Weekly news - 17th March 2017


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In date order, Monday to Friday

Hospital drug admissions for over-50s up 50%, report shows

The number of over-50s admitted to hospitals in Wales after taking drugs has increased by about 50% since 2011, a report has shown. Drug and alcohol abuse among older adults is "increasing rapidly", authors warned. The Welsh Government advisory panel on substance misuse report said there was a "hidden problem" of medication addiction | BBC, UK

From synthetic 'zombie' drugs to 'codeine housewives' – the changing face of the modern drugs scene

It is is the latest drug to spark alarm, with images of users being turned into ‘living dead’ by a powerful new strain of a synthetic alternative to cannabis hitting the streets [Harry Shapiro of DrugWise quoted] | Herald, UK

DDN February issue

In this issue, Natalie Davies examines the argument for consumption rooms in detail; Catherine Larkin and Danny Hames take stock of the value of a naloxone strategy; Tony Margetts evaluates the progress of prison reform; Lizzie McCulloch looks at a new approach to cannabis policy and treatment; and two of the major treatment charities explain how they are tuned to the challenges ahead | DDN, UK

Government considering plans to house addicts who sleep rough

A project pioneered in Finland offers homes to troubled people before they begin treatment for addiction and mental illness | Observer, UK

Further advice on U-47,700, etizolam and other designer benzodiazepines

Further letter from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs about U-47,700 and designer benzodiazepines | Home Office and ACMD, UK

Ring fence on public health grants retained

Public Health Minister Nicola Blackwood has announced that the ring fence on public health grants will be retained until 2019 | FPH, UK

Smoking cessation in secondary care: acute and maternity settings

Self-assessment framework for NHS acute trusts to develop local action to reduce smoking prevalence and the use of tobacco | PHE, UK

Download the CND App!

The CND App will help you to track live what is happening at CND 60th session, receive notifications on key events, resolutions and speakers, and access UN agreed language on specific drug policy issues | GPDPD, UK

March issue of DDN magazine

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

Government funds school resource for drug and alcohol prevention

Public Health England announces new funding to expand Mentor UK’s ADEPIS resource into more schools and community settings | PHE, UK

Online ‘virtual counselling’ service launches for gay men struggling with drugs and chemsex

Two leading charities have launched an online counselling service for gay and bisexual men to get support around drugs, sex and alcohol | PinkNews, UK

Joint work between Collective Voice, the NHS and PHE to improve clinical responses to drug-related deaths

Collective Voice believes that the most significant challenge facing the drug treatment and recovery system today is responding to the health needs of an ageing and increasingly vulnerable population. Moreover, that response must be formed in the context of declining resources and a fragmented delivery landscape | Collective Voice, UK

Methylphenidate-based novel psychoactive substances: temporary class drug order recommendations

Recommendations for a temporary class drug order on a number of methylphenidate-based novel psychoactive substances | PHE, UK

No one judges you here (PDF)

Report outlining the voices of older people who are affected by a loved one’s substance use | Adfam, UK

Brits are drinking more gin and almond milk, but have stopped smoking menthol cigarettes

Gin, cycling helmets, and milk alternatives like almond milk are gaining popularity, while Brits are no longer smoking menthol cigarettes and favour cans instead of bottles when drinking cider, according to the latest changes to the Office for National Statistics' basket of goods | Business Insider, UK

SURE: Substance Use Recovery Evaluator

SURE is a validated measure of recovery from drug and alcohol dependence developed with unprecedented input from people in recovery. We have now released an online version that will provide you with instant scores  | Kings College London, UK

New psychoactive substances: Current health-related practices and challenges in responding to use and harms in Europe

[Open access] The availability of new psychoactive substances (NPS) in Europe has rapidly increased over the last decade. Although prevalence levels of NPS use remain low in the general European population, there are serious concerns associated with more problematic forms of use and harms in particular populations and settings | IJDP, UK

Hepatitis C in the UK

The most recent national estimates suggest that around 214,000 individuals are chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the UK; 160,000 of these are in England | PHE, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to support the children of alcoholics | They work for you, UK

