Weekly news - 7th April 2017


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In date order, Monday to Friday

APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence publishes declaration of support for helpline

The APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence has today published a Declaration of Support for a national 24 hour helpline and accompanying website.  The declaration is signed by numerous medical bodies and charities | APPG, UK

£400k to cut smoking in Wales, Welsh Government announces

Almost half a million pounds has been announced to try to slash smoking rates in Wales | BBC, UK

Fewer smokers in Wales since ban in enclosed public spaces

There are 94,000 fewer smokers in Wales since a ban on lighting up in enclosed public places came into force 10 years ago, Welsh Government data shows | BBC, UK

New law in Scotland bans e-cigarettes sales to under-18s

Restrictions on e-cigarettes, including a ban on their sale to under-18s, have come into effect in Scotland | BBC, UK

Review of UK Anti-Doping launched

The government has today launched a call for evidence on the role and responsibilities of UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) | Department for Culture, Media & Sport, UK Anti-Doping, and Tracey Crouch MP, UK

Needle Exchange Surveillance Initiative (NESI) 2008-09 to 2015-16

The aim of the Needle Exchange Surveillance Initiative (NESI) is to measure and monitor the prevalence of blood-borne viruses and injecting risk behaviours among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Scotland | Health Protection Scotland, UK

Rise in middle-aged men taking steroids to feel more youthful, experts say

People who work with users have raised concern about a new trend among men in their 40s and 50s who take the drug to fight some of the signs of ageing | Guardian, UK

Family therapies best for substance using teenagers

Multi-prong therapies centred on the family emerge as probably the most effective in this comprehensive and careful synthesis of the results of trials of non-residential programmes for substance using teenagers - but do the outcomes warrant the extra costs? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

How Easy is it for Young People to Access Skunk in the UK?

Whether it’s knocking on a nearby door, making a quick call, or agreeing a deal on the way to school, there’s no ID necessary and no questions asked: teenagers in London never have to venture too far to find skunk | Volte Face, UK

Interesting things about alcohol and other drugs, April 2017

Andrew Brown (@andrewbrown365) looks at new statistics about alcohol and other drugs, including figures showing a steady rise in drug-related hospital admissions | MEAM, UK

Estimates of alcohol dependence in England, including estimates of children living in a household with an adult with alcohol dependence

This is the first time estimates of the number of alcohol dependent adults at upper tier local authority level have been available. These will be followed later this year with local treatment access rates. The full report, including a detailed technical description of the methodology used, is available here | PHE, University of Sheffield, UK

Estimates of the Prevalence of Opiate Use and/or Crack Cocaine Use, 2011/12

The full report, including methodology and findings, is available here | PHE, UK

Improving lives: Helping Workless Families - evidence base

Part 1 describes the evidence behind some of the issues associated with worklessness, how these disadvantages are often interrelated, and how they impact on children’s outcomes. Part 2 sets out the 9 national indicators (7 non-statutory and 2 statutory) which we are using to track progress in tackling the disadvantages that affect families and children’s outcomes, as shown in our evidence and analysis. These will replace the indicators reported on in the former social justice outcomes framework | DWP, UK

Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families Analysis and Research Pack

| DWP, UK

Policy paper: Improving lives: Helping Workless Families

| DWP, UK

Licensing Act fundamentally flawed says Committee

The House of Lords Select Committee on the Licensing Act 2003 publishes its report 'The Licensing Act 2003: post-legislative scrutiny'. In the eleven years since the Act has been in force hardly a year has gone by without major piecemeal amendments to the Act. The Lords Committee, set up to scrutinise the Act, has concluded that it is fundamentally flawed and needs a radical overhaul, including the abolition of local authority licensing committees | Parliament.UK, UK

UK should follow minimum alcohol price, say Lords

Minimum unit pricing for alcohol should be rolled out across the UK if Scotland's scheme is successful, a Lords committee says | BBC, UK

Twenty-four hour drinking has led to a surge in violent crime in city centres, police warn

T wenty-four hour drinking has led to a surge in violent crime in towns and cities, police have said as a new report branded measures to tackle the problem a failure | Telegraph, UK

Vacancies for positions on the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD)

The role is unremunerated, but travel expenses incurred on committee business in the UK will be reimbursed | Cabinet Office, UK

Where are the new drug and alcohol strategies?

Last week (30th March) Liz McInnes MP, a member of the Drug, Alcohol and Justice Cross-party Parliamentary Group raised the issuLiz Mcinnese of the Government’s promised drug and alcohol strategies in Parliament | Blenheim, UK

Appeal to stop north Wales Mamba drug supply

A charity has launched an appeal to help stop the supply of "dangerous drugs" in north Wales | BBC, UK

EMCDDA Strategy 2025

This strategy sets out an ambitious course of travel for the agency to 2025. It presents a vision to contribute to a healthier and more secure Europe, through better informed drug policy and action. Adopted unanimously by the agency’s key stakeholders in 2016, the strategy is the result of a year-long, in-depth analysis of the environment in which the EMCDDA operates. This analysis focused, in particular, on customer needs and a critical review of our internal capacity to meet them | EMCDDA, Portugal

European Facility Survey Questionnaire (EFSQ) package

The European Facility Survey Questionnaire (EFSQ) is a data collection instrument applicable in any European country or in any country worldwide interested in surveying facilities that provide interventions to drug users | EMCDDA, Portugal

Drug and alcohol addiction, and obesity: effects on employment outcomes: claimants' views

Research with claimants to inform Dame Carol Black's report 'Drug and alcohol addiction, and obesity: effects on employment outcomes' | DWP, UK

Money or vocation. Does it matter?

