough they can send an alert to StreetLink through the mobile app, www.streetlink.org.uk, or by calling 0300 500 0914. The referral will be sent to Addaction Cornwall and an outreach worker will go to the location where the rough sleeper was seen at to engage and support them.

Outreach workers will develop personalised care plans for rough sleepers, supporting them into housing and treatment services. They will also carry the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone to extend harm reduction efforts.

Lynda Edward is the Multiple Complex Needs Manager at Addaction Cornwall and will be managing the service. Lynda said:

“We know that many people who are forced to sleep on the streets have multiple complex needs such as drug and alcohol and mental health issues. Often these people can struggle to engage with services so, rather than waiting for them to come to us, this project is about proactively engaging and supporting this group. outreach workers will provide a package of care focused on helping people get the personalised support they need. This could be accompanying them to a housing appointment, helping them access drug treatment or helping them with financial issues. All support will be centred around the needs of the individual.

“No one should have to sleep rough in Cornwall or anywhere else. We believe this dedicated service can help many people start to rebuild their lives.”

Nick Cross, Cornwall Housing Managing Director adds “We recognise the passion the Addaction team have to help people make changes and improve their lives. We look forward to bringing together the newly commissioned street outreach response team with our wider services to prevent and relieve homelessness in Cornwall.

“Over the last few years Cornwall Housing has worked to reduce the number of rough sleepers across the county. I have no doubt that with Addaction’s support we will be able to support the most vulnerable so no one needs to sleep rough in Cornwall.”

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Time Credits: a success story but what does the future hold?

October 16th, 2019 by

Impact and successes

Time Credits, commissioned by Cornwall Council has been delivered by Tempo since 2017.  The project helps to support vulnerable individuals with multiple needs to better engage with and contribute to their communities by earning credits through volunteering and spending them at the various spend opportunities that have been created across the county.

The first client group was made up of people with complex and multiple needs, including drug and alcohol problems or those experiencing issues with homelessness.  The idea being that if we could make it work for our most vulnerable individuals we could make it work for anyone.   The project started in Penzance so spend partners could be successfully recruited before rolling out to other areas.  Time Credits now work with those who have experienced Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence and also with young people and has expanded across Cornwall.

This is the Cornwall Time credit that was co-produced with service users and agencies in Cornwall.  Individuals are awarded a time credit for each hour of volunteering.

 

This has been a very successful project, exceeding all targets.  There are now over 40 spend partners, including  Cornwall College, Merlin and WCT cinemas, Better Leisure; Hall for Cornwall and Flambards.  There are also 50 Earn partners/Community groups involved including Addaction, Harbour Housing, Newstart and other supported housing providers; DASV services and refuges; Young people services including the YOS and accommodation foyers.  There are 644 signed up members, which is almost 3 times more than the target of 235 people.

The Tempo National Impact on success states that:

  • 80% report improved quality of life
  • 63% feel more able to contributed to the community and other people
  • 59% share their skills with others
  • 57% feel less isolated and lonely
  • 55% develop new friends and acquaintances
  • 54% feel more positive about their future

 

One of our Earn Partners said the following:

“Supporting the residents to engage in voluntary work and being able to acknowledge and reward them is a massive boost to their confidence, self-esteem & well-being.”

Rachel Battleday, Cosgarne Hall

“Time Credits makes me more engaged and involved with STAK outings and has allowed me to try things and visit places I wouldn’t have been able to on my pension. It’s such a wonderful idea.”

St Austell Community Kitchen User

 

Moving forwards

The contract and funding for this very successful project is due to come to an end in March 2020.  It has achieved all targets; signed up almost 3 times the number of vulnerable individuals than expected.  It is now time for us to decide whether or not this project continues.

In November, a visioning day, is being planned in order to consider the options and agree the best way to progress.

 

 

 

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Multi-agency working to combat drug litter

October 16th, 2019 by

Community Safety Drug Litter ½ Year Report 2019/20

Outreach workers from Addaction and the Local Police Teams attend sites of reported drug litter to provide assertive outreach to those affected.

Members of the public are asked to report drug litter to Cornwall Council and once received this information is cascaded to Addaction and the local Police so they can attend the affected area and offer support and advice to anyone who may need it.

Over the last 6 months there have been 72 reports of drug litter to Cornwall Council and the most prevalent areas are Newquay (15), Penzance (15), St Austell (9) and Camborne (7).

Graph shows litter request for April to September 2018 compared to the same time period in 2019.

There has been a reduction in the number of drug litter requests in Penzance and St Austell. The reason for this reduction is unknown although one possible explanation is the extra time and resources dedicated to assertive outreach in these areas.

Below is a breakdown of the drug litter requests for the last 6 months for further information.

