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Pembroke Dock: Local who lost two friends to drugs promotes government inquiry

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Drugs and alcohol: Tell the government what you think

Drugs and alcohol: Tell the government what you think

A LOCAL man who lost two friends to drugs overdoses is appealing for the people of Pembrokeshire to participate in a government inquiry into alcohol and substance misuse before it’s too late.

The Welsh Assembly’s Health and Social Care Committee is conducting a review into the recent surge of ‘legal highs’ in the country, as well as the wider issues of alcohol and substance misuse, and wants to hear the public’s views by January 9.

The committee, made up of ten Assembly Members, is inviting public responses on substance misuse, the law surrounding it and also the support available, and will be publishing its report later this month.

Sean McGhan, aged 25 from Pembroke Dock, suffered two bereavements when his friend Anthony Gammer died on July 26, 2013, aged 27, after taking a concoction of drugs including cannabis, dihydrocodeine, ketamine and diazepam.

Sean McGhan: Urging locals to participate in inquiry

Sean McGhan: Urging locals to participate in inquiry

Mr McGhan’s other close friend, Paul Dalling, died in 2013 at the untimely age of 24 after brewing a deadly tea using poppy seeds. The DJ from Milford Haven thought the drink would induce a pleasant drowsy effect, however after consuming a pint of the concoction his central nervous system shut down and he died in bed.

The inquest into Mr Dalling’s death heard that he drank the infusion and smoked cannabis before going for a night out with friends. The coroner’s conclusion into the unusual death, which warned of the dangerous effects of poppy tea, garnered national press attention when it was published last year.

Mr McGhan believes there is a strong case to legalise certain drugs, to ensure their safety, and says he thinks that providing better education to youngsters would undoubtedly save lives.

Explaining to the Herald why he is so keen for everyone to participate in the Government’s inquiry, Mr McGhan said: “Every experience with drugs is important to the overall decision as to how it’s all governed. We all have our own unique views and many have direct experiences that need to be heard and respected by the government, not just the habitual users but the medicinal users too. For example, my suffering Nan could be using cannabis if not for all the stigma resulting in a huge lack of research.

He added: “Cancer sufferer’s medicines are being used by kids because the patients need money to buy a working medicine like cannabis. Weed is everywhere anyway, just expensive and blatantly funds the black market even here in Pembrokeshire. Hard drugs are being used because users aren’t getting high off the now low quality commercial cannabis, nor are they educated not to use drugs. If it’s blatant to us but not the government maybe we should point it out to them with this unique opportunity they have offered us!”

Tragic: Anthony Gammer, died in 2013

Tragic: Anthony Gammer, died in 2013

“The government are running out of excuses on keeping the drugs stigma going.  It’s true most people who don’t use drugs have absolutely no idea about them but those who use, or used them, know all too well of the dangers that follow drug use.”

McGhan said: “Anyone can send an email to the Welsh Government by January 9 by emailing hsccommittee@wales.gov.uk or you can write to The Clerk, Health and Social Care Committee, National Assembly for Wales, CF99 1NA.”

The terms of reference for the inquiry being conducted in Wales are, to consider:

  • the impacts of alcohol and substance misuse on people in Wales, including young people and university students; older people; homeless people; and people in police custody or prisons;
  •  the effectiveness of current Welsh Government policies on tackling alcohol and substance misuse and any further action that may be required;
  •  the capacity and availability of local services across Wales to raise awareness and deal with the impact of the harms associated with alcohol and substance misuse.
Died after drinking poppy tea: Paul Dalling

Died after drinking poppy tea: Paul Dalling

A spokesman for the Welsh Government said: “The National Assembly for Wales’ Health and Social Care Committee is a group of ten Assembly Members from across Wales who represent the four political parties who make up the Assembly. The Committee’s job is to hold the Welsh Government to account on health and social care within Wales, including finance, administration, policy and legislation.”

The spokesman added: “We have recently been doing some work on new psychoactive substances which are sometimes called legal highs – our report will be out in the New Year. We want to build on that work, and so we are now looking into issues of alcohol and substance misuse. As part of our inquiry, we want to know about the effect that alcohol and substance misuse has on people in Wales, how well these issues are currently being tackled, and whether the right local services are in place across Wales to help people and make sure that they know about the possible harms. Giving us your views will help us make sure that we can take into account how alcohol and substance misuse affects real people in Wales on a daily basis.”

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Eligible unpaid carers encouraged to register for COVID-19 vaccine

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UNPAID carers in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire who are not already registered as a carer with their GP practice are being asked to complete an online registration form if they wish to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended that unpaid carers are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine as part of priority group 6, subject to certain eligibility criteria.

