Kent expert calls for more action on drug deaths

A Criminal Justice professor from University of Kent has blamed the increase of drug death’s in Kent to the fact people do not know what they are taking.

Alex Stevens will be leading the discussion of ‘Countering drug deaths’ particularly in the Kent and Canterbury area.

The Jolly Sailor hosts pubTALK sessions monthly in partnership with The University of Kent for the public to discuss a particular topic, this months being countering drug death’s. The doors open to the public at 7pm on Monday 21st May for a 7:30pm start. ‘Everyone is encouraged to stay behind after the talks to continue the discussions for a drink or two.’

The talks were set up to form: ‘a part of our public engagement programme and aims to create an informal, comfortable space where people who would not usually have direct access to current research would feel comfortable asking questions and sharing their views with researchers. The university shares these objectives; enriching the work of academics and helping to increase its impact, ensure its relevance and increase partnership opportunities. For members of the public, engagement with research ensures the work of universities remains responsive to real-world demands. It also leads to a better understanding of the University’s activities and values and how these can benefit the wider community.

The topic for this month was chosen as ‘Concern is mounting about the rising tide of drug-related deaths, both nationally and in Canterbury. Professor Alex Stevens will present evidence collected for the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs’ report on Reducing Opioid-Related Deaths in the UK. He will show what’s behind this worrying trend, followed by a discussion of two crucial questions. What steps could we take to reduce these deaths? And do we care enough to take them?

Alex Stevens, who is also the president of The International Society for the Study of Drug Policy (ISSDP) says there are 5 main factors that have lead to a rise in drug death’s in the UK:

5 pointers from Alex Stevens

Mr. Stevens believes the lack of understanding has lead to so many deaths’ in recent years.

‘With this talk, I hope to raise awareness of the fact that we have record levels of drug-related deaths in the UK, that we know of effective measures to reduce these deaths, but the government is failing to implement them. I also want to hear what people in Canterbury think about these issues.’

He also believes ‘Some overdoses are probably caused by people not knowing what’s in the drugs they buy. This may apply to some recent deaths in Canterbury which were related to fentanyl.’

Fentanyl has had a significant impact, particularly in Canterbury, over the past year. Popular busker Joshua Lambert-Price died from an overdose of fentanyl in August last year and it left a big impact on the people of Canterbury.

The image beneath reveals how much it can take to overdose on fentanyl compared to heroin.

Credit to: NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE POLICE FORENSIC LAB

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