Help Available for People Concerned About Substance Use, Says Drug Development Officer


An alcohol and drug development manager at NHS Shetland says help is at hand for anyone struggling with substance use.

It comes after new figures showed there were four drug-related deaths in Shetlands last year, an increase from two in 2019.

Development Officer Wendy McConnachie said the numbers were “absolutely tragic.”

“It’s important to remember that it’s not just numbers, it’s people who are loved,” she added.

“They are moms and dads, sons and daughters. “

Wendy McConnachie.

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart said on Friday that there should be no stigma attached to drug addiction – “but it is difficult to get the support and treatment needed when budgets for essential support services have been stretched. reduced “.

People in difficulty are encouraged to contact their GP, said McConnachie, the addiction recovery service at Lerwick Health Center on 01595 743006 or the Recovery Hub and Community Network in Pitt Lane via 01595 744402.

Advice on harm reduction is also available at

McConnachie said the Shetlands continue to have low drug-related death rates compared to the rest of Scotland – “however, Scotland itself compares poorly to the rest of Europe, so our numbers are not entirely positive “.

“We need to treat the statistics with caution, however, as it is difficult to compare national and local data when our numbers are typically so small,” she added.

“One dead person is still one too many dead. “

McConnachie has also sought to highlight the increase in deaths where “street” benzodiazepines and cocaine are involved.

“Street benzos often don’t contain what they’re supposed to and their strength can vary wildly,” she said.

“These drugs also stay in your system for a while, increasing the risk of overdose.

“Cocaine use is on the rise across the country and as it normalizes there is a danger that it will be considered safe. People should avoid mixing drugs, including alcohol.

She also introduced Naloxone, a drug that temporarily reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

“Anyone can carry and administer naloxone,” McConnachie said. “If you are a person who uses opioids, or if you come into contact with people who use them, carrying naloxone could save a life. “

It is available from the Addiction Recovery Service at Lerwick Health Center and Pitt Lane Recovery Center and Community Network.

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