Weekly news - 23rd October 2020

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Reminder: All COVID-19 PPE now available free of charge via portal

Drug and alcohol services are reminded that they can now use the Government's PPE portal to obtain all the COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) they need, free of charge. The contact details of services registered with NDTMS or CQC have been provided to the PPE portal, and service managers informed by their regional NDTMS team. However, not all services have registered on the portal – PHE encourages services to register on the portal to start benefiting from the offer of free PPE. Note: only email addresses provided to the portal by NDTMS/CQC are valid for registration. Contact your regional NDTMS team if you have not yet received an invitation email or if you need to register. Access the portal: https://nhs-ppe.co.uk



In date order, Monday to Friday:

Drug deaths - EDM (Early Day Motion)1022: tabled on 15 October 2020

That this House is concerned that deaths related to drug poisoning registered in England and Wales rose to a record 4,393 in 2019; notes that two-thirds of drug poisonings are due to drug misuse; further notes that half of the deaths involved an opiate, although cocaine deaths are also rising at an alarming rate; recognises that the highest death rates are in areas suffering greatest deprivation; and calls on the Government to tackle the problem through immediate increased investment in treatment services, encouragement of harm reduction initiatives and expansion of opiate-overdose antidote Naloxone provision | UK Parliament, UK

Impact of low and no alcohol beers on purchases of alcohol: interrupted time series analysis of British household shopping data, 2015–2018

Even though the events were associated with significant beneficial changes, the volume of purchases of new low and no alcohol beer products and of new reformulated beer products was very small. This indicates that there are future opportunities to increase the volume of such products so as to reduce the harm done by alcohol | BMJ Open, UK

Time trends and prescribing patterns of opioid drugs in UK primary care patients with non-cancer pain: A retrospective cohort study

This study sought to (i) describe prescribing trends between 2006 and 2017, (ii) evaluate the transition of opioid dose and potency in the first 2 years from initial prescription, (iii) quantify and identify risk factors for long-term opioid use, and (iv) quantify the variation of long-term use attributed to region, practice, and prescriber, accounting for case mix and chance variation | PLOS One, UK

Reconsidering where hepatitis clinics should be sited

A UK-based project placed a dedicated full-time hepatitis C nurse inside a drug and alcohol treatment service. Patients attending the clinic discuss barriers and facilitators to hepatitis C care, including why the more typical hospital setting might be deterring people who inject drugs from accessing diagnosis and treatment | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

We must re-energise our response to increasing drug-related deaths

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published its annual drug misuse deaths report, which shows that there were 4,115 deaths last year due to drug poisoning. The figures show another record high in England and the seventh year in a row of increases. Now more than ever we need to re-energise our efforts in national and local government to help the most vulnerable people get the support that could save their lives | PHE blog, UK

Ian Hamilton: Drug related deaths are not spread equally in our communities 

The latest data show clearly how the route into and out of problems with drugs is heavily influenced by social circumstances, writes Ian Hamilton | BMJ Opinion, UK

COVID-19: guidance for commissioners and providers of services for people who use drugs or alcohol

Updated to include information on local COVID alert levels and virus transmission | PHE and DHSC, UK

Sapphire Medical Clinics First to Offer More Affordable UK Manufactured Medical Cannabis Products

According to recent reports, more than a million UK patients buy cannabis illegally to treat themselves. While on the streets, patients can never be sure what they’ve got for their money, the BBC reports that Sapphire Medical Clinics are first in the UK to offer access to a new range of low-cost UK manufactured medical cannabis products | Canex, UK

Two drug users an hour helped at consumption van service in Glasgow city centre

Last Friday, Peter parked the van in a quiet spot just yards from one of the city’s busiest streets and an alleyway known to be a busy injecting spot. Over the five previous Fridays, Peter and volunteers – trained in overdoes reversal drug Naloxone and CPR – had overseen 47 injections | Glasgow Times, UK

HMRC to test UK-only track and trace system

The new UK-only repository will replace the EU version currently being used in this country to monitor the movement of tobacco products in order to clamp down on illicit trading. It is being brought in to allow track and trace to continue once the UK fully exits the EU on 31 December | Grocer, UK

Response to the ACMD report on the misuse of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues (accessible version)

Thank you for your very thorough report of 3 January and for your recommendations to combat the serious health risk to people in the UK from fentanyl and fentanyl analogues. I read the conclusions and recommendations of the report with interest | Home Office, UK

NHS smoking cessation service statistics (Scotland)

This release by Public Health Scotland provides an annual update on statistics from NHS smoking cessation services in Scotland for the period April 2019 to March 2020, including trend data from 2009 to 2010. It is supplemented by a Tableau dashboard and Excel workbook | ISD Scotland, UK

How to regulate stimulants: A practical guide

Download the free ebook.  In this book we show why the responsible regulation of stimulant drugs is the only realistic alternative, and set out the practical steps to getting the market under control | Transform, UK

New anti-smoking laws set to tackle youth smoking prevalence in Wales

New laws banning smoking in schools and playgrounds could play a major role in reducing youth smoking prevalence in Wales as new figures reveal 81% of the country’s 467,000 smokers were under 18 when they tried their first cigarette | ASH Wales, UK

Sobriety tags launched to tackle alcohol-fuelled crime

Criminals in Wales who commit alcohol-fuelled crimes can be banned from drinking and ordered to wear a ‘sobriety tag’ by judges from Wednesday 21 October and will be extended to England early next year | MoJ, UK

Ban on smoking in playgrounds from next March

Councils will have powers to issue fixed-penalty notices for breaches of the law, the Welsh Government said | BBC, UK

Alcohol-specific hospital admissions

Directly age and sex standardised admission rate for alcohol-specific conditions per 100,000 registered patients, 95% confidence intervals | NHS Digital, UK

Emergency alcohol-specific readmission to any hospital within 30 days of discharge following an alcohol-specific admission

Indirectly age and sex standardised ratio of emergency readmissions with a primary diagnosis or an external cause code of an alcohol-specific condition within 30 days of a previous discharge following an alcohol-specific admission, with 95% confidence intervals | NHS Digital, UK

Trends in the psychosocial characteristics of 11–15‐year‐olds who still drink, smoke, take drugs and engage in poly‐substance use in England

[Open access] Youth substance use is declining in many high‐income countries. As adolescent substance use becomes less common, it may concentrate in higher‐risk groups. This paper aims to examine how the psychosocial characteristics of young substance users in England have changed over time | Drug and Alcohol Review, UK