Supporting our Clients: Health & Drug Facts

This week we had 48 people come in for a meal and support, we were busy with a lot of individual issues that needed a lot of one to one care and attention.  

Henry and Joes cooked a meatball and mozzarella pasta dish this week and with that we provided homemade broccoli and stilton soup. a pear and chocolate upside down cake that had lots of melted chocolate in it. On top of that Jan, Sandra and Perin put together wonderful salads and roast vegetables. Everything went as people were also able to take some food away with them too.

Pot Noodles are a firm favourite of many people for come into us, they can be taken away and consumed later on. We will if necessary, provide flasks of hot water so this helps anyone sleeping out to have a hot meal when charities that provide food are closed. 


The Bombay Bad Boy is very popular flavour but not one that is donated very often so we have put some on our Amazon Wish list. They can be purchased in the local Supermarkets too and dropped off at the Salvation Army hall Wednesday afternoon 2-4pm or Thursday 4-5.30pm. Please remember we have donation bins at the CO-OP on Brummell Road on the A4 and the new store in Wash Common. 

Challenges in our Soup Sessions

We find some weeks more challenging than others; we never know who is coming through the door, and sadly for some in an unstable or distressed state of mind or physical condition. Every week we have to be on our toes to react quickly to an altercation, someone in crisis, someone nervous or frightened or needing emotional support and guidance.


Our volunteers are trained and experienced to work closely as a cohesive team to do the best we can for any situation that arises. We often need support and help from other organisations which can be difficult as we are open outside normal working hours. we signpost where necessary and Meryl our founder provides extra Outreach and support throughout the week.


Week in week out the same people come in to see us. This means that we are exposed to the same issues that a person may be suffering and dealing with every time they come in. As we have mentioned in previous blogs, people come in hearing voices which caused a great deal of distress. Not only do we have to control the aggression that this can bring but we have to manage the reaction that other clients may have towards individuals. If someone is shouting out in a room and showing signs of random aggressive behaviour towards anyone in the immediate vicinity it can lead to tension, aggression or sadly in some cases teasing. 

We have witnessed clients tease someone who is in obvious distress due to hearing voices or seeing things, we have to manage that too. Often it is purely about education which helps people to understand that perceived peculiar and antisocial behaviour is not something they can necessarily control. We all need to be less judgemental and more supportive, to be kind.  

This week we had to control a situation where two people were in the hall who do not get on at all. In this situation we kept the two individuals in different arrears of the hall by working as a team. We managed to work the session so both people were happy and did not have the need to interact with each other. We have to keep them safe and everyone else safe at the same time. We have to watch what is going on and try to pre-empt situations before they arrive. Sometimes we do not pick up on a potential issue and this week we did have a client lose their temper in the hall. It could have been a lot worse than it was as the team work incredibly quickly to swiftly and professionally to remove the perpetrator from the hall. This person was not allowed back in and was fed outside. We will not refuse someone food if they are hungry, but we have very strict rules about antisocial behaviour, aggression and any physical assault on another individual.  We have no hesitation in banning an individual who breaks our rules this period of time will be dependent on the seriousness of the behaviour. We have to keep our clients and volunteers safe at all times. 


Our first aid team are always in hand to help people if they need it. This week we paid for a taxi to take someone to hospital as we suspected a serious health issue that needed immediate attention. An ambulance was not necessary but immediate medical treatment was needed. The issue would have been potentially life threatening if it had been left. The first aid team were swift at making a decision and the option to send the person to hospital was absolutely the right thing to do. This person has needed ongoing hospital appointments over the weekend, and we have kept in touch with this person to ensure they have been able to get their appointments safely.

Painkillers, addiction & drug facts:

Opioid medications are not the only prescription painkillers being abused in in the UK and other countries around the world today. The anticonvulsant medications Gabapentin and Pregabalin have become sources of addiction among many sufferers of chronic neurological pain.

Treating an addiction to gabapentin or pregabalin can be extremely challenging. Individuals who become addicted to these drugs typically begin taking them after receiving a valid prescription from a doctor, and dependence develops slowly over a period of months, or even years. And unlike opioid drugs, the symptoms of addiction to gabapentin and pregabalin are not always visible to friends and family.



What is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin, is an anti-seizure medication that can treat nerve pain, epilepsy and restless leg syndrome. Although gabapentin most commonly treats epilepsy, doctors are increasingly turning to this medication as a treatment for fibromyalgia pain.

What Is Pregabalin?

Pregabalin, sold under the brand name Lyrica, is a medication prescribed for the treatment of epilepsy, fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain.

Like Gabapentin, Pregabalins mechanism of action in treating the symptoms of fibromyalgia remains understood. However, scientific research suggests that Pregabalin may help to limit the number of signals sent by nerve cells.

