Weekly news - 5th March 2021

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In date order, Monday to Friday:

Keeping drug-users connected with lifeline services

Up to £2.75 million will help people at risk from drug-related harm stay connected to life-saving services during the pandemic and beyond | Scottish Government, UK

New evidence that opioid agonists such as methadone and buprenorphine could substantially reduce drug related deaths if more widely used in the community and prison, and for longer, has been published in Lancet Psychiatry | NIHR, UK

Proposed changes to how smoking-attributable risk is calculated

PHE conducted an online consultation from 23 September 2020 to 2 November 2020 proposing changes to the relative risks used in the calculation of indicators related to smoking attributable disease. The outcomes document is now published | PHE, UK

Creating positive life opportunities: Why invest in residential services and pathways (PDF)

Residential Services for drug and alcohol treatment offer people who require multiple services a single service that responds to their needs in one comprehensive and coordinated treatment pathway. This report assesses their importance | Phoenix Futures, UK

Police boss wants cannabis trial for prisoners

A police and crime commissioner wants prisoners to be given cannabis behind bars in a bid to tackle addiction and curb violence | BBC, UK

Wales bans smoking at hospitals, schools and playgrounds

Anyone breaking the law could face £100 penalty in drive to discourage people from smoking | Guardian, UK

DDN March 2021 out now

Early trauma is an incredibly complex subject and yet it is the common thread that runs through so much of our work. Adverse Child Experience (ACE) studies have highlighted the links between addiction and neglect, abuse and violence, yet how often do we use this knowledge to develop our responses? Dr Suzanne Zeedyk (interview, p6) said in a recent online event by Favor UK that ‘we’re not curious enough about the scars people carry, and that feeds denial’ | DDN, UK

Open consultation: Proposed changes for calculating alcohol-related mortality

his is a consultation to gather views on our proposed changes to the methods used to calculate and update attributable fractions for alcohol-related mortality and hospital admissions. This consultation closes at
11:59pm on 12 April 2021 | PHE, UK

College publishes report on drug-related deaths in Scotland

The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (“the College”) has launched a new report on drug-related deaths in Scotland, based on the views of leading experts. The report recognises that Scotland’s drug deaths crisis is complex, but says much more can be done to tackle the problem, including action on harm reduction and on the social determinants of drug abuse | Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, UK

Citizen scientists show placebo effect may explain benefits of microdosing

The psychological benefits linked with taking regular, small doses of psychedelic drugs are likely the result of users’ expectations, a study suggests | Imperial College London, UK

Local tobacco control profiles for England: March 2021 update

An overview of the extent of tobacco use, tobacco related harm and the measures being taken to reduce this harm at a local level in England | PHE, UK

Scottish drug misuse database

This release presents the information available from the Scottish Drug Misuse Database (SDMD) on people presenting for initial assessment at specialist drug treatment services in 2019/20. In 2019/20, initial assessments for specialist drug treatment relating to 10,900 people resident in Scotland were recorded on the Scottish Drug Misuse Database | Public Health Scotland, UK

Health information, messaging and warnings on alcohol packaging: A focus group study with young adult drinkers in Scotland (PDF)

The current study explored how alcohol packaging could be used more effectively to communicate health information and messaging by researching young adult drinkers’ recall, use and perceptions of current alcohol labelling, as well as their responses to front-of-pack HW labels differing in size, form, and content | University of Stirling, UK

Drug-related and drug-misuse deaths 2009-2019

Number of drug-related and drug-misuse deaths in Northern Ireland | Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency and Department of Finance (Northern Ireland), UK

PHE accused of toning down positive report on drug centres

Line saying overdose prevention centres have helped lower death rates was removed from briefing | Guardian, UK

People who inject drugs: HIV and viral hepatitis monitoring

Data tables and commentary for the unlinked anonymous monitoring surveys of infections and risk among people who inject drugs (PWID). ")") update | PHE, UK

‘They already operated like it was a crisis, because it always has been a crisis’: a qualitative exploration of the response of one homeless service in Scotland to the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated unprecedented changes in the way services are delivered to individuals experiencing homelessness and problem substance use. The aim of this novel qualitative study was to document how one service in Scotland, the Wellbeing Centre run by The Salvation Army, adapted in response | Harm Reduction Journal, UK

Characterising the patterns of and factors associated with increased alcohol consumption since COVID‐19 in a UK sample

To examine changes in drinking patterns and to assess factors associated with reported increases in frequency of drinking, units consumed and frequency of heavy episodic drinking (HED) during the UK lockdown | Drug and Alcohol Review, UK

Women and Men Use Very Different Drugs to Self-Medicate

Research published today by The Global Drug Survey has shed light on the experiences of people taking psychedelics to aid their wellbeing and mental health | Vice, UK