Weekly news - 30th July 2021


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In date order, Monday to Friday:

More vulnerable adults supported through ‘Changing Futures’ programme

Essential support and treatment for vulnerable adults facing a combination of homelessness, substance misuse, poor mental health, domestic abuse, or contact with the criminal justice system | Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government and Eddie Hughes MP, UK

Drug addicts should get 'safe rooms' to take illegal drugs, says royal college of psychiatrists

[Limited number of free articles per week] The president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists has urged minister to consider new tactics to combat rising drug deaths | Telegraph, UK

High Alert: Why we want to help everyone party safely this summer

Today marks the start of High Alert, a new campaign from Metro.co.uk and The Loop. We’ve teamed up to reach as many people as we can, all with the aim of reducing harmful drug use and helping everyone party safely this summer | Metro, UK

2021 Summer Harm Reduction Campaign

On the 19th of July, festivals and nightclubs are re-opening, having been closed for nearly 18 months. This is an exciting time for many people, who have missed being able to party with friends and loved ones. This is going to be a poignant moment for many... However, it is important to keep yourself and your friends safe | The Loop, UK

The ABCs of an overdose: What to do when drugs go wrong

When it comes to drugs, the safest approach is not taking them at all. But if you are going to get high, whether that’s on ketamine, cocaine, MDMA, or whatever else you can get your hands on, it’s vital you know what to do if things go wrong | Metro, UK

'A fellowship of abstinent friends' to be created in University campus addiction recovery programme

A pilot programme designed to work with students in recovery from addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling or other behavioural addiction could provide a template approach to supporting student recovery nationwide | University of Birmingham, UK

‘Dangerous data’: drinking after dependence: Part 1: Why the heat?

Mike Ashton of the Drug and Alcohol Findings Effectiveness Bank serialises the project’s essay on arguably the most controversial issue in addiction treatment: whether dependent drinkers should always aim for abstinence. First instalment asks – why such heat over a seemingly innocuous decision? | SSA, UK

People with lived experience will make Black report ‘a meaningful strategy’

‘Is this one of the most important documents we’ve seen in a long time – or a rehash of old ideas?’ This was the opening question to an online conversation hosted by the College of Lived Experience Recovery Organisations (CLERO) – the first of several events to gather feedback from LEROs on the Carol Black report | DDN, UK

What treatment and services are effective for people who are homeless and use drugs? A systematic ‘review of reviews’

[Open access] People who experience homelessness and those vulnerably housed experience disproportionately high rates of drug use and associated harms, yet barriers to services and support are common. We undertook a systematic ‘review of reviews’ to investigate the effects of interventions for this population on substance use, housing, and related outcomes, as well as on treatment engagement, retention and successful completion | PLOS One, UK

Associations between smoke-free vehicle legislation and childhood admissions to hospital for asthma in Scotland: an interrupted time-series analysis of whole-population data

[Open access] In Scotland, childhood admissions to hospital for asthma fell from March, 2006, after legislation was introduced to prohibit smoking in public places. In December, 2016, new Scottish legislation banned smoking in vehicles containing a child. We aimed to determine whether the introduction of this new legislation produced additional benefits | Lancet, UK

From heart damage to seizures: The dangers of mixing different drugs

Stories in the news about people dying from a ‘cocktail of drugs’ make it look like something that takes place on the fringes. However, Fiona Measham, director of drug checking charity The Loop, says ‘polydrug use’ is actually quite common | Metro, UK

New York reaches opioid settlement - audio

New York has agreed a $1.1bn opioid deal with US drug companies | BBC, UK

Best practice in Optimising Opioid Substitution Treatment (BOOST) elearning programme

This resource aims to provide workers with the information they need to deliver good quality OST to and with service users. It has been developed in partnership with Health Education England elearning for healthcare (HEE elfh), Collective Voice, NHS Addictions Provider Alliance, drug and alcohol treatment providers and people with lived experience | PHE, UK

OST guide for drug treatment and recovery workers

Advice for drug treatment and recovery workers to help them to deliver safe and effective OST to service users | PHE, UK

OST service self-assessment tool

Community drug service providers and commissioners can also now use this tool, which features good practice examples and resources, to help them deliver OST in line with clinical guidance | PHE, UK

Knowledge & Library Services (KLS) Evidence Briefing: What are the facilitators and barriers to the uptake of low dead space injecting equipment for people who inject drugs? [From June]

This briefing summarises the evidence on the facilitators and barriers to the uptake of low dead space injecting equipment from 1st January 2000 to 31st May 2021 | PHE, UK

Chief Medical Officer’s annual report 2021: health in coastal communities

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty’s second annual report presents an analysis of the health and wellbeing of England’s coastal communities. [Includes information on alcohol and other drug use in rural communities] | Department of Health and Social Care, UK

Lord Chancellor outlines government plans to rebuild criminal justice

Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland spoke at the Centre for Social Justice to outline how the government is rebuilding the criminal justice system and looking to its longer-term future. [Includes statements on drug use in prison] | Ministry of Justice and The Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC MP, UK

Collective Voice hosts webinar with Dame Carol Black

On Monday 12 July 2021 Collective Voice hosted a webinar with Dame Carol Black on the second part of her landmark independent review of drugs. We also heard from Rosanna O’Connor, Interim Director for Health Improvement at Public Health England. A full recording of the event is now available on Youtube | Collective Voice, UK

Poorer Scots 16 times more likely to be admitted to hospital over drug use

Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said: “This research shows that people living in the least well-off areas are 16 times more likely to be hospitalised as a result of drug use than those in the wealthiest | Daily Record, UK

