COViD Red Light – We are open… virtually and in person
Yes, we’re open. We’re operating using a combination of Zoom videoconferencing, phone sessions and face to face sessions if necessary. If we need to see you in person, we’ll need to sort out a plan as we’re limited currently in terms of how much we can do in the office. Things are changing all the time and so if you have any questions just have a chat to the duty clinician on (09) 845 1893.
‘Taking a break’ group and the ‘Managing mood’ group will stop over the Xmas break, however we’ll still be taking referrals and inquiries for these and hope to start them up again in the last week of January 2022.
The Whanau group will also have some time off, however CADS Youth Service will still offer support to families on a drop-in basis so please get in contact.
18 March 2021 – We’re back to (almost) usual business. Your clinician will need to do a COVID screen before you come into the office – just some questions to check you’re not at high risk – and we’ll be wearing masks and social distancing, but it’s still the same great service you should be used to 🙂
CADS Youth Service is open :). Don’t worry… we’re still here and at work, but back to doing things remotely. This means that we’ll try to reschedule appointments so that they happen via phone or zoom teleconferencing. If things are urgent then we can still see clients in the office, however we’ll do all we can to minimise this.
Please get in contact if you’ve any concerns at all (in relation to substance use). It’s a stressful time for a whole lot of different reasons and rather than drink alcohol or use substances, call us up and we’ll find a way to help.
The good news is we’ve been here and done that so we’re much better prepared than we were the first time.
We’re still open, still doing the same stuff, the only difference is that until the level drops again we’ll be doing it mainly by phone or on Zoom (teleconferencing).
So get in contact if you’ve any concerns at all (in relation to substance use). It’s a stressful time for a whole lot of different reasons and rather than drink alcohol or use substances, call us up and we’ll find a way to help.
We’ve learned to do things a bit differently and can now use videoconferencing technology to keep in contact if face to face options don’t suit.
Individual counseling and groups
Rather than keep changing the way we work, we’re now set up to see you, whatever the current COVID level is. If we’re in lockdown we can see you for appointments over the telephone or video conferencing. We use Zoom teleconferencing now, which we’ve found to be safe and secure. Some young people have even preferred to use Zoom (rather than in person) which is fine by us too.
We’re getting our group programme up and running and are doing groups by Zoom. It’s been going great, especially for those who struggle with transport.
Keeping in touch
Our telephone service continues to run from 08:30 – 16:30 to answer questions, give support and take referrals.
Tell us what you think of Video Conferencing (Zoom)
MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), commonly referred to as ecstasy, was manufactured as a potential pharmaceutical early last century. It had some limited use in the 1970s as a therapeutic aid in trauma treatment and in relationship counselling, and more recent studies using MDMA for trauma have shown some promise.
Structurally, MDMA is similar to the stimulant methamphetamine and to the hallucinogen mescaline, and so has both stimulant and mildly hallucinogenic effects.
Most problems with recreational MDMA are acute. Dependence and other long-term problems are quite rare. Less than 1% of all drug treatment presentations are for ongoing problems with MDMA, such as dependence.
Most of these conditions don’t result in death if they are treated early, but because of the stigma associated with using illicit drugs, sometimes people don’t seek help early enough. Any unusual or unwanted symptoms experienced while taking ecstasy should be treated as soon as they appear.
Most people are under the impression drugs are illegal because they are dangerous, but a drug’s legal status isn’t necessarily related to relative danger. In fact, drugs are much more dangerous because they are unregulated, manufactured by backyard chemists in clandestine laboratories.
Unlike alcohol, which is a highly regulated drug, there’s no way to tell how potent illicit drugs are or what’s in them, unless you test them.
In Australia, what is sold as ecstasy may contain a lot of MDMA or very little. Pills can contain other more dangerous drugs that mimic the effects of MDMA, and benign substances, such as lactose, as filler agents.
