'Fake pills' leave several seriously ill in Swansea hospital

2 months ago 19

By Will Fyfe
BBC News

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionThe wellness committee said it believed fake tablets were being sold arsenic Valium and Xanax

Fake medicine anti-anxiety pills are thought to person near respective radical earnestly sick successful hospital.

Swansea Bay wellness committee said they were taken to Morriston Hospital's exigency section aft overdosing connected Wednesday.

It said it believed the tablets were being sold illegally arsenic Valium and Xanax successful Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.

It comes arsenic a study warned of the fig of fake pills being seen by wellness experts.

Public Health Wales' drugs investigating laboratory said it had seen a "substantial increase" successful medicine pills being sent for investigation by radical acrophobic astir their authenticity.

Josie Smith, PHW's caput of substance misuse, said the contented had apt got worse owed to Covid and lockdowns.

The astir communal were Benzodiazepines, a radical of anti-anxiety pills which includes diazepam and Xanax.

image captionThere is interest astir fake anti-anxiety pills being bought online

More than fractional of those tested were recovered to beryllium fakes, often containing stronger, unregulated chemicals.

Ms Smith said: "Given the stresses, strains and pressures that radical person been nether successful the past year, they whitethorn person been much inclined to self-medicate with medicines not prescribed to them.

"We are much often present proceeding from individuals saying that they didn't privation to spell to their GP to speech astir the challenges they were experiencing and recovered it easier to spell online."

image captionJosie Smith said determination was anecdotal grounds of an summation of the usage anti-anxiety and anti-depression drugs during the pandemic

She added determination was anecdotal grounds of an summation of the usage anti-anxiety and anti-depression drugs during the Covid pandemic.

Fake pills are often made utilizing cheaper ingredients, which tin beryllium up to 10 times stronger than what radical deliberation they are taking, perchance starring to longer-lasting broadside effects and semipermanent addiction oregon overdose.

Many intimately lucifer genuine pharmaceuticals, with blister packs and accompanying aesculapian accusation leaflets.

image copyrightPublic Health Wales

image captionSome of the drugs recovered to beryllium fake intimately resembled genuine pharmaceuticals

The Welsh Emerging Drugs and Identification of Novel Substances (Wedinos) project, which analyses cause samples sent successful from crossed the UK, saw a 40% summation successful the fig of benzodiazepine samples, up from 846 successful 2019-20 to 1,205 successful 2020-21.

Diazepam and Xanax were the astir communal pills radical believed they were buying.

Ms Smith said immoderate radical whitethorn interest astir the stigma of seeking medication, but urged them to spell to their GPs.

She said: "We cognize that the property scope for this is enormous.

"The youngest idiosyncratic submitting a illustration was 14 and the oldest was 89, truthful this is close crossed the property groups. This isn't exclusively a young person's contented oregon an older person's issue."

Out of 320 samples submitted successful the past twelvemonth wherever radical believed they had bought Xanax, 58% were recovered to incorporate a antithetic substance entirely.

Out of 712 diazepam samples, 55% were recovered to beryllium thing else, with galore consisting of importantly much potent chemicals that person ne'er been regulated for aesculapian use.

image captionKimberley Williams said she knows a batch of radical who instrumentality illicit and non-illicit biodiazepines

As good arsenic a suspected summation successful online sales, immoderate cause enactment services said they had seen a marked summation successful alleged thoroughfare benzodiazepines, often bought and sold among those with existing addiction issues.

Kimberley Williams, who has utilized benzodiazepines successful the past but is present successful betterment with Gwent's cause and intoxicant attraction work said the streets were "flooded" with fake medication.

"Obviously radical are coming retired of lockdown, their intelligence wellness isn't good, and these are radical that don't spell to the doctors to get their medication, truthful they're seeking thing to marque themselves consciousness better.

"It's truthful overmuch much powerful. It's highly addictive anyway, but I'm seeing it ruining radical lives faster than ace and heroine - and that says a lot."

Elwyn Thomas, an outreach idiosyncratic astatine the Kaleidoscope cause enactment work successful Newport, said helium had noticed large changes successful benzodiazepine usage for those already struggling with addictions.

"We've had astir apt 16 oregon 17 cause related-deaths successful the archetypal 3 months of this twelvemonth which related to fake benzodiazepines," helium said.

"On the streets we're seeing chaos. As a beforehand enactment cause idiosyncratic I've seen the usage of benzodiazepines changing implicit the past 17 months.

"The quality present is the types and spot of benzodiazepines that are retired determination connected the street."

image captionElwyn Thomas said determination was "chaos" connected the streets arsenic a effect of fake medicine drugs

Simon Jones, caput of argumentation astatine Mind Cymru, said it was concerning to spot radical attempting to bid medications online to assistance with intelligence wellness problems.

He said: "This tin beryllium precise dangerous, arsenic determination is nary warrant that radical cognize precisely what is successful the medication.

"Our proposal is that if you deliberation you're experiencing symptoms of a intelligence wellness problem, similar anxiety, it's important to spot your GP, who tin speech you done a scope of attraction options including a medicine if you some consciousness you could payment from one."

BMA Wales assembly president Dr David Bailey said it was "hugely concerning" to perceive of radical buying prescription-only medicine without a due aesculapian assessment.

He said: "No online portal - adjacent from a reputable pharmacy institution - volition person entree to a patient's aesculapian past and if medicine is obtained from immoderate different root determination tin beryllium nary warrant astir either the suitability of the medicine oregon if it is genuine."

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