Nalaxone kits help prevent overdose and death

Calderdale Recovery Steps drug and alcohol service is helping to raise awareness of how you can help in the event of witnessing an overdose.

To mark International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD), which is held globally each year on August 31st, Calderdale Recovery Steps HOPE worker Esi Stanley said: “We want everyone to understand that overdose deaths are preventable.”

Across the world, IOAD aims to improve understanding of overdose and to encourage changes that help to reduce the harms associated with drug use.

Esi said: “People are at most risk of overdose when they may have had a break from using drugs, or if they have recently left detox/rehab or custody and the variety in purity of street drugs can also pose an overdose risk.”

Calderdale Recovery Steps is reminding people who seek support to ask about getting a Naloxone kit so they can keep it on hand.

Naloxone is the emergency antidote for overdoses caused by heroin and other opioids. When injected into someone experiencing the effects of opioid overdose, it temporarily reverses the overdose effect, helping the patient to revive. Workers in the hubs will show people who want to take a kit, how to use it.

Esi continued: “Naloxone is readily available for free from us, as well as from local pharmacies. We want everyone to carry a naloxone kit because naloxone saves lives. We have delivered naloxone training and naloxone kits to people at their homes, and also delivered training and kits to support staff in key services.

And she continued: “The safest choice is not to use drugs at all, but if you do use drugs, do not use alone – if you use alone then you’re not able to use naloxone. Be sure of the nature of the drugs you’re using and if you’re not sure of the quality take small dose, wait and gauge your reaction.”

The last published statistics show there were 4,359 drug related deaths in England and Wales in 2018. This is the highest number of deaths since records began in 1993. Since 2012, rates of drug-related poisonings have generally been on an upward trend.

If you would like to speak to someone in confidence about yours or someone else’s drug or alcohol use, then contact Calderdale Recovery Steps on 01422 415550.

CALDERDALE RECOVERY STEPS SUPPORTS HEPATITIS C ACTION PLAN

Calderdale Recovery Steps has signed up to a new Hepatitis C Action Plan to mark World Hepatitis Day on 28th July.

The action plan aims to further increase testing for Hepatitis C, ensuring specialist pathways and onsite treatment for the virus.

Adele Molyneux, Area Manager of the Calderdale drug and alcohol recovery service, said: “We know that Hepatitis C is most commonly spread through blood-to-blood contact, such as sharing needles.

We are fully behind this plan because it will be of real benefit for the lives of the people who use our service across the county.”

The plan by Humankind, which is the lead partner in Calderdale Recovery Steps, is in response to a recent government report, which stated that across the country, people are not getting access to needle and syringe services as they should.  The charity has said there should be “no closed doors” in any of its services.

Among a list of pledges set out in the plan, the organisation states it will

  • Invest in staff to increase testing rates and re-testing rates of people at risk
  • invest in training for staff to ensure we have a skilled workforce
  • allow time for data inputting
  • ensure testing provision is across the whole treatment system
  • reach out to people not registered with its services
  • commit to listening to what people who use its services say on how best to tackle the issue.

Meanwhile, Calderdale Recovery Steps is joining a national campaign to raise awareness of Hepatitis C and the fact it can now be cured by a simple course of tablets.

On World Hepatitis Day, the organisation, along with a range of other charities, NHS Trusts and the Hep C Trust are backing the Hep C U Later campaign online and within its services.

Adele said: “Our message is that this virus can be treated and can actually be cured easily!

“It’s not like the old treatment which lasted for months and sometimes had side effects. The success rate for this short course of tablets is much higher and it’s unlikely you’ll feel ill.”

WE’RE HERE FOR YOU SAYS CRS

Drug and alcohol recovery workers at Calderdale Recovery Steps say they are “here to help” people who have become more dependent during the pandemic.

Operations Director Emily Todd said: “We believe some people may be misusing drink and drugs to cope with boredom, stress, anxiety about the future, about job insecurity and job loss. They may have troubles within their relationships.

“We would like people to know we’re here to help them with any concerns or worries that they may have. Our friendly workers offer a full range of supportive services. They will work with you and develop a plan to deal with the issues you are facing.”

The Global Drugs Survey (GDS) found that more than 55% of British drinkers who responded reported an increase in the number of days they consumed alcohol each week during the COVID-19 lockdown, with 33% of people reporting an increase in binge drinking.

