Reports: March

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College publishes report on drug-related deaths in Scotland

The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (“the College”) has launched a new report on drug-related deaths in Scotland, based on the views of leading experts. The report recognises that Scotland’s drug deaths crisis is complex, but says much more can be done to tackle the problem, including action on harm reduction and on the social determinants of drug abuse | Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, UK

Local tobacco control profiles for England: March 2021 update

An overview of the extent of tobacco use, tobacco related harm and the measures being taken to reduce this harm at a local level in England | PHE, UK

Scottish drug misuse database

This release presents the information available from the Scottish Drug Misuse Database (SDMD) on people presenting for initial assessment at specialist drug treatment services in 2019/20. In 2019/20, initial assessments for specialist drug treatment relating to 10,900 people resident in Scotland were recorded on the Scottish Drug Misuse Database | Public Health Scotland, UK

Alcohol Bulletin

Quarterly statistics from the 4 different alcohol duty regimes administered by HM Revenue and Customs. Update with provisional data from November 2020 to January 2021 | HM Treasury and Customs, UK

Syringe Distribution Programs Can Improve Public Health During the Opioid Overdose Crisis

Such initiatives can reduce overdose rates and infectious disease, increase use of treatment | PEW Trusts, USA

Law enforcement seizures of methamphetamine, marijuana rose during pandemic

An analysis of law enforcement seizures of illegal drugs in five key regions of the United States revealed a rise in methamphetamine and marijuana (cannabis) confiscations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seizures of the two drugs were higher at their peak in August 2020 than at any time in the year prior to the pandemic | NIDA, USA

One in 10 people who inject drugs used the anti-psychotic medicine quetiapine for non-medical purposes, says new report

Among 7,000 people who injected drugs (PWID) in Australia between 2011-2018, approximately one in 10 used the antipsychotic medicine quetiapine for non-medical purposes (i.e. in a way that was not prescribed), a study by researchers from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at UNSW Sydney, has found | NDARC, Australia

Health information, messaging and warnings on alcohol packaging: A focus group study with young adult drinkers in Scotland (PDF)

The current study explored how alcohol packaging could be used more effectively to communicate health information and messaging by researching young adult drinkers’ recall, use and perceptions of current alcohol labelling, as well as their responses to front-of-pack HW labels differing in size, form, and content | University of Stirling, UK

Drug-related and drug-misuse deaths 2009-2019

Number of drug-related and drug-misuse deaths in Northern Ireland | Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency and Department of Finance (Northern Ireland), UK

People who inject drugs: HIV and viral hepatitis monitoring

Data tables and commentary for the unlinked anonymous monitoring surveys of infections and risk among people who inject drugs (PWID). 2020 update | PHE, UK

Doing more harm than good (PDF)

International examples of success, growing public support and the clear failure of current laws to stop drug use means the time is right now for drug law reform, said the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA), today launching a new policy report into Australian drug laws | ALA, Australia

International Approaches to Drug Law Reform

This paper reviews the international evidence on approaches to drug law reform, focussing on case studies from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Portugal and The Netherlands. It seeks to support the ongoing development of innovative approaches to reducing drug harms, by identifying the impact of interventions abroad and situating them within their legal context | Scottish Government, UK

GDS 2020: Psychedelics Key Findings report (PDF)

Which psychedelics are people most commonly using to self treat emotional distress psychiatry conditions | GDS, UK

Smoking prevalence in adults: current smokers aged over 18 years by wellbeing group and region

Detailed ad-hoc analysis of smoking prevalence, calculated from the Annual Population Survey and Opinions and Lifestyle Survey | PHE, UK

Housing First: tackling homelessness for those with complex needs

Research commissioned by the Housing First Europe Hub (2019) suggested “strong evidence” of HF offering “an effective solution to homelessness among people with high and complex needs”. This prompted a growing interest in HF | House of Commons Library, UK

EMCDDA trendspotter briefing: Impact of COVID-19 on drug use and drug services in Western Balkans

The Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia) registered the main waves of COVID-19 infections later than most of the EU countries, but containment strategies were implemented at the same time and with equal force as in the rest of Europe. This report provides the main results of studies conducted using the trendspotter methodology to explore the impact of the pandemic and associated measures on drug services and people who use drugs in the Western Balkan region | EMCDDA, Portugal

Smoking prevalence in adults: current smokers aged 18 to 64 by socio-economic group

Updated with a revised spreadsheet | PHE, UK

Drug control policies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia The economic, health and social impact (PDF)

This Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report aims to capture the attention of policy-makers in four study countries in the EECA region; Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia to make the case for the cost effectiveness and health gains achieved when the criminalisation of drug use is reduced, harm reduction is scaled up and stigma and discrimination towards PWID and other vulnerable populations is reduced | EIU, UK

Trends in Health Behaviours, Health Outcomes and Contextual Factors between 1998-2018: findings from the Irish Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study (PDF)

There is good news with regard to substance misuse, with significant decreases in the rates of smoking, alcohol and cannabis use compared with previous figures in 1998 | HBSC, Ireland

Risk assessment report on a new psychoactive substance: methyl 2-{[1-(4-fluorobutyl)-1H-indole-3-carbonyl]amino}-3,3-dime- thylbutanoate (4F-MDMB-BICA) in accordance with Article 5c of Regulation (EC) No 1920/2006 (as amended)

This risk assessment report presents the summary findings and the conclusion of the risk assessment carried out by the Scientific Committee of the EMCDDA on 4F-MDMB-BICA. The report is intended for policymakers and decision-makers in the institutions of the EU | EMCDDA, Portugal

