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Page last updated at 16:48 GMT, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 17:48 UK

Addicts get text overdose advice

Text (generic)
The texts will provide information for drugs and alcohol users

Drug users in Swansea are being asked to sign up to be sent mobile texts on what to do if they overdose and how to reduce their addiction risks.

Messages such as "Overdose: Don't panic. Put them in the recovery position, dial 999" will be sent out.

Project director Ifor Glyn said their ultimate goal for users was complete abstinence, but the texts were a way of keeping drug users engaged with them.

But Tory AM Alun Cairns said any texts should try to get people off drugs.

The Swansea Drugs Project is asking its 700 existing users to sign up to receive the texts.

SDPFAST - the Swansea Drugs Project Free Advice Support Texts - will be free and confidential, and available to any of the users who sign up for it.

TEXT EXAMPLES
OVERDOSE: Don't panic. Put them in the recovery position, dial 999, ask for an ambulance and stay with them until the ambulance arrives
OVERDOSE:If someone is going to inject it is safer NOT to use on their own. Don't mix drugs
DUMPING WORKS ( gizmos, spokes, spoons or fliters in public spaces is NOT OK. Keep everybody safe and dispose of them properly
NEVER SHARE cookers, spikes, spoons or filters. Identify your own works to avoid any mix ups.

The charity has borrowed the idea for the initiative from an agency it is linked with in Ireland, and officially launched its own version at is annual general meeting this week.

Mr Glyn said: "As an agency we are always seeking new and innovative ways of getting our message across to drug and alcohol users about how to reduce risks and live safer lives.

"The service will see the project use a texting service to send out regular messages warning people about the risks and dangers of drug taking, and suggesting ways in which they can protect themselves and responsibilities to the wider community."

Mr Glyn said it was the first time a service like this has been launched in Wales, and the have taken the idea from an agency in Dublin which they are linked too.

He said: "The feedback from there has been good. We have just launched our drop-in cards for people to fill in, and then we will start sending out texts.

Keeping people engaged

Alun Cairns, South West Wales Conservative AM, said the agency should be using the texts to try to get people off drugs instead.

"The cascade of drug information might be useful provided it's not presented in a way that gives the impression that drugs are acceptable or tolerated," Mr Cairns said.

"Information about drugs should always contain the information that drugs destroy lives and can kill you."

Mr Glyn defended the new text service, saying: "It's a way of keeping people engaged with us. The goal at the end of the day is complete abstinence, but that is much easier said than done."

During the last year, he said they have seen a 54% rise in referrals, proving their efforts to attract more people affected by substance misuse into treatment is having an effect.



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