Almost 44% of British cannabis users reported the number of days they were using products containing THC had increased, whilst over a third of benzodiazepine users said the number of days they were using had increased.

Having more time on your hands and being bored are given as the main reasons for increasing the use of THC and benzodiazepine, with secondary factors including addressing mood and worries.

Emily explained that some people may not want to start to deal with issues or they may be worried about their safety or privacy. People may be thinking it wasn’t an ideal time to start dealing with this issue and they may also be worried about their safety should they begin counselling.

“We understand just how difficult things are at the moment and as a service we’re committed to continue to help those people seeking our support.”

Almost all appointments are taking place on the telephone, or via online Zoom meetings for both one to one and group discussions. This allows people to access services from the comfort of their home and to interact with others who are also receiving support.  Face-to-face appointments are available when needed, with steps in place to ensure people are kept as safe as possible.

To find out more, please call us on 01422 415550 for more details on how we can help.

The GDS special edition on Covid-19 has been developed to understand the impact of the pandemic on people’s lives, with a specific focus on the use of alcohol and other drugs, mental health and relationships.

 

Naloxone Update

We’ve uploaded two videos on Naloxone – please watch them both to see how important a Naloxone kit could be and how we can help you secure one.

At this difficult time it is important to look after those and anyone you are lucky enough to have around you. If you have concerns for yourself or anyone around you then please contact Calderdale Recovery Steps on 01422 415550 and ask about naloxone kits.

Essential Journey Cards

We have created these essential journey cards, in partnership with Release, for you to use should you need to leave the house to pick up your medication or harm reduction equipment, or both. These can be printed out or downloaded to your phone. Complete the details of your service in the space available in case they need to be contacted.

CRS Essential Journey Cards

Important service update

We’re open and ready to support you

We are open and continue to deliver services to those requiring support.

Our phone number for people who use our service – 01422 415550 – is still open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday

We will be offering telephone appointments where possible and appropriate.

All group activities and group work are off until further notice – both within our Hubs and in the community. Service users that would ordinarily attend these groups will be offered ongoing support via telephone appointment.

We continue to accept new referrals. Please contact us directly if you would like to refer anyone for support.

Pharmacies We continue to work closely with Pharmacies in order to ensure all of our service users who have prescribing needs are supported and cared for safely.

GPs We are contacting all GP surgeries where we would ordinarily offer a Shared Care provision to discuss individual contingency management plans.

Needle Exchange and Naloxone service is still offered.

It is essential that we continue to maximise our harm reduction interventions wherever possible at this time, including needle exchange, naloxone provision and safe storage advice.

If you have any questions or queries with regards any of the above please do not hesitate to contact us directly on 01422 415550.

Please click here for Calderdale Council’s updating page on Coronavirus advice and information

Thank you and Warm Regards

COVID-19:Latest advice and update 18/3

COVID-19 advice for people who use substances

COVID-19 (CoronavIrus Disease) was first identified in 2019. It affects your lungs and can cause severe breathing problems. The usual symptoms are having a cough, fever (high temperature) and shortness of breath, so this can make it difficult to tell apart from other viruses like the common cold or flu.

If you have a prescription for substance misuse treatment:

  • Check if there will be any changes to how you will receive your prescribed medication.
  • If you have to self-isolate, make sure you let the service know and keep in touch during this time.
  • Make sure that the service has up to date contact details for you.
  • Keep your medication in a locked container, ask the service for a safe storage box if you don’t have one.
  • If you are receiving a detox or dose reduction, this may be put on hold until the service can offer you the more frequent face to face reviews that would usually be required.
  • If you are unable to pick up your prescription from the chemist, you can nominate someone to do this for you. Ask the service for details.

