Weekly news - 3rd November 2017


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In date order, Monday to Friday

Substance misuse statistics

These reports include statistics from the Welsh National Database for Substance Misuse and additional substance misuse related information available from routinely published sources in Wales | STAT Wales, UK

The impact of using the new definition of alcohol-specific deaths

This article communicates the new definition of alcohol-specific deaths, the reasons for it and its impact on the existing time series of alcohol-related deaths | ONS, UK

Stoptober 2016 campaign evaluation

Stoptober is a major annual event to encourage smokers to quit for 28 days in October - with the aim of stopping smoking permanently. This document measures the impact of Stoptober in 2016, its fifth year of operation | PHE, UK

Hepatitis B: guidance, data and analysis

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a viral infection carried in the blood causing inflammation of the liver and potentially long term damage. The virus is transmitted by contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids. Hepatitis B is vaccine preventable | PHE, UK

Boy, 16, dies at Halloween rave in Gwytherin, near Abergele

A 16-year-old boy has died after taking a suspected drugs overdose at a Halloween rave in Conwy county | BBC, UK

Updating your drugs policy to include NPS

In previous briefing papers, Mentor looked at the impact of new psychoactive substances on public health and drugs education. Schools and practitioners should also update their drugs policy to take account of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) | Mentor-ADEPIS, UK

Drugs: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to reduce the number of deaths from illegal drug use | They work for you, UK

Met Police Will No Longer Prevent the Swallowing of Drug Packages

Following the deaths of Rashan Charles and Edson Da Costa, Met police officers have been issued new advice: to not try to prevent suspects from swallowing wraps | VICE, UK

Tobacco companies using pricing tactics to 'keep smokers hooked', research suggests

Industry 'absorbing tax increases on the cheapest brands to make sure they stay cheap', say academics | Independent, UK

Additions to the Effectiveness Bank 27 October 2017

Coordinated around two ‘hot topics’ in substance use intervention research, the latest entries in the Effectiveness Bank probe into identifying and reducing the harms of injecting, and making brief alcohol interventions work in general practice | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Women who use drugs: Issues, needs, responses, challenges and implications for policy and practice (PDF)

In the European Union 34.8 million women aged 15 to 64 are reported to have ever tried an illicit drug, compared with 54.3 million men | EMCDDA, Portugal

User-led interventions: an expanding resource? (PDF)

This short paper outlines the growth of user-led interventions across Europe in the problem (as opposed to recreational) drug sector over recent years. It starts by attempting to define and categorise user-led interventions before describing a number of examples and sharing what is known about their effectiveness. The paper concludes by identifying likely developments, highlighting the opportunities created by user-led work and detailing the challenges for policymakers and commissioners in Europe | EMCCDA, Portugal

Tobacco firms using 'clever tactics' to target poorest smokers, study finds

Cheaper brands, price-marking and smaller pack sizes are thwarting attempts to reduce UK smoking rates, researchers say | Guardian, UK

Victoria approves safe injecting room trial after spate of heroin deaths

Premier reverses government’s opposition to harm-minimisation approach as proposed North Richmond centre set to be second of its kind in Australia | Guardian, UK

Mental Health Act 1983: implementing changes to police powers

[Notes that the new maximum period of detention of 24 hours can be extended up to a further 12 hours if it is not practicable to complete a Mental Health Act assessment within the 24 hour period. This might arise, for example, if the person is too mentally distressed, or is particularly intoxicated with alcohol or drugs and cannot co-operate with the assessment process] | Department of Health and Home Office, UK

Deaths and serious incidents in police custody: government response

[Includes mention of drugs - Drugs and/or alcohol also featured as causes in around half of deaths (49%), and an even higher proportion of those who died had an association with drugs or alcohol (82%) ] | Home Office, UK

Plans for Glasgow heroin 'fix rooms' delayed as site search continues

Plans for the UK's first heroin injecting centre in Glasgow could take years to come to fruition, it has emerged | Glasgow Times, UK

Inmate's appeal to ban smoking in jails reaches Supreme Court

A prisoner with health problems has taken his fight to make smoking in jails a crime to the UK's highest court | BBC, UK

Global Synthetic Drugs Assessment: Amphetamine-type stimulants and new psychoactive substances (PDF)

