Weekly news - 15th January 2021

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In date order, Monday to Friday:

Call for UK prisons to trial free cannabis to see if it cuts drug deaths

Exclusive: police commissioner says move may also decrease violence and help inmates beat opioid addictions | Guardian, UK

Pharmacist led homeless outreach engagement and non-medical independent prescribing (Rx) (PHOENIx) intervention for people experiencing homelessness: a non- randomised feasibility study

Homelessness and associated mortality and multimorbidity rates are increasing. Systematic reviews have demonstrated a lack of complex interventions that decrease unscheduled emergency health services utilisation or increase scheduled care | International Journal for Equity in Health, UK

Child removal fuels female drug deaths

[Free one month trial available] A rapid rise in drug deaths among working-age women in Scotland is being driven by those who become lonely after their children are taken into care, researchers have found | The Times, UK

MSP in plea for more rehab funding after record drug deaths in Edinburgh

The Scottish Government is being urged to increase funding for rehabilitation beds to reduce drug-related deaths in Edinburgh and the Lothians after latest figures showed they had reached a new record high | Edinburgh Evening News, UK

Dry January: Will lockdown cause more people to give in?

Dry January, when drinkers aim to abstain from alcohol for a whole month, was designed to "reset" people's relationship with booze | BBC, UK

Wound aware: a resource for drug services

A new PHE briefing on wound care describes how drug services can be ‘wound aware’ by helping people who inject drugs (PWID) prevent injection-related wounds, by identifying wounds early and supporting access to treatment. The briefing also covers barriers to treatment and care and includes case studies, practice notes and links to other useful resources | PHE, UK

Nearly 200 naloxone kits provided through ‘click-and-deliver’ service during pandemic

Exclusive: Since May 2020, a charity in Scotland has issued 187 naloxone kits — an emergency antidote for overdoses caused by heroin and other opioids | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

Preventing further alcohol-related offences by preventing drinking?

From 2016, judges across London were able to issue an Alcohol Abstinence Monitoring Requirement to people who committed alcohol-related offences. Two-year study captured the early results of the sentencing power before the UK Ministry of Justice decided to roll out the programme nationwide in 2020 | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Government working to ‘find a solution’ after Brexit halts medical drug supply for epileptic children

Supplies of prescribed medical cannabis set to run out in a matter of weeks, affecting up to 40 children | Independent, UK

New Horizons grant awards announced, exploring new areas of alcohol harm

We are thrilled to announce the four research studies funded under our New Horizons grant programme, following our open call for applications in May 2020 | Alcohol Change UK, UK

Drug Policy Voices

New website for a project which aims to include the voices of a variety of people with experience into debates about drug policy and reform. We want to understand your experiences and integrate your opinions into these debates | MMU and University of Leicester, UK

Study finds one small alcoholic drink a day raises risk of irregular heartbeat

According to their report in the European Heart Journal, people who consumed as little as 12g of ethanol a day – equivalent to a 330ml beer, a 120ml glass of wine, or 40mls of spirits – were 16% more likely than teetotallers to develop atrial fibrillation over the course of the study | Guardian, UK

Rising health risks mean stronger regulations needed for smokeless tobacco

Researchers at the University of York are calling for more stringent regulatory measures to reduce the health burden of smokeless tobacco, a product often found in UK stores without the proper health warnings and as a result of illicit trading | University of York, UK

Scotland's Drug Death Taskforce to 'lead national mission' to save lives

Nicola Sturgeon took part in the taskforce's first meeting yesterday as it outlined its vision | Glasgow Live, UK

Factors associated with drinking behaviour during COVID-19 social distancing and lockdown among adults in the UK

Online cross-sectional survey of 30,375 adults in the UK from 21st March to 4th April 2020 (sample weighted). Logistic regression models were used to examine sociodemographic, drinking and COVID-19 factors associated with i) drinking less and ii) drinking more (versus same as usual) | DAD, UK

Different behaviours could reduce death and health risks in alcohol drinkers

A large study of UK adults who consume alcohol regularly has found that different patterns of alcohol consumption – including drinking wine, consuming alcohol with food and spreading alcohol intake over three to four days – could be associated with a lesser risk of alcohol-related negative health outcomes such as death | University of Glasgow, UK