Weekly news - 27th September 2019

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In date order, Monday to Friday

Tens of thousands unaware they have deadly hepatitis C infection

Report estimates that around two-thirds of people living with hepatitis C may not realise they have the virus, with PHE urging those at risk to get tested | PHE, UK

Funding for councils' child addiction services slashed

Labour describes the cuts as ‘shameful and utterly counterproductive’ | Guardian, UK

Labour royal commission into legalisation of drugs could lead to decriminalising heroin and cocaine

[Free registration maybe required] A Labour government would launch a royal commission to review the legalisation of drugs including cannabis, cocaine and heroin | Sunday Times, UK

Legalise cannabis, says Liberal Democrat candidate for London mayor

Siobhan Benita says the capital should make the move to tackle youth crime | Guardian, UK

Alcohol guidelines for pregnant women: Barriers and enablers for midwives to deliver advice (PDF)

The aim of this study was to explore knowledge and implementation of the CMO guidelines amongst UK midwives. A mixed-methods design was used to explore implementation barriers and midwives’ beliefs about addressing alcohol during antenatal care with pregnant women | IAS et al, UK

UK attacked for defence of flavoured e-cigarettes

European tobacco control expert echoes Donald Trump’s concerns about e-cigarettes designed to mimic the taste of sweets and desserts | Guardian, UK

Revealed: surge in vulnerable children linked to UK drug gangs

Scale of county lines crisis laid bare as officials raise concerns over nearly 9,000 young people | Guardian, UK

Ian Hamilton: Prescription drugs are no cure for deprivation

The burden of poverty can muddy diagnoses of depression and lead to the overprescription of antidepressants, says Ian Hamilton | BMJ opinion, UK

A lower drink-drive limit in Scotland is not linked to reduced road traffic accidents as expected

Lowering the drink-drive blood alcohol limit in Scotland was not followed by reduced road traffic accidents, perhaps because of a lack of enforcement. While there was a 0.7% reduction in alcohol bought in pubs and restaurants after the new legislation (on-trade sales), there was no significant change in sales of alcohol from shops or supermarkets (off-trade), where most purchases are made | NIHR, UK

MHRA 'assessing reports' of respiratory illness outbreak linked to e-cigarettes in the United States

The MHRA received 62 reports of adverse reactions associated with nicotine-containing e-cigarettes from across the UK between 20 May 2016 and 6 September 2019 | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

County lines drugs: Youth clubs 'key to tackling gang rise'

More youth clubs could be the key to stopping the spread of drug gangs, a police and crime commissioner says. Dafydd Llywelyn believes they can make towns in the Dyfed-Powys force area "inhospitable" for gangs | BBC, UK

Purdue Pharma files for bankruptcy in the US

US drug-maker Purdue Pharma has filed for bankruptcy protection, as part of efforts to deal with thousands of lawsuits that accuse the firm of fuelling the US opioid crisis | BBC, UK

California launches $20m campaign to deter e-cigarettes amid spike in illnesses

The state has seen at least 63 cases of vaping-related illnesses as flavored products contribute to a rise in youth smoking | Guardian, UK

Impact of the UK Psychoactive Substances Act on awareness, use, experiences and knowledge of potential associated health risks of Novel Psychoactive Substances

The risk of potential harms prompted the UK government to introduce the Psychoactive Substances Act (PSA) in 2016. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of this new legislation on patterns of NPS awareness, use, experiences and risk awareness in a self‐selected sample of UK consumers to inform education and policy | BPS, UK

Investigating the effect of England's smoke-free private vehicle regulation on changes in tobacco smoke exposure and respiratory disease in children: a quasi-experimental study

Comprehensive tobacco control policies can help to protect children from tobacco smoke exposure and associated adverse respiratory health consequences. We investigated the impact of England's 2015 regulation that prohibits smoking in a private vehicle with children present on changes in environmental tobacco smoke exposure and respiratory health in children | Lancet, UK

The end of the county line: how drug users are exploited by gangs

Weston-super-Mare’s existing drug problems have been amplified by an influx of out-of-town dealers | Guardian, UK

Fastest drop in smoking rates in over a decade as Stoptober launches

The latest data from a national smoking study indicates adult smoking rates fell 2.2% from January to July 2019 - equivalent to 200 fewer smokers every hour | PHE, UK

Charity calls for alcohol minimum pricing to be extended across UK

A charity has called for Scotland's minimum unit pricing policy for alcohol (MUP) to be rolled out across the UK | BBC, UK

Public attitudes to drugs in the UK: Is the UK ready for drug policy reform? (PDF)

This report sets out the detailed survey findings and shows the public are ahead of the politicians in their thinking and appetite for reform. The findings of this survey demonstrate the urgent need for policymakers and government to start to reshape policy as part of an open, fully informed and evidence-based debate on the future of drugs policy | CDPRG, UK

Local ‘system snapshot’ [free] events announced

We are pleased to announce that Collective Voice will be holding three events to bring people together from across the treatment and recovery system to discuss local challenges and hear about our new strategy and plans for the future! | Collective Voice, UK

Cuckooing victims: ‘They start as friends but end up as bullies’

How county lines gangs are targeting vulnerable people with drug and mental health problems | Guardian, UK

Drug misuse: findings from the 2018 to 2019 CSEW (PDF)

Examines the extent and trends in illicit drug use among a sample of 16 to 59 year old residents in households in England and Wales | Home Office, UK

User guide to drug misuse statistics

Provides classifications, conventions used and other background information on the drug misuse releases | Home Office, UK

Drug use in England and Wales is up for the fourth year in a row

Once a year we get a glimpse of how many people are using drugs such as heroin and cocaine in England and Wales. The Home Office conducts an annual household survey that asks people if they have used drugs and, if they have, to provide some details about which drugs and how often they have consumed them | Conversation, UK

Drug related harms in homeless populations: government response

Government response to recommendations from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs | Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, Department of Health and Social Care, and Luke Hall MP, UK


Breaking up is never easy but remember, it's not you, it's them! Join in with the thousands of others dumping smoking for 28 days this October. Now explore the free support options to help you stay strong. There's something for everyone, so what's stopping you? | NHS, UK

PHE Strategy 2020 to 2025

This strategy sets out Public Health England's priorities for the next 5 years | PHE, UK

Prescribing trends of gabapentin, pregabalin, and oxycodone: a secondary analysis of primary care prescribing patterns in England

Substantial increases in gabapentin, pregabalin, and oxycodone prescriptions are concerning and will increase iatrogenic harm from drug-related morbidity and mortality. More research is needed to understand the large variation in prescribing between general practices, and to develop and implement interventions to reduce unwarranted variation and increase the appropriateness of prescribing of these drugs | BJP Open, UK

Members of children’s parliament want alcohol to be made ‘less visible’

Members of Scotland’s Children’s Parliament have called for alcohol to be made less visible and for tougher measures to stop people drinking in public spaces | Scotsman, UK