Unlike the manufacture of heroin and cocaine, the manufacture of synthetic drugs is not geographically constrained, as the process does not involve the extraction of active constituents from plants that have to be cultivated in certain conditions for them to grow. Yet any analysis of the synthetic drugs market is complicated by the fact that information on synthetic drug manufacture is limited, which prevents the estimation of the volume of such drugs being manufactured worldwide. Nevertheless, data on seizures and use suggest that the supply of synthetic drugs is expanding | UNODC, Austria

Policy and practice briefings: Vulnerable young people

Many young people experiment with drugs but only a minority become dependent on drugs in young adulthood. Those who are most vulnerable to drug dependence are socially disadvantaged young people and those having family members and peers who use drugs | EMCDDA, Portugal

Responding to the needs of ageing drug users

Older people with drug problems (OPDP) are considered those aged 40 or over whose recurrent drug use is causing them harm or is placing them at a high risk of such harm OPDP are likely to encounter negative life outcomes due to their drug use and they have characteristics and trajectories distinct from those of their younger counterparts | EMCDDA, Portugal

Scottish cancer death rates 61% higher among poor

Death rates from cancer are 61% higher in the most deprived areas of Scotland, according to the latest figures | BBC, UK

Public focus group: Experts by experience procurement

CQC has commenced engagement activities to inform development of its future Experts by Experience programme requirements, which is to be competitively re-tendered for delivery from 2019 onwards | CQC, UK

'Hippy crack' nitrous oxide IS an illegal drug - but only when it's being used to get high, rule senior judges

The party drug known as hippy crack is not a 'medicinal product' and is illegal, senior judges ruled today | Mail Online, UK

Drones: Prisons

What steps the Government are taking to stop the use of drones over prisons | They work for you, UK

Policy and practice briefings: Responding to new psychoactive substances

New psychoactive substances are drugs that are not controlled under the United Nations drug control conventions but which may pose similar threats to health. These drugs include synthetic cannabinoids, opioids, stimulants and hallucinogens. Usually they are marketed as ‘legal’ replacements for the illicit drug market; while some are also used by small groups who wish to explore them for novel experiences and effects | EMCDDA, Portugal

Evidence review summary: drug demand reduction, treatment, and harm reduction

This short report presents a brief overview of recent evidence for the most effective approaches in the fields of drug use prevention, drug use treatment and harm reduction. It discusses the strengths and limitations of the evidence and some challenges for the implementation of the approaches, and it summarises the principles underpinning the successful knowledge transfer that supports the use of evidence in the development and delivery of policy and practice | EMCDDA, Portugal

Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England - 2016

This report contains results from an annual survey of secondary school pupils in England in years 7 to 11 (mostly aged 11 to 15). 12,051 pupils in 177 schools completed questionnaires in the autumn term of 2016 | NHS Digital, UK

Drug use more likely than smoking among secondary school pupils

NHS survey finds 19% of youngsters aged 11-15 in England have smoked, 24% have taken drugs and 44% have drunk alcohol | Guardian, UK

One in seven GPs 'turning to drink or drugs to cope with work stress'

One in seven GPs is turning to drink or drugs to help them “deal with work pressures” a new survey suggests. The poll of family doctors found almost half said their ability to care for patients had been affected by the stress of their job | Telegraph, UK

Creating a lifesaving treatment and harm reduction system

Online course moves on to the whole-system level, where treatment and harm reduction services working in synergy are the best hope for reversing the hepatitis C epidemic - but can any feasible system succeed in this daunting task? Explore whether methadone programmes should be spread thin and wide to extend harm reduction benefits, or deepened with recovery-oriented support | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Addicts should be able to take banned substances without fear of prosecution in 'drug consumption rooms', says MP

Caroline Lucas argues creation of spaces where addicts can legally inject or inhale illicit substances would help reduce drug-related harm across UK | Independent, UK

Dentists 'should dole out diet tips and advice on alcohol intake' 

Dentists should give patients advice about eating more healthily and cutting down an alcohol, while they are carrying out a check-up, a new report suggests | Telegraph, UK

Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers

Europe has a long history of migration and the diversity of its ethnicities and religions creates complex links between ethnicity and drug use | EMCCDA, Portugal

New developments in cannabis regulation

As more jurisdictions contemplate and pass laws to legalise cannabis for medical and non-medical purposes, the discussions about cannabis policy will likely become more intense in the EU. Member States can learn from these experiences and decide if they want to maintain their current cannabis supply policies or try something else | EMCDDA, Portugal