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Reports: March

Universities should be more tolerant of drug use if they are to keep students safe from drug harms

A new report from the Higher Education Policy Institute, Illicit drug use in universities: zero tolerance or harm reduction? (HEPI Debate Paper 29), suggests a zero-tolerance approach to illicit drug use may cause more harm than it prevents, as those who need help do not come forward for fear of punishment. Drawing on available evidence, the authors Arda Ozcubukcu and Professor Graham Towl argue that an approach based on public health and focused on harm reduction is a better way to deal with students who take illegal drugs | HEPI, UK

Adolescent Addiction Service Report 2022 (PDF)

In 2021 the Adolescent Addiction Service worked with 50 young people and their families with a mean age of 15.5 years (range 13-18 years). In comparison to 2020 referrals were up by 25%.The majority of referrals (70%) were male, which reflects a reduction on 2020 when 82% were male and 6% were Non Irish nationals, reflecting a decrease of 7% compared to 2020. Similar to previous year’s referrals were received from a broad range of services. Of note is 80% increase in referrals from CAMHS which reflects the extent of dual diagnosis among young people who access service | HSE, Ireland

Evaluating the impact of Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) of alcohol in Scotland on cross-border purchasing

This report looks at the impact of Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) on cross-border purchasing of alcohol. The report aims to find out if it is happening at a level that affects alcohol consumption, groups of people in Scotland, or retailers | Public Health Scotland, UK

Alcohol management in Deep End practices

A new study shows the effectiveness of specialist addictions nurses in general practices in the most disadvantaged areas of Glasgow in treating alcohol problems. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Dundee and University of Stirling and explored healthcare professionals’ and patients’ experiences and perceptions of the management of alcohol problems in Deep End general practices in Scotland | SHAAP, UK

Hepatitis C in England and the UK

The number of people living with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in England has fallen dramatically, by 37% since 2015, to 81,000 in 2020, with many of those drawn from marginalised and underserved groups in society, such as people who inject drugs. In this report, we present the latest data on HCV, review progress towards World Health Organization (WHO) elimination targets, and highlight the actions needed to reach them | UKHSA, UK

International Narcotics Control Board warns of illicit financial flows undermining societies and link between exposure to social media and drug use

The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) warns in its Annual Report 2021 that illicit financial flows generated from drug trafficking have a wide negative impact on society, diverting money from the economy, leading to social and political instability | INCB, Austria

Approximately 2.55 Million Students Reported Currently Using a Tobacco Product in 2021

The 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) was conducted among U.S. middle and high school students during the COVID-19 pandemic and revealed that youth tobacco use remains a serious public health concern. About 2.55 million U.S. middle and high school students reported current (past 30-day) use of a tobacco product in 2021, according to new data released in today’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report | CDC, USA

INCB Annual Report 2021

The Report reviews the functioning of the international drug control system and includes an analysis of the availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, particularly in humanitarian emergencies. Important differences between the concepts of legalization, decriminalization and depenalization are highlighted, as is the link between exposure to social media and drug use | INCB, Austria

Death Penalty For Drug Offences: Global Overview 2021

Harm Reduction International has monitored the use of the death penalty for drug offences worldwide since our first ground-breaking publication on this issue in 2007. This report, our eleventh on the subject, continues our work of providing regular updates on legislative, policy and practical developments related to the use of capital punishment for drug offences, a practice which is a clear violation of international law | HRI, UK

Avoidable mortality in Great Britain: 2020

In 2020, Scotland had the highest avoidable ASMR (age-standardised mortality rate) for alcohol-related and drug-related deaths with 52.1 deaths per 100,000 people. This was statistically significantly higher than the rates for the other two countries. In comparison, England had the lowest rate with 24.0 deaths per 100,000 people | ONS, UK

Suspected drug deaths in Scotland: October to December 2021

This report focusses on Police Scotland management information as a key indicator of recent drug death trends in Scotland | Scottish Government, UK

Quarter of motorists admit to driving over the limit the morning after a night out

