Drug charity tells cocaine users to use colour-coded straws to avoid coronavirus

A drug charity in Scotland is advising users on how to avoid catching coronavirus – including using colour coded straws to snort cocaine.

For those snorting drugs such as cocaine or ketamine, the advice is to keep surfaces and equipment as clean as possible, cut powder finely to avoid bleeding and to forgo sharing snorting devices.

Rolled-up post-it-notes and bits paper are said to be safer than using or reusing snorting straws or dipping house keys, which can harbour bacteria, into powders.

A flyer circulating online from the charity crew.scot reminds drug users about good "hygiene practices" to avoid contracting the killer respiratory virus, which spreads through the eyes, noses and mouth.

The timely advice comes with the warning that "viruses and bacteria can be spread when people take drugs with unclean or shared equipment" and the coronavirus epidemic is no different.

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Other drug cleanliness advice includes users "was hands for at least 20 seconds before and after" handling or preparing drugs, "clean surfaces with alcohol wipes before preparing drugs" and crush down to reduce soft tissue abrasions".

The poster reads: "Avoid sharing all paraphernalia –including snorting tools – use colour coded straws so you don’t get mixed up.

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"Avoid using notes or keys which can harbour viruses and bacteria – use a clean straw, post-it or piece of paper and bin it after use."

The charity also take time to advise users on safe sex.

"Always carry condoms and use them if needed! Pop by the Crew drop-in to stock up on safe sex materials," it adds.

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Crew.org, is an Scottish Government supported organisation based in Edinburgh, which aims to offer "non-judgemental, credible and up to date information and support" for drug users.

The COVID-19 coronavirus can cause respiratory illness of varying severity. There is no known cure for the infection, with international governments focusing on rolling out containment plans.

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Almost 100,000 people have been infected worldwide, while there have been 3,383 deaths.

In the UK 116 people have been known to be infected – six of those are in Scotland.

One person, a woman in her 70s has, died and eight have recovered.

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