The SUMH Resource Pack

Working with people with coexisting Substance Use & Mental Health (SUMH) issues. A good practice guide for practitioners | Turning Point, UK

Government response to the independent review of drugs by Dame Carol Black

Details the government's response to parts 1 and 2 of Dame Carol Black's independent review of drugs | Department of Health and Social Care and Home Office, UK

Boris Johnson pledges to target drug abuse in anti-crime push

Alcohol tags - which are intended to detect from sweat if the wearer has been drinking - are to be trialled on prison leavers in Wales in an effort to reduce alcohol-related crime. The document also says Project Adder - which targets drugs gangs, offers help to addicts and increases the use of drugs testing when arrests are made - will be expanded from five areas of England to 13 | BBC, UK

Role of community drug and alcohol services in physical healthcare for people who use illicit opioids: a qualitative study of clinical staff in the UK

Clinicians participating in this study serve a patient group with unmet physical health needs, but lack the resources to respond effectively to these needs | BMJ Open, UK

Vending machines for drug users ‘can save lives’

Innovative projects aim to reduce the number of people dying from drugs in Scotland | STV News, UK

Blackpool drug warning: 'High-purity ecstasy' leaves two in hospital

Drug users in a seaside resort have been warned about "a batch of high-purity ecstasy" after two men were taken to hospital on Saturday night | BBC, UK

WHO reports progress in the fight against tobacco epidemic

Many countries are making progress in the fight against tobacco, but a new World Health Organization report shows some are not addressing emerging nicotine and tobacco products and failing to regulate them | WHO, Switzerland

British Liver Trust urges cocaine users to get tested for hepatitis C

On World Hepatitis Day (28th July 2021) the British Liver Trust is warning that thousands of people may have contracted hepatitis C by sharing bank notes or straws whilst snorting cocaine, and is urging them to get tested for the virus | British Liver Trust, UK

Chronic health issues for third in late 40s - study

About one in three middle-aged people has multiple chronic health issues, a long-running British study suggests | BBC, UK

Naloxone kit supply may have saved almost 1,400 lives in 2020, report finds

There has been a large increase in the uptake of take-home naloxone kits in Scotland, and the emergency antidote for overdoses caused by heroin and other opioids is likely to have saved many lives | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

New study identifies factors associated with increased drinking during lockdown

Researchers at the University of Liverpool have published a new study which showed that increased drinking during the first COVID-19 lockdown was associated with drinking to cope | University of Liverpool, UK

One in five women actively trying to get pregnant smoke cigarettes, study finds

‘It’s worrying that awareness and behaviours haven’t really improved,’ says report author | Independent, UK

People who inject drugs appreciated the efforts made by drug services to continue to provide support during the pandemic, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded LUCID-B study published (pre-proof) in the International Journal of Drug Policy has found. But for many, the pandemic worsened already precarious and isolated lives | NIHR, UK

We’ll publish drug strategy by end of the year, government says

The government has promised to publish a ‘long-term’ drug strategy by the end of the year, at the same time as it sets out measures to expand drug-testing on arrest and make people arrested for drug-related offences take part in ‘visible’ unpaid community work as part of its new Beating crime plan | DDN, UK

Policy paper: Beating Crime Plan

This document sets out the government’s plan to deliver the change that Britain needs, with less crime, fewer victims, and a safer country. [Includes a range of actions on tackling drug issues] | Home Office, UK

Must Know: Treatment and recovery for people with drug or alcohol problems

As elected members, you are ideally placed to champion investment into reducing drug and alcohol harm in your local area, engaging the local community and collaborating with officers. The purpose of this guide, developed in partnership with Public Health England (PHE), is to raise awareness about drug and alcohol related harms and empower councillors by providing an introduction to treatment and recovery services, key considerations, signposting to useful resources, as well as any questions you need to ask to support effective decision making | LGA, UK

People who inject drugs: HIV and viral hepatitis monitoring

Updated with 2011 to 2020 data and Health Protection Report 15(13) | PHE, UK

ACMD advice on Sunosi

In April, a letter from the ACMD to Kit Malthouse recommended that the control of Sunosi under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 was not required at the time. There is now a response from Kit Malthouse to Prof Bowden-Jones | ACMD, UK

Role of community drug and alcohol services in physical healthcare for people who use illicit opioids: a qualitative study of clinical staff in the UK

To understand how clinicians working in addiction services perceive their responsibilities for physical healthcare of clients who use opioids, and how physical healthcare could be improved for this group | BMJ Open, UK

Buprenorphine for the management of kratom dependency during covid-19: A case report

[Open access] We describe a case report where buprenorphine was successfully used for the management of kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) dependency during the Covid-19 pandemic in a specialist community substance misuse treatment service | Drug Science, Policy and Law, UK

Cannabis part of the future says tobacco giant

The UK's largest tobacco firm says it sees cannabis as part of its future as it tries to move away from selling traditional cigarettes | BBC, UK

Drug Related Deaths in Scotland - released later today

This publication reports on the number of drug-related deaths, broken down by cause of death, selected drugs reported, age and sex. It should be available later this morning at the link above | National Records of Scotland, UK

Drug deaths in Scotland could rise to new record

Scotland's drug death total could hit record levels for the seventh year in a row, experts have predicted | BBC, UK

Tory Bill to give drug addicts a 'right to recovery' being backed by SNP MSPs

SNP MSPs are set to back Douglas Ross’s draft legislation that would enshrine in law a guarantee that everyone in Scotland who needs drug treatment can receive it | Scotsman, UK

Two thirds of ambulance staff able to give out naloxone

Scotland's drugs minister has welcomed the news that almost two-thirds of ambulance crews are able to distribute Naloxone to people likely to have or witness an overdose | Planet Radio, UK