North Edinburgh Drug and Alcohol Centre

National Lottery award from the Big Lottery Fund

image We are pleased to announce that after 18 months of hard work and dedication by the staff at Nedac we have secured a National Lottery award from the Big Lottery Fund. Nedac's Complex and Multiple Needs team will provide a service to the generally older group of clients with entrenched substance misus and mental health issues who are unable to engage with mainstream treatment services due to current models of service provision. This group is predominately those that are isolated, not engaging with treatment services, often suffering from anxiety and depression or with severe and enduring mental health conditions accompanied by deteriorating physical health and living in the most deprived areas. This is the profile of the highest percentage of drug related deaths.


Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn, said: "I am delighted that Nedac has been successful in securing National Lottery funding. The award will make a big difference where it is needed most and I wish the Complex and Multiple Needs Team every success as it goes on to develop and expand its project for the benefit of their local community."

The service will support clients in a holistic way, to motivate them to stabilise, reduce or cease their substance use to enable individuals to reach the point where they are able to engage effectively with mainstream treatment, mental health and recovery services. This will enable them rebuild appropriate relationships with family and friends and link them into their local community services.

The project will be evaluated over the 3 year period with the aim that commissioners of services will recognise the social and economic value of the service, to prompt a shift in investment from current models which prioritise those clients who are easier to engage.

Drug deaths in Scotland rose by 23% in 2016

The number of drug-related deaths in Scotland last year totalled 867, a rise of 23% on 2015. Numbers have been steadily increasing since 1995, when 426 fatal overdoses were recorded.The latest statistics from the National Records of Scotland showed more than 70% of deaths were among people aged 35 or over. Critics say the continuing rise calls into question the effectiveness of the Scottish government's drugs strategy.

However, the minister for public health, Aileen Campbell, said "unfortunately" the figures for Scotland were representative of a general trend of increasing drug deaths "across the UK and in many other parts of Europe".She added that the problem in Scotland was complex and based on a legacy of drugs misuse "stretching back decades". Ms Campbell explained: "What we are seeing is an ageing group of people who are long term drugs users.They have a pattern of addiction which is very difficult to break, and they have developed other chronic medical conditions as a result of this prolonged drugs use."

She said she recognised more needed to be done but that there were "no easy solutions".

In 2008, the Scottish government introduced its Road to Recovery strategy focused on tackling the country's drug problems "through prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, education and enforcement". Danny Campbell, who is project manager at North Edinburgh Drug and Alcohol Centre, believed the strategy had been "distorted" to become "just about abstinence". He insisted that becoming drug free was not the right solution for all addicts.

Mr Campbell told BBC Scotland's social affairs correspondent: "The Road to Recovery was about whole journey from chaos to an element that may not include abstinence. "It may be that some of those clients are going to have medication of some kind to help them cope with life, whether it be physical health or mental health conditions, anxiety, depression and therefore total abstinence is never going to be a realistic place for them to be in."

According to the governments own advisors, the ACMD, maintaining funding levels for treatment is essential for preventing drug related deaths. "Commissioning impact on drug treatment" contains examples of funding reductions brought about by re-procurement or variations to existing contracts. The disruption caused by procurement creates instability in the system leading to risky transition points for service users.


Risks of pregabalin and gabapentin

Death rates have risen dramatically for prescription drugs pregabalin and gabapentin. Let’s be aware of the risks, says Clare Kingsbury-Bell.

Drug-related deaths linked to pregabalin and gabapentin have risen 2,675 per cent and 637 per cent respectively in just six years. Addaction believes the risk of addiction and overdose related to these two prescription drugs hasn’t been made clear enough, particularly where they are prescribed to people with a history of substance misuse. Death rates have risen even more rapidly than those related to new psychoactive substances (NPS), which in the same time period show an increase of 123 per cent.

The ACMD advised government that pregabalin and gabapentin prescribing in the UK has increased by 350 per cent and 150 per cent respectively in five years, and an increasing number are also being bought and sold on the streets. The government has just confirmed that they will become class C drugs, subject to consultation.

The medicines can depress the central nervous system causing sedation and reduced breathing. So if someone is already taking substances that depress the central nervous system, including alcohol, opioids like heroin, or benzodiazepines like diazepam, they will be more prone to overdose.

Addaction pharmacists and doctors are asking for more guidance to be given to prescribers, including GPs, about how the drugs can be prescribed more safely, particularly for people with a history of substance misuse. The drugs were first prescribed for the treatment of epilepsy. Their use was then extended to include general anxiety disorders and soon they were recognised as useful in the treatment of chronic and neuropathic pain.




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