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Local charity warns contaminated heroin may be cause of recent deaths


A DRUGS charity is raising local concern over the amount of drug-related deaths in the Dyfed-Powys area over recent weeks, with chances of the deaths being caused by a batch of heroin being provided in the area.

The Dyfed Drug and Alcohol Service (DDAS) are suggesting that the links between the deaths could be due to a batch of heroin that is impure or contaminated.

Whilst the drug is already life-damaging enough and can ruin a lot of people’s lives due to addiction, this case of contamination could cause even more problems to users who have drug-related problems that heavily depend on the drug.

Addiction is a family disease; one person may use, but the whole family suffers.

Rowan Williams, Regional Director of Drugaid said: “Whilst nobody wants to see people risk their lives by taking heroine, we recognise that there are a lot of individuals who misuse drugs, including heroin.

Over the years we have seen far too many lives destroyed by drugs – not just the users but also their families and friends, after all drug users are also somebody’s son or daughter, mother or father.”

The Dyfed Drug and Alcohol Service are inviting any heroin users or family or friends of any users to contact them to receive support about any worries they may have.

The project offers a chance to confidentially discuss drug related concerns, and can provide a range of ways to help support users who wish to stop using or cut down.

Heroin users, as well as their families and loved ones, are being encouraged to obtain ‘Take Home Naloxone’ (THN) from DDAS, which reverses the effects of opiate overdose and can help save lives.

Teresa Owen, Chair of the Dyfed Area Planning Board and Director of Public Health for Hywel Dda University Health Board commented: “Thankfully drug related deaths in Wales have been falling during the past two years, incidents like this only serve to highlight the need to continue to inform and educate heavy drug users about the risks they face.

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“The most important thing is to prevent any further deaths and any further heartache to families. DDAS is working with similar agencies, the police and other emergency services to warn of the dangers and risks of heroin taking.”

The advice given from DDAS to users is advised in 3 steps: Always test first; don’t take drugs alone; and always carry Naloxone.

DDAS advised: “Always try and ensure that you are not alone when taking drugs. All too often people overdose and die, when having somebody else present could have meant somebody could have dealt with the situation or called the emergency services. Always call an ambulance. It could mean life or death.

“Naloxone is an antidote which is distributed free by all the drugs services in Dyfed-Powys. This can be administered to somebody who has overdosed and will revive them and allow for the emergency services to be called. Naloxone has saved many lives since it was made available by the Welsh Government five years ago.”

Rowan Williams finalised: “It is so sad that we are yet again seeing individuals die as a result of drug taking and I would urge drug users to get in touch with DDAS, or any other agency for advice and support or to get their own Naloxone kits to try and ensure we don’t have further tragic deaths.”

To contact DDAS, you can telephone on the number: 03303 639 997. For out of hours you can call DAN 24 / 7 on 0808 808 2234 or text DAN 81066.