To help stop the virus from spreading, it’s important to keep everything clean and to take extra care:

  • Wash hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water (or alcohol gel when unavailable) before and after handling any drugs or drug using equipment
  • You could be more vulnerable to infection: if you smoke, you are more likely to have chest issues. If infected, you could struggle with inhaling substances. However, injecting is still a really big risk. Oral and anal are safer alternative ways of taking drugs.
  • Make sure you have a clean surface before you prepare your drugs.
  • Don’t share from bags of drugs or drug paraphernalia like pipes, bongs, vapes, joints, snorting tubes or injecting equipment: colour coding may be useful.
  • Use new paraphernalia each time and make sure you know how to get access to new injecting equipment: avoid using things like cards, notes or keys which can harbour viruses and bacteria.
  • In case of accidental opioid overdose, make sure you have access to enough naloxone, ask the service for naloxone if you don’t have any.
  • Prepare your drugs yourself and avoid touching other people’s drugs or equipment.
  • If you have difficulty in getting hold of substances, ask for advice on how to reduce risks and how you can be supported and especially when self-reducing.
  • For every new supply, make sure you only try a small amount first, especially if using a new supplier or a supply that appears different.
  • Before injecting, crush substances down as fine as possible before use to reduce damage to the body.
  • Keep all injection sites clean and try to rotate injection sites so that the area doesn’t get sore which makes it easier to get wound infections.
  • Stay well hydrated and eat nutritious meals regularly.

 

If you develop a cough or a high temperature, then you need to self- isolate for 7 days. If you are well BUT are living with others who have developed symptoms then you should stay at home from 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms.  If you continue to feel unwell or get worse then contact NHS 111 (111.nhs.uk/covid-19)

 

Avoid all physical contact, especially with older people, young children or other people who could easily become very unwell if they become infected. Avoid touching your face and sneeze/cough into your elbow or cover your mouth/nose with a tissue which must be put in the bin straight away. Regularly clean things like your phone that are frequently touched.

During this worrying time, it is normal to feel concerned or anxious. Make sure you look after your mental wellbeing and health. See how you can do this on the Mind website – https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/  . If you need more urgent help, there are several free helplines that can provide support and guidance- https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/

Calderdale Recovery Steps launches Sparkle Through Winter campaign

We’re running a new Winter Sparkles campaign aimed at helping people who use our services, as well as the wider public, through the first few weeks of the year.

Research* has highlighted the particular problems associated with depression following Christmas, especially in groups who have substance misuse issues. To help our service users beat the winter blues, a campaign promoting #sparklethroughwinter has been launched by Calderdale Recovery Steps.

Emily Todd, Director of Services West and South Yorkshire said: “The short days and long, dark nights of winter can have a negative effect on people’s mind-sets, leading to further unhelpful thoughts. We are hoping these ideas for overcoming the winter blues will help people get over any self-defeating thoughts and sparkle through the winter”.

A selection of new posters have been developed and circulated across their services so users of Calderdale Recovery Steps services can easily see and understand these messages. They use strong imagery to enhance the messages on how to help make winter ‘sparkle’, with themes ranging from friendship, health and leisure.

Alongside the posters, staff and service users are being encouraged to share their own ideas on how to Sparkle through Winter on Calderdale Recovery Steps Twitter account as well as on Facebook using the hashtag #sparklethroughwinter.

*Leo Sher, Alcoholism and seasonal affective disorder, Comprehensive Psychiatry

Support at this time is particularly important for those who may have issues with alcohol and/or drugs and who might try and cope with negative feelings through substance misuse.

Our tips include:

  • Keep active – A daily walk in the middle of the day could be as helpful as light treatment for coping with the winter blues.
  • Take advantage of any sunshine – Go outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible, especially at midday and on brighter days. Inside your home, choose pale colours that reflect light from outside, and sit near windows whenever you can.
  • Keep warm – Being cold may make you feel more depressed, so staying warm may reduce the winter blues. Keep warm with hot drinks and hot food. Wear warm clothes and shoes, and aim to keep your home between 18C and 21C (or 64F and 70F degrees).
  • Eat well – A healthy diet will boost your mood, give you more energy and stop you putting on weight over winter. Balance your craving for carbohydrates, such as pasta and potatoes, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Try something new – Keeping your mind active with a new interest may help you get through the winter blues. It could be anything, such as playing bridge, singing, knitting, joining a gym, keeping a journal, or writing a blog. The important thing is that you have something to look forward to and concentrate on.
  • Connect with other people – It’s been shown that socialising is good for your mental health and helps ward off the winter blues. Make an effort to keep in touch with people you care about and accept any invitations you get to social events, even if you only go for a little while.
  • Talk it through – Talking treatments such as counselling, psychotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you cope with symptoms. See your GP for information on what’s available locally
  • Keep to your care plan – It’s been designed to help you achieve your goals.