Weekly news - 14th September 2018

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In date order - Monday to Friday

Public Health England and Drinkaware launch Drink Free Days

Two thirds of regular drinkers say that cutting down on their drinking is harder than improving diet or exercise | PHE and Drinkaware, UK

Two festivalgoers critically ill after suspected ecstasy overdose

A number of other people at the Reminisce festival in St Helens have also been taken to hospital, police said | Guardian, UK

Scottish ministers to hear arguments for medicinal use of cannabis

Activists from Medicinal Cannabis Reform Scotland are to meet with senior officers from Police Scotland, representatives of public health Minister Joe Fitzpatrick, and the NHS in Holyrood later this month | National, UK

Drug Deaths

To ask the First Minister what action the Scottish Government is taking in response to the rising number of drug deaths | They work for you, UK

Cannabis: Medical Treatments

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the recommendation of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs that medicinal cannabis products be moved out of Schedule 1 and into Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations, how long it will take to reclassify the medicinal cannabis oil used by Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell... | They work for you, UK

Seven children a week in NI A&Es with drug overdoses

Hundreds of children have been admitted to A&Es across Northern Ireland with drug overdoses in the last 18 months, UTV can reveal | ITV, UK

DDN September 2018

Owen’s story gives valuable insight into gambling. The call for support has to be heard and incorporated more widely into our treatment system so we can offer help at the first sign of struggle. The theme of peer-to-peer expertise runs deep through this month’s issue. Local user groups are networking with naloxone initiatives, while EuroNPUD are rolling out a far-reaching overdose prevention project. Also, three minutes isn’t long to tell your story, particularly when you need to convey the significance of the ‘lightbulb moment’ when you decided to do things differently. But that’s exactly what entrants to this year’s Recovery Street Film Festival achieved | DDN, UK

Top health advisor quits role accusing British government of working too closely to the alcohol industry with new multi-million pound campaign paid for by drink companies

Sir Ian Gilmore, a senior adviser at Public Health England (PHE), accused his former agency of developing a cosy relationship with big business. He said ever closer ties would allow the drinks industry to ‘water down’ tougher laws on alcohol sales and consumption, the Times [behind paywall] reported | Mail Online, UK

Sharp rise in young people overdosing on painkillers and antidepressants

Study finds the number who poisoned themselves increased fivefold during a 16-year period | Guardian, UK

My Brain, Me and FASD

To mark the 2018 International FASD Awareness Day, NOFAS-UK is pleased to launch an innovative booklet designed to promote wellbeing among children with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). It provides information in a fun and visual format, emphasising the strengths of those with FASD and highlighting strategies that can help | NOFAS-UK, UK

From England, signs that tighter licensing policies have reduced serious alcohol-related harm

Compared to 86 local areas with unchanged policies, five areas taking a hands-on approach to enforcement saw reductions in violent and sexual crimes and alcohol-related hospital admissions. Are these changes indicative of a meaningful change in the drinking environment brought about by tighter licensing regimens? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Further advice on scheduling of cannabis-derived medicinal products

Further advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to the Home Office about the scheduling of cannabis-derived medicinal products | ACMD, UK

The Children’s Inquiry

How effectively are the UK’s cannabis policies safeguarding young people? | Volte Face, UK

Teen cannabis dealers should be seen as victims, says thinktank

Vulnerable under-18s are being coerced into the drugs trade, found Volteface campaigners | Guardian, UK

Current and future state of nation’s health revealed

PHE has published a new Health Profile for England report giving the most comprehensive picture of the health of England today and into the future | PHE, UK

Fear of police stop and search can deter opioid users from carrying anti-overdose kits

The levels of fatal overdose in the UK are catastrophic. More than 4,500 people died of a drug-related death in 2017 alone. In Scotland, the figure totalled 934, the highest ever annually recorded | Conversation, UK

Volatile substance abuse—overlooked and under-serviced

The recent release of new UK data on the number of deaths caused by drug misuse highlighted the continued high levels of harm associated with substance use | BMJ blog, UK

Pay 3p more for a beer, save lives: the Alcohol Treatment Levy

Increasing alcohol duties by 1% would raise around £100 million each year which, invested in alcohol treatment, could save the NHS and other public services around £300 million annually. This would equate to just 5p more for an average bottle of wine and 3p more for a pint of beer – yet would boost alcohol treatment budgets in England alone by 50% | Alcohol Concern blog, UK

Nasal naloxone now available to order

Nyxoid® is intended for immediate administration as emergency therapy for known or suspected opioid overdose as manifested by respiratory and/or central nervous system depression in both non-medical and healthcare settings. Our website contains the following educational materials: 1) Healthcare Professional Guidance document, 2) Patient information card and 3) Training card for patients and carers. These are designed to help HCP’s support take-home naloxone initiatives by training patients at risk of overdosing and their family or friends | NAPP, UK

Alcohol dependency at record high but fewer being treated, data shows

One in seven of 605,688 people needing help in England received treatment in 2016-17 | Guardian, UK

Experts attack health agency's ties to drink industry

Dozens of public health experts have told Public Health England (PHE) they oppose its decision to work with a charity funded by the alcohol industry | BBC, UK

Why Public Health England is working with Drinkaware to reduce the harms of alcohol

Today we have announced something different. For our new alcohol campaign, we are partnering with the educational charity Drinkaware to encourage middle-aged regular drinkers to take more drink free days to help reduce their risk of developing serious health problems | PHE blog, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to page 28 of the Government's 2017 Drug Strategy, published in July 2017, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) potential benefits and disbenefits of the proposals to use locally retained business rates for the funding of alcohol treatment services and (b) effect of those proposals on the provision of such services in deprived areas | They work for you, UK

Drugs: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what funding his Department has allocated to harm reduction strategies in relation to (a) GHB and (b) GHL | They work for you, UK

Why spice and other ‘legal highs’ are so dangerous

Spice and other ‘legal highs’ are often more dangerous than the established illegal drugs they replicate and pose a threat to the nation’s mental health, a leading expert has warned | I news, UK

Does my BMI look big in this?

Dr Kirstie Anderson from the Regional Sleep Service, Newcastle, writes about the often misunderstood problem of opioids and weight gain in pain patients | SMMGP, UK

US government considers ban on flavored e-cigarettes over youth 'epidemic'

Food and Drug Administration is threatening to pull devices off the market if the tobacco industry doesn’t combat growing use | Guardian, UK

Ireland is set to open first ever safe injecting clinic – here former drug awareness campaigner Tony Geoghegan discusses future of drug services in country

Dubliner Tony was in the trenches for the past 30 years as Ireland went from heroin to HIV epidemics in the 1980's to the psycho-active synthetics wreaking havoc today | Irish Sun, Ireland

Health situation in the European region (PDF)

Tobacco smoking rates present a challenge for Europe as rates for the adult population are the highest of the six WHO regions though the figures varied between countries and age groups | WHO, Austria

Lords addiction debate: Drug and Alcohol Addiction Services at ‘breaking point’ warns Ashworth (PDF)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the trends in different types of addiction in England and Wales | Parliament.uk, UK

Alcoholic Drinks and Drugs: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure equality of access to (a) alcohol and (b) drug treatments | They work for you, UK


To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to support the ageing profile of heroin users; and whether his Department has a written strategy to support ageing heroin users | They work for you, UK

Vapers rise 'to more than three million' in Britain

The number of vapers in Great Britain has topped three million for the first time - four times the number in 2012, according to a survey by Action on Smoking and Health | BBC, UK