Weekly news - 18th June 2021


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In date order, Monday to Friday:

Scotland's first patients prescribed legal cannabis

Scotland's first medical cannabis clinic has begun prescribing to patients suffering from chronic pain conditions | BBC, UK

Police probe suspect drugs tests used in criminal and family cases

Police are investigating thousands of suspect drug testing reports from one laboratory that may have been used in criminal, coronial, family and employment cases, it has emerged | Law Society Gazette, UK

Plans to print red warning saying 'smoking kills' on EVERY cigarette are put forward to make Britain smoke-free by 2030

A Tory lord is planning to publish a bill this week to put health warnings on individual cigarettes to make the UK smoke free by 2030 | Mail Online, UK

Busy clinicians to get new learning tool about the misuse of prescription drugs - web-based app

ATOMIC is a completely new, convenient and evidence-based learning intervention that improves the knowledge and confidence of front-line clinicians to identify, assess and manage acute and chronic harms caused by the non-medical use of prescription drugs. This app works on all types of phones and is free to use after simple registration. It is dedicated to the memory of Jody Lombardini-Coleman | Club Drug Clinic - Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, UK

‘It’s not 9 to 5 recovery’: the role of a recovery community in producing social bonds that support recovery

[Open access] The aim of this study was to understand how the social networks of a new recovery community can help sustain recovery, focusing on processes of social identity change, in the context of the wider UK recovery movement | DEPP, UK

Families long wait for drug help

Families affected by alcohol and drug addiction are waiting eight years for support according to a new survey | Glasgow Times, UK

Collective Voice responds to recent media coverage of treatment and recovery services

Two recent articles (“Commissioning of addiction services by councils has failed”, Health Services Journal (HSJ), 8.6.21 and “Addiction treatment harder to get since councils took over, says Tory MP”, The Guardian, 10.6.21) have made a series of claims about the commissioning and delivery of England’s treatment and recovery services which we respond to below | Collective Voice blog, UK

Drug-related hospital statistics

There were 14,976 drug-related hospital stays. Of these, 86% (12,888) were in general acute hospitals, and 14% (2,091) were in psychiatric hospitals. The drug-related hospital stay rate was 282 stays per 100,000 population. This rate has increased more than threefold since 1997/98 (87 per 100,000 population) with a consistent upward trend observed from 2012/13 onwards | Public Health Scotland, UK

Cigarette Stick Health Warnings Bill [HL]

A Bill to require tobacco manufacturers to print health warnings on individual cigarette sticks and cigarette rolling papers | Parliament.uk, UK

Drug and alcohol education for pupils with SEND

The PSHE Association drug and alcohol schemes of work for pupils with SEND have been developed for Public Health England. This pack includes drug and alcohol lesson plans and resources for key stages 2-4, as well as a comprehensive teacher guidance document | PSHE, UK

General debate: Misuse of Drugs Act

There will be a general debate on the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 in the Commons Chamber on Thursday 17 June 2021. The subject for the debate has been nominated by the Backbench Business Committee. The Members initiating the debate are Jeff Smith MP and Crispin Blunt MP | UK Parliament, UK

Latest information on alcohol consumption, price and harms in Scotland published

Public Health Scotland today published the MESAS Monitoring Report 2021, as part of the continued delivery of the Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy (MESAS) programme. This annual report provides the latest available information and key statistics on alcohol consumption, price and related harms | Public Health Scotland, UK

Scottish alcohol sales drop to lowest level in 26 years

Public Health Scotland figures show 9.4 litres of pure alcohol were sold per adult in 2020, the equivalent of each adult in the country drinking 18 units a week | BBC, UK

Hundreds offered the chance to turn their back on drugs

The DIVERT programme, which is funded by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster, allows those caught in possession of illicit drugs to avoid a criminal record if they enrol on the drugs course. Drug producers, suppliers and dealers are not given the same opportunity and are dealt with using the full force of the law | West Midlands PCC, UK

David Cameron’s Great Aunt Loved Morphine, and Other Historical UK Drug Facts

Half a century since the birth of Britain’s dubious Misuse of Drugs Act, a new book delves into the history of our equally dubious war on drugs | VICE, UK

Misuse of Drugs Act: Debated on Thursday 17 June 2021

Jeff Smith MP : I beg to move, That this House has considered the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. [Written record of yesterday's debate] [You can also watch the debate on Parliament TV from 13.07] | Hansard, UK

Nicola Sturgeon admits SNP has 'failed at aspects of drugs policy'

The First Minister was pressed by Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross over the drugs death rate in Scotland – the highest in Europe. Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Mr Ross announced his party will publish plans before the summer recess for a right to recovery bill that he claimed would “give everyone a legal right to recovery” | Herald, UK

'Every pharmacy should supply' overdose drug Naxolone to fight Scotland's crisis, says RPS

This is one of the views of a key pharmacy profession body which said that many of the deaths were preventable and that staff should be trained to use the drug | Herald, UK

The impact of the 2016 Psychoactive Substances Act on synthetic cannabinoid use within the homeless population: Markets, content and user harms

[Open access] On 26 May 2016, the UK introduced the Psychoactive Substances Act....While a Home Office review of the Act in 2018 proclaimed that the Act had been successful in achieving its main goal of preventing the open sale of psychoactive substances, significantly, the review acknowledged that high levels of synthetic cannabinoid use remain amongst vulnerable user groups, in particular the homeless population | IJDP, UK

Ireland gives green light to medical cannabis prescriptions in ‘milestone’ move

Patients in Ireland will now for the first time be able to get medical cannabis via prescription, in what has been described as a “milestone” move expected to bring hope to many families, although barriers to access medical cannabis still remain | EurActiv, Belgium

New Pompidou Group Handbook on In-prison Therapeutic Communities released

The handbook on prison-based TCs was produced by the Pompidou Group (PG) with the help of renowned TC experts to assist member states in establishing and running a successful TC programme in custodial settings. It offers guidance on design, planning and implementation of a TC as well as a curriculum for trainers | Council of Europe, France