March 2017 DDN March 2017 DDN Magazine - Page 18

The TenTh naTional Service USer conference

Take Five

Five minutes ’ training and an inexpensive kit is all it takes to save a life – so why isn ’ t naloxone coverage countrywide , asks Philippe Bonnet after a non-stop day
I CAN ’ T BELIEVE THIS YEAR MARKS TEN YEARS OF THE DDN SU CONFERENCE IN BIRMINGHAM . How exciting and powerful . It has been a pleasure and privilege to attend this wonderful event .
I think it must be four years since I started training people on naloxone . The first couple of years were all about training individuals , without being able to issue kits . Last year , thanks to law changes , I managed to not only train but issued 35 kits as well .
I thought I might bring 50 kits this year , to see if I could beat last year ’ s record . Within minutes , someone approached me , asking if I had kits to give out . They informed me they did not have naloxone in their town . I took them to my little corner and quickly trained them , and issued them with this life-saving medication . It was seconds before someone else saw me and asked me for a kit . And so it went on throughout the morning .
By lunchtime , I had issued 50 kits ... and ran out ! Then one of my colleague told me the organiser was looking for me , asking if I was ready for the afternoon session . I thought , o-oh , I have no kits left ! Nevertheless , the session went ahead . I think I did my best to explain how sorry I was I could not issue them a kit , but at the same time I felt relieved that 50 people would leave Birmingham with a kit in their pockets .
None of the people I trained that day had naloxone , and they had come from all over the country . This made me realise how truly blessed we are in Birmingham . Our drug-related deaths have not risen , unlike the rest of the country . This is surely a testimony to all the hard work , commitment and pragmatism of my colleagues , from frontline workers to commissioning bodies , over the last five years .
To date , I must have trained around 5,000 staff
across England and distributed around 2,000 kits to SUs . Naloxone saves lives . Full stop . And next year I will bring 100 kits with me !
Philippe is chair of the Birmingham Naloxone Steering Group and regional naloxone and NSP lead for CGL

Finding balance

Away from it all in the therapy room , Lois Skilleter and Sam Lofthouse gave delegates a taster of massage and Reiki
THIS WAS MY FOURTH YEAR of offering voluntary therapies at the DDN conference – it ’ s becoming a wonderful annual event for me , and
my students who have come have also enjoyed it very much . This year Sam accompanied me , and we were able to offer Indian head massage , Reiki and hand massages .
Indian head massage has only been around in the West for about 35 years , and is a very relaxing mix of the Indian traditions of hair oiling , chakra balancing and barbers ’ head
massage , combined with the shoulder , neck and upper back massage that is so needed by westerners with our high stress levels . Our clients loved it and found they felt surprisingly lighter and happier after experiencing it .
Reiki is Japanese in origin and provides an energy balance , leading to relaxation and clarity of mind . Clients are often surprised to feel tingling or ‘ hot spots ’ even when the practitioner is not physically touching them . The practitioner is acting as a channel for the Reiki energy , allowing the client to draw what is needed through them – hence this treatment is very empowering for the client as they are in fact doing their own healing , with the practitioner merely a facilitator . Hand massage is somewhat underrated , I feel : it ’ s non intrusive , very versatile , yet can bring real relaxation to the recipient . Our clients who opted for this treatment really enjoyed it , noticing how much lighter
and less tense their hands felt afterwards . I have recently done hand massage with a dementia group and both carers and patients found it soothing and helpful . It ’ s also a good bonding therapy : some of the mums I work with like to do it for their children at night to help with sleep .
All of these therapies are gentle , relaxing and have few side effects , and can be used with vulnerable people as long as basic cautions are taken into account and a doctor ’ s note received if the client is suffering from any contraindications . It is heartening to see complementary medicines becoming more accepted : while they do not replace medical advice and treatment , they can be a valuable support when used alongside conventional medicine .
Lois ’ s website is www . eartherealofyorkshire . co . uk and she is always happy to discuss training and treatments .
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