Revised national guidance from the JCVI describes unpaid carers as those who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable.

Those clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 include children with severe neuro-disabilities, those who are designated Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV), adults who have underlying health conditions, and those who need care because of advanced age. Eligible carers should be vaccinated in priority group 6.

Anna Bird, Assistant Director of Strategic Partnerships at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “Unpaid carers play a vital role offering care and support and it is in everyone’s interest that they are supported.

“For many years now, the health board has built strong links with unpaid carers across our three counties through initiatives such as our Investors in Carers scheme, designed to help organisations focus on, and improve, their carer awareness and the help and support they give to carers.

“There are over 10,000 unpaid carers registered with GP practices or the local authority across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire but we know there are many more people out there who may not recognise themselves as an unpaid carer and are unaware that support is available for them, including their eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccine.”

If you believe you may be eligible, are aged 16 or over and are not registered as an unpaid carer with your GP, please complete this online form https://hduhb.nhs.wales/healthcare/services-and-teams/carers-information/covid-vaccine-for-unpaid-carers/covid-vaccine-for-unpaid-carers/ to register your details. People without internet access can contact the health board on 0300 303 8322.

Those already registered as an unpaid carer with a GP will be contacted directly to receive a COVID vaccination and do not need to do anything further.
Please wait to be invited for your vaccination and do not contact your GP or health board to ask about your vaccine appointment. You will be contacted when it is your turn, thank you for your patience and understanding.

To find out more about the support available for unpaid carers in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire please visit https://hduhb.nhs.wales/healthcare/services-and-teams/carers-information/

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Welsh pet food company launches new pet store in Haverfordwest

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FRIDAY (March 5) Carmarthenshire based pet food company, Burns Pet Nutrition, launched a brand-new pet store in the stunning town of Haverfordwest. The new shop will sell a variety of pet goodies, such as food, toys, and accessories, and even provide a wellness service offering advice and guidance to local pet parents.

The Haverfordwest location will be the sixth pet store to-date for the beloved Welsh pet food brand, who are known for their award-winning, natural and healthy pet food, along with their generous support of rescue centres and shelters, charitable donations and community projects.

The shop launched officially on March 5, as a welcome addition to the personality of the local area. Haverfordwest Mayor, Alan Buckfield, says: “I’m very pleased to welcome the opening of the Haverfordwest Pet shop. This new business in Withybush Road adds to the range of shopping available in our Town and obviously fills a gap in the market as well as providing new job opportunities.”

Burns Haverfordwest store offers toys, treats and accessories, and of course, plenty of Burns Natural Pet Food to keep local pets happy and healthy. Burns pet food is renowned for its use of natural, holistic and simple ingredients in hand-cooked recipes, which is why they’ve sold over 2 billion bowls to date and received numerous awards and accolades, including an incredible 92% in the latest Which? Consumer poll of best pet foods.

With stores in Llandeilo, Carmarthen, Cardigan, the new shop is a benchmark in the efforts of the company to champion the local high street and support communities in Wales. The company has launched a variety of charitable campaigns and initiatives in Wales over its long history, mainly to support community initiatives, help local rescue centres and give back to pets and their owners in every part of Wales and beyond. On the launch of the new store, John Burns, veterinary surgeon and founder of Burns Pet Nutrition, says:

“Launching a sixth pet store in the stunning location of Haverfordwest is very exciting for us. We believe it’s important to invest in our highstreets and communities, as they can be the lifeblood of a local community. We hope that the new Burns Haverfordwest Pet store will become a favourite amongst local pet owners.”

Burns new shop has opened on The County Showground, Withybush Road in Haverfordwest, and for one week only lucky customers can get a free 2kg bag of dog food for every 12kg bag they purchase.

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No deaths of people with coronavirus in Wales in the last 24 hours

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THERE have been no further deaths of people with coronavirus in Wales reported in the latest 24-hour period, Public Health Wales (PHW) has confirmed.

A further 164 positive cases were also reported.

The total number of PHW reported deaths remains at 5,403.

Dr Giri Shankar, incident director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response at Public Health Wales, added the dashboard is designed to be a “rapid reporting tool which is subject to ongoing reconciliation” and that “official data are provided by the Office for National Statistics”.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said stay at home rules could be revised, following a review of lockdown measures this week.

Wales’ overall case rate has fallen to 45 cases per 100,000 people.

PHW said it should be noted there is often a lag in reporting deaths following the weekend.

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