People in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction often struggle over the holidays. It can feel like everything and everyone is pushing you to use. Life Works mental health professionals understand this and so we have put together a little list of do's and dont's for the holidays. This list is by no means comprehensive but it does give you some groundrules for staying sober this Christmas. Remember one of, if not the most important rule is do not isolate yourself. Isoaltion feeds addiction so locking yourself away during the Christmas season is not nesisarily the best option for recovery. If you would like to learn more about recovery check out the infographic. If you need addiction help please contact us today.
Following the publication of new data, a charity has warned that there has been an alarming seven-fold increase in the number of prisoners who have sought help for addiction to legal highs in the last year.
The Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust (RAPt) revealed that between April and September 2015, 622 prisoners sought help for addiction to New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) compared to just 87 in the same months in 2014. Concerns are also being raised about the distressing level of violence being witnessed behind bars as a result of this.
A new study carried out by researchers at King’s College London has found that smoking super-strength cannabis can cause significant brain damage.
The skunk variant of marijuana was found to damage the corpus callosum - the part of the brain which carries signals between the left and right sides of the brain. This is known to lead to an increased risk of mental illness and psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and slowed down brain activity.
Data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has been used to create a new interactive map which shows everything from how many people are using drugs to how many die from overdoses around the world.
When it comes to which countries are using the most drugs, this was found to vary from substance to substance. Cannabis is used the most in Iceland, the US and New Zealand whereas cocaine use was the most predominant in Scotland, Spain and the US.
Earlier this week it was announced that Ireland is set to decriminalise small amounts of drugs which are intended for personal use. Heroin, cocaine and cannabis are all included and from next year, drug users will also be able to inject themselves in specially designated rooms in Dublin.
It has been made clear that it will still be a crime to profit from either the sale or distribution of illegal drugs but that drug takers will no longer be criminalised for their actions.
Former mental health minister, Norman Lamb, Conservative MP, Andrew Mitchell and former Labour spin doctor, Alistair Campbell have launched a new campaign which is calling for an increase in funding for mental health services in England.
The campaign also highlights the lack of access to treatment that many face, with an incredible three out of four mentally ill children receiving no treatment at all. Highlighting the seriousness of this issue, currently, life expectancy for people with mental health problems is 20 years lower than that of the general population.
Over the past 12 months there have been 58,000 mental health detentions under the Mental Health Act in England - a 10% rise compared to the year before.
Under the Mental Health Act, anyone with a mental health disorder can be admitted to hospital against their wishes for treatment, which is something doctors are being forced to do in order to find patients a hospital bed.
Not a week goes by where there isn’t a media report detailing the mental health crisis that Britain is facing and how a lack of beds and funding means that people can’t even receive treatment for it.
At the beginning of the summer, an inquiry took place and looked into why there is such a shortage of beds available and what needs to be done about this. The independent commission report concluded that contrary to popular belief, it’s not bed closures that are causing these issues - it’s delayed discharges and poor community provision.
As it has just been revealed that there has been a sharp increase in the use of legal highs, a senior paramedic has warned that ambulance crews have been left baffled with regards to how to treat casualties caused by these substances.
Due to the complex and ever-changing make-up of legal highs, staff are continuously trying to play ‘catch-up’ in the battle to develop effective treatments for those who have damaging or life-threatening side-effects. Furthermore, many of these products don’t even list the exact ingredients on their packaging so paramedics and doctors have absolutely no idea what they’re dealing with.
A lot of research has gone into finding out if addiction is something we’re prone to because of our genes or whether our upbringing, social circles or individual personalities play a bigger part.
Numerous studies have found that 50-60% of addiction is in fact due to genetic factors and 40-50% comes down to poor coping skills. It has also been found that if a parent has a drug or alcohol addiction, their child is eight times more likely to go on to develop an addiction themselves.
According to Richard Branson, the UN may be about to call on governments around the world to end the war on drugs and decriminalise the use and possession of them once and for all.
The founder of Virgin claims to have been showed a report by the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) which reveals a dramatic change on the organisation’s stance on drug control. Branson, along with some of the world’s media was sent the document under embargo but he chose to go public after fearing the organisation would later change their mind. He commented:
A Home Office report which was published in July has revealed that illegal drug use amongst middle-aged Brits has risen rapidly over the past 18 years.
This is a stark comparison to drug use amongst 16 to 39 year-olds which was down from 17.4% in 1999 to just 13% in 2014-15. Over the same period, the use of illegal substances in the 40 to 59 year age group has risen from 2.5% to 3.6%.
Figures which have just been released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show a positive improvement in the relationship between young children and toxic substances.
The data shows that the number of children who are trying smoking has dropped to the lowest levels on record and in fact, more have tried e-cigarettes than actual tobacco. Only 18% of youngsters today say that they have tried cigarettes whereas just over a decade ago in 2003, this figure was a whopping 42%.
With festival season in full swing, many people will be enjoying the nice weather and good music. Unfortunately some festivalgoers may also plan on abusing alcohol or illicit drugs.
Dugs and alcohol have always been present at a music festival but they are often dangerous and even drinking can be a risky proposition. With that in mind, Life Works has some advice to offer anyone heading off to a festival.
It is estimated that more than two million people in the UK have an addiction to some form of substance or activity. This means that at some stage in your career, you are very likely to work with someone who has an addiction of some form or it could even be you who is suffering.
The decriminalisation of drugs has been a hot topic for some time now. Whilst some are of the opinion that doing so will reduce crime, addiction rates and overdoses, others are concerned that by legalising drugs, it’s almost promoting their use.
Ministers are set to publish draft laws on a new ‘blanket ban’ on legal highs. The move is said to be a landmark in prohibiting the substances’ production, distribution, sale and supply and will see anyone found guilty of such acts facing a prison sentence of up to seven years.
We are half way through Mental Health Awareness Week and today we are putting out a drug abuse test. This test, called the DAST 10 is a Drug Abuse Screening test that is designed to help people better understand their drug use.
The DAST 10 score is not a diagnosis so it should not be relied upon as the only means of determining drug abuse. Only a doctor or trained counsellor can diagnose mental health problems. The DAST 10 can help people understand their relationship to drugs and help them recognise a potential problem.
Part one of our blog bought you some of the most interesting findings from the Global Drug Survey including that one in five drug users have bought substances from the Internet, one in 10 people have tried a mystery white powder despite having no idea what it is and the shocking statistic that revealed that more respondents have tried MDMA than energy drinks.
Part two covers some more of the most interesting and surprising statistics from the worldwide survey.
The behaviour of drug users often remains a mystery due to the illegality surrounding it. For the last few years however, the Global Drug Survey has conducted a worldwide questionnaire to find out the answers to many questions such as where do people buy drugs, who enjoys taking them the most and how safe are people being with their consumption?