Weekly news - 18th January 2019

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In date order - Monday to Friday

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) effectiveness and (b) cost-effectiveness of alcohol care teams in hospitals | They work for you, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Minimum Prices

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what meetings (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department have had in 2018 with representatives of (i) the alcohol industry and (ii) public health advocates to discuss minimum unit pricing for alcohol | They work for you, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he plans to publish an alcohol workforce strategy to accompany the alcohol strategy | They work for you, UK

Public 'turning blind eye' to street drug dealing

Now communities have been urged to help deal with the rising problem by reporting sightings | BBC, UK

Newport heroin drug batch warning after men's deaths

Police are linking the sudden deaths of two men and warning about a "potentially volatile" batch of heroin in Newport | BBC, UK

GPs prescribe more opioids for pain in poor Northern areas, study reveals

English patients living in poorer areas are likely to be prescribed more opioids by their GPs, according to a study led by University of Manchester and University of Nottingham researchers. The research also shows how smoking, obesity and depression are all associated with more prescribing of the drugs for problems such as lower back pain and arthritis | University of Manchester, UK

Fears over life-saving drug unfounded, finds review

Though the study found no evidence of any serious side effects linked to Naltrexone, many doctors hold back from prescribing the drug, often citing liver toxicity as a reason | University of Manchester, UK

New law will bring "zero tolerance" approach to drug driving

New laws to introduce a "zero tolerance" approach to drug driving are being proposed by the Scottish government | BBC, UK

Prison health inquiry: government response

This command paper sets out the government’s response to the Health and Social Care Committee’s inquiry into prison healthcare published in November 2018. [Includes a chapter discussing drug use in prisons] | DHSC, UK

Magic Mushrooms warning as foragers told mild winter has led to abundance of psychedelic fungi 

Foragers have been warned of an abundance of magic mushrooms after the mild winter caused the psychedelic fungi to thrive | Telegraph, UK

NIHR awards £2.4 million to research to reduce overprescribing of opioids

The NIHR has awarded £2.4 million to researchers at Keele University to investigate overprescribing of opioid painkillers in primary care and improve treatment of patients with persistent pain - without the use of long-term opioids | NIHR, UK

Pilot project to support children of alcohol dependent parents

Addaction has been awarded more than £200,000 to support children of alcohol dependent parents | Addaction, UK

New appointments to the ACMD

Six new members of the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) have been announced today | ACMD, UK

ACMD members' register of interests

Occupations, career history and interests of the members of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) | ACMD, UK

Legitimate use of controlled drugs: research and healthcare - updated

Interim advice to the Home Office regarding the legitimate use of controlled drugs in research and healthcare. This update consists of a further letter from the Policing Minister published, responding to the ACMD's recommendations | ACMD, UK

Cannabis-based Products: Medicinal Use

What guidance his Department has issued to clinicians on the prescription of cannabis-based products for medicinal use | They work for you, UK

Leaders with Lived Experience Pilot Programme

Leaders with Lived Experience is a pilot programme providing National Lottery grants of between £20,000 and £50,000 to support lived experience leadership. A lived experience leader is someone who uses their first-hand experience of a social issue to create positive change for, and with, communities and people they share those experiences with | Big Lottery Fund, UK

Low and No Alcohol Boom Here To Stay: New Figures Show Significant Consumer Support For Alternatives in 2019

One of the first surveys into attitudes towards low alcohol released today by the alcohol social responsibility body the Portman Group highlights an explosion in popularity of low and no alcohol alternatives as a way to drink responsibly, with younger people leading the trend. Figures show that nearly a quarter (24%) of British drinkers have either already switched some of their drinking to low alcohol alternatives or would consider doing so in the next six months | Portman Group, UK

Obesity overtaking smoking as biggest Welsh health risk

The "stark" problem with overweight children could also mean this generation will not live as long as their parents, according to Wales' chief medical officer | BBC, UK

Alcohol Related Deaths 2007-2017

[Northern Ireland] The statistics show that 303 of the 16,036 deaths registered in Northern Ireland in 2017 were due to alcohol related causes. This is almost 30 per cent more than was recorded a decade previously (238) and 70 per cent more than 2001 when the time series began (178). However alcohol related deaths continue to account for less than 2% of total deaths registered each year | NISRA, UK Ireland

Alcohol harm reduction education gains credibility in UK

Trialled in schools in Northern Ireland and Scotland, an alcohol harm reduction curriculum for secondary schools plus a parental component led to fewer pupils drinking heavily at a single sitting. Bolstered by this study, school programmes aiming to reduce harm rather than prevent drinking per se now have a limited but relatively good research record in the UK | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Review of the new strategic direction for alcohol and drugs – phase 2 (PDF)

The Department of Health in Northern Ireland has undertaken a comprehensive review of the New Strategic Direction for Alcohol and Drugs- Phase 2 (NSD-2), the region’s strategy on reducing alcohol and drug-related harm since 2011 | IPH, UK

Alcohol and drug treatment in secure settings: statistics summary 2017 to 2018

This National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) statistics report presents information on specialist treatment interventions for drugs and alcohol misuse in secure settings during 2017 to 2018. The report contains information on adults (aged 18 and over) in contact with treatment services in prisons, including youth offender institutions (YOIs) for 18 to 21 year olds, and immigration removal centres (IRCs) | PHE, UK

Software suppliers for the national drug treatment monitoring system

Software suppliers who have participated in the national drug treatment monitoring system (NDTMS) compliance programme and the level of compliance awarded | PHE, UK

Prisoners: Alcoholic drinks and Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the number of prisoners who have reported a drug or alcohol misuse problem upon arrival at prison in the latest period for which figures are available | They work for you, UK

Babies being born brain damaged by alcohol is a national emergency

[Free registration may be required] There is a public health emergency looming over our country, a hidden epidemic of staggeringly damaging proportions that demands our attention | The Times, UK

Cannabis: Prescriptions

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many NHS prescriptions have been issued for patients to use medical cannabis since 1 November 2018 | They work for you, UK

New SMMGP / FDAP website launched

Currently includes two free webinars: How to deliver effective opioid substitution treatment in prisons (recorded, watch at any time) Presenters: Drs Joss Bray and Jake Hard and Tamara Healey, and Compassionate Pragmatism: an integrative harm reduction approach to treating problematic substance use. Wed 27th February Presenter: Dr Andrew Tatarsky | SMMGP, UK

Commissioning guidance on drug and alcohol support in homelessness services

Homeless Link is funded from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to produce a series of good practice resources to help services to respond to, and prevent, homelessness. They are currently developing new guidance for homelessness accommodation services to support people who are dependent on alcohol and/or drugs. Homeless Link are looking for consultations to deliver this work – if you are interested please download the Consultancy specification (pdf) | Collective Voice, UK