In this blog post Mr Haynes-De Vita shares his experience of working in the drug and alcohol sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Over the last 6 weeks my work has taken me to various homeless hostels and independent living accommodations all over Hampshire where drug and alcohol use is high.
Due to the lockdown those in active addiction have suffered greatly as it has become increasingly difficult to access services that provide clean needles, safe spaces to spend their time away from using and to receive the care they desperately need.
With clean needles becoming harder and harder to obtain risks of HIV, hepatitis and other serious life threatening infections are circulating at an increasing rate. Putting unnecessary pressure on our NHS that are is struggling as it is.
A knock on effect is those in unemployment that would earn the money needed to maintain their habits by asking members of the public for change or sell the big issues have had to turn to more desperate measures. Crimes related to theft and violence have increased. With some of our female residents, sex work has also seen a rise. Putting their safety at risk to obtain a substance that could be given to them over the counter. Tensions are through the roof and domestic violence is becoming more prominent.
All the above issues are a result of current drug policy. If we reviewed our laws our NHS wouldn’t have the added stress of dealing with the consequences of used needles. Men and women wouldn’t have to put their lives at risk committing crimes and prostituting themselves for a drug.
Covid 19 has exposed the truth of our barbaric drug policies causing considerably more problems during a pandemic. This is the wake up call we need to take action now.