The Drug Epidemic in The Seychelles Islands
The Seychelles is suffering from a drug epidemic. Nearly 10% of its 94000 population are addicted to heroin, according to the Agency for the Prevention of Drug Abuse and Rehabilitation (APDAR) in the Seychelles.
Per capita, the Seychelles suffers from the highest rate of heroin abuse in the world. Heroin makes the long journey from Central Asia, especially Afghanistan, before being smuggled to the islands via East Africa. Made up of 115 islands, the Seychelles has many porous borders, which makes them hard to monitor and easy for the drugs to come into the country. Rather than attempting a “war on drugs”, which would criminalise the large proportion of heroin users in the Seychelles, the head of the anti-drug agency has introduced a Portuguese-style drug policy – considering drug addiction as a chronic diseased to be treated.
Heroin users in the Seychelles have two options:
- Join a high threshold Methadone Maintenance Programme (MMP), which includes a period of in-patient treatment where they must commit to detoxification
- Or the low threshold programme, which focuses on harm reduction
Individuals have access to medical and psychosocial support under both programmes.
Patrick Herminie, who had previously attended one of the programmes, has stated “currently, we have over 2000 people registered in one of our programmes and 68% of those are now gainfully employed”. Each morning he visits one of the country’s mobile methadone clinics, white vans that are manned by drug counsellors and qualified nurses to give the correct dose of methadone to recovering addicts. People line up outside the open windows of the van, ready to show their ID. Their name, the date and time are logged into a spreadsheet on receipt of the information and the correct dose of methadone is distributed to them.
Utilising our patented Biochip Array Technology, our DoA ULTRA panel, available for the Evidence Investigator, offers the most comprehensive drugs of abuse screen across multiple forensic matrices. Detecting up to 20 targets drugs including heroin and other opioids, it has the largest cross-reactivity profile of over 240 analytes. Our excellent assay precision and performance eliminates false reporting, offering CVs of typically <10%. Randox Toxicology produce an accurate drug profile to ensure confidence in results.
Randox Toxicology Products and Services
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Randox in Top 10 Food and Beverage Technology Providers in Europe 2019
Randox Food Diagnostics have been selected as one of the Top 10 Food and Beverage Technology solution providers in Europe for 2019.
The news was announced in an article in the Food and Beverage Technology Review magazine, which highlighted companies at the forefront of technological developments in the food and beverage industry.
The magazine’s editorial board assessed and shortlisted some of the most prominent organisations in the industry that solve challenges by implementing the current technological trends in the space, and nominated Randox in the top 10 in an article entitled; “Randox: Bringing Diagnostics to the Food Industry.”
The article highlights the history of Randox, which was established by our Managing Director Dr Peter FitzGerald in 1982. We traditionally focused on placing our diagnostics technologies in the likes of hospitals, laboratories and veterinary clinics, however in recent years have utilised our expertise in diagnostic technology to diversify into another key area of healthcare – food safety.
Our Randox Food Diagnostics division offers the latest and most comprehensive diagnostic technologies to food producers across a range of industries including meat, seafood, dairy, honey and cereals, to ensure food safety and satisfy customer demand.
Our patented Randox Biochip Array Technology can provide screening of up to 54 food samples providing results for drug residues and toxins within 3 hours, saving both time and money for clients. The Randox Biochip facilitates simultaneous detection of multiple drug residues or pathogens including antibiotic, anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory, growth promoter, and mycotoxin diagnostics.
“With faster, simpler and more efficient testing, Randox Biochip increases efficiency within producer processes and, within the market place, increases consumer confidence, a reason why leading food producers, as well as hospitals, laboratories, toxicology centres, and health clinics, utilise Randox products,” says Dr Peter FitzGerald.
Most recently we unveiled the Randox Infiniplex; a biochip for milk testing which allows milk testing laboratories to carry out multiple tests simultaneously on a single milk sample.
“Our Infiniplex array greatly differs from other milk residue tests as it uses multiplexing technology that reduces our customers’ testing time to four hours and requires a small sample volume (25μl),” says Kerrie McAuley, VP of Marketing, Randox Food Diagnostics.
Randox Food is also working on pesticides arrays for milk and honey, and additionally a Bovine Pathogen Array to branch out into animal health and wellbeing screening in milk for viruses such as bovine diarrhoea.