One in four motorists (26%) admitted there were times when they may have been over the limit when driving the morning after a night out according to new attitudinal research*released by the Road Safety Authority (RSA). The stark findings come as the RSA and An Garda Síochána launch an appeal for all road users to act responsibly and not to drink and drive over the extended St Patrick’s Day Bank Holiday weekend 2022 | RSA, Ireland

Latest suspected drug deaths report

The latest quarterly report on the number of suspected drug deaths during 2021 shows a fall of 8% (116) on the previous year. The report on suspected drug death Management Information from Police Scotland shows there were 1,295 deaths between January and December 2021. The equivalent number of suspected drug deaths for 2020 was 1,411, though official statistics from National Records of Scotland showed the confirmed number of drug-related deaths in 2020 was 1,339 | Scottish Government, UK

Closed consultation: Expanding access to naloxone

The consultation received 704 responses. Just under a third of the responses were from organisations and just over two-thirds were from individuals. There was strong support for the proposals in the consultation. Most of the respondents agreed that the individuals and services we consulted on should be able to supply naloxone without a prescription. Most respondents also agreed that allowing the individuals and services we consulted on to supply take-home naloxone without a prescription would help reduce overdoses and drug-related deaths | DHSC, UK

European Commission adopts measures to control two harmful new drugs amidst health concerns and surge in supply

The European Commission has adopted measures to control two harmful new psychoactive substances (NPS) across the EU. The substances in question —
3-methylmethcathinone (3-MMC) and 3-chloromethcathinone (3-CMC) — are both synthetic cathinones, which have been raising concerns in Europe | EMCDDA, Portugal

How traffic law enforcement can contribute to safer roads (PDF)

Exceeding speed limits, drink- or distracted- driving, and failure to wear a seatbelt are among the important factors leading to death and serious injury on European roads. Road safety laws have been adopted to guide drivers in their behaviour. Many comply with them willingly. Others, however, would be less likely to comply if it were not for fear of being detected and sanctioned. This is where traffic law enforcement comes in. This report gives an overview of the current state of road traffic enforcement across the EU, with recommendations for action | European Safety Transport Council, Belgium

The time is now: the national perspective on ramping up FASD prevention, diagnosis and support services (PDF)

This report, “The Time is Now,” builds on an unprecedented alignment of UK public health bodies focused on the serious risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and the need for recognition, diagnosis and support for those with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Ten key themes emerged from a series of expert roundtables focused on the national perspective on ramping up FASD services | The National Organisation for FASD, Ireland

Helping families and friends negatively affected by gambling: Policy and practice recommendations from Adfam’s research (PDF)

This report sets out Adfam's findings from a range of research activities including four specific gambling related surveys, peer support training and round -table events. It looks at the effects of gambling on families as well as the impact of Covid-19 on these families and explores what support services would be beneficial. The research has also provided some very powerful voices articulating the impact of gambling on family and friends | Adfam, UK

Alcohol retail sales data and population level consumption

Alcohol sales data are widely regarded as offering the most accurate means of estimating population-level alcohol consumption. Public Health Scotland uses retail sales data as part of the Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy (MESAS) programme and has today published two reports examining the data | Public Health Scotland, UK

Drugs Commission Two Year Review

Dundee partners are reaffirming their commitment to cut the city’s drug death toll, as the Dundee Drugs Commission delivers a review of progress on its original recommendations. You can download the Commission's full report - Time for Kindness, Compassion and Hope. The Need for Action Two Years Onand supporting evidence | Dundee City Council, UK

What are LGBTQ+ people’s experiences of alcohol services in Scotland? A qualitative study of service users and service providers

This research investigates the experiences of LGBTQ+ people who have used alcohol services in Scotland, and the views of service providers. We will explore how services can be made more inclusive to more effectively support the LGBTQ+ community | SHAAP, UK

The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016: post-implementation review

This report presents the evidence and findings of a post-implementation review (PIR) for The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 | OHID, UK