Weekly news - 13th March 2020

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In date order: Monday to Friday

Exploring the Baseline Knowledge and Experience of Healthcare Professionals in the United Kingdom on Novel Psychoactive Substances

[Open access] An improvement within the self-reported knowledge of HCPs on NPS is evident in comparison to previous studies. Continued education of HCPs on NPS is fundamental for the provision of improved harm reduction services, which can enhance overall care for NPS service users | MDPI, UK

The use of synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (SCRAs) within the homeless population: motivations, harms and the implications for developing an appropriate response

[Open access] Synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (SCRAs) have become increasingly associated with a range of physical, mental health and societal harms. In response, several countries have introduced legislation aimed at restricting their supply and use | Addiction Research and Therapy, UK

'Urgent Advice' Needed To Protect Rough Sleepers Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

As the illness spreads across the UK, charities want to make sure homeless people are safe | Huffington Post, UK

Revealed: Nearly three quarters of alcohol on UK shelves is being displayed without Government's safe drinking limits - four years after they were brought in

Nearly three quarters of alcohol bottles or cans are not displaying the Government's safe drinking limits four years after they were announced, an investigation has found. This included one in four that were showing the wrong, potentially harmful advice and claiming men could have up to 28 units a week and women up to 21 units a week | Mail Online, UK

HIV charity backs plans for unofficial drug consumption rooms

HIV Scotland said it would support individuals and charities operating a community-led facility if an official safe injecting room could not be established | BBC, UK

Why we need to ask questions about the birth control conditions attached to treatment for women who use drugs

Dundee, the city with the highest rate of drug deaths in Europe, is the first place in Scotland to deliver the Pause intervention to 20 women from some of the city’s poorest areas | Conversation, UK

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

You can now comment on this draft quality standard. Closing date for comments: Friday 3 April 2020 at 5pm | NICE, UK

Belfast hospital treats at least 30 drugs-related cases a day

The Mater Hospital's emergency department deals with about 30 drugs-related cases every day, with children aged 14 being treated for cocaine use | BBC, UK

Glasgow activist risks arrest to set up drug consumption room in a van

Peter Krykant crowdfunding plans, despite it being illegal to facilitate drug use in UK | Guardian, UK

County lines: Hampshire schools pay private firms for sniffer dogs - video

Teachers have taken action against the potential risk to children being recruited by county lines drug gangs in Hampshire | BBC, UK

Criminals' community sentences will be toughened up thanks to £100m Budget boost

[Free registrtaion may be required] The cash injection will help fund extra hours on “community service” which is currently limited to a maximum of 300 hours and the nationwide roll-out of sobriety tags that alert police when released criminals with alcohol problems drink | Telegraph, UK

Explaining the CBD deadline: Dr Amir Englund talks to the SSA

The Food Standards Agency [FSA] has put something out on CBD, can you tell us what has happened? | SSA, UK

Priory mental healthcare chain set to be sold for £1bn

US owner Acadia confirms it has received several initial bids for UK group | Financial Times, UK

DDN Conference 2020 postponed

In the interests of keeping everyone safe and well we’ve made the only logical decision – to postpone the DDN Conference until June | DDN, UK

What role do taxes and regulation play in promoting better health?

The use of regulatory and fiscal policy tools in improving public health has long generated heated debate, and is rising up the agenda once more. This briefing aims to contribute to the debate, looking at how a range of policy levers might be used effectively to reduce consumption of tobacco and alcohol, and unhealthy consumption of food and drink, and ultimately improve people’s health | Kings Fund, UK

In alcohol screening and brief intervention, are there ‘good’ reasons for ‘bad’ implementation?

On-line course asks whether offering a high quality service centred on the clients may actually mean rejecting routine alcohol screening and brief intervention. Forms one section of the Alcohol Treatment Matrix cell on the service organisation’s influence on screening/brief intervention for risky drinking | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Young drinkers' thirst for no and low-alcohol beer sets new trend

‘Nolo’ drinks have toppled craft beer as the UK’s top tipple, with help from 18-24-year-olds | Guardian, UK

New Poll Finds Overwhelming Public Support For FSA CBD Regulation

A new YouGov poll commissioned by The Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (The ACI) demonstrates overwhelming support for recent FSA guidance concerning CBD | ACI, UK

Budget 2020

Key announcements:

Adults with multiple complex needs – The government will commit £46 million from the Shared Outcomes Fund to provide improved support to individuals experiencing multiple complex needs, such as homelessness, reoffending and substance misuse.


Rough sleeping – The Budget confirms the £237 million announced by the Prime Minister for accommodation for up to 6,000 rough sleepers and provides a further £144 million for associated support services and £262 million for substance misuse treatment services which, when fully deployed, is expected to help more than 11,000 people a year. This will enable people to move off the streets and support them to maintain a tenancy for the long term | HM Treasury, UK [See sector responses in the Blogs section below]

Is e-cigarette use in non-smoking young adults associated with later smoking? A systematic review and meta-analysis

The aim of this review was to investigate whether e-cigarette use compared with non-use in young non-smokers is associated with subsequent cigarette smoking | BMJ Open, UK

UEA researchers evaluate free vape kit scheme

Researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) are evaluating a new free vape kit scheme in Great Yarmouth, to help find out whether the initiative helps people to quit smoking tobacco for good | UEA, UK

'My anti-depressant withdrawal was worse than depression'

The mental health charity Mind says it is signposting people to street drug charities to help them withdraw from antidepressants because of the lack of alternatives available. Those affected can experience debilitating symptoms | BBC, UK

Collective Voice responds to the Budget 2020

Collective Voice welcomes the investment announced in today’s budget around substance use support. It has committed £46 million from a new Shared Outcomes Fund “to provide improved support to individuals experiencing multiple complex needs, such as homelessness, reoffending and substance misuse”. It has also committed to £262 million for substance misuse treatment services to support people sleeping rough | Collective Voice, UK

Wastewater tests suggest drop in cocaine use in London

Concentration of drug in city’s sewers may have fallen by almost a third over three years | Guardian, UK

Wastewater analysis and drugs — a European multi-city study (Perspectives on drugs)

The findings of the largest European project to date in the emerging science of wastewater analysis are taken up in this ‘Perspective on drugs’. The project in question analysed wastewater in a range of European cities and towns  to explore the drug-taking habits of those who live in them. The results provide a valuable snapshot of the drug flow through the cities involved, revealing marked geographical variations | EMCDDA, Portugal

Young people who vape may be more likely to start smoking

There are fears that young people might start smoking after experimenting with e-cigarettes. This could be because e-cigarettes get them addicted to nicotine, or getting into similar habits to smoking. This is sometimes called the "gateway" effect | NHS: Behind the Headlines, UK

Electronic Cigarettes

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the World Health Organization's decision to welcome the government of India's decision to ban e-cigarettes; and what plans they have to implement a similar ban in the UK | They work for you, UK

The UK Is Ramping Up Its Efforts To Tackle A Wave Of Chemsex Crimes

For the first time, criminal justice, health and LGBT organisations will all join together to cope with the rise of serious offending surrounding chemsex | BuzzFeed, UK