Weekly news - 26th October 2018

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In date order, Monday to Friday

Early day motion 1682 - Alcohol charter

That this House is alarmed that alcohol treatment services have been severely cut while the affordability and availability of alcohol, and alcohol dependency, have increased dramatically; notes that liver disease is now the only major cause of death in the UK which is rising... | Parliament.uk, UK

Question Time - debate on drug related deaths - BBC iPlayer

[Watch from 33.5 minutes in] David Dimbleby presents topical debate from the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh including a question on Scotland's drug related death rate | BBC, UK

Are drug related deaths in the UK the highest in the EU?

David Dimbleby’s figures on the number of drug-related deaths in England, Wales and Scotland are correct for deaths registered in 2017 | Full Fact, UK

Early day motion 1653 - Drug related deaths

That this House notes that there were 3,756 deaths relating to drug poisoning in England and Wales in 2017; further notes that this is the highest number on record; is alarmed that deaths due to Fentanyl and cocaine continue to rise; and calls on the Government to take urgent action to increase access to the opiate-overdose antidote Naloxone and reverse the detrimental disinvestment in drug treatment services | Parliament.uk, UK

Buprenorphine: Prices

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure Buprenorphine remains affordable in light of the drug's recent increase in price | They work for you, UK

Rescheduling of cannabis-based products for medicinal use

Today, the Government is laying the Misuse of Drugs (Amendments) (Cannabis and Licence Fees) () Regulations 2018 (“the 2018 Regulations”) in the House. These regulations reschedEngland, Wales and Scotlandule cannabis-based products for medicinal use and will come into force on 1 November 2018 | They work for you, UK

Medicinal cannabis should be available for all NHS patients, campaigners say

Medical cannabis should be made available for all NHS patients, campaigners have said, amid expectations it will only be prescribed to help treat three conditions | Telegraph, UK

The Colour of Injustice: ‘Race’, drugs and law enforcement in England and Wales

This report – by StopWatch, Release, and LSE’s International Drug Policy Unit - documents the disproportionate impact that drug law enforcement continues to have on black and minority ethnic communities in England and Wales | StopWatch, Release, LSE, UK

Racial bias in police stop and search getting worse, report reveals

Despite reforms, black people are nine times more likely than white people to be checked for drugs | Guardian, UK

Black Mamba 'available' in Birmingham homeless hostel

In the past year, two deaths thought to be linked to the synthetic drug have occurred at Washington Court, one of the city's largest homeless hostels | BBC, UK

Pregabalin: There’s Been A Huge Surge In Deaths Linked To ‘The New Valium’

'It’s terrible to come off. It’s not just physical, it’s mental torture.' | Huffington Post, UK

Pregabalin and gabapentin to be controlled as class C drugs

Prescription drugs pregabalin and gabapentin are to be reclassified as class C controlled substances from next April, the government announced today (15 October) | Home Office and Victoria Atkins MP, UK

Crackdown on painkillers amid addiction fears

Two painkillers are to be reclassified as class C controlled substances amid concerns people are becoming addicted to them and misusing them | BBC, UK

Increased levies on alcohol prices needed to limit damage to society – report

A new “treatment levy” should be imposed on alcohol duties to help deal with the harm caused by heavy drinking, MPs and health groups have said | ITV, UK

Drugs, Alcohol & Justice Cross-Party Parliamentary Group and APPG on Alcohol Harm Alcohol Charter (PDF)

A new national Alcohol Strategy must lead the way internationally in reducing the damage to society caused by alcohol misuse | All-Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm, UK

Cross-party parliamentary group publishes alcohol charter

Thirty organisations across civil society have put their names behind a new Alcohol Charter urging the government to reduce the damage to society caused by alcohol | IAS, UK

Tackling multiple disadvantage nationwide (PDF)

We are pleased to present our new strategy for 2018-2022.  The strategy outlines our four strategic aims, and the work that we will do together with partners across the country to achieve them | MEAM, UK

‘A tragedy for addicts’. Why rehab centres are shutting their doors

Like many others in the UK, Bristol’s Chandos House residential centre is being forced to close in November as council cuts hit referrals | Guardian, UK

Lay member: cannabis-derived products for medicinal use

We are looking for lay members to join the cannabis-derived products for medicinal use guideline committee. Closing date: 5pm Monday 22 October | NICE, UK

The Hidden Victims of Britain's Ecstasy Deaths

Give your friend an ecstasy pill and you could find yourself in jail, against your late friend's family's wishes | VICE, UK

Facial recognition system to approve alcohol and cigarettes sales to be trialled by first British supermarket

Facial recognition software is to be used in UK supermarkets for the first time to verify the age of people buying alcohol and cigarettes, the Telegraph has learned | Telegraph, UK

Canada becomes second country to legalise recreational marijuana

Canada has become the second country after Uruguay to legalise possession and use of recreational cannabis | BBC, UK

Drinkaware: unequivocally committed to reducing alcohol harm

Sir Leigh Lewis, Chair of the Drinkaware Trust, has written an article for The Lancet addressing the recent criticisms of Drinkaware | DrinkAware, UK

Advice on the anticonvulsant drugs Pregabalin and Gabapentin

Addendum to section 6 of the advice published | ACMD, UK

Public Health England: Drinkaware Trust

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what consultation took place between Public Health England and its independent expert advisors on the Alcohol Leadership Board prior to its decision to enter into a partnership with Drinkaware | They work for you, UK

Public Health England: Drinkaware Trust

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the press release, Public Health England and Drinkaware launch Drink Free Days, published on 10 September 2018, for what reason the decision was taken by Public Health England not to state clearly that Drinkaware is funded by the alcohol industry | They work for you, UK

Strong support for higher alcohol taxes to help fund public services

New figures released today show that nearly half (49%) of North Easterners support increasing alcohol taxes if the money raised went into funding public services impacted by alcohol use, such as the NHS and police | Balance North East, UK

Review finds that brief alcohol advice in relatively normal primary care practice reduces drinking

Update of a key document forming the basis of claims that brief interventions work in ‘real-world’ settings. Combined findings from randomised trials confirm that brief advice in primary care can reduce drinking; now the issue is whether in normal practice those benefits will be realised on a grand enough scale to create public health gains | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Crime in England and Wales: year ending June 2018

Crime against households and adults, also including data on crime experienced by children, and crimes against businesses and society. [Includes statistics on drug offences] | ONS, UK


To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of smoking cessation treatments (a) varenicline, (b) bupropion and (c) nicotine replacement therapies in each of the last three years | They work for you, UK

Drug Trafficking: County Lines

I am really pleased to have been able to secure the Adjournment debate this evening on the crucial matter known as county lines. This long-distance drugrunning is bringing misery to towns such as Barrow and coastal and rural areas right across the country | They work for you, UK

Driving under Influence

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will reduce the drink-drive limit to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood | They work for you, UK

What is the one thing you would cahnge in the current UK drugs policy and why?

Facebook discussion. Ronnie Cowan MP is leading a Westminster Hall debate on UK drugs policy and wants to hear your views. Comment with your views below before 3pm on Monday 22 October | UK House of Commons Facebook, UK

The case for calling alcohol a drug

The words that clinicians use matter. Professors Kypros Kypri and Jim McCambridge argue that the way we categorise these words is also important, particularly in relation to drug and addiction policy. Policy could deal with smoking, drugs, and alcohol separately. Or it could bring all addictive drugs together, including alcohol, among others | BMJ editorial, UK

Closing residential rehabs only increases the suffering of addicts

Places like Chandos House in Bristol, which shuts next month, represent a genuine mechanism through which compassion can operate | Guardian, UK