Weekly news - 17th May 2019


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In date order - Monday to Friday

Funding released to help rough sleepers living with mental illness

Adults who are sleeping rough and living with mental illness or substance misuse will benefit from £1.9 million funding to improve their access to vital healthcare | DHSC, UK

MUP one year on: speculation, spin & evidence?

The 1st of May 2019 marked one year since the introduction of minimum unit pricing (MUP) in Scotland, prompting mainstream media coverage and inevitable attempts to declare its impact, despite limited data as yet available | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Alcohol-related harm to others in England: a cross-sectional analysis of national survey data

[Open access] To estimate the prevalence, the frequency and the perpetrators of alcohol-related harm to others (AHTO) and identify factors associated with experiencing harm and aggressive harm | BMJ, UK

We can't halt drug trade with arrests, says crime agency chief

National Crime Agency head spells out limits of what can be achieved in fight against drugs | Guardian, UK

Scottish teachers hit out over new tests for alcohol and drug use

Unions said there was no need for the policy and warned it could lead to punitive action against those testing positive for trace amounts of alcohol | Herald, UK

Food banks could provide free e-cigarettes under new proposals

Smokers accessing food bank support will be offered a starter kit | i news, UK

Tobacco firms accused of using Formula One to flout ads ban on e-cigarettes

Campaigners claim Philip Morris and British American Tobacco are using sponsorship deals with McLaren and Ferrari to plug products | Guardian, UK

Fury as Philip Morris offers 25% life insurance discount if smokers switch to its tobacco device - but not if they vape

Cigarette giant Philip Morris – the company behind Marlboro and Benson & Hedges – has been accused of using a life insurance scheme to tempt smokers to its highly profitable 'heated' tobacco products – rather than switch to potentially less dangerous alternatives | Mail on Sunday, UK

Cardiff's homelessness problem 'could be solved now'

A Finnish scheme which has dramatically cut rough sleeping could help the problem in Wales, according to the expert behind it | BBC, UK

Review of drugs: call for evidence

The responses to this call for evidence will be used, in conjunction with other sources such as official statistics, visits, research reports and academic literature, to build a detailed, up-to-date picture of drug use and supply, and to assess the effectiveness of interventions. The closing date for submissions is 11:59pm on 7 June 2019 | Home Office, UK

Working with people who use drugs: Guidance for homelessness accommodation services

Guidance for managers and staff of homelessness accommodation on developing positive, welcoming services for people who are continuing to use drugs | Homeless Link, UK

Suicide, drug abuse and alcoholism linked to more middle-aged deaths than heart disease

A leading economist has said the UK faces a sharp rise in self-inflicted deaths as people face increasing economic isolation. He says that among Britons aged 45 -54 the number of deaths of despair per 100,000 people has risen from just over 20 in 1993 to 43 in 2017. See also: Inequalities in the twenty-first century: introducing the IFS Deaton Review | Sky News, UK

Council workers to face random tests for drugs and drink

[Free subscription may be required] Scottish teachers and council workers could face drugs and alcohol tests if they are deemed to be acting strangely or colleagues accuse them of being inebriated on the job | The Times, UK

New UK strategy for tackling drugs and drug use problems in prisons

The Prison Drugs Strategy aims to create a pathway for “real and positive change across the prison estate” – restricting the supply of drugs, reducing demand, and building recovery. It highlights the challenges of managing health conditions in custodial settings, and arguably shows on which side policymakers tend to fall when walking the tightrope between reducing harm and enforcing the law | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

The Timpson Review of School Exclusion (PDF)

Includes a look at the role of alcohol and other drugs in school exclusions | Department for Education and Race Disparity Unit, UK

Toolkit For Tackling Chronic Opioid Use In Non-Cancer Pain

The Medicines Optimisation Group East Anglia was supported by NIHR CLAHRC Eastern to develop an approach to opioid tapering. We combined research evidence with experiences of health organisations and practitioners to develop a programme theory | UEA, UK

