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The Changing Landscape of Social Work: Current Issues in Policy and Practice for Social Workers specialising in Substance Use

BASW’s Special Interest Group in Alcohol and Other Drugs is hosting a conference

on Wednesday 16th September in London. The event will provide delegates with an update of key changes in relation to social work practice and education and encourage discussion on its relevance to social workers in specialist substance use practice




Drugs and Alcohol Today


Drugs and Alcohol Today: 3rd Sept. London


£30 / free to attend - covering all drug & alcohol services including Naloxone, Hep C, ‘legal highs’, supporting families, bereavement, domestic violence, ex-offenders





Rawfest Festival


RAW FEST: 14 - 16th August 2015


A 3-day clean living, drug and alcohol free, creative, innovative, wellness and healing festival in the New Forest. A time to relax, explore, have fun in a safe and loving environmentnt



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30th July 2015


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UK news

Open consultation: Drug and alcohol addiction, and obesity: effects on employment outcomes (independent review)

A call for evidence to inform an independent review into the effects on employment outcomes of drug or alcohol addiction and obesity. [Closing date 11th September]| DWP, UK

MEAM statement on review of support for benefit claimants with drug and alcohol problems

Today, the Department for Work and Pensions launched an independent review led by Dame Carol Black into the support available for benefit claimants with drug and alcohol problems. This review provides an opportunity to explore the range of challenges that people with substance issues face in moving towards employment, and explore how the current system could be improved to better respond to their needs | MEAM, UK

Plan to coerce addicts and obese people into treatment 'probably illegal' says Tory health chair

Sarah Woolaston, chair of the Health Select Committee said plans to deny benefits to people who refused treatment were "highly misguided" | Mirror, UK

Review begins into benefits for drug and alcohol addicts

Drug and alcohol addicts could lose their sickness benefits if they refuse treatment under a review now under way | BBC, UK

Alcohol treatment could save 12,000 lives a year in EU

How many deaths would be prevented by extending effective treatment to up to 40% of dependent drinkers across the European Union was the question addressed by this analysis - but how realistic are its estimates that in just one year 12,000 lives could be saved? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Activists to get high together in protest against psychoactive substances ban

Legal high campaigners will meet at Parliament Square in London on Saturday, fill balloons with laughing gas and inhale it simultaneously | Guardian, UK

The Relationship Between Alcohol and Gambling Behaviours (PDF)

The study was carried out by a team of researchers from the University of Roehampton Business School, who undertook a review of research on drinking and gambling behaviours... Their review revealed that people who regularly consume large amounts of alcohol are more prone to engage in moderate or problematic gambling, and that around a third of people with severe gambling problems are currently, or have previously been, alcohol dependent | Alcohol Concern and University of Roehampton, UK

Alcohol pricing and purchasing among heavy drinkers in Edinburgh and Glasgow

The purpose of this study was to describe the purchasing patterns and consumption behaviour of heavy-drinking individuals who had been harmed by their alcohol intake. As some of the heaviest drinkers, this is the group likely to be most acutely impacted by the introduction of MUP | Alcohol Research UK, UK

'Easy' degrees are fueling drunken laddish behaviour, school association head says

Following calls for an end to 'barbaric' initiation ceremonies, HMC general secretary William Richardson suggests low contact hours and less demanding timetables in humanities and social sciences fuel laddish culture | Telegraph, UK

Police will enforce drug laws in a way that is appropriate to the circumstances

The job of police officers is to enforce the law and they will use the range of options available to them when dealing with those found in possession of cannabis or who cultivate the plant | NPCC, UK

Growing a Small Amount of Weed in the UK Is Basically Legal, Says Top Cop

More good news for weed smokers. Following a petition to legalise cannabis attracting enough signatures to be raised in Parliament, and Durham's Police and Crime Commissioner effectively decriminalising pot, a senior police chief has said that cracking down on weed has "never been a top priority" | VICE, UK

Users of laughing as in London could be fined £1000

Lambeth Council has become the first borough in London to introduce this kind of law | MixMag, UK

