Weekly news - 24th January 2020

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Left Behind: The Scale of Illegal Cannabis Use for Medicinal Intent in the UK

The evidence base for the clinical utility of medicinal cannabis is becoming clearer. Since the 1980s a growing preclinical field of science has been evaluating the therapeutic potential of cannabis in multiple physiological systems and diseases | CMC, UK

National intelligence network on drug health harms briefing: January 2020

This briefing is based on a meeting of the national intelligence network (NIN) on the health harms associated with drug use | PHE, UK

Report Illicit Drug Reactions- RIDR

Public Health England (PHE) working in collaboration with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has been piloting a national system for reporting the unexpected or severe adverse effects of illicit drugs since March 2017. PHE have decided not to continue the Report Illicit Drug Reactions (RIDR) pilot beyond 2019/20 | PHE, UK

Local Alcohol Profiles for England: January 2020 data update

The profiles provide information to monitor the services and initiatives that have been put in place to prevent and reduce the harmful impact of alcohol | PHE, UK

Many ways forward Stop smoking services and tobacco control work in English local authorities, 2019 (PDF)

This report presents findings of the sixth annual survey of tobacco control leads in England, conducted by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and funded by Cancer Research UK (CRUK). The report explores some of the issues that have shaped the development and diversification of local stop smoking services and tobacco control work in English local authorities | ASH, UK

Accelerated speed of discovery could lead to more effective smoking cessation aids

As smokers know all too well, nicotine is highly addictive. It’s hard to quit smoking, a habit that claims the lives of more than seven million people each year | University of Bristol, UK

Telling a Different Story: Understanding news media coverage of severe and multiple disadvantage

This research inquiry explores how print and online news media report on severe and multiple disadvantage (SMD). In this report, SMD refers to the interlocking nature of multiple disadvantages such as extreme poverty, homelessness, discrimination, mental ill health, substance misuse, violence and abuse and contact with the criminal justice system | Lankelly Chase, UK

Revised drug sentencing guidelines proposed to reflect changes in offending

The Council is proposing to revise five of the current drug offences guidelines, which came into force in 2012 and cover offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) 1971 to bring them up to date with modern drug offending, and to introduce four guidelines for new offences created by the Psychoactive Substances Act (PSA) 2016 | Sentencing Council, UK

Investigating the association between an offender’s sex and ethnicity and the sentence imposed at the Crown Court for drug offences (PDF)

The Sentencing Council has conducted analysis of sentencing data to consider the association between an offender’s sex and ethnicity and the sentence imposed at the Crown Court for supply, possession with intent to supply and conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of classes A and B. In 2018, these offences accounted for around 12 per cent of all adult offenders sentenced at the Crown Court | Sentencing Council, UK

Minorities more likely to be jailed for drug dealing, study suggests

Black and Asian men are more likely to be jailed for drug dealing offences in England and Wales than white men, a study of 14,000 people suggests | BBC, UK

humankind and edp to join together

We are delighted to announce that the innovative Devon-based alcohol and drug charity EDP will be joining Humankind on 1st April 2020. EDP will form a subsidiary within Humankind, a national organisation which takes an innovative approach to addressing health and social inequalities. Combined, we will employ over 1,500 staff who are committed to pursuing their vision for people of all ages to be safe, building ambitions for the future and reaching towards their full potential | humankind, UK

Can prescribed medical cannabis use reduce the use of other more harmful drugs?

There is growing recognition of the potential utility of medical cannabis as a harm reduction intervention. Although used for this indication in other countries, there is an absence of UK clinical guidelines that supports such an approach. We administered a short survey to gain a better understanding of the potential role of medical cannabis by 39 people who were currently using illicit cannabis and accessing a specialist substance misuse treatment service | Drug, Science, Policy and Law, UK

New study shines light on genetic risk factors for high alcohol intake

In an effort to identify the specific genes responsible for high levels of alcohol consumption a team of international researchers, led by Dr. Andrew Thompson and Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed from the University of Liverpool, conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) using the UK Biobank to pinpoint the genes responsible | University of Liverpool, UK

Share a pint or glass of wine to drink safely, says expert

Former government advisor David Nutt says alcohol is more damaging than harder drugs | Guardian, UK

Drugs deaths in Northern Ireland reach highest level

The number of drug-related deaths in Northern Ireland soared to 189 last year, according to official statistics. The figure is 40% higher than 2017 (136), and has more than doubled over the last 10 years | BBC, UK

Economies of ale: changes in the UK pubs and bars sector, 2001 to 2019

Changes in the UK pubs and bars sector in the latest year, following 2018’s Economies of ale report | ONS, UK