Weekly news - 6th March 2020

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In date order: Monday to Friday

Increased funding for preventing drug deaths

Additional funding of up to £20 million is being delivered to help reduce the harms and deaths caused by drug and alcohol use in the Scottish Government’s budget for 2020/21 | Scottish Government, UK

Alcohol: Wales minimum pricing law comes into force

As of Monday, retailers and any outlets serving alcohol must charge at least 50p a unit, meaning a typical bottle of wine costs no less than £4.69 | BBC, UK

Alcohol minimum unit price could save almost 8,000 lives in north of England

Civic leaders are calling for the urgent introduction of a minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol in England after new evidence from the University of Sheffield's Alcohol Research Group revealed that it could save almost 8,000 lives across the North over the next 20 years | Medical Xpress, UK

DDN March 2020 - out now

Many years ago the UK treated heroin addiction as a medical issue, with diamorphine scripts dispensed by GPs. It’s taking us a long time to come back to that viewpoint but what might change the political mindset is the economic good sense of heroin assisted treatment (HAT, page 8). The savings represented by each person involved in the programme are significant and give an obvious direction | DDN, UK

Faster access to cannabis-based medicines as import restrictions are changed

Patients prescribed cannabis-based medicines will be able to get their treatment in days rather than months | Department of Health and Social Care and Home Office, UK

Ian Hamilton: “They talk, we die”—the continuing paralysis of UK drug policy

The latest report into drug use in the UK is another reminder of why drug policy should be based on evidence rather than ideology, says Ian Hamilton | BMJ opinion, UK

Scottish Drug Misuse Database Overview of Initial Assessments for Specialist Drug Treatment 2018/19

In 2018/19, initial assessments for specialist drug treatment relating to 10,757 individuals resident in Scotland were recorded on the Scottish Drug Misuse Database. Just over half of people in contact with drug services were from older age groups; the percentage of individuals assessed for specialist drug treatment who were aged 35 years or over increased from 29% in 2006/07 to 53% in 2018/19. Heroin was the most common substance people reported needing help with, although its use has decreased over time | ISD Scotland, UK

Younger drug users moving away from injecting heroin

Younger drug users are moving away from injecting heroin, new figures have revealed | BBC, UK

False fears preventing smokers from using e-cigarettes to quit

Over half of smokers believe nicotine vaping products are equally or more harmful than smoking despite US vaping deaths being caused by substances banned in UK | PHE, UK

Vaping in England: evidence update March 2020

Annual update of Public Health England’s e-cigarette evidence review by leading independent tobacco experts | PHE, UK

E-cigarettes: use by patients in NHS mental health organisations

Advice for commissioners, service providers and mental health trusts providing care to NHS patients who use electronic cigarettes | PHE, UK

Delivering health and care for people who sleep rough Going above and beyond (PDF)

An estimated 726 people died while experiencing homelessness in England and Wales in 2018, at an average age of 45 years for men and 43 years for women. Many people who sleep rough experience a toxic combination of struggles over personal safety, food, shelter and ill health that most of the wider population find difficult to truly understand. This may be why many routine health and care services – despite being designed with deep values of equity and fairness – fail to meet the needs of people sleeping rough | The Kings Fund, UK

Local tobacco control profiles for England: March 2020 update

An overview of the extent of tobacco use, tobacco related harm and the measures being taken to reduce this harm at a local level in England | PHE, UK

Mobile drug consumption room set for Glasgow - without Government approval

A plan to open a mobile drug consumption room in Glasgow without Government approval has won backing of politicians and campaigners | Glasgow Times, UK

Campaigners want a ban on alcohol sponsorship in Scottish sport

Campaigners are calling for alcohol sponsorship to be banned in Scottish sport. An academic study found drink advertising features every 15 seconds at some high-level fixtures | BBC, UK

Intervention to help GPs identify, assess and treat patients with hepatitis C found to be effective

The first UK clinical trial to increase the identification and treatment of hepatitis C (HCV) patients in primary care has been found to be effective, acceptable to staff and highly cost-effective for the NHS. The University of Bristol-led Hepatitis C Assessment to Treatment Trial (HepCATT), published in the British Medical Journal today [27 February], provides robust evidence of effective action GPs should take to increase HCV testing and treatment | University of Bristol, UK

ACMD gathering evidence on young people’s drug use and naloxone provision

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is hosting a series of public evidence gathering days across the UK to help inform two separate reports on young people’s drug use and naloxone provision | Collective Voice, UK

The Death Penalty for Drug Offences 2019

Harm Reduction International (HRI) has monitored the use of the death penalty for drug offences worldwide since our first ground-breaking publication on this issue in 2007. This report, our ninth on the subject, continues our work of providing regular updates on legislative, policy and practical developments related to the use of capital punishment for drug offences, a practice which is a clear violation of international law | HRI, UK

Fundraising plea after Telford girl's epilepsy diagnosis

The family of a six-year-old girl are trying to raise £15,000 for a cannabis-based treatment after she was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy | BBC, UK

Free webinar: Medical cannabis and the treatment of pain

Tue, Mar 24, 2020 7pm - 8pm. Presenter: Dr Sunil Arora, Consultant in Pain and Anaesthetics. Chair: Dr Steve Brinksman, SMMGP Clinical Director. This webinar will include: the use of medical cannabis in the treatment of pain
Lucy Stafford - a patient with lived experience | SMMGP, UK