Oxford University to launch medical marijuana research programme

Oxford University is to launch a £10m research programme into the effects of medical marijuana, following calls for its legalisation | Telegraph, UK

CGL will pilot Intelligent Fingerprinting system to support drug recovery programmes

Change, grow, live (CGL) is to pilot the world’s first portable fingerprint-based drug screening system as part of its support and rehabilitation initiatives for service users and families affected by drug misuse | CGL, UK

Keep prescribing to hold down UK drug-related deaths

Robust messages for government from the UK’s official drug policy advisers: ageing profile of multiply-ill heroin users will continue to press up drug-related deaths; to counteract this government must maintain investment in substitute prescribing programmes like methadone maintenance; drug consumption clinics should be considered | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Review Confirms Link between Drug Use and Poor Dental Health

A new review published online today in the scientific journal Addiction has found that dental patients with substance use disorders have more tooth decay and periodontal disease than the general population, but are less likely to receive dental care. With drug use increasing by approximately three million new users each year, this is a problem that won’t disappear anytime soon | Addiction, UK

An exploration of the role of alcohol in relation to living situation and significant life events for the homeless population in Merseyside, UK

This Alcohol Research UK funded project explored alcohol consumption patterns of the homeless population. The research aimed to provide further context and understanding to changes in consumption patterns for the homeless population in Merseyside. Co-productive research methods were adopted for this study | PHI, UK

Nitrous Oxide

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she will consider reclassifying nitrous oxide as a controlled substance | They work for you, UK

Health Matters - Your questions on preventing drug misuse deaths

We hope our latest edition of Health Matters – on the subject of “Preventing drug misuse deaths– will help you and other health professionals by compiling key facts, figures and evidence of effective interventions | PHE Blog, UK

Commission proposes a new EU Action Plan on Drugs to enhance action against drug use and trafficking

Building on the findings of the evaluation of the EU Drugs Strategy for 2013-2020 and the Action Plan for 2013-2016, the new Action Plan on Drugs provides a strengthened response to the newly-emerging health and security challenges in the area of illicit drug use and trafficking | European Commission, France

Communities That Care (CTC): a comprehensive prevention approach for communities

Community coalitions are a strategy to coordinate activities and resources to prevent adolescent substance use and delinquent behaviour. They can help mobilise communities in prevention and health promotion initiatives | EMCDDA, Portugal

Report on the risk assessment of methyl 2-[[1-(cyclohexylmethyl)-1H-indole-3-carbonyl]amino]-3,3-dimethylbutanoate (MDMB-CHMICA) in the framework of the Council Decision on new psychoactive substances

This publication presents the data and findings of the risk assessment on methyl 2-[[1-(cyclohexylmethyl)-1H-indole-3-carbonyl]amino]-3,3-dimethylbutanoate (MDMB-CHMICA), carried out by the extended Scientific Committee of the EMCDDA on 22 July 2016. MDMB-CHMICA is the first synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist to be risk-assessed by the EMCDDA. On the basis of the Risk Assessment Report — and on the initiative of the European Commission — on 27 February 2017, the Council decided that MDMB-CHMICA should be subject to control measures across the Member States | EMCDDA, Portugal

Education sector responses to the use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs (PDF)

This booklet provides the context and rationale for improved education sector responses to the use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs among children and young people, with a focus on primary and secondary education sectors. It presents evidence-based and promising policies and practice, including practical examples from different regions that have been shown to be effective by scientific research. It also suggests issues for the education sector to consider in sustaining and scaling up effective approaches and programmes to tackle substance use | WHO, Switzerland

Commission on Narcotic Drugs takes decisive step to help prevent deadly fentanyl overdoses

By scheduling two fentanyl precursors and a fentanyl analogue, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) is sending a clear message that it can help protect people's health and respond to the urgent needs of states, the Chair of 60th Session of the CND, Ambassador Bente Angell-Hansen said today | UNODC, USA