To all patients between 16 – 70 years of age, our Public Health colleagues have been made aware of five deaths and three overdoses related to known heroin users in Gloucestershire over the past few weeks.
On the basis of this evidence, we are now considering that it is highly likely that adulterated heroin is in circulation within the County, posing a severe risk to the user.
Advice to patients, or friends and families of patients, whom this information may affect is
- If they are not already in drug treatment strongly encourage them to engage, and refer them to CGL: 01452 223 014; email@example.com; being in drug treatment significantly reduces the risk of overdose.
- Always carry naloxone and encourage others to do the same; naloxone is available from CGL (using the number above) you don’t need to be in treatment to get this.
- Never use alone, and when using with others don’t use at the same time, so one of you can take action.
- Try to smoke heroin rather than inject, this reduces the likelihood of overdose.
- If you are going to use, try a little bit first and wait to see what the effect is like – you cannot determine strength/toxicity from visual appearance.
- Know how to identify a heroin/opioid overdose – a combination of: pin-point pupils; appearing to be in a deep sleep, unrousable or unconscious; laboured breathing/snoring or shallow/not breathing; blue lips and fingertips.