A recent report on findings from Australia’s first official pill testing trial at the Groovin’ the Moo music festival last year, found nearly half the pills tested were of low purity. Some 84% of people who had their pills tested thought they had bought MDMA but only 51% actually contained any MDMA.
Some of the more dangerous contaminants found in pills include PMA (paramethoxyamphetamine), which is more toxic at lower doses than ecstasy; N-Ethylpentylone, a cathinone which is a lot more potent than MDMA making it easier to take too much; and NBOMes (N-methoxybenzyl), which is more toxic at lower doses than other hallucinogenic drugs and can cause heart attack, renal failure, and stroke.
Although it’s possible to take too much MDMA and experience severe toxic effects, as with other illicit drugs, most ecstasy-related deaths involve multiple drugs.
Sometimes these drug mixes are unexpected and sometimes people take multiple drugs deliberately. It’s safer for people using ecstasy to limit use of other drugs, including alcohol, to avoid risk of adverse effects.
Heatstroke or hyperthermia (dangerously high body temperature) is one of the most common issues among people taking MDMA.
MDMA increases body temperature and sweating, and using it is often accompanied by physical activity (such as dancing) in a hot environment (such as a crowded venue or in the summer heat), exacerbating fluid loss. If you don’t have enough fluids your body can’t cool itself properly.
The effect of ecstasy can be exacerbated by consuming alcohol. Alcohol is a diuretic, so it makes you urinate more and increases dehydration. Dehydration increases risk of heatstroke.
Heatstroke can cause brain, heart, kidney and muscle damage, and if left untreated can cause serious complications or death.
If active, people taking MDMA should drink around 500ml (two cups) of water an hour and take regular breaks. Isotonic drinks (such as Powerade and Gatorade) are also OK.
People using MDMA can get really thirsty. Some is probably the direct effect of MDMA, some because they’re hot, and some from dehydration.
But if you have too much water the ratio of salts and water in the body becomes unbalanced – basically the level of salt in your body gets too low and your cells start swelling with water. The technical name is hyponatraemia.
MDMA is an anti-diuretic, so it makes you retain water, which can increase risk of water intoxication.
People may feel nausea with vomiting, confusion, severe fatigue, muscle weakness and cramps.
People taking ecstasy need to stay hydrated but only replace what is lost through sweating – around 500ml per hour if active and around 250ml an hour when inactive.
The main action of MDMA in the brain is an increase in serotonin, which among other things is responsible for regulating pro-social behaviour, empathy and optimism. This is why people who have taken MDMA feel connection with and positivity towards others.
But too much serotonin can result in “serotonin syndrome”. It typically occurs when other drugs that also raise serotonin levels (other stimulants, antidepressants) are taken together with MDMA.
Signs include high body temperature, agitation, confusion, problems controlling muscles, headache and the shakes. People might also experience seizures or loss of consciousness.
It can be fatal if the symptoms are left untreated, so if anyone taking MDMA shows any of these signs they should be treated immediately. It’s safer not to mix different types of drugs, especially if you do not know what’s in them.
More rarely, fatalities have been reported as a result of other health complications after taking ecstasy, especially if the person has pre-existing risk factors, such as high blood pressure or a heart condition. Complications related to heart failure, liver failure and brain haemorrhage have been reported in people already at high risk of these problems.
The number of people who die from party drugs is relatively low compared to other drugs such as heroin, alcohol, and pharmaceuticals. But the media tend to report a higher proportion of these deaths compared to other drugs, increasing the perception of harm. Most of the deaths are not directly from the drug itself but other complications or contaminants.
It’s safest not to take drugs at all, but if you choose to, it’s safer to take a small amount first (like a quarter of a pill) and wait at least an hour to make sure there are no ill effects; drink about 500ml per hour of water if active; and don’t mix drugs, including alcohol.
In the absence of a legal, uncontaminated supply of MDMA, when pill testing becomes available in Australia it will at least help people make informed decisions about drug use and reduce the risk of fatalities and other harms. People often choose not to take their pills, or take smaller amounts, when they discover contaminants.