Weekly news - 26th March 2021


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In date order, Monday to Friday:

Injectable opioid treatment: commissioning and providing services

Guidance on commissioning and providing injectable opioid treatment for people with opioid dependence who have not responded to oral treatment | PHE, UK

Cannabis health check-up tool

This cannabis health tool for health and social care professionals is designed to be used where someone’s cannabis use is identified as ‘increasing’ or ‘higher risk’ by the cannabis questions in the Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Tool-Lite (ASSIST-Lite) risk identification tool. The tool outlines how risky someone’s cannabis use is, how someone’s use compares to the general population, the benefits of cutting down or quitting, tips for reducing use and risks, and signposts to sources of advice, support and treatment. It also provides space for individuals to set their own goals | PHE, UK

Barriers to research beyond cannabinoids: call for evidence

Barriers to Research working group calls for written evidence about barriers to legitimate research for controlled drugs, excluding synthetic cannabinoids | ACMD, UK

Call for trials of age-verification technology in alcohol sales

Proposals sought for testing innovative technology in live settings | Office for Product Safety and Standards, UK

4 expert ACMD board members reappointed

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has reappointed 4 experts in their fields to serve their third term on the council | ACMD, UK

Keir Starmer says safe safe consumption rooms are not answer to Scotland's drug deaths

The Labour leader left supporters of the plans to cut the death toll dismayed | Daily Record, UK

Scotland's first medical cannabis clinic approved

Sapphire Medical Clinic, located in Stirling, is the first medical cannabis clinic authorised by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) to provide safe access to medical cannabis for patients in Scotland | BBC, UK

Problem Drug Use Bill

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to declare problem drug use a public health emergency; to require the Secretary of State to review the effects of welfare sanctions on people who use drugs; to make the Department for Health and Social Care the lead department for drugs policy;... | UK Parliament, UK

The cost of smoking to the social care system

This report sets out the impact of smoking-related illness on social care need and the resulting costs in England, building on previous reports published by ASH in 2014, 2017 and 2019. Press Release | ASH, UK

Statistics on Women's Smoking Status at Time of Delivery: England - Quarter 3, 2020-21

This report presents statistics on mother’s smoking status at time of delivery, at Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), Region and national levels. This release includes provisional data for quarter 3 of 2020-21 | NHS Digital, UK

Alcohol treatment in the criminal justice system: Why is the record so poor?

The catalogue of negative evaluations of attempts to treat problem drinking among sentenced offenders in Britain is also reflected internationally. Much of row 5 of the Alcohol Treatment Matrix effectively sought answers to the core question, ‘Why is the record so poor?’ | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

LGBT+ children eligible for free school meals more likely to have drug problems, survey suggests

Nine per cent of this group said they were experiencing or had experienced alcohol or drug dependency in a survey commissioned by Just like Us, a charity which supports LGBT+ young people | Independent, UK

Nearly 200,000 Britons are using £20 'cannabis cards' that are available without a prescription and allow them to avoid arrest if they are using the drug to treat medical conditions, organisers say

Around three and a half million people with health conditions are eligible for the Cancard under the private scheme, which was introduced in November last year | Mail Online, UK

“Hot” and “Cold” Cognition in Users of Club Drugs/Novel Psychoactive Substances

Novel psychoactive substances (NPS) are popular “club/party” drugs that first attracted attention in the UK in 2009 and remained legal until the 2016 Psychoactive Substances Act criminalized their distribution. Unlike “traditional” illicit drugs, very little is known about the influence of their analogs on neuropsychological functioning | Frontiers in Psychiatry, UK

Drug‐related deaths associated with vaping product use in the United Kingdom

[Open access] We retrospectively identified any deaths associated with the use of vaping products reported to the UK National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths (NPSAD). This contains voluntarily reported information from UK Coroners on over 42,000 deaths related to psychoactive drugs, other than nicotine or caffeine, which occurred between 1997 and 2020 | Addiction, UK

The Adfam Women’s Project, funded by the DCMS Tampon Tax Programme, aims to reduce the risks to women experiencing domestic violence in homes where drugs and alcohol are misused. This project has now finished, and our findings have been published in a research report (PDF), with recommendations for policy and practice | Adfam, UK

More evidence needed to back cannabis as pain treatment, says review

The appraisal of evidence, carried out by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), is believed to be the largest to date. It looked at all relevant published laboratory and clinical research on the topic of active compounds in cannabis, called cannabinoids, and reducing pain | Imperial College, UK

Covid-19: Pubs could require vaccine passports - Boris Johnson

Pub goers could be asked to provide a vaccine certificate, Boris Johnson has told MPs, saying it "may be up to individual publicans" | BBC, UK

Alcohol-Specific deaths in Northern Ireland: Socio-Demographic Analyses

Northern Ireland has observed notable increases in alcohol deaths in the last two decades despite increased awareness of, and the public being more educated on, the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption. In Northern Ireland, problematic alcohol use is acknowledged as being a major healthcare problem. Northern Ireland has the second highest alcoholspecific death rate in the UK after Scotland | NISRA, UK

New York state lawmakers strike deal to legalize recreational marijuana

The New York Times reported that lawmakers in Albany struck an agreement with Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday. A Siena College poll conducted earlier this month found that nearly 60% of New York voters favor legalizing recreational marijuana | Guardian, UK

Hidden epidemic of drug use among older people highlighted by International Narcotics Control Board's Annual Report

At a time of increased demand for controlled medicines due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) warns of 'a hidden epidemic: drug use among older persons' and the harm the pandemic has caused to the health and well-being of this population group | INCB, Austria