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26th March 2015


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UK news

Building Assets for Recovery (PDF)

This briefing was informed by a roundtable discussion held in January 2015 attended by drug and alcohol commissioners, substance misuse service managers, representatives from recovery communities, and academics, and it also draws upon published research and reports, to examine the assets that are important to people in recovery, and the challenges and opportunities for systems and services which support people to develop these assets | DrugScope, UK

Policy paper: 'Third generation' synthetic cannabinoids

Report presented to the crime prevention minister recommends a revised generic description, designed to control a broad-range of ‘third generation’ synthetic cannabinoids | ACMD, UK

Correspondence: Proposals to review and amend specific provisions under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001

Letter from Les Iversen, chair of the ACMD to the Minister for Crime Prevention on proposals to review and amend specific provisions under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 | ACMD, UK

Correspondence: Ministerial letter to ACMD: proposals to review the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001

This is a letter from Rt Hon Lynne Featherstone MP, Minister of State, regarding the ACMD’s recent advice on proposals to review and amend specific provisions under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 | ACMD, UK

Correspondence: Electronic prescribing service for schedules 2 and 3 controlled drugs

Letter from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, to the Minister for Crime Prevention and the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Quality, on the electronic prescribing service (EPS) for schedules 2 and 3 controlled drugs | ACMD, UK

Correspondence: Ministerial letter to ACMD: legislative changes to introduce electronic prescribing of controlled drugs

This is a letter from Rt Hon Lynne Featherstone MP, Minister of State, regarding the ACMD’s recent advice on legislative changes to introduce Electronic Prescribing Service (EPS) schedule 2 and 3 controlled drugs | ACMD, UK

Alcohol: preventing harmful alcohol use in the community

This quality standard covers a range of approaches at a population level to prevent harmful alcohol use in the community by children, young people and adults. These statements are particularly relevant to trading standards, other local authority teams, the police, and schools and colleges | NICE, UK

NICE redoubles efforts to reduce harm from alcohol, smoking and physical inactivity

Smoking, excessive drinking and being physically inactive are some of the biggest causes of disease and early death in England. They cause a mounting burden for the NHS | NICE, UK

Smoking: reducing tobacco use

This quality standard is relevant to anyone involved in protecting health and promoting healthy behaviour among children, young people and adults. This includes people working in the NHS, local authorities, education and the wider public, private, voluntary and community sectors | NICE, UK

The emerging cannabis treatment population (PDF)

Despite the decreasing use of cannabis in the United Kingdom general population it remains the most widely used illicit drug. However this trend masks a significant rise in the number of people accessing drug treatment for cannabis related problems | Ian Hamilton, UK

Guidance: Counselling in schools

Departmental advice for schools about setting up and improving counselling services for pupils | DoE, UK

Life course trajectories of alcohol consumption in the United Kingdom using longitudinal data from nine cohort studies

Alcohol consumption patterns change across life and this is not fully captured in cross-sectional series data. Analysis of longitudinal data, with repeat alcohol measures, is necessary to reveal changes within the same individuals as they age. Such data are scarce and few studies are able to capture multiple decades of the life course | BMC Medicine, UK

Scotland to ban smoking in cars with children

The move follows similar bans in England and Wales, which take effect in October | Guardian, UK

OSF drug courts report

Some countries have adopted drug treatment courts as a way to reduce drug-related incarceration. Drug treatment courts, also called “drug courts,” are meant to offer court-supervised treatment for drug dependence for some persons who would otherwise go to prison for a drug-related offense | IDPC, UK

Pro-cannabis party to stand in Edinburgh

A new political party campaigning for the legalisation of cannabis is to field a candidate in the Capital at the general election | Edinburgh News, UK

Launch: ESF call for proposals

The ESF call for proposals has now been launched. The deadline for applications is 17.00 on Friday 24 April 2015, with projects to start no later than 1 October 2015. Note that the ESF Opt-in Organisations (SFA, DWP and Big Lottery) will launch their own procurement rounds later this year | VCS Assist, UK

Fourteen arrests in Northern Ireland and Italy over 'skunk' cannabis

Fourteen people have been arrested as part of an international investigation into the supply of 'skunk' cannabis into Northern Ireland | BBC, UK

"Sophisticated" Oxfordshire drug smuggling gang jailed

Nine men have been jailed for running a "sophisticated" multimillion-pound drug smuggling operation | BBC, UK


International news

The Promised Land: Cocaine and Faith in the Amazon (Trailer)

Peru is now the world's main supplier of coca, the raw plant material used to manufacture cocaine. In the last five years, coca production has grown the most in the tri-border region, an area deep in the Amazon where Colombia, Brazil and Peru meet | VICE, UK

Seattle's sensible approach puts drug offenders into treatment, not jail

The influential Law-Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or Lead, program is making waves in criminal justice circles – and it could be coming to other US cities | Guardian, UK

Third group steps down from Diageo alcohol campaign

Speculation is mounting that a third high-profile organisation has resigned from the board of the controversial Diageo-funded alcohol awareness campaign | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Alcohol companies may have learned some lessons from the fight against Big Tobacco

A health committee was looking at the government’s proposed new alcohol laws today | Business etc, Ireland

Alcohol promotion by sector cost €24m

Alcohol manufacturers spent almost €24m last year on advertising, an Oireachtas committee was told yesterday | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Critique 160: Do the calories in alcoholic beverages lead to increased obesity?

Recreational alcohol intake is a widespread activity globally and alcohol energy (7 kcal/g) can be a contributing factor to weight gain if not compensated for.  Given that both excessive alcohol intake and obesity are of public health interest, the present paper provides an update on the association between alcohol consumption and body weight | Boston University School of Medicine, USA

Kids more likely to use marijuana when suspension is the consequence

Schools that use suspension to punish drug use, or that weakly enforce any of their drug policies, have higher rates of student marijuana use than schools with more consistent and less-punitive approaches, according to a new study | Reuters, USA

Cannabis, driving and implications for youth (PDF)

This summary is one in a series of four that briefly review the current state of scientific evidence on the effects of various classes of drugs on driving behaviour, while highlighting implications for young drivers | CCSA, Canada


Blogs, comment and opinion

A fair chance? Sanctions and vulnerability

This week saw the release of a significant report by the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee - Benefit sanctions policy beyond the Oakley Review. The report contains a number of welcome recommendations, including that the next government should conduct a broad, independent review of the way sanctions are used plus how vulnerable claimants can be protected and, crucially, identified. DrugScope submitted evidence jointly with Homeless Link – you can find our submission here | DrugScope Blog, UK

Where Does Drug Policy Fit in the UN's Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals?

Despite a growing understanding of the close relationship between development and drugs, there remains a lack of cohesion in policy moving toward the United Nation’s (UN) post-2015 agenda for international development | Talking Drugs Blog, UK

Call time on soft approach to Big Alcohol

Ten years ago the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) came into force. It was not the first international health treaty negotiated by the WHO, but in many ways it was the most remarkable | Conversation, UK

Is Legalizing Marijuana Going to Make Americans Stupid?

America seems to be on the verge of legalizing marijuana nationwide, and with that comes a whole host of questions. Some are boring, some are misguided, but some—such as how legal weed will affect students—are extremely important | VICE, USA