Weekly news - 1st September 2017


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UK news

Drug and alcohol treatment funding slashed across England by 16% in four years

Exclusive: Local councils forced to reduce financial support by £105m since Government removed ring-fenced budgets for services in 2012/13, figures show | Independent, UK

Drug driving crackdown means more dangerous motorists off roads

Better technology means courts are punishing drug drive offenders in record numbers | Department for Transport, Ministry of Justice, Paul Maynard MP, and Dominic Raab MP, UK

Drug driving

Explains changes to drug driving law and the guidance available for healthcare professionals and users of prescription medicine | Department for Transport, UK

'Drug drivers' now as likely to be convicted as drunk motorists

Almost 1,500 "drug drivers" are being convicted every year following the introduction of new laws intended to take more dangerous drivers off Britain's roads | Telegraph, UK

Acceptability of introducing lower-risk injecting equipment

Interviews with people who inject drugs and with needle exchange staff
suggest it would be feasible to introduce lower-risk ‘low dead space’
needle and syringe combinations. But, given that a sudden change in
equipment may be difficult to adjust to, what is the least disruptive
way to make the change? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Funding cuts result in fewer people accessing smoking cessation services, says charity

Smokers most heavily addicted and in need of cessation services were disproportionately from disadvantaged groups. Therefore, lack of funding to smoking cessation groups may lead to a wider gap in life expectancy between the rich and the poor, a public health charity suggests | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

Do electronic cigarettes increase cigarette smoking in UK adolescents? Evidence from a 12-month prospective study

In cross-sectional surveys, increasing numbers of adolescents report using both electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and cigarettes. This study assessed whether adolescent e-cigarette use was associated prospectively with initiation or escalation of cigarette use | BMJ, UK

Young People’s Use of E-Cigarettes across the United Kingdom: Findings from Five Surveys 2015–2017

[Open access] Concern has been expressed about the use of e-cigarettes among young people. Our study reported e-cigarette and tobacco cigarette ever and regular use among 11–16 year olds across the UK | MDPI, UK

Fears over e-cigarettes leading to smoking for young people unfounded – study

Largest ever such survey of British 11- to 16-year-olds reveals experimentation with vaping devices does not translate into regular use and smoking rates still in decline | Guardian, UK

Getting In-Home Drinkers To Go Out

[Free access for a limited time but registration required] Over six in 10 enjoy going to the pub for a drink, but with many pubs closing down and price increases affecting those remaining, operators face a market where consumers are put off and many would rather drink at home | YouGov, UK

Further calls for mandatory alcohol labelling: new AHA & WHO reports

The issue of alcohol labelling has been raised again as health groups claim that voluntary efforts are failing consumers and statutory labelling requirements should be set out | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Medication-assisted withdrawal led by patients’ symptoms

In one UK hospital trust, a so-called ‘symptom-triggered’ approach to
prescribing was taken for patients experiencing alcohol withdrawal.
Clinicians were satisfied with the new protocol, but how did patient
safety and outcomes fare? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Acceptability of low dead space syringes and implications for their introduction: A qualitative study in the West of England

Lower-risk needle and syringe combinations seem acceptable to people who inject drugs in England, but given that a sudden change in equipment can be difficult to adjust to, their gradual introduction seems best, alongside an intervention to educate and support | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Improving clinical responses to drug-related deaths: a summary of best practice and innovations from drug treatment providers

Collective Voice and the NHS Substance Misuse Provider Alliance have published a set of recommendations for drug treatment providers to help improve clinical responses to drug-related deaths. Practice points covered include: the identification of risk of drug-related death; the delivery of safe, recovery-orientated drug treatment; preventing overdose in people who use drugs; meeting physical and mental health needs; and reducing the risk of drug-related death for people outside drug treatment | Collective Voice / NHS Substance Misuse Provider Alliance, UK

UK health advisers’ recommendations on psychosocial therapies for drug users

After comprehensively examining the evidence for psychosocial therapies for problem drug use, the UK’s official health advisers made in some respects surprising and controversial recommendations. Drafted in 2007, the recommendations remained unchanged after a review in 2016 | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

'Legal high' review after laughing gas cases collapse

A law banning so-called legal highs in the UK is to be reviewed after the collapse of the first ever contested cases under the new legislation | BBC, UK

Pregabalin worker's guide

Pregabalin is a medication used for seizures, anxiety and neuropathic pain. It is also known by a brand name Lrica® and various street names. In recent years it’s use has become prolific across Northern Ireland is also seen in other parts of the UK among heroin users and the prison population. It is involved in ever more fatal overdoses in these groups/region | Injecting Advice, UK

Pubs quizzed: What publicans think about drug policy, public health and the changing trade (PDF)

There is significant common ground between public health bodies and publicans, and scope to develop policies approved of by both groups | IAS, UK

What Britain's ideal pub looks like

In a 1946, George Orwell detailed what he wanted from his ideal public house, the fictitious “Moon Under Water”. While some of Orwell’s preferences have not aged well (such as serving beer in strawberry-pink china mugs and being able to use the pub’s telephone), new YouGov Omnibus research shows that many aspects of Orwell’s ideal pub have stood the test of time | YouGov, UK