[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC News in video and audio
Last Updated: Friday, 22 June 2007, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
'Make drug users carry antidote'
Syringe and heroin
Experts say deaths could be avoided if users carried an antidote
Drug workers have called for users in Swansea to be issued with a heroin antidote to help save their lives.

The Swansea Drugs Project wants them to carry Nalaxone and will ask the Welsh Assembly Government to begin a trial.

A conference in the city was told that 19 people had died from heroin in the city since last August, while a further 85 had overdosed but survived.

This is extremely high compared to other areas, according to the project, which has surveyed 150 drug users.

Drugs specialists were in Swansea for a UK-wide conference examining how to reduce the death toll from abuse.

The project's findings revealed that 57% of those questioned knew friends or relatives who had died from an overdose.

Of the 150 people, 61% said they had themselves overdosed while 53% had done it more than once.

73% wanted more prescribing places
60% called for shorter waiting times for treatment
49% wanted wider availability of relevant information
40% called for better information about the purity of street drugs
Source: The Swansea Drugs Project survey

The number of deaths since last August was a figure collated by South Wales Police.

"The number of deaths in Swansea is now a real cause for concern," said Det Ch Insp Peter Azzopardi who was among the speakers at the conference.

It illustrated that drug-related deaths in Swansea were "extra high" compared to other areas, according to Ifor Glyn, manager of the Swansea Drugs Project.

Mr Glyn said the number of deaths was "absolutely shocking."

Nalaxone, he explained, was a heroin antidote and was already carried by most paramedics and ambulance staff.

He said they would be putting forward a proposal to the Welsh Assembly Government to start a trial in Swansea.

"We (would) work with the most chaotic, vulnerable drug users so that they actually carry this drug on them. If someone overdoses, that drug can be administered.

"At the end of the day, what we are actually talking about is saving lives" he said.

Society often turned a blind eye when it came to drug users, said Mr Glyn.

"We're talking about somebody's children, even parents, brothers or sisters and it's about time that we woke up and faced the reality that people are actually dying."

"It absolutely tears the heart out of the whole family"


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific