Friday, 25 April 2008

What can we do, to reduce the incidence of drug overdose?

I gave a talk at a conference in Swansea in June last year focusing on drug overdose. This excellent conference was organised by Swansea Drugs Project.

I wanted to point out that we can do a lot to reduce the incidence of drug overdoses, using an approach that involves: users and user networks; families and friends; specialist and generalist workers; commissioners and policy makers; the press, and members of the general public. I emphasised that we need an understanding and responsible society, and this can only be achieved by increasing awareness about drug overdose.

The talk focused on:

  • the incidence of drug overdose
  • risk factors underlying overdose
  • complications arising from non-fatal overdose
  • how to react to a drug overdose
  • getting the message out to users
  • helping family members
  • providing education and training to workers
  • ensuring that users get adequate health care
  • what emergency services and witnesses can do
  • importance of users having access to naloxone
  • the impact of prejudice, stigmatisation and stereotyping.
Two of our volunteers, Kevin Manley and Mark Saunders, who are recovering heroin addicts, spoke at the conference and received a tremendous reception. They brought home the reality of drug overdose and the reactions of drug users to overdose.
Not only were Kevin and Mark's talks of the highest quality, but many people commented to us that they were in complete contrast to those given by 'authority figures' who did not really appreciate the reality of the situation and the key issues surrounding drug overdose. If you listened to these 'authority figures', you would think that Wales was leading the way in tackling overdose, when we are now only doing things that have been done in Australia, for example, many years ago. And not doing many other critical things.

I hope you find this powerpoint presentation of the talk of interest and help. Please excuse the funny bullet points - the originals were converted to these by the pdf process. Strange!

1 comment:

Peter O'Loughlin said...

Great stuff David.

Yes, considerably more needs to be done about 'educating' people to the harsh realities, and without seeking to divert from this particular issue, I feel that that what passes for drug education in our schools, has very little to do with reality