Weekly news - 29th June 2018


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Nearly two-thirds of prisoners on short sentences have drug and alcohol problems and 70% go on to reoffend within a year, new figures show

A charity campaigning to end short prison sentences is calling for the Government to take a “radical new approach” to persistent, low-level offenders after new figures revealed that nearly two-thirds of those serving sentences of less than six months have a drug or alcohol problem, with almost 70% of those going on to reoffend within a year of release | Volte Face, UK

British drug to be first ever cannabis epilepsy medicine to gain regulatory approval

Acannabis-derived treatment for severe epilepsy in children that was discovered and developed in Britain will be the first medication of its kind to gain regulatory approval when US authorities give it the green light on Wednesday | Telegraph, UK

Is it time to legalise medical cannabis in the UK?

The case of 12-year-old Billy Caldwell has given fresh impetus to the debate on medicinal marijuana, but reforming the law is difficult in an industry plagued by non-scientific methods | Guardian, UK

Durham police chief calls for legalisation of cannabis in UK

Mike Barton says ban on drug is damaging public safety and market needs to be regulated | Guardian, UK

'County lines': One in five Norfolk arrests were of children, police say

Of 609 arrests made during Operation Gravity in Norfolk in the 18 months up to 5 June, 126 were of children | BBC, UK

Support. Don't Punish. Day of Action 2018

26th June is the 6th Day of Action organised so far. Last year, thousands of people across 205 cities in 93 countries took part in the fifth global day of action for the Support Don’t Punish campaign to call for better drug policies anchored in public health and human rights | Support. Don't Punish, UK

International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is celebrated each year to strengthen global action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse. "LISTEN FIRST - is a new UNODC initiative launched today to increase support for prevention of drug use that is based on science | UNODC, Various countries

“Illogical” cannabis regulation blocks research into therapeutic uses, say doctors

Doctors should be able to prescribe cannabis legally and research its therapeutic use more easily, 20 prominent UK clinicians and academics have said | BMJ, UK

Doctors: 'Allow e-cigarettes on hospital sites'

Smokers should be permitted to use e-cigarettes on NHS sites, leading doctors have said | Herald, UK

FDA approves first drug comprised of an active ingredient derived from marijuana to treat rare, severe forms of epilepsy

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol) [CBD] oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, in patients two years of age and older | FDA, USA

Scottish Drug Misuse Database: Overview of Initial Assessments for Specialist Drug Treatment 2016/17 (PDF)

In 2016/17, initial assessments for specialist drug treatment relating to 11,721 individuals were recorded on the Scottish Drug Misuse Database. Drug services are increasingly dealing with an older population; the percentage of individuals assessed for specialist drug treatment who were aged 35 and over increased from 29% in 2006/07 to 51% in 2016/17. Heroin was the most common substance people reported needing help with, although reported use of heroin has decreased over time | ISD Scotland, UK

Heroin use declining in Scotland, figures show

Ten years ago, 58% of users under the age of 25 reported using heroin. That proportion has now fallen to 25% | BBC, UK

Hiding in plain sight: Treating tobacco dependency in the NHS

The report argues that existing models of delivering stop smoking services separately from mainstream NHS services, while successful in the past, may now not be the best approach. We argue that responsibility for treating smokers lies with the clinician who sees them, and that our NHS should be delivering default, opt-out, systematic interventions for all smokers at the point of service contact | RCP, UK

Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme: service availability and issues

Check the availability and any issues affecting the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS) | HM Revenue and Customs, UK

World Drug Report 2018: opioid crisis, prescription drug abuse expands; cocaine and opium hit record highs

The non-medical use of prescription drugs is becoming a major threat to public health and law enforcement worldwide with opioids causing the most harm and accounting for 76 per cent of deaths where drug use disorders were implicated, according to the latest World Drug Report, released today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) | UNODC, Austria

Cannabis and cannabis-based medicinal products

The government has announced a review of the scheduling of cannabis. The review will be in 2 parts: part 1 will cover the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of cannabis and cannabis-based medicinal products. part 2 will provide an assessment based on the balance of harms and public health needs of whether cannabis and cannabis-based medicinal products should be rescheduled under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 | Home Office, UK

Press release: New expert panel set up to advise on medinical cannabis licence applications

An expert panel of clinicians set up to advise Ministers on medicinal cannabis licence applications has started accepting applications | Home Office, UK

Cannabis based medicinal products panel - terms of reference

This terms of reference sets out the scope of the expert panel, who assess applications for special licences to prescribe cannabis based medicinal products | Home Office, UK

Spotlight on Substance Misuse: Emerging good practice across PCC areas (PDF)

This spotlight, the seventh in the series, focuses on substance misuse. Government strategies, such as Transforming Rehabilitation, the 2017 Drug Strategy and the 2012 Alcohol Strategy highlight the association between substance misuse, health risks and offending | Revolving Doors, UK

Fentanyl: Sentencing

I beg to move, That this House  has considered sentences for supplying Fentanyl | They work for you, UK

Why young LGBT people need alcohol-free safe spaces

LGBT people in London could be getting a new alcohol-free space to meet, thanks (in part) to The 1975 | BBC, UK

Midwives in cash call to cut smoking in pregnant women

More investment is needed to help pregnant women quit smoking and manage their weight, the Royal College of Midwives Wales has said | BBC, UK

Misuse of opioids such as tramadol and fentanyl is 'global epidemic', report finds

UN figures reveal deepening opioid crisis in Africa, with cocaine and opium production at records levels worldwide | Guardian, UK

Alcohol and Health: Special DDN supplement

We all know that alcohol is linked to health problems. The range and scale of those harms is far wider than many of us think. In particular, drinking very heavily brings with it a number of serious physical risks. This special publication provides a clear and detailed overview of those risks, as well as advice for people likely to encounter such problems in their day-to-day work | DDN, UK

Medical use of cannabis

This briefing provides a short overview of the control of cannabis in the UK, and information about the recently announced review on the medical use of cannabis | Parliament.uk, UK

Drugs Policy

On 18 June, I announced the creation of an expert panel to advise Ministers on individual applications to prescribe cannabis-based medicinal products. As of today (27 June), the panel is now accepting applications, and will meet for the first time later this week | They work for you, UK

Legalising cannabis 'would raise £1bn in tax for the UK'

The report from the Institute of Economic Affairs has valued the UK's black market in cannabis at £2.6bn | BBC, UK

Binge drinking may raise blood pressure in younger men

"Knocking back as few as four drinks on a night out puts young adults at risk of heart disease," reports the Mail Online | NHS Choices: Behind the Headlines, UK