Weekly news - 25th October 2019

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In date order, Monday to Friday

UK alcohol clinical guidelines development begins

Public Health England (PHE) is working to produce the first UK-wide clinical guidelines for alcohol treatment | PHE, UK

Review of Psychoactive Substances Act 2016: ACMD contribution

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) summarise their contribution to the impact review of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 | ACMD, UK

ACMD advice: future use and purpose of Temporary Class Drug Orders

Letter from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to the Home Office about the future use and purpose of Temporary Class Drug Orders (TCDOs) | ACMD, UK

ACMD advice on independent prescribing by paramedics

Letter from Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to ministers, providing advice on independent prescribing of controlled drugs by paramedics | ACMD, UK

Smoking and poverty 2019 (PDF)

Most adults who smoke want to stop. 1 Smoking often begins in childhood, as a result of environmental determinants, with people only realising how hard it is to quit after becoming addicted. 2 More than two thirds of those who try smoking go on to become regular smokers, developing an expensive and often lifelong addiction causing disease, disability and premature death | ASH, UK

Prospective longitudinal study of tobacco company adaptation to standardised packaging in the UK: identifying circumventions and closing loopholes (PDF)

UK standardised packaging legislation was introduced alongside pack size and product descriptor restrictions of the European Union Tobacco Products Directive to end tobacco marketing and misinformation via the pack. This paper aims to assess compliance with the restrictions and identify attempts to continue to market tobacco products and perpetuate misperceptions of harm post legislation | BMJ Open, UK

Mentor UK to cease activities with immediate effect

For over 20 years Mentor UK has been the country’s leading voice in alcohol and other drug prevention. We are proud of all that we have achieved, in particular the dedication and compassion of our staff, and are honoured by the high regard that their work is held in | Mentor UK, UK

Trends report: Drink Driving (PDF)

Approximately 1.3 million people die and up to a further 50 million are injured on the world’s roads every year. Road safety is a shared responsibility, and government, civil society, and the private sector must all play a role in reducing these deaths and injuries | IARD, UK

Mamba drug warning over 'highly dangerous' batch

A batch of a synthetic cannabis drug being sold in north Wales may be contaminated and could be highly dangerous, according to police | BBC, UK

Four big drug firms agree to $260m opioid payout hours before trial set to begin

Four major pharmaceutical companies agreed to a multimillion-dollar payout over the US opioid epidemic on Monday, hours before a landmark federal trial in which they were facing accusations of a conspiracy to profit from addiction and death | Guardian, UK

Drugs policy: First Report of Session 2019–20

Every drug death is avoidable. However, the United Kingdom, and in particular Scotland, have amongst the highest drug death rates in Europe. The evidence we have heard leads us to conclude that UK drugs policy is failing | House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee, UK

Radical change needed in approach to UK drugs policy

A health focused and harm reduction approach would not only benefit those who are using drugs but reduce harm to and the costs for their wider communities say the Health and Social Care Committee in its report on drugs policy | Parliament.uk, UK

Grant awarded to improve the health of people sleeping rough

Funding awarded to 6 projects to test models that improve access to health services for people with both mental ill health and drug and alcohol dependency needs | PHE, UK

Prevention in focus: PCCs making a difference (PDF)

Addressing the root causes of crime - helping the vulnerable, children and young people move away from the risk factors that can lead to crime or victimisation | APCCS, UK

Cannabis dependency ‘wrongly labelled as a male issue’

The review claims that questions currently included in the criteria for diagnosing cannabis dependency such as 'have you ever been intoxicated while driving a truck or operating machinery’ are an example of a bias towards identifying and treating men with the problem | University of York, UK

Amphetamine-like stimulant use: what do we know about who uses them and how drug using careers develop?

In the UK, around 1 million adults use amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) each year (Home Office, 2019; Scottish Government, 2019), and the UN reports that globally, these are the second most popular group of drugs after cannabis (UNODC, 2019). This group of drugs includes amphetamine, methamphetamine, MDMA (ecstasy) and mephedrone, but also many less well characterised novel psychoactive substances (NPS) and cognitive enhancers | Mental Elf blog, UK

Early days of minimum unit pricing in Scotland

After years of simulations predicting what would happen if a minimum unit pricing policy was implemented, at last Scotland has been able to provide preliminary real-life data on what actually happened after it became the first (and to date, only) UK nation to set a ‘floor price’ per unit of alcohol in May 2018, preventing the sale of cheap, strong drinks | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

'Urgent action' promised to tackle rising Dundee drug deaths

Changes to drug laws and government policy is needed to tackle rising death rates among drug users. The call comes from the Dundee Partnership Forum, which has pledged "urgent action" to protect those most at risk | BBC, UK

UK wide summit announced to tackle drug deaths

The UK government has announced a summit focused on tackling problem drug use that will bring together a variety of experts from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland | Home Office, UK

Minimum pricing for alcohol: research into potential consequences

Research into the perceptions of service providers and service users on the potential consequences of introducing a minimum price for alcohol | Welsh Government, UK

Drug use - special issue

[Includes several open access articles and others free to access with registration] Changes in public attitudes and laws towards drug use have occurred in an increasing number of countries. Global drug production and consumption are increasing as are the risks and harms to health, while new substances continue to emerge. This Series focuses on opioids, cannabinoids, stimulants, and new psychoactive substances. The Series authors review the evidence on the epidemiology of drug use and related harms and interventions (treatment and policies) to address them. They highlight issues that are likely to become increasingly important in the next decade | Lancet, UK

Spatio‐temporal assessment of illicit drug use at large scale: evidence from 7 years of international wastewater monitoring

[open access] Wastewater‐based epidemiology is an additional indicator of drug use that is gaining reliability to complement the current established panel of indicators | Addiction, UK