A drop in the purity levels of illicit drugs could lead to an increase in overdoses as dealers see disruption to their supply chain, according to a charity.

We Are With You claims providers may begin to "cut" their substances to increasingly dangerous levels as the Covid-19 lockdown measures impact their ability to get drugs.

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The drugs and mental health charity also claims users have been stockpiling drugs to see them through the social distancing restrictions brought in.

Andrew Horne, interim executive director of operations in Scotland, said: "Some of the people we work with here in Scotland have been telling us that they're stockpiling drugs.

"But we're also hearing about supply difficulties too and that the purity of many drugs is decreasing as dealers cut them with different substances to increase their bulk.

"The concern for us is that people might not know what they're taking or could turn to other drugs that they are unfamiliar with, which could have more serious consequences for them and increase the chances of overdose."

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The Prime Minister has ordered all non-essential businesses to shut as the nation tries to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Social distancing and instructions for people to stay within their households as much as possible have also been brought in.

The measures have led to firms and charities to adapt so they can still provide services.

Mr Horne added: "Our frontline staff have quickly adapted the way in which they work in partnership with our clients.

"As the majority of people we work with are no longer coming into a physical building, we are using phones, texts and video meetings instead of face-to-face appointments.

"For anyone experiencing issues with drugs themselves or if they're worried about a loved one, we provide free and confidential support without judgment.

"You can contact us directly by calling your local service (contact details are on our website) or reach one of our trained advisers via our online webchat service. Just visit www.wearewithyou.org.uk."


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