Doncaster tackling drug-related deaths

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Doncaster Council and Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group are launching a campaign in support of International Overdose Awareness Day.

International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on August 31 each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.

Nationwide people have died through either overdosing or mixing strong prescription painkillers with alcohol. Last year there were 160 admissions to the Doncaster Royal Infirmary through accidental overdose at a cost of £200,000 a year to the taxpayer locally.

To help tackle the issue Doncaster Council and Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group are raising awareness using radio advertising and posters across the borough.

Councillor Pat Knight, Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “If you take prescription painkillers do you know how strong the medication you are taking is? If you take more than the stated dose you could be putting yourself at risk. You can hand back any of your unwanted tablets and pills at any time by visiting your local pharmacy. Pharmacists will also be highlighting the dangers of mixing alcohol with strong medication.”

‘Tom’, from Doncaster, a former taker of prescription drugs who took more than prescribed and who wants to remain anonymous, said: “Because the drugs are prescription people think it’s OK to take them, and sometimes more of them than is stated on the pack. If I had an headache I’d take three tablets, rather than the prescribed two. I overdosed on prescription tablets. I took 12 to 15 within four hours and it gave me a heart attack. I would say don’t take more tablets than it says on the packet. It will do you harm. If you need help, please seek it. Also, please do not take tablets that have not been prescribed for you.”

“The message is that strong painkillers and alcohol are a potentially deadly cocktail, so don’t mix them”, said Dr Nick Tupper, Chair of NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group.

For more support contact Doncaster Drug and Alcohol Hub on 01302 730956 or visit Drug Hub