 

 

 

 

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SW Peninsula Drug Related Death Conference

October 10th, 2019 by

On Friday 6th September the SW Peninsula Drug Related Death Conference was held at The China Fleet Club, Saltash, this being the 9th time this conference has been held.

This year proved to be the largest attendance of all the conferences held with over 170 delegates.

A full days program saw 9 plenary sessions being delivered by a total of 13 speakers. The subject matter was eclectic, informative and adduced from investigating the many drug related deaths that have happened over the last year. The learning and best practice coming from these investigations was expanded upon by experts in their field to the benefit of all delegates.

The tangible positive feel of this conference was evident in the refreshment breaks where many and varied practitioners exchanged thoughts, ideas and future networking opportunities. Below are some of the many positive feedback comments from across The Peninsula;

‘I hadn’t been particularly looking forward to it simply because the subject matter is never one that fills your heart with joy, but I really enjoyed the day.  However, it was only when I got home and was talking about all the various nuggets of information that had particularly caught my attention that I realised it was something from each of the speakers, and I realised how well it all fitted together and how much I’d picked up from them all’.

‘Many thanks for organising such an informative and social type event’.

‘I would definitely attend again as the information sharing is a great way of learning and getting to meet lots of different practitioners as well’

‘A fantastic day that really made me think, and think differently about how to change the system’.

‘Thank you for inviting so many mental health staff’

The conference will return in 2020 buoyed up by the optimism that delegates shared and their commitment to reduce drug related deaths despite the many pressures that there currently are on all agencies involved in this important work

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Homeless charity Harbour Housing is celebrating a decade of its Naloxone scheme which works to combat opioid overdoses

October 10th, 2019 by

Naloxone is a Competitive Opioid Antagonist which simply put means that it is a drug that can temporarily reverse the effects of an overdose through knocking the opioids off the receptors. It has been described by staff at Harbour as a ‘miracle drug’ as it can bring people back from the brink of death, and has been used to successfully prevent 46 cases of overdose at Harbour since it was introduced in 2009.

The drug is administered via syringe directly into the muscle and is incredibly fast acting, in most cases reviving the patient in mere minutes.

Jade Barron, a tenancy sustainment officer at Harbour, has intervened in several overdose situations and said:

“It’s incredible how quickly the Naloxone takes effect, people can be revived immediately and the great thing about it is that there are no negative side-effects so it’s completely safe to use. “Sometimes it acts as a wakeup call. I’ve had a resident be brought back with Naloxone and the next week decide to fully commit to recovery.”

Public Health England estimates that every unexpected death costs around £1.4 million, so with each Naloxone kit costing less than £20 it is clear that easier access to this life-saving drug could help to save thousands of lives, as well as taxpayer money.

Harbour was approached by Marion Barton, social inclusion lead for the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT), in 2009 and asked to pilot the scheme. At the time Harbour was tolerant to alcohol use on site but not the use of drugs, and despite this had sadly lost residents to overdose. It was for this reason, says Chris Abbott Harbour’s head of housing, that management decided to go ahead with the project.

 

 

Naloxone was more heavily regulated back in 2009 and could only be prescribed directly to a drug user, which was not an effective way to ensure their safety as they would be unable to use it on themselves in an overdose situation. Harbour has been instrumental in developing national Naloxone policy, helping to influence the change in 2015 that allowed the drug to be prescribed to a responsible person and kept in communal areas of supported accommodation facilities.

Over the ten years Naloxone has become an integral part of Harbour’s harm reduction procedure, with kits easily available across all of its properties in boxes attached directly to the walls as well as in first-aid kits and kept in vehicles.

After the development of the Naloxone scheme, Harbour was assisted by drug and housing policy expert Kevin Flemen to adjust its own policy to become tolerant to use of drugs within the law. Through having this high tolerance to both drug and alcohol use Harbour has been able to accept referrals from those who would otherwise have nowhere else to go. People struggling with addiction need the right support to be able to manage their substance use, and Harbour says

that their tolerant ‘eyes wide open’ approach allows for honesty and trust between staff and residents which has a really positive impact on recovery.

Drug use is much more dangerous when it is kept hidden, and recent figures from the Office of National Statistics revealed that drug related deaths reached an all-time high of 4,359 across England and Wales last year. Naloxone has become much more widespread in recent years, and thanks to the hard work of the DAAT it is now available in all supported accommodations across Cornwall.

All staff, residents and volunteers at Harbour are trained in the administration of Naloxone, and in recent years Harbour has also trained members of staff from other supported accommodations. The increase in availability of this life- saving drug is hoped to reduce the harm to people struggling with addiction and stop the rise of preventable deaths.

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