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Meat & Seafood
Metabolic Syndrome Array from Randox Biosciences
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
According to the NHS, it occurs when a person has three or more of the following measurements1:
- Abdominal obesity (Waist circumference of greater than 40 inches in men, and greater than 35 inches in women)
- Triglyceride level of 150 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL) or greater
- HDL cholesterol of less than 40 mg/dL in men or less than 50 mg/dL in women
- Systolic blood pressure (top number) of 130 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or greater, or diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) of 85 mm Hg or greater
- Fasting glucose of 100 mg/dL or greater
Metabolic syndrome is a serious health condition that affects about 23 percent of adults and places them at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and diseases related to atherosclerosis in arterial walls.2 The underlying causes include obesity, physical inactivity, genetic factors and aging. 3
Randox offers 10 metabolic syndrome biomarkers over 2 panels enabling multiplex testing to be performed on Randox Biochip Technology. One patient sample is required per test enabling multiple results. Biochip Technology powers the Randox Investigator, a semi-automated benchtop immunoassay analyser.
Metabolic Syndrome Array I
- Interleukin-6 (IL-6)
- Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1 (PAI-1)
- Tumour Necrosis Factor α (TNFα)
Metabolic Syndrome Array II
- C-reactive Protein (CRP)
- Cystatin C
Key Benefits of the Metabolic Syndrome Array
Biochip Array Technology allows multiplex testing from one patient sample
- Applicable to fully automated and semi-automated Evidence analysers
- Biochips are ready to use, thus saving time, labour and resources
- Rapid turnaround time
- Validated for both serum and plasma samples – suitable for clinical research studies
- Small sample volume – 100μl to measure all analytes on each array
- Excellent analytical performance
- Multi-analyte controls and calibrators
- Highly efficient use of valuable patient sample banks
- No non-specific aggregation, which is associated with multi-analyte bead assays
- Can be used in the investigation of insulin resistance, pro‑thrombotic state, abnormal body fat distribution, pro‑inflammatory state and atherogenic dyslipidaemia
Randox Biochip Technology is an intelligent chemically activated 9x9mm ceramic biochip which acts as a solid phase reaction vessel. The biochip is spotted with multiple antibodies offering multiplex testing.
The good news is that if you discover that your metabolic health is sub-optimal you can improve it through a combination of diet, exercise and lifestyle adjustments from 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise 5-7 times a week to quitting smoking and limiting your alcohol intake.
Randox can assist your metabolic research by providing innovative diagnostic technology and tests that will continue to revolutionise the healthcare landscape and assist in academic research. This technology includes our Evidence Investigator and our Metabolic Syndrome Array I and Array II which can be used to assist you in the discovery and research of Metabolic diseases.
A new report has highlighted the scale and causes of prescription drug dependence in the UK. In 2017, the minister for public health and primary care commissioned Public Health England (PHE) to identify the scale, distribution and causes of prescription drug dependence, and what might be done to address it.
The review covered adults (aged 18 and over) and 5 classes of medicines:
- benzodiazepines (mostly prescribed for anxiety)
- z-drugs (sleeping tablets with effects similar to benzodiazepines)
- gabapentin and pregabalin (together called gabapentinoids and used to treat epilepsy, neuropathic pain and, in the case of pregabalin, anxiety)
- opioids for chronic non-cancer pain
PHE’s analysis shows that, in 2017 to 2018, 11.5 million adults in England (26% of the adult population) received, and had dispensed, one or more prescriptions for any of the medicines within the scope of the review. The totals for each medicine were:
- z-drugs – 1.0 million (2%)
- benzodiazepines – 4 million (3%)
- gabapentinoids – 5 million (3%)
- antidepressants – 3 million people (17% of the adult population)
- opioid pain medicines – 6 million (13%)
Between 2015 to 2016 and 2017 to 2018 the rate of prescribing for antidepressants increased from 15.8% of the adult population to 16.6% and for gabapentinoids from 2.9% to 3.3%. There was a small decrease in prescribing rates for the other 3 medicine classes. Rates of prescribing were higher for women (1.5 times those of men), and the rates generally increased with age. After a long increasing trend, the annual number of prescriptions for opioid pain medicines has slightly decreased since 2016. There is a continuing longer-term fall in prescription numbers for benzodiazepines. A longer-term increase in annual prescription numbers for z-drugs started to reverse in 2014.
Officials said long-term use on such a scale could not be justified and was a sign of patients dependence.
PHE medical director Prof Paul Cosford said he was worried.
“These medicines have many vital clinical uses and can make a big difference to people’s quality of life.”
But he added there were too many cases where patients were using them for longer than “clinically” appropriate – where the drugs would have simply stopped working effectively or where the risks could outweigh the benefits.
One in 4 adults in England were prescribed benzodiazepines, z-drugs, gabapentinoids, opioids for chronic non-cancer pain, or antidepressants. Prescriptions for antidepressants and gabapentinoids are increasing, but prescriptions for opioid pain medicines are decreasing. Prescriptions for benzodiazepines continue to fall, and those for z-drugs have more recently started to fall.
