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Update - IV drug users who develop venous leg ulcers do not receive appropriate care

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VOL: 102, ISSUE: 44, PAGE NO: 40

Young people who have leg ulcers as a consequence of IV drug use do not always get appropriate care, according to Tim Devey, community outreach nurse, Sheffield PCT.

Young people who have leg ulcers as a consequence of IV drug use do not always get appropriate care, according to Tim Devey, community outreach nurse, Sheffield PCT.

Speaking at the Leg Ulcer Forum's conference 'Common Unusual Conditions of the Lower Limb', he said: 'Young drug users do not get compression bandages because nurses do not believe that these people can have venous leg ulcers.'

He suggested that leg-ulcer services needed to be more responsive to people who use IV drugs.

'If a person has a wound but they also need heroin, heroin will come first and this can be frustrating. Patients will do things like remove compression bandages to find a vein,' he said.

Mr Devey continued: 'You have to go to their clinics, to needle exchange projects.'

He added: 'Threats to discharge or not to treat these patients if they do not attend clinics will not work as they will stop turning up to appointments.'

Mr Devey also suggested that people with a history of IV drug use find it difficult to get adequate analgesia from the NHS. Many IV drug users do not realise that drugs such as paracetamol and ibuprofen are effective and that they can cut out heroin as a way to control ulcer pain,' he said.

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