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Priory launches specialist drug addiction service in Manchester

Priory Hospital Altrincham, based in Hale, Cheshire, is to open a specialist clinic in Manchester to address the growing concerns about the prevalence of 'club drugs.'

The clinic, which will be based at the Pall Mall Medical Centre at Pall Mall Court in Manchester, will offer an drug addiction outpatient clinic, focusing on helping and treating individuals who have begun to experience problems with their use of recreational drugs. The clinic will be led by Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Haitham Nadeem, who specialises in addictions and general adult acute mental health at Priory Hospital Altrincham.

The clinic, which will be available on a weekly basis, will allow individuals to attend an appointment to discuss their drug use with Dr Nadeem, specifically if they are worried that drugs are becoming part of their daily routine. A GP referral is not required to access this service.

Every day, thousands of young people in the UK are using recreational drugs, also known club drugs, including GBL, ketamine, crystal meth, legal highs, mephedrone and MDMA. These drugs often create desirable reactions, but have a long list of potentially serious adverse effects.

Club drugs can cause general feelings of pleasure and empathy, increased energy, an acute awareness to emotion (a 'rush') and the ability to dissociate from the environment, which is accompanied by feelings of carelessness, ignorance to danger, impaired judgement and loss of inhibition.

Physiologically, these drugs may cause cardiovascular problems, respiratory distress, nervous system damage, and they can also result in serious mental health problems, some of them for a long duration and with very damaging consequences.

Paul Pritchard, Hospital Director, said: “This new service is an excellent way for individuals with concerns to talk about their situation and combat their issues. The effects of recreational drugs can be extreme. However, if dealt with at an early stage through proper medical help, psychological and social support, young people who are using these drugs, particularly in excess, are very likely to make a lasting recovery.”

Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Haitham Nadeem said: “National figures show that despite a fall in the use of Class A drugs like heroin, the use of club drugs including 'legal highs' and misuse of prescription medicines is on the increase and this reflects my own experience working in the Manchester area. It is well documented that these drugs can potentially have very serious side effects but the long-term consequences of some of the newer drugs are not yet known and that is very worrying.   

“It is vitally important that advice is more widely available and by locating a clinic in the centre of Manchester, we are opening up Priory’s expertise to more people. Often, a problem does not come to light until the physical effects present, often resulting in a visit to an accident and emergency department, and I would encourage anyone who is concerned about their drug use to visit the clinic to discuss the options available.”

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