Is organisational change driven by money just as good for patients as change motivated by the desire to improve their lives? One of the issues raised by the latest instalment (on organisational influences on psychosocial therapies) of the online course on alcohol treatment research | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Alcohol Research UK and Alcohol Concern merge

The trustees of Alcohol Research UK and Alcohol Concern are pleased to announce the merger of the two charities following the completion of detailed negotiations over the last six months | Alcohol Research UK, UK

DDN March 2017

We had to make drug-related deaths the focus of this year’s conference. The room was packed with people that were directly affected, as demonstrated by the question, ‘who in this room has lost someone?’ | DDN, UK

SPICe Briefing (PDF)

This briefing explores the issue of drug misuse in Scotland. It begins with an overview of the Scottish Government’s National Drugs Strategy before providing a summary of the prevalence and trends in drug misuse from the latest available data. It then covers approaches to the treatment of people with a drug problem and drugs services in Scotland. Current policy issues are discussed in the final section | Scottish Parliament, UK

Problem drug users in Scotland ‘increasingly aged over 35’

The growing number of middle-aged problem drug users in Scotland could pose a challenge for health services unless greater planning for their care is undertaken, a charity has warned | Scotsman, UK

Waterpipe smoking (shisha) in England The public health challenge (PDF)

This document provides a summary of the current evidence of the health effects of waterpipe smoking, an overview of the prevalence of waterpipe smoking in Britain, two case studies of local authority approaches to addressing local public health and regulatory challenges, and suggested actions for Local Authorities (LAs) to consider in relation to waterpipe smoking. [From Feb 2017] | PHE, UK

Opioid Painkiller Dependency Alliance (OPDA)

The OPDA is a unique collaboration of pain and addiction specialists and patient groups dedicated to raising awareness of opioid painkiller problems and campaigning for dedicated services. Become an affiliate member and make our voice stronger | OPDA, UK

Ketamine depression treatment 'should be rolled out'

Doctors trialling the use of ketamine to treat depression are calling for the treatment to be rolled out | BBC, UK

Smoking causes one in ten deaths globally, major new study reveals

Efforts to control tobacco have paid off, says study, but warns tobacco epidemic is far from over, with 6.4m deaths attributed to smoking in 2015 alone | Guardian, UK

United Kingdom Drug Situation 2016 EDITION UK Focal Point on Drugs

Annual Report on new developments and trends in policy, prevalence, treatment and criminal justice issues to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) | UK Focal Point, PHE, Home Office, Scottish Government, Welsh Government, Department of Health Northern Ireland

Scottish Drug Misuse Database (PDF)

This report from Information Services Division on the Scottish Drug Misuse Database presents the available information on individuals presenting for initial assessment at specialist drug treatment services in 2015/16 | ISD, UK

Public Health Minister 'pleased' with downward trend in heroin use among under-25s

The statistics in the Scottish Drugs Misuse Database published yesterday say of all those who used specialist drugs services last year, 47 per cent were looking for treatment for heroin, compared to 64 per cent in 2006/07 | National, UK

Funding to tackle Scotland’s alcohol and drug crisis slashed

Crucial funding to tackle Scotland’s drugs and drink crisis has been cut across Scotland, new figures have revealed today. In half of all Scotland’s 14 Health Board areas, support for Alcohol and Drug Partnerships has fallen this year, the statistics show | Scottish Conservatives, UK

Drugs Education Programme and Key4Life

Avon and Somerset Police has set up a course as an alternative to prosecution for drugs users and a charity helping young people at risk of going to prison is celebrating success | BBC, UK

Alcohol labelling: Do you know what you're drinking?

Approximately one in ten cases of ill-health or death in England can be attributed to alcohol. However, unlike for food, sugary drinks and tobacco, there is limited information available about what is in alcoholic drinks or their potential harm | University of Bristol, UK

Vaping shops selling to non-smokers

Almost nine in 10 e-cigarette shops in the UK are selling vaping products to non-smokers against the industry's code of conduct, an investigation reveals | BBC, UK

The illegal drugs with legal medical uses

A study of more than 100 people suggests ketamine could be used to help treat people suffering with depression | BBC, UK

MSPs to hear case for medical use of cannabis

MSPs from across the political spectrum will hear demands to legalise cannabis for medical use when they attend a summit on the issue in Holyrood this month | The National, UK