Weekly news - 29th October 2021

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Senior UK police officer backs pioneering synthetic heroin clinics

Chief constable Richard Lewis says ‘fundamental change of approach’ needed to tackle drug deaths crisis | Guardian, UK

Drug Deaths Task Force - Recommendations

Since the Taskforce was formed in 2019, a number of recommendations were made to a range of stakeholders, from Government to the First Minister and the Lord Advocate. These recommendations relate to a wide range of topics that the Taskforce believe would have a positive impact on tackling the drug problem faced in Scotland and ultimately save lives | Scottish Drug Deaths Taskforce, UK

Safer Drug Consumption Facilites - Evidence Paper

This paper highlights the evidence in support of Safer Drug Consumption Facilities | Scottish Government, UK

Treat drug addiction as a chronic condition, says head of government review

[Limited number of free articles per week] Prof Dame Carol Black tells The Telegraph’s Mad World podcast that that approach would create a ‘much more stable society’ | Telegraph, UK

Luxembourg first in Europe to legalise growing and using cannabis

Relaxation is part of government rethink designed to keep users away from illegal market | Guardian, UK

Polydrug use: health and social responses

The term ‘polydrug use’ is used to describe the use of more than one drug or type of drug by an individual either at the same time or sequentially. It encompasses the use of both illicit drugs and legal substances, such as alcohol and medicines, and most people who use drugs will on occasion use more than one substance | EMCDDA, Portugal

NIN on drug health harms briefing – October 2021

This briefing summarises the topics covered at the October 2021 meeting of the national intelligence network (NIN) on the health harms associated with drug use, with updated information where appropriate | PHE, UK

Scottish National Naloxone Programme’s work showcased in new EU toolkit on overdose prevention upon release from prison

A hands-on toolkit has been designed for policymakers and practitioners which explains how to set up and run naloxone programmes for overdose prevention upon release from prison and other custodial settings | SDF, UK

Medicines associated with dependence or withdrawal symptoms: safe prescribing and withdrawal management for adults - Darft for Consultation

This consultation closes on 5pm, 02 December 2021. This guideline covers prescribing and managing withdrawal from opioids, benzodiazepines, gabapentinoids, Z-drugs and antidepressants. The guideline assumes that non-pharmacological treatment options have been discussed and offered where appropriate before these medicines are prescribed | NICE, UK

New Research on Canada’s Legalisation Experience

It is rare that governments pass laws that create entirely new public policy horizons, with accompanying challenges and opportunities. Canada’s decision to legalise cannabis for adult (non-medical) use in 2018 was one rare example. The Cannabis Act was the first time that a major industrialised country had chosen to create a legal, regulated market in what had been a prohibited drug for over ninety years | Public First, UK

Stimulants: health and social responses

The stimulants miniguide provides an overview of what to consider when planning or delivering health and social responses to stimulant-related problems, and reviews the available interventions and their effectiveness. It also considers implications for policy and practice | EMCDDA, Portugal

Intended and unintended consequences of the implementation of minimum unit pricing of alcohol in Scotland: a natural experiment

This study found that implementation of minimum unit pricing at 50p per unit was unproblematic with no evidence of beneficial or harmful impacts on the outcomes evaluated | NIHR, UK

SDF study benchmarks progress towards MAT implementation

The living experience of people in medication assisted treatment (MAT) has been surveyed by a team of thirteen researchers at Scottish Drugs Forum.  The researchers all have their own lived experience of problem substance use and six are currently in medication assisted treatment | SDF, UK

Estimation of the global number of e-cigarette users in 2020

The combustion of tobacco is the main cause of tobacco-related morbidity and mortality. E-cigarettes are potentially disruptive innovations with considerable potential for population health. A key question is whether e-cigarettes are replacing tobacco cigarettes, which requires mapping their prevalence. Collecting information on nicotine use is difficult for many countries due to cost. The objective of this study was to derive a global estimate of e-cigarette use (vaping) | Harm Reduction Journal, UK

New psychoactive substances: health and social responses

The new psychoactive substances miniguide provides an overview of the most important aspects to consider when planning or delivering health and social responses to problems related to new psychoactive substances, and reviews the availability and effectiveness of the responses. It also considers implications for policy and practice | EMCDDA, Portugal

Sunak unveils overhaul of alcohol duty and tax cuts on some drinks

Taxes on drinks including beer, wine and cider will be slashed in a move announced by Rishi Sunak during the budget on Wednesday | Guardian, UK

Open consultation: The new alcohol duty system: consultation

This document responds to last year’s call for evidence on the Alcohol Duty Review and sets out how the government intends to reform the alcohol duty system. This consultation closes at 11:45pm on 30 January 2022 | HM Treasury, UK

Price of pack of cigarettes doubles in ten years to £13.60

The price of a pack of cigarettes has risen to as much as £13.60 after tobacco was hit by yet another tax hike | Metro, UK

‘Scotland should open consumption rooms without law change’

The campaigners were speaking before the Criminal Justice Committee at Holyrood | STV news, UK

Mental Health Needs and Substance Use

I very much welcome the opportunity to open the debate on ensuring a person-centred approach to supporting people who have both substance use and mental health needs. The link between poor mental health and drug problems is clear. Research demonstrates that more than 90 per cent of those who are most at risk of a drug-related death will experience anxiety and/or depression | They work for you, UK

WHO Urged to Embrace Tobacco Harm Reduction

The ninth Conference of the Parties (COP9) to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) will operate under conditions of secrecy comparable to those of the U.N. Security Council, according to a new report by the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction (GSTHR) titled, Fighting the Last War: The WHO and International Tobacco Control | Tobacco Reporter, UK

E-cigarettes could be prescribed on the NHS in world first

England could be the first country in the world to prescribe medicinally licensed e-cigarettes to help reduce smoking rates | DHSC, UK

What are e-cigarettes and are they safe?

E-cigarettes are set to be prescribed on NHS to tackle smoking, but what is the debate around them? | Guardian, UK

Dame Carol Black’s Independent Review of Drugs Report

Dan Carden MP: "I beg to move, That this House has considered Dame Carol Black’s independent review of drugs report. The damning conclusion of part two of Dame Carol Black’s review was that “the public provision we currently have for prevention, treatment and recovery is not fit for purpose, and urgently needs repair.” I have called today’s debate because the report’s recommendations are too important to be left gathering dust on ministerial bookshelves | They work for you, UK