Risk Assessment Report on a new psychoactive substance: methyl 3,3-dimethyl-2-{[1-(pent-4-en-1-yl)-1H-indazole-3-car- bonyl]amino}butanoate (MDMB-4en-PINACA) in accordance with Article 5c of Regulation (EC) No 1920/2006 (as amended)

This risk assessment report presents the summary findings and the conclusion of the risk assessment carried out by the Scientific Committee of the EMCDDA on MDMB-4en- PINACA. The report is intended for policymakers and decision-makers in the institutions of the EU | EMCDDA, Portugal

E-cigarette marketing in the UK: Evidence form adult and youth surveys and policy compliance studies (PDF)

This report brings together two complementary studies to provide a description of e-cigarette advertising spend, advertising content, compliance with advertising regulations, and reported noticing and appeal of e-cigarette marketing | Cancer Research UK, UK

Decriminalisation Insights for Advocates (PDF)

This paper provides some key insights from this event, and from conversations which followed it, with largely the same group of advocates. The target audience is primarily people who are advocating for decriminalisation in their own jurisdictions, or who are considering doing so. Public health, community safety and criminal justice stakeholders more generally may also find it of interest | Ana Lifey Drug Project, Ireland

Alcohol dependence prevalence in England

Estimates of the number of alcohol dependent adults in each local authority in England. Updated with alcohol dependence estimates for the period 2018 to 2019 | PHE, UK

A Synthetic Age: The Evolution of Methamphetamine Markets in Eastern and Southern Africa

African drug markets are vastly under-researched environments. Ground-breaking new research by the Global Initiative is attempting to address this deficiency | Global Initiative, Switzerland

Injectable opioid treatment: commissioning and providing services

Guidance on commissioning and providing injectable opioid treatment for people with opioid dependence who have not responded to oral treatment | PHE, UK

Cannabis health check-up tool

This cannabis health tool for health and social care professionals is designed to be used where someone’s cannabis use is identified as ‘increasing’ or ‘higher risk’ by the cannabis questions in the Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Tool-Lite (ASSIST-Lite) risk identification tool. The tool outlines how risky someone’s cannabis use is, how someone’s use compares to the general population, the benefits of cutting down or quitting, tips for reducing use and risks, and signposts to sources of advice, support and treatment. It also provides space for individuals to set their own goals | PHE, UK

Statistics on Women's Smoking Status at Time of Delivery: England - Quarter 3, 2020-21

This report presents statistics on mother’s smoking status at time of delivery, at Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), Region and national levels. This release includes provisional data for quarter 3 of 2020-21 | NHS Digital, UK

The cost of smoking to the social care system

This report sets out the impact of smoking-related illness on social care need and the resulting costs in England, building on previous reports published by ASH in 2014, 2017 and 2019. Press Release | ASH, UK

The Adfam Women’s Project, funded by the DCMS Tampon Tax Programme, aims to reduce the risks to women experiencing domestic violence in homes where drugs and alcohol are misused. This project has now finished, and our findings have been published in a research report (PDF), with recommendations for policy and practice | Adfam, UK

Alcohol-Specific deaths in Northern Ireland: Socio-Demographic Analyses

Northern Ireland has observed notable increases in alcohol deaths in the last two decades despite increased awareness of, and the public being more educated on, the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption. In Northern Ireland, problematic alcohol use is acknowledged as being a major healthcare problem. Northern Ireland has the second highest alcoholspecific death rate in the UK after Scotland | NISRA, UK

Getting ready for harm reduction budget advocacy

How money is collected and distributed through public budgets influences the lives of millions of people in every country in the world. Those decisions might ensure food and shelter for many, or deprive others from essential healthcare services. Budget advocacy, which is a tool to influence those decisions, can make an impact on millions of lives | HRI, UK

Hidden epidemic of drug use among older people highlighted by International Narcotics Control Board's Annual Report

At a time of increased demand for controlled medicines due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) warns of 'a hidden epidemic: drug use among older persons' and the harm the pandemic has caused to the health and well-being of this population group | INCB, Austria

C-EHRN Framework Partnership 2020: Evaluation Report

This month, Richard Braam, an independent researcher, completed the evaluation report on our work, accomplished in 2020. It has not only given us even more ideas for our future plans but also a great reminder of our efforts from a most challenging year. Below are a few of the affirming, confrontational and thought-provoking quotes from the Report. | Correlation – European Harm Reduction Network (C-EHRN), The Netherlands

Medication Assisted Treatment MAT Standards for Scotland Access, Choice, Support (PDF)

Scotland has a high level of drug-related deaths. In 2019 1,264 drug-related deaths were registered in Scotland, 6% (77) more than in 2018. Based on the evidence that Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is protective against the risk of death, the Scottish Drug Deaths Taskforce and the Scottish Government has prioritised the implementation of MAT standards for people experiencing problems with their drug use. The standards aim to ensure that MAT is safe, effective, acceptable, accessible and person centred | Scottish Drugs Death Task Force, UK

Evidence review of drug treatment services for people who are homeless and use drugs

Substance use is more prevalent among people who are homeless than in the general population, and providing support services and drug treatment in a holistic way for this population should be a priority. Increasing the provision of evidence-based support may lead to improvements in health, well-being, and quality of life (QoL), and to a reduction in costs to healthcare and wider public services. The Irish National Drugs Strategy aims to improve access to treatment services for people who are homeless who use drugs and have complex needs | HRB, Ireland

Civil Society Monitoring of Harm Reduction in Europe, 2020 (PDF)

The purpose of this report is to enrich the information and knowledge base of harm reduction interventions in Europe from the viewpoint of civil society organisations. We believe that this approach is a necessary, and useful, contribution to the development of drug policy in the region | Correlation Harm Reduction Network, The Netherlands