“It’s a vicious circle,” Dr. Miller says. “So the person starts taking the medication because they’re anxious. The medication, however, affects the brain by actually making you more anxious. So pretty soon, people feel like without this medication, ‘I’m anxious all the time.’ When in fact, what they’re experiencing is just withdrawal from the medication.”
On Thursday 21st of March more than 300 delegates attended the National Harm Reduction Wales conference at the Mercure Hotel.
Organised by Josie Smith and her team from Public Health Wales seminars covered:
Physical Health and Wellbeing
Integrated Care and Service Planning
Emerging Threats and Opportunities
Psychological Health and Wellbeing
Katie Stone (Public Health and Social Policy lead – Harm reduction International) opened the conference with a talk on “Global and European perspectives on harm reduction.”
Next to speak was Dr Owen Bowden-Jones (Consultant Psychiatrist and Chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs) on the topic of of “Challenges for the UK and a focus on Wales”
Conference then broke to the respective seminars to explore the subjects in more detail.
Physical Health and Wellbeing Preventing adverse consequences of substance misuse – Jan Keauffling (Healthcare for homeless people) Sexual Health and Harm Reduction – Suzanne Williams (Obstetrics, Gyneacology & Sexual Health) & Jane Fourweather (Sexual & Reproductive Health) Achieving elimination of blood born viruses and tuberculosis – Dr Al Story (TB Find & Treat Service)
Integrated Care and Service Planning Children and Young People Services – Meinir Williams-Jones (Barnardo’s Cymru) Offender Health and Continuity of Care – Louise Forman (HMP & Probation Service Wales) Models of Opioid Substitution Therapy Provision and Same Day Prescribing – Dr Mike Kelleher (Lambeth Addictions Consortium)
Emerging Threats and Opportunities Online Prescribing Services – Aled Jones (www.PAST.Wales) Benzodiazepines – Dean Acreman (Health Protection, PHW) Changing Drug Markets & County Lines – DI Justin O’Keefe (TARIAN Reional Organised Crime Unit)
Psychological and Wellbeing Alcohol and Longer Term Health Harms – Brian Robertson (Drink Wise Age Well) Addiction and Dependence – Prof. Robert Rogers (School of Psychology, Bangor University) Complexities in Mental Health and Substance Misuse – Dr Julia Lewis (Gwent Specialist Substance Misuse Service)
Conference then returned to the hall to hear from Tracey Breheny (Deputy Director Substance Misuse Government and Corporate Business, Welsh Government) on the direction the Welsh Government is driving Harm Reduction in Wales.
Q&A closed the conference with questions from the floor to the panel of speakers from the day.
photographs coutesy of @jaystarphotography – many thanks