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WATCH: Cornwall's drug deaths are revealed

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9:06am 4th May 2017
(Updated 9:06am 4th May 2017)

Shocking figures have revealed the number of people dying from drug overdoses in Cornwall.

A Freedom of Information Request shows there have been almost 200 in the last six years.

There were 31 deaths in the Duchy in 2016 alone and now there are calls for heroin to be prescribed on the NHS.

That is known as heroin assisted treatment and involves controlled prescriptions to try to ween addicts off the drug.

James Sainsbury speaks for Addaction, which is one of the UK's largest specialist drug, alcohol and mental health treatment charities.

He tells ITV News Westcountry it might not work in the Duchy: "It's really much more suitable for large urban areas where you've got large concentrations of drug users.

"It's not a very cost-effective solution for somewhere like Cornwall, or indeed other areas in the south-west, which have similar challenges around the sort of rurality and accessibility".

The centre in Truro runs a needle exchange, as well as a methadone replacement programme.

James explains the benefits: "A key part of needle exchange is actually encouraging the returns to come back - people bringing back their dirty needles.

"If we didn't have a needle exchange, you'd most probably see more dirty needles left in parks.

"We see needle exchange as a vital compenent of both making sure there's not needles in parks and so-forth and engaging with service users and trying to move them away from injecting".

How can I help an addict - and this video might not be what you think...


On its website, Addaction says: "We give support and advice to adults who are experiencing problems related to their own or someone else's drug or alcohol use. We provide specialist interventions to help prevent and reduce the harmful use of drugs and alcohol, and help people to achieve recovery. We also offer support to family and friends and provide a specialist Breaking the Cycle service in locations across the UK.

"The help we give you will depend on whether it is alcohol or drugs you are struggling with (and of course, what kind of drug). Our main priority is to build a strong relationship between you and one of our workers and they will be able to use a number of approaches - from cognitive therapy to prescribing medication, should you need it - to give you the support you both need and deserve.

"This treatment may last for different periods of time, depending on your situation. But for many of the people helped by Addaction, treatment is a long-term process that requires multiple interventions. This means that your own programme could last for six months if not more - but don't worry, the help we give you will be designed to fit in around all of your other commitments.

"Our support also doesn't mean that you have to stay in a residential rehab centre (although we can offer that, too). Instead, you can get all of the support and advice you need while remaining part of your local community. We can also help you with other issues you may be struggling with, such as employment, housing, debt or family relationships.

"Our ultimate aim is for you to be able to stop using the substance that is causing you problems altogether, but we fully understand that this can be a complicated process. We won't judge you and will work at a pace you are comfortable with, helping you to reduce your use before finding a way to stop altogether".

You can read more about the help and advice available in Cornwall here.

9:06am 4th May 2017

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