Daily news - 12th March 2020

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UK news

Budget 2020

Key announcements: The government will commit £46 million from the Shared Outcomes Fund to provide improved support to individuals overcoming multiple complex needs, such as homelessness, reoffending and substance misuse.

Adults with multiple complex needs – The government will commit £46 million from the Shared Outcomes Fund to provide improved support to individuals experiencing multiple complex needs, such as homelessness, reoffending and substance misuse.

Rough sleeping – The Budget confirms the £237 million announced by the Prime Minister for accommodation for up to 6,000 rough sleepers and provides a further £144 million for associated support services and £262 million for substance misuse treatment services which, when fully deployed, is expected to help more than 11,000 people a year. This will enable people to move off the streets and support them to maintain a tenancy for the long term | HM Treasury, UK [See sector responses in the Blogs section below]

Drinks industry toasts Sunak for bottled taxes

Rishi Sunak is the toast of the drinks industry after producing a crowd-pleasing cocktail of measures in the budget to boost pubs and reduce bar bills | Guardian, UK

Is e-cigarette use in non-smoking young adults associated with later smoking? A systematic review and meta-analysis

The aim of this review was to investigate whether e-cigarette use compared with non-use in young non-smokers is associated with subsequent cigarette smoking | BMJ Open, UK

UEA researchers evaluate free vape kit scheme

Researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) are evaluating a new free vape kit scheme in Great Yarmouth, to help find out whether the initiative helps people to quit smoking tobacco for good | UEA, UK

'My anti-depressant withdrawal was worse than depression'

The mental health charity Mind says it is signposting people to street drug charities to help them withdraw from antidepressants because of the lack of alternatives available. Those affected can experience debilitating symptoms | BBC, UK

Young teetotallers help 'nolo' beer sales to rocket

Sales of no or low alcohol beer are up 30% since 2016, as 18-24 year olds increasingly shun alcohol | BBC, UK

Alcohol: How drinking less will help you live longer - audio

Professor David Nutt talks about the science of Alcohol; a new app that can help Doctors detect Jaundice in newborns: why personal digital assistants may be good for your health | BBC, UK

NDTMS: technical definitions

Updated dataset.Technical definitions (data schema) for software suppliers to use when creating the CSV file for the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) | PHE, UK

Connected grants programme

We are offering small grants (£1,500 – £3,000) for charities, community groups, networks, relevant statutory organisations, educational institutions or partnerships who want to use the new reports as the starting point of a new conversation in their own sector or local area, or who think they will add clout to conversations they are already having about severe and multiple disadvantage | Lankelly Chase, UK

TASSE is an exciting new research study testing ways to support people who wish to quit smoking

We are looking for smokers who are interested in using an e-cigarette to try and quit smoking | London South Bank University, UK

Inside the drug turf war in my hometown, Huddersfield

Journalist Mobeen Azhar returns to Huddersfield once again to find out more about the criminal underworld in his hometown | BBC, UK

Legalise cannabis to thwart criminal gangs and save police time, says mayor

Cannabis should be legalised to free up the police to focus on serious crime and take power away from criminal gangs, one London mayor said today | Evening Standard, UK


International news

Man who opened fire on party ‘blames bad-quality batch of cocaine’

Jhon David Escobar faces multiple charges including attempted murder | Independent, UK

Guinea Bissau: A deadly mix of guns, cocaine and cashew nuts

For a day last weekend, the small West African country of Guinea-Bissau had two presidents and two prime ministers, until one of each stepped down citing death threats | BBC, UK

Homeless support groups making contingency plans for the spread of Covid-19

Homeless support organisations are making contingency plans for the spread of Covid-19 among those in emergency accommodation and accessing night services | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12‐step programs for alcohol use disorder

To evaluate whether peer‐led AA and professionally‐delivered treatments that facilitate AA involvement (Twelve‐Step Facilitation (TSF) interventions) achieve important outcomes, specifically: abstinence, reduced drinking intensity, reduced alcohol‐related consequences, alcohol addiction severity, and healthcare cost offsets | Cochrane Library, USA