Man found guilty of drink driving... as he drove home from night out to celebrate passing his driving test

He's now banned from driving for 30 months | Independent, UK



International news

Australia Has Closed Its Most Controversial Ketamine Clinics

Clinics have shut down and patients have been cut loose in what could be a massive backward step in the campaign to make ketamine a registered treatment for mental illness in Australia | VICE, UK

Weed is probably not as bad as heroin 'but I'm no expert', says newly-appointed DEA leader

The new head of the Drug Enforcement Administration sure knows his drugs, saying this week that marijuana is "probably" not as dangerous as heroin | Independent, UK

Only 4% of dealers get 10-year jail terms

Only 4% of offenders convicted of large-scale drug dealing get the mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years. Many get suspended sentences | Irish Examiner, Ireland

POLL: Should Ireland open supervised injection centres for drug use?

The use of the centres is proposed as one of the changs Ireland needs to make to battle the drug problem | News Talk, Ireland

Drugs meeting finds ‘wide consensus’ on decriminalisation

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin says ‘consumption rooms’ for heroin users will be considered | Irish Times, Ireland

The ESPAD validity study in four countries in 2013

Assessing the validity of the information that has been collected is a relevant issue in any study. After the publication of the 2011 ESPAD report and in the view of preparations for the 2015 survey, a review of the questionnaire used to collect the data was conducted. The results of that exercise are presented in the validity study | EMCDDA, Portugal


Blogs, comment and opinion

Coercing people with addiction problems into employment won’t work

Threatening to cut the benefits of obese people or those with drug or alcohol problems unless they get treatment is probably illegal and impractical – and won’t save money | Guardian CIF, UK

Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use: New trends and what they mean

The latest instalment of the Health and Social Care Information Centre’s (HSCIC) ongoing survey of young people, released last week, sheds light on several issues that continue to whirl around media and public opinion | Mentor Blog, UK

Guinea pigs and bird killer: NPS in prison

I feel that I must declare an interest before I start. I have been into prison, in fact, a number of prisons and largely because I have never been convicted of an offence I have enjoyed time with this varied (albeit male) population. It was a fascinating experience for me and luckily I was paid for the pleasure, but it was also incredibly difficult to witness the destructive effects of drugs amongst a community of vulnerable people that should otherwise have been protected | RSA Blog, UK

Does tobacco use cause psychosis?

Hot on the heels of a recent study suggesting a dose-response relationship between tobacco smoking and subsequent risk of psychosis, a systematic review and meta-analysis (including the data from that prospective study) has now been published, again suggesting that we should be considering the possibility that smoking is a causal risk factor for schizophrenia | Mental Elf, UK

The latest on synthetic cannabis

This is the fifth in a blog series based on the findings of the 2015  annual European Drugs Report published by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. In it, I explore the increased popularity of synthetic drugs designed to be cannabis replacements | Russell Webster, UK

I Wasn’t Ready for Rehab

I believed I was functioning normally, taking drugs every other weekend. Why would people take drugs midweek and then go to work? But then I became that person. It took me almost 7 years to admit that I had a problem | Castle Craig Blog, UK

'Safe rooms' for drug addicts a shot in the arm for city centre

If I'm being perfectly honest, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin would not be my favourite politician.... | Independent, Ireland

Can the NYPD Actually Do Anything About Synthetic Marijuana?

On July 20, New York Police Department top brass discussed the growing problem of synthetic marijuana, also known as K2. Although several iterations of the drug were banned by at the state level in 2012, a new generation of chemicals has apparently hit the streets this summer, causing a rash of hospital room visits and overdoses, particularly in Central Brooklyn, Harlem, and Upper Manhattan | VICE, USA

Ice rage crisis hits cops

It has never before been more dangerous to be a frontline police officer | Herald Sun, Australia



And finally...

Badger sleeps off hangover after being found drunk on Polish beach

Wandzia is recovering at an animal refuge after stealing bottles of beer from holidaymakers and prising off caps with her teeth | Telegraph, UK