Weekly news - 5th April 2019


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Taskforce plan over Scotland's record drug deaths

Ministers are to assemble a taskforce to tackle the rising number of drug deaths in Scotland | BBC, UK

NHS Lothian chief warns proposed health service cuts will lead to ‘premature deaths’

Proposals to cut more than £2.3m from drugs and alcohol support services across Edinburgh will “contribute to premature deaths”, the region’s top public health consultant has warned | Edinburgh News, UK

Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families indicators 2019

'Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families' indicator data used to track progress in tackling disadvantages affecting families’ and children’s outcomes. [Chapter 5 considers parental drug and alcohol dependency] | DWP, UK

More adults seeking support for alcoholic parents

The number of adults seeking help to cope with an alcoholic parent has tripled over five years, according to a leading charity | BBC, UK

Testing kit or ban? How universities are tackling student drug use

Student drug use is rising. Some universities are using harm reduction techniques – others are clamping down altogether | Guardian, UK

19/23 Cannabis-based products for medicinal use

Webinar. We are holding webinars to support applications to this funding opportunity. The deadline for applications is 1pm, 31 July 2019 | NIHR, UK

Control of pregabalin and gabapentin under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) Order 2018 classifies pregabalin and gabapentin as Class C drugs | Home Office, UK

Pregabalin/Lyrica reclassified to a class C drug

A prescription drug linked to 33 deaths in 2017 in Northern Ireland is to be made a class C drug | BBC, UK

Polling Statistics from the Centre for Social Justice’s Cannabis: The Case Against Legislation

In December 2018, the think tank the Centre for Social Justice commissioned a national poll through YouGov which asked 1,646 respondents whether they had previously used cannabis | Volte Face, UK

Blenheim and Humankind merge to become national provider of health and social care services

Following the announcement of their intention to merge in November 2018, northern-based health and social care charity Humankind and London-based alcohol and drug charity Blenheim CDP have today merged to form a national organisation focused on addressing health and social inequalities across the country | Humankid, UK

Knife crime: More stop and search powers for police

Home Secretary Sajid Javid is making it easier for officers to search people without reasonable suspicion in places where serious violence may occur | BBC, UK

Numbing the Pain: Survivors’ voices of childhood sexual abuse and addiction (PDF)

One in Four’s new report, Numbing the Pain: Survivors’ voices of childhood sexual abuse and addictionhighlights sexual abuse as an underlying trauma for many people who experience substance abuse addiction | One in four, UK

Drugs before sex more common in UK than in Europe or US – study

UK citizens more likely to use alcohol, MDMA or cocaine before sex, researchers find | Guardian, UK

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2017/18: Main Findings

This summary presents a range of key findings from the 2017/18 Scottish Crime and Justice Survey | Scottish Government, UK

Room for improvement: How drug consumption rooms save lives (PDF)

A new report by Jarryd Bartle, a drug policy consultant and university lecturer, calls for Britain to introduce life-saving Drug Consumption Rooms | Adam Smith Institute, UK

Prisons: Drugs

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the average waiting time for prisoners to access an accredited drug treatment programme in prison; and how long, on average, an individual participates in an accredited drug treatment programme in prison once they have begun treatment | They work for you, UK

E-cigarettes 'do not promote smoking in teens'

There's been some concern about the popularity of e-cigarettes among young people, and whether it could increase the number of teen smokers by making smoking seem more socially acceptable | NHS: Behind the headlines, UK

Smokers who switch to vaping save nearly £350 a year, research suggests

Smokers who have switched to vaping save on average £346.32 a year after kicking the habit, a new poll has suggested | Independent, UK

Psychostimulants play a major role in fatal strokes among young adults

The study by researchers from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at UNSW Sydney found that from 2009–2016, psychostimulant users constituted nearly a fifth of the 279 cases of fatal stroke in adults aged 15–44 years. The majority of the deaths had evidence of psychostimulant consumption immediately prior to the fatal stroke | NDARC, Australia

Liver disease profiles: April 2019 update

This update of the liver disease profiles data tool includes new data on persons aged 18 years and over in drug misuse treatment who inject drugs and are receiving a hepatitis C test, for 2017 to 2018 | PHE, UK

National Prison Drugs Strategy

The Prison Drugs Strategy sets out our ambition to tackle drugs by restricting supply, reducing demand and building recovery. This mirrors the 3 strands of the HM Government Drug Strategy and, through a comprehensive approach, offers the best opportunity to reduce the levels of drug misuse in our prisons | MoJ and HMPPS, UK

Hepatitis C - Annual Epidemiological Report for 2017

European surveillance data show a 10 percent decrease in newly reported hepatitis C cases between 2016 and 2017. However, with more than 31,000 recorded cases in 2017, diagnoses remain at a high level in the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA) | ECDC, Sweden

Psychotropic Substances - Technical Report

On an annual basis the Psychotropics Control Section of the INCB Secretariat publishes a technical report that provides an overview of the world wide licit manufacture, export, import, stocks and consumption of substances controlled under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971. In addition to providing specific figures for movements of many scheduled substances the report includes commentary on emerging and ongoing trends in the licit market for psychotropic substances under international control | INCB, USA

Medicinal use of cannabis based products and cannabinoids

Until recently, cannabis and its derivatives were widely restricted under legislation which stated they had no medical value and carried a substantial risk of misuse. Policy is rapidly changing, and cannabis can now be prescribed for medicinal use in many countries, including the UK | BMJ, UK

First Minister announces expert group to focus on drug-related deaths in Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon has announced the establishment of an expert group to review what is being done to reduce drug-related deaths in Scotland. The announcement of the group was officially made during First Minster’s Questions on Thursday the 4th of April in response to a question from Miles Briggs MSP. Includes SDF comment | SDF, UK

More policy work needed to reduce use of smokeless tobacco, say researchers

Researchers at the University of York have shown that regulations on smokeless tobacco are still lacking, despite 181 countries agreeing to a common approach to controlling the demand and supply | University of York, UK

Written Submission to the Health and Social Care Committee: Drugs Policy Inquiry

Release's written submission of evidence to the Health and Social Care Committee's Inquiry on Drugs Policy. The inquiry was launched on Monday 4 February 2019 | Release, UK

Drug consumption rooms in Scotland gain cross-party support

Calls for legal drug cons-umption rooms (DCRs) have garnered cross-party backing as MPs back efforts to cut deaths and crime | National, UK

Legalising cocaine unlikely to impact use - people already take it

Majority of Britons say they would not take Class A drugs even if they were legal – and most of those who would already have | YouGov, UK

Even one drink a day increases stroke risk, study finds

Even light-to-moderate drinking increases blood pressure and the chances of having a stroke, according to a large genetic study in The Lancet, countering previous claims that one or two drinks a day could be protective | BBC, UK

Street cannabis 'contains dangerous amount of faecal matter'

Most cannabis sold on the streets of Madrid is contaminated with dangerous levels of faecal matter, a study says | BBC, UK

Drug use in seaside towns, views from the front-line

Seaside towns often rank highest for drug related harm. Three coastal drug and alcohol workers discuss the challenges and possibilities in their communities | Addaction, UK

Why is chemsex so popular? If we're too scared to talk about medicated sex, we'll never find out

Due to our collective reluctance to be open about it, people find their own chemically induced solutions to sexual problems, often by accident rather than design. But trial and error can be dangerous | Independent voices, UK