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Mushroom season: Be careful out there

Yes it’s that time of year again; warm jumpers, electric blankets and magic mushrooms start appearing here and there.

There are many varieties of magic mushrooms out there, 190 to be exact, 9 of which can be found in New Zealand. Know what you are doing; picking the ‘wrong’ kind of mushroom is common and extremely dangerous as the ‘wrong mushrooms’ are often highly toxic and can cause death.

• Mushrooms contain Psilocybin which is an hallucinogenic drug.
• Mushrooms are a Class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act. This means that the maximum penalty for possession of mushrooms is 6 months imprisonment and/or $1,000 fine. The maximum penalty for supply (giving it to your mates) is life imprisonment
• Different types of magic mushrooms vary in strength and effect. Things like age, recent rain and soil conditions can make a difference – even mushrooms from the same patch can be more toxic than others. It is therefore impossible to know how much psilocybin you’ve taken and how stoned/wasted you’ll become.
• Sometimes psilocybin can give you an experience that you didn’t anticipate – a bad trip – and that can be very scary. When using ’shrooms ‘Less is More’.

What to expect:
An average trip can last 4-6+ hours though it might seem to last much longer because of psilocybin’s ability to alter the perception of time. The ‘peak’ happens within the first 3–4 hours when users experience a feeling of well-being, ‘hallucinations’ usually in the form of distorted visual perceptions; a loss of touch with reality possibly seeing or hearing things that aren’t actually there; and time, space and body image is distorted.

Other short term effects can include:
Dry mouth, exaggerated reflexes, dilated pupils, blurred vision, confusion, disorientation and possibly agitation, numbness, muscle weakness and twitching, dizziness, nausea and vomiting and fluctuating body temperature.

Food for thought – The safest use is no use.
Helpful links:

[I] Hallucinogens psychedlics_CADS MAY 2015

http://www.welltrust.co.nz/Magic_Mushrooms

http://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/matters-of-substance/about-drug-psilocybin

http://www.police.govt.nz/advice/drugs-and-alcohol/illicit-drugs-offences-and-penalties

The Substances and Choices Scale – Test yourself

The Substances and Choices Scale or the SACS, is a questionnaire that Altered High workers use routinely with young people who attend our service.

It’s useful to help get an idea of the range of difficulties young people might have with their alcohol and/or drugs. It’s also used it to measure progress… if your SACS score goes down, that good!

You might be interested in doing the SACS as a way to see if your alcohol and drug problems are serious or not.

If you’d like to check it out there is an electronic test here. If you score 3 or more on the SACS it might be worth talking to someone a bit more about things. If you score 5 or more, it could be worth considering some treatment.

If you live in the Auckland get in touch. That’s why we are here.

The SACS Brief Intervention

At Altered High we use the SACS questionnaire (Substances and Choices Scale) as a way to measure progress for young people going through the service (outcome measurement). It can also be used to identify potential problems (screening). More information about the SACS is available at www.sacsinfo.com.

The SACS questionnaire can be used as a starting point for doing a Brief Intervention. This is a short bit of treatment that can be effective in minimising harm and enhancing the chances of a young person engaging in longer term treatment. The SACS Brief Intervention is a step by step guide to doing a brief intervention using the SACS. It is also on the SACS website here.

Altered High has made a video which demonstrates a clinician doing the SACS Brief Intervention with a young person. You can watch it on YouTube here.

 

Solvent abuse can kill instantly

There has been some recent publicity about young people in Auckland being seriously harmed by solvent abuse.

It’s not scaremongering – sniffing and huffing is really dangerous.

Here are some of the more significant risks from abusing solvents…

  • Heart Failure (Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome) – ‘Sniffing’ can make the heart beat in an irregular way. If the ‘sniffer’ becomes excited, frightened or runs, the heart can’t cope, stops working, you collapse and can die.
  • Fatal Accidents – ‘Sniffing’  may make you do things without thinking in dangerous places. You might be involved in an accident like falling from a high building or being knocked down by a car, drowning, etc.
  • Suffocation – The mouth and nose can be blocked by a plastic bag (if you fall unconscious) Sometimes the oxygen in the blood is displaced by fumes or chemicals.
  • Choking – ‘Sniffing’ can make you violently sick. If you were to vomit while you were unconscious or drowsy you could choke on your own puke.
  • Explosions – Abusable products are usually very flammable and if they are used around naked flames they can set you on fire. They may even explode causing bad burns or even death. It’s really dangerous to smoke around solvents.

What would you do if your friend collapsed?

• Make sure there is plenty of fresh air and that it’s safe for you to help them

• Stay calm, remove any solvents

• Check their airway, breathing and circulation. Apply first aid if you know how

• Turn them on their side, (the recovery position)

• Get help or call an ambulance as quickly as possible

• Stay with them if you can and keep them warm and still.

Check out the website – http://www.re-solv.org

Concerned Parent and Caregivers Evenings

The evening provides an opportunity for parents/caregivers to talk about the impact of their teenager’s substance use on their family, home life & selves, about the approaches they have tried and ‘on top’ concerns in a safe & supportive place. It provides space to ask questions, gain knowledge on alcohol & drugs and youth development, explore parenting approaches, gather advice and guidance on potential strategies from the Altered High counsellors and from other parents. It also has a focus on how family look after themselves and self-care skills.

The details are:

– Runs on the 1st and the 3rd Wednesday evening of every month – 6pm to 7.30pm-ish

– We ask that people please call our Dutyline on 845 1893 on the date or prior to the date to let us know you are intending to come

– It is at our office in Kingsland – Level 2, 409 New North Rd, Kingsland.

We are on the corner of New North Rd and Bond Street. There is parking in the carpark behind just off Bond Street and you can come up the lift under the building. Be sure when you come to go to Level 2, as level 1 is the CADS Central Adult team.

The dates for the next Evening and rest of this year are:

# September 3rd and 17th

# October 1st and 15th

# November 5th and 19th December 3rd and 17th

We look forward to seeing you if you do decide to come along.

Kind regards,   CADS Altered High Youth Service

Altered High Primary Care project

Altered High Primary Care project

Altered High has a new project – the idea is to help GPs, school nurses and other “first-point-of-contact” health professionals know what to do when they have a young person who is using alcohol or other drugs in front of them. This might be just asking some questions about it, maybe doing a bit of counselling with the young person, and thinking about where to refer if it’s needed.

Ways we think we can do this are to talk with health workers, make sure we’re very available, provide training if it’s needed, and make it as easy as possible to know when and how to refer.

We are also keen to support young people to have more contact with their school nurse, GP or other health worker when they need it – or to help them hook up with a health worker if they don’t have one.

It’s all very new, and we’re quite excited about it – we’ll keep you posted about how it’s going.