Alcoholics Anonymous vs. Other Approaches: The Evidence Is Now In

An updated review shows it performs better than some other common treatments and is less expensive | NYTimes, USA

COVID-19 Guidance for People Who Use Drugs and Harm Reduction Programs

COVID-19, an illness caused by a newly identified type of coronavirus, can cause a respiratory infection and lead to health problems. It’s usually mild and most people recover quickly if they have it, but it can be very serious for people with stressed immune systems or underlying conditions or older adults, so it’s important to stay informed | Harm Reduction Coalition, USA

Joe Biden Is Frustrated People Think He Still Believes Marijuana Is A Gateway Drug

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) really wants to make sure you don’t think he still believes marijuana is a gateway drug | Forbes, USA

First Psychedelics Therapy Center In The US Opens On New York’s 5th Av.

Psychedelic medicine is finally available (legally) to people in the U.S., with the debut of the first guided psychedelic therapy center in the country. Located on New York City’s emblematic 5th Avenue, the new Mindbloom center offers science-backed, clinician-prescribed, guided ketamine therapy in an upscale, spa-like setting, for $150 to $250 per session | Forbes, USA

The Real Harms of Abusive, Stigmatizing Language in Addiction Treatment

Ironically, the conversation that spurred a peer-support specialist at a buprenorphine program to yell me out of the room was about abusive communications | Filter Magazine, USA

Colorado Teen Could Face Decades in Prison—For Cannabis

Vaping-associated pulmonary illness reportedly contributed to 68 deaths through February 18, 2020. After an initial, misplaced drug scare around nicotine vapes—adulterated illicit THC products were in fact responsible—several experts have noted that the moral panic has switched to marijuana vape pens | Filter Magazine, USA

Canadians concerned about number of youths vaping: poll

According to a recent poll commissioned by Heart & Stroke, 80 per cent of Canadians are concerned with how many young people are vaping, and 89 per cent want the government to take action before the end of the year | In Brampton, Canada


Blogs, comment and opinion

Rough sleepers and drug users are highly at risk from coronavirus – but the government isn't protecting them

Of course the elderly should be a priority – but there are marginalised groups we conspicuously aren't prioritising | Independent voices, UK

Collective Voice responds to the Budget 2020

Collective Voice welcomes the investment announced in today’s budget around substance use support. It has committed £46 million from a new Shared Outcomes Fund “to provide improved support to individuals experiencing multiple complex needs, such as homelessness, reoffending and substance misuse”. It has also committed to £262 million for substance misuse treatment services to support people sleeping rough | Collective Voice, UK

Budget 2020: Funding to support people facing multiple disadvantage

The Chancellor has committed £46 million to provide “improved support to individuals overcoming multiple complex needs, such as homelessness, reoffending and substance misuse.”  This money will form part of the Shared Outcomes Fund, an initiative to promote cross-departmental programmes | MEAM, UK

AHA responds to Budget 2020

Responding to the announcements from the Chancellor in the Budget today, Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said: “Research has shown that successive governments’ decisions to cut or freeze alcohol duty since 2012 have led to almost 2,000 additional deaths and £314 million extra costs to our already overstretched NHS services... | AHA UK, UK

ASH welcomes tax rises on No Smoking Day but more needed to achieve Government ambition of a Smokefree 2030

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is pleased to see the tax escalator on cigarettes will continue at 2% above inflation (RPI) for the duration of this Parliament. For this year that will mean a 27 pence increase on a pack of 20 cigarettes | ASH, UK

Budget 2020: it’s time to put people ahead of industry profits

Read our response to Budget 2020 from Lucy Holmes, our Director of Research and Policy | Alcohol Change UK, UK

Socio-demographic and ecological variables associated with hepatitis C antibody prevalence

Around one in two people who inject drugs (PWID) have been exposed to hepatitis C virus (HCV) and potentially 6 million PWID globally are chronically infected | NDARC blog, Australia

More consistency needed in application of harm reduction principles in Australia

The lack of harm reduction principles for tobacco use in Australia is inconsistent with their implementation in many other areas of public policy | NZ Doctor, New Zealand