Peter Burkinshaw at PHE, one of the authors said: “The long-term prescribing of opioid pain medicines and benzodiazepines is not supported by guidelines and is not effective.”
Fellow author Rosanna O’Connor, said: “We know that GPs in some of the more deprived areas are under great pressure but, as this review highlights, more needs to be done to educate and support patients, as well as looking closely at prescribing practice and what alternative treatments are available locally.
Dependence and withdrawal associated with some prescribed medicines (PHE)
Randox Testing Services
At Randox Testing Services we are at the forefront of alcohol and drug testing. We aim to spread the message of alcohol and drug misuse and the effects substance abuse can have on individuals and businesses. Prescription & OTC medication if taken incorrectly can have a devastating impact. It’s important to communicate with employers if you are taking prescription medication for any reason. If your organisation undertakes workplace testing, our chain of custody process provides clarity on the steps needed to ensure confidentiality is maintained.
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Give your loved ones the Gift of Health this Christmas
This year, you can give the ‘gift of health’ to someone you love, with a Randox Health Gift Card.
Randox Health has the most comprehensive health check packages in the world, as well as a wide range of specialised tests. The EveryMan, EveryWoman packages carry out 150 different health tests while the Signature package does 350. That means your results deliver a complete understanding of your health; your heart, kidneys, thyroid, fertility, bones and more.
And it doesn’t just tell you how you are now, but helps you to manage your health for the future.
Each one of our packages lasts for twelve months and include personalised health plans, a private consultation with an expert and repeat testing. This unique aspect enables you to see exactly what impact you’re making on your health as you follow our recommendations.
Specialised testing is also available on areas including cardiac health, coeliac autoimmune disease, hormonal health and genetic testing.
The health check packages are available at our clinics in London, Liverpool, Holywood and Crumlin, and also through our innovative mobile health clinic. Gift cards can be purchased from as little as £20.
To find out more and purchase the most thoughtful of Christmas presents – a gift card for the ‘gift of health’ – click here.
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Our Randox Health programmes
A global biotechnology company in the heart of Donegal is this month opening its doors to the general public for an Open Day event aimed at showcasing the pioneering scientific research taking place.
Including tours, interactive activities and Q&A sessions with scientists, engineers and software developers, the Open Day at Randox Teoranta in Dungloe will offer visitors to the state-of-the-art site the opportunity to experience for themselves the world-class R&D careers, projects and facilities that exist in Donegal.
Projects at Randox Teoranta, which focuses on the development of new health tests for the diagnosis of ill health and disease, have recently included revolutionary diagnostic technologies for Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, kidney disease and gastrointestinal disorders.
Dr. Ciaran Richardson, Head of Research & Development at Randox Teoranta, commented;
“We feel that we should share the transformative work taking place here at Randox Teoranta with the local community who have been so receptive and supportive of our endeavours to provide world-leading career opportunities right here in the heart of Donegal.
“For those working or interested in science, engineering, software development or manufacturing, who may have been previously unaware that there is a next-generation life sciences hub located in Dungloe, we invite you to join us on Christmas Eve for an exclusive look behind the scenes of our advanced facilities.
“Similarly, for those who may have joined us before at one of our previous Open Days, please do visit again to learn about the projects we have been working on over the past year.”
In addition to those working in human health at Randox Teoranta are veterinary scientists involved in the development of novel multiplex tests used to monitor disease spread and improve animal welfare.
The firm’s human and veterinary health scientists work alongside a dedicated team of software developers and engineers who collaboratively use their talents to design and manufacture machines on which these tests are run, to detect disease and save lives.
Dr Richardson continued;
“Our manufacturing department also boasts a number of innovative roles which are essential to Randox’s continuation as a global leader in healthcare diagnostics and associated technology.
“At Randox Teoranta, we’re constantly pushing the boundaries of health diagnostic capabilities, and it all takes place right here in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. The unique combination of a world-leading career coupled with an unrivalled quality of life is second-to-none.”
Randox Teoranta’s Open Morning will take place on Tuesday 24th December 2019 from 9:00 until 12:00 at Randox Teoranta, Meenmore, Dungloe, Co. Donegal, F94 TV06.
Students, graduates and experienced professionals are welcome to visit along with their family and friends. You are welcome to bring your CV on the day or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Booking is not required, however, you can register your interest (optional) on Eventbrite.
More information about the open day can also be found by contacting +353 7495 22600 or emailing RandoxPR@randox.com.
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Find out more about Randox Careers
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