Medicinal cannabis: Legalised yet impossible to access

It became lawful for the NHS to prescribe marijuana in November, yet as Harry Sumnall discovers, its impact has been felt by very few people | Independent, UK

Tobacco display ban 'safeguards young people'

A ban on displaying cigarettes and tobacco at shop counters has reduced the risk of young people taking up smoking, according to a new study | BBC, UK

Harm reduction policy in Britain

On International Harm Reduction Day (7th May) we covered the roots of harm reduction in Britain. As promised, each week throughout the rest of the month we will be adding another layer of understanding to the topic.
This week’s bulletin examines how harm reduction has been variously enshrined, marginalised, and excluded in British policy | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

NHS England cannabis access review to speak with families paying £40k for private prescriptions

As part of a review into medical cannabis prescribing on the NHS, 22 families who have had problems accessing the drug since its reclassification will speak to NHS England | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

Penalties for drug law offences in Europe at a glance

Updated. On this page you can examine and compare the penalties, or rehabilitative responses, for the core offences of drug use, possession for personal use, and supply-related offences, across countries in Europe. It also allows you to see how those penalties vary according to the type or quantity of the drug, and the addiction or recidivism of the offender | EMCDDA, Portugal

Prof on UK Drug Deaths: 'Year on Year, We Just Keep Seeing that Number Going Up'

One of the world's leading economists has warned of a rise of "deaths of despair" in Britain, revealing that suicide, drug abuse and alcoholism are now claiming more middle-aged lives than heart disease. Ian Hamilton, Lecturer and Researcher at the University of York, explains what future holds for the United Kingdom amid these warnings | Sputnik News opinion, UK

Dr Edward Day appointed as Drug Recovery Champion

Dr Edward Day has been appointed as the government’s Drug Recovery Champion to ensure the best treatment and support for those recovering from drug misuse | Home Office and The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, UK

Global Drug Survey 2019 (PDF)

Key findings from this year's report into global drug trends | GDS, UK

Britons get drunk more often than 35 other nations, survey finds

Meanwhile, cocaine use among people in England tops the same global list | Guardian, UK

Doctors turn to alcohol, food and drugs to cope with work stress

BMJ findings reveal sleep problems, burnout and drink dependency due to heavy workloads | Guardian, UK

'People are dying and not getting the help they need’: Inside the alcohol and drug addiction clinic battling cuts

Natasha’s broad smile and infectious good humour lights up a stale therapy room as she prepares to speak publicly for the first time about her long and traumatic journey | ITV, UK

Hepatitis B: guidance, data and analysis

Updated with Hepatitis B virus (HBV) regional reports | PHE, UK

There's a Reason the UK Takes More Coke, K and MDMA Than Anywhere Else

Our nation's enduring obsession with the rave years might go some way to explaining today's Global Drug Survey results | Vice, UK

Opioid painkillers: Alarm bells are ringing

It is said to be a public health crisis in the US and Canada and officials there have branded it an "opioid epidemic" | BBC, UK

Celebrating 50 years of Residential Services

This year we celebrate 50 years of life-changing work, marking this milestone offered us the opportunity to reflect on the impact that Phoenix has had on thousands of people’s lives | Phoenix Futures, UK

RCPsych Call for Evidence on Cannabis

We are asking those with expertise and personal experience of medicinal cannabis and cannabis for recreational use to contribute to its review by providing relevant evidence | RCPsych, UK

Prisoners Are Now Smoking Nicotine Patches and Chamomile Tea

It’s been a year since the ban on tobacco, British inmates' surrogate currency. The results are weird, but also predictable | VICE, UK

Addressing Problematic Opioid Use in OECD Countries

This report presents evidence on the magnitude of problematic opioid use across OECD countries, describes the main drivers, and identifies a set of policy actions to address them. The report highlights the opioid crisis as a complex public health issue that requires a comprehensive approach across all sectors, including health, social services, and law enforcement | OECD, France