Weekly news - 25th September 2020


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In date order, Monday to Friday:

Glasgow drug users and MP hail ‘lifesaving’ van that defies UK law

Former addict praised for setting up safe space for injecting in city dubbed Europe’s drug deaths capital | Guardian, UK

MPs demand 'shooting galleries' where addicts can inject drugs legally

EXCLUSIVE: Drug consumption rooms are already used in Europe and have been hailed as reducing drug deaths and HIV - but critics fear bringing them to UK towns and cities will discourage users from kicking the habit | Mirror, UK

Drug and alcohol education

The PSHE Association drug and alcohol schemes of work for key stages 1-4 have been developed for Public Health England. This pack includes lesson plans and resources for each key stage — with knowledge organisers included — as well as a comprehensive teacher guidance document, and a briefing on the evidence base underpinning effective drug and alcohol education | PSHE, UK

Listings of cannabis-related businesses

In response to queries from cannabis-related companies interested in listing in the UK, the FCA is today setting out its approach to assessing these applications. This is pending a guidance consultation which will follow in due course | FCA, UK

New tactics against 'county lines' are working, say police

Exclusive: worst-affected county force aims to eliminate drug gangs’ business model | Guardian, UK

So near yet so far: why won’t the UK prescribe medical cannabis?

Although cannabis-based products for medicinal use are now legal in the UK, it is still challenging for patients to gain access, and only very few National Health Service prescriptions have been written to date. This paper attempts to make sense of why the UK lags behind so many other countries which also have legalised medical cannabis | BMJ Open, UK

Surge in smokers trying to quit see increased success rates in 2020

This year’s Stoptober campaign is calling on smokers to put their lungs first and breathe easier ahead of flu season | PHE, UK

Public Attitudes to Minimum Unit Pricing in Scotland

Public Health Scotland today published an analysis of responses to relevant questions in the 2013, 2015 and 2019 Scottish Social Attitude Surveys (SSAS), which asked a representative sample of the Scottish adult population about their attitudes to Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) | Public Health Scotland, UK

Coronavirus: How are pubs keeping customers safe?

Pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants in England are to shut no later than 22:00 each evening as part of measures to try to halt the spread of Covid-19 | BBC, UK

Recommendations from the Labour Campaign for Drug Policy Reform (LCDPR) (PDF)

Over 700 people attended meetings in cities around the UK, and at the 2019 Labour Party Conference. The campaign also received 22 online submissions from members of the public and third sector organisations. These contributions have been collated and analysed by the LCDPR Expert Working Group (EWG) who are providing the advice [in this repprt], based on the themes and recommendations emerging from the consultation | LCDPR, UK

European Drug Report 2020: Trends and Developments

This report provides a comprehensive analysis of patterns emerging across Europe in the areas of drug supply, illicit drug use and associated public health problems. National data sets are also provided across these themes and on key harm-reduction interventions. The report is available in English with a summary of a selection of the main findings available in 24 languages in the accompanying Key Issues publication | EMCDDA, Portugal

European Drug Report 2020: Key Issues

This report, available in 24 languages, presents a summary of some the main findings of the 'European Drug Report 2020: Trends and Developments the EMCDDA’s latest analysis of the drug situation in Europe. The issues selected here have been chosen for their policy relevance and general interest | EMCDDA, Portugal

UK had highest number of young cocaine users in Europe last year – report

EU drugs agency says availability of cocaine in Europe is at its highest | Guardian, UK

Expansion of all quality treatment is needed to address Scotland’s drug crises

In this blog post, Scottish Drugs Forum’s CEO, David Liddell, writes on our public health crises and the role of treatment within them | SDF blog, UK

UK regulator strengthens opioid warnings

Stronger warnings about the risk of dependence and addiction to be added to the patient information leaflet and discussed with patients | MHRA, UK

Addictions: Public Health

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has for public health addictions policies and strategies following the merger of Public Health England with NHS Test and Trace and the Joint Biosecurity Centre. Answer: The Government will continue its focus on health improvement and preventing ill-health, with support from the expert teams who currently sit in Public Health England (PHE), who will continue with their excellent work. We are not envisaging any changes to where responsibilities such as drugs, alcohol, gambling and sexual health will sit until spring 2021... | They work for you, UK

Recommendations from the Labour Campaign for Drug Policy Reform (LCDPR) (PDF)

Over 700 people attended meetings in cities around the UK, and at the 2019 Labour Party Conference. The campaign also received 22 online submissions from members of the public and third sector organisations. These contributions have been collated and analysed by the LCDPR Expert Working Group (EWG) who are providing the advice [in this repprt], based on the themes and recommendations emerging from the consultation | LCDPR, UK

Rural Matters

This project aimed to learn about the cultural and social context of drinking in rural areas and barriers to accessing services in rural Scotland. A literature review was undertaken, and five community consultations and 25 semi-structured interviews were conducted... Based on evidence from this research, recommendations have been developed for research, policy and practice, in order to prevent alcohol harms and improve support | SHAAP, UK

Young Persons Behaviour and Attitudes Survey 2019: Substance Use (Smoking, Alcohol & Drugs)

Initial results from the smoking, alcohol and drugs modules in the 2019 Young Persons Behaviour and Attitudes Survey, Northern Ireland | Department of Health (Northern Ireland) and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, UK

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

Updated in line with regulations limiting the number of people permitted to attend a support group to 15 | PHE, UK

2020 Comprehensive Spending Review: Joint representation on local public health funding to HM Treasury (PDF)

Despite continued rhetoric that “prevention is better than a cure”, funding for the functions and services that prevent ill-health, improve population health and enable community health creation continues to be threatened. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK, local public health services were struggling to keep up with growing demand and health inequalities were widening. [Letter signed by 55 charities in the public health sector] | Cancer Research UK, UK

Alcohol Deaths Prevention Support

AFS has produced guidance for Alcohol and Drug Partnerships (ADPs) and Public Health teams on Alcohol Death Reviews. These are reviews of cases where people have died, undertaken collaboratively with statutory, third sector and recovery community input. They examine how systems could adapt to better meet the needs of people who are at risk of dying, now or in the future | Alcohol Focus Scotland, UK

New research finds smokers more likely than non-smokers to be without work, and to earn less when in work, forfeiting £14bn a year in lost income

A new analysis by Landman Economics for health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) finds that the collective impact of joblessness and lower earnings for smokers amounts to £14.1bn a year | ASH, UK

Lockdown: Pubs to stay open after 10pm for 'orderly close'

Pubs in Wales will not have to close at 22:00 as was thought - but will have to stop serving alcohol at this time | BBC, UK