Because the going theory is that Fibromyalgia pain is caused by overactive nerve cells, Pregabalin nerve-dampening effects may be the reason patients with Fibromyalgia respond positively to this treatment.

Side Effects of These Medications?

While Gabapentin and Pregabalin are similar in that they are both used to treat nerve pain and seizures, there are a number of side effects unique to each drug.

Side effects of Gabapentin use that are not common with Pregabalin include:

  • Viral infections
  • Fever
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Jerky movement

Side effects of Pregabalin use that are not common with Gabapentin include:

  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Breast enlargement
  • Swelling (oedema)
  • Weight gain



Common side effects that are shared by both Gabapentin and Pregabalin include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired concentration and memory
  • Muscle tremors
  • Blurred or doubled vision
  • Impaired balance or coordination
  • Vomiting

Anti-epileptic drugs are tend to increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviour.

What Is the Addictive Potential of Gabapentin and Pregabalin?

Gabapentin and Pregabalin are unlike many other pain-management drugs. Whereas opioid drugs produce a powerful high and sense of euphoria in heavy doses, drugs like Gabapentin and Pregabalin produce only mild sedative effects.

While Gabapentin and Pregabalin in themselves are not terribly addictive, the combination of mild relaxation and fibromyalgia pain help can lead users to become physically dependent.

Addiction to Gabapentin and Pregabalin only tends to happen in individuals who have been taking the medications over a long period of time.

As the body develops a tolerance to the drug’s effects, patients will begin to require higher and higher doses to relieve their pain. As the minimum effective dose become larger, so does the body’s dependence on the drug.

The risk of addiction to these drugs is not limited to those suffering from Fibromyalgia. Because both Gabapentin and Pregabalin affect the brain’s receptors, many opioid users will take them in conjunction with an opioid drug to heighten the opioid’s euphoric effects.

Opioid addicts (such as Heroin) may also use Gabapentin or Pregabalin to relieve the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Many of our clients will use Pregabalin or Gabapentin for this reason as a result tablets have a street value and are purchased on the internet or prescription medications can be sold for anything up to £10 a tablet. 

And because these drugs can bypass the effects of medications used to treat opioid addiction, patients may take these within a drug treatment program as a way to get high while recovering. Individuals to who use Gabapentin or Pregabalin to treat opioid addiction also run the risk of developing a dual addiction.


What Are the Symptoms of Gabapentin and Pregabalin Addiction?

Anyone who takes a medication that they have not been prescribed, consumes larger doses than directed by their doctor, or alters the medication in any way is by definition abusing a prescription medication.

The physical symptoms of Gabapentin and Pregabalin addiction are very similar and include:

  • Fever
  • Heart palpitations
  • Depression/anxiety
  • Impaired memory
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Loss of coordination
  • Dizziness

The behavioural symptoms of Gabapentin and Pregabalin addiction are similar to those of other prescription medications, such as:

  • Changes in one’s social life or circle of friends
  • Refusal to quit using despite legal, social or financial ramifications
  • Hiding one’s drug use from friends and family
  • Centring one’s life around acquiring and using the drug(s)
  • Lying about or exaggerating medical symptoms to a doctor

The Dangers of Withdrawal from Gabapentin and Pregabalin

The withdrawal symptoms of Gabapentin and Pregabalin are very similar to the withdrawal symptoms of alcohol and benzodiazepines.

Withdrawal symptoms from Gabapentin and Pregabalin typically include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Itchiness
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting

The most dangerous withdrawal symptoms are experienced in those taking Gabapentin or Pregabalin to control seizures, as abrupt cessation of use may cause their seizures to become more severe.


Seeking Help for Pregabalin Addiction or Gabapentin Addiction:

Getting effective help for Pregabalin addiction and Gabapentin addiction comes with a unique set of challenges. Very few people develop a dependence on these drugs without first having them prescribed for valid medical reasons. They began using these medications to treat their medical conditions, not to get high.

Once the cycle of addiction is broken, the challenge of treating the underlying chronic pain remains. For this reason, it is best to seek help from an addiction specialist who understands the unique needs of fibromyalgia sufferers. (Ref: Family First Intervention).



Please Help & Support Newbury Soup Kitchen

Please remember we need the support of the local community, business fundraising and donations all year around to help us expand and continue the work we do. The Good Exchange is an easy way to donate along with charity pot in shops around the town Flower Pot CafeInn at HomeThe GlobeThe Hare and Hounds and Hogans Music. All these companies support us throughout the year.

On our Wish list we have appealed for dog coats. Some have come in and we have given some out. We are appealing for some LARGE coats as we have only medium and small. This is for someone rough sleeping with their dog. 

This person is looking for accommodation for himself and his dog. He is working so can pay rent.