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Local charity warns contaminated heroin may be cause of recent deaths

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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.

“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.

 

 

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Community

NSPCC: Wales conference puts spotlight on domestic abuse

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PROTECTING women and children from domestic abuse was the focus of a ground-breaking conference in Wales this week (Mar 28).

Organised by Cardiff University’s Exchange Network – with support from NSPCC Cymru / Wales and Welsh Women’s Aid – the event aimed to share information on the most effective approaches to tackle all forms of violence against women, domestic abuse and support for victims – be they adults or children.

Preventing violence from happening and protecting those who fall victim to domestic abuse formed the focus of the conference, at Cardiff’s Novotel Hotel.

Representatives from Welsh Government, Relate Cymru, Barnardos and Rape and Sexual Abuse (RASA) Centre also attended.

Domestic abuse continues to be a significant reason for young people to contact Childline. In 2016/17 volunteers at the NSPCC-run helpline undertook 120 counselling sessions with children from Wales who had concerns about abuse by a partner in their own relationship.

And 241 children from Wales contacted Childline to discuss parental domestic abuse.

Some young people who witness this also experience physical abuse by their parents. This can sometimes happen when they try and intervene in the abuse taking place, with some children telling Childline they were hit by their mother or father when trying to stop a fight.

“Sometimes my dad gets in a bad mood and gets really aggressive. He says horrible things to me and my mum and it scares me. In the past he was threatening to hit my mum, when I tried to get him to calm down he slapped me instead. I feel like neither of them listen to me and they don’t understand how upset it’s all making me.” (Girl, 16-18, Wales)

Head of NSPCC Cymru / Wales, Des Mannion, told The Llanelli Herald: “Domestic abuse can have a huge impact on a child’s physical and emotional wellbeing and it’s hugely important that we share information and discuss ways to both prevent violence and protect victims.

“We all have a part to play in tackling domestic abuse and it’s important to pick up the phone if you’re concerned so that our advisers can offer guidance and get help where it’s needed.

“Stepping in early helps to change behaviours and avoid abuse escalating, and putting the child at the heart of interventions is paramount in keeping children safe and limiting long-term damage.

“It is also vital that children and young people affected by domestic abuse have access to the right kind of support to overcome the trauma of witnessing and experiencing domestic abuse.”

Any child worried about domestic abuse can call Childline on 0800 11 11. Any adult who is concerned about a child can call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000.

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Pop-up craft stalls return to St Elli

Tamsin Mathias

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Photo credit: www.stelli.co.uk/about-us/

LLANELLI’S St Elli Shopping Centre is once again playing host to a fantastic group of pop-up craft stalls today and tomorrow (Mar 1-2).

Following on from a highly successful outing just before Christmas, the ‘Pert A Blasus Pop-Up Emporium’ will see a variety of crafters take to the Atrium to sell their handmade crafts.

A group of friends who met whilst running stalls at craft markets around South Wales, Pert A Blasus brings together a host of skill sets and backgrounds – including a former kitchen fitter and scaffolder, a former clerical assistant, and a primary school teacher.

Primary school teacher Jill Davies has been crafting most of her life as a hobby; however, seven years ago decided to launch ‘Dzines by Jill’, which sees her hand-decorate plain pieces of ceramic and household items with her own unique designs.

Jill also organises her own ‘Made it Markets’ in Neath.

Also on board with Pert A Blasus is Steve Kennedy, who is the brainchild of ‘Cut n Scroll’, where he hand cuts items from wood and enlists the help of his wife Tanya for painting and gemming; Wendy Taylor, also a primary school teacher, who completed a precious metal course at Gower College and now makes her own items for her ‘Simplicity by Silver’ stall; and Jill James who runs her ‘Pretty Cute Fairies’ stall.

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Community

Bread and Jam for Christmas

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A young woman with Spina bifida has been left alone in an empty home with nothing but bread and jam to eat and with no cooking facilities. Jackie lives a stone’s throw from Llanelli Town Hall and yet she claims she has been abandoned by the County Council, her AM, her MP and Social Services. She faces a wait until January 10 before service providers meet to discuss her case.

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