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Weekly news - 8th April 2022

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In date order, Monday to Friday

More than 1,200 died while homeless in the UK in 2021

Cuts to mental illness, addiction and housing services linked to 32% increase on previous year | Guardian, UK

Needle Exchange Surveillance Initiative (NESI)

Prevalence of blood-borne viruses and injecting risk behaviours among people who inject drugs attending injecting equipment provision services in Scotland, 2008 to 2020 | Public Health Scotland, UK

Alcohol and drugs workforce: mixed-methods research compendium

Health and Social Care Analysis have undertaken a programme of research to better understand the drug and alcohol workforce. This programme has entailed both synthesising existing datasets and generating new data, which has resulted in the production of the following series of documents... | Scottish Government, UK

Levelling up health by stamping out tobacco (PDF)

This paper demonstrates that smoking is the single biggest cause of health inequalities and is responsible for half of the difference in life expectancy between the richest and poorest in society. It is directly related to three of the 12 levelling up missions recently announced by the UK government in its Levelling Up White Paper, published February 2022.1 Significant action on smoking is essential if the Government’s ambition to add 5 years healthy life expectancy by 2035 is to be achieved | ALUK, UK

House votes to decriminalize marijuana, but Senate fate dim

Marijuana would be decriminalized at the federal level under legislation the House approved Friday as Democrats made the case for allowing states to set their own policies on pot | Independent, UK

Oregon’s bold drug decriminalisation sees some success – but use still rising

Experts say decriminalisation is not the problem – the new measure lacks a proper pathway to recovery amid the growing overdose crisis | Guardian, UK

How fentanyl flooded the US – and sent opioid deaths soaring - podcast

During the coronavirus pandemic, drug overdose rates in America surged. In 2020, overdoses were up by 31% in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The death rate increased most dramatically among Black and Indigenous Americans – rising by 49% and 43% respectively in just one year | Guardian, UK

Alcohol tags helping thousands of offenders stay sober

More than 97% of offenders on sobriety tags have stayed off alcohol, a year after they were introduced in England following a successful pilot in Wales | Ministry of Justice, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, and The Rt Hon Kit Malthouse MP, UK

Gummies: Woman dies after eating 'cannabis' gummy sweet

The woman and her friend, aged 21, ordered the sweets - also known as gummies - to her Ilford home via a messaging app last Tuesday | BBC, UK

Transport Secretary cracks down on drug-driving to protect the public

Call for evidence launched to determine whether convicted drug-drivers should have to complete a rehabilitation course before resuming driving | DoT, UK

Medical cannabis and road safety

Report examining issues relating to road safety and the use and prescription of medical cannabis | DoT, UK

Proposals for a high risk offenders drug driving scheme

Report from an expert panel outlining recommendations for implementing a high risk offender scheme for drug drivers | DoT, UK

Review of the drink drive rehabilitation course

Reviews the current drink drive rehabilitation course and explores the feasibility of offering offenders a combined drink and drug drive rehabilitation course | DoT, UK

Tackling hepatitis C – three of our services have reached a major milestone

We are excited to announce that three Change Grow Live services have recently achieved micro-elimination of hepatitis C: West Kent, Reading, and Bromley | Change Grow Live, UK

Innovative dispensary launches to support people who use drugs

Humankind have opened what is believed to be the UK’s first pharmacy technician-led community dispensary embedded within a specialist substance use treatment service | Humankind, UK

The Scottish Pharmacy Alliance convenes to reduce drug deaths

University of Stirling Substance Use expert Professor Catriona Matheson is launching a new partnership with the pharmacy profession to help drive down drug deaths | University of Stirling, UK

Advocacy Project 6 Month Report

There are no specific advocacy service’s in the UK fighting for the rights of people seeking access to treatment & this service could easily be the start of a whole new desperately needed sector | FAVOR UK, UK

Female alcohol dependence: Mental health struggles in women

Participants in women-only meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous experience a strong feeling of loneliness and rejection, due to the social stigma tied to female alcohol dependence | Open Access Government, UK

Call to ban vaping for young Australians after review concludes it causes ‘acute lung injury’

Australian Council on Smoking and Health calls for ban on sale and promotion of e-cigarettes following most comprehensive study yet | Guardian, UK

Experts warn dangerous synthetic cannabis is being sold as cannabis gummies

A drug testing charity is warning dangerous synthetic cannabis, sold as marijuana sweets, could be putting buyers at risk of death | BBC, UK

Statistics from the Northern Ireland Substance Misuse Database: 2020/21

The report summarises information on people presenting to services with problem drug and/ or alcohol misuse and relates to the 12-month period ending 31 March 2021 | NI Direct, UK

Opening doors

Peers in Medway are taking partnerships to a new level with impressive results. DDN sees them in action | DDN, UK

New 5000-person cannabis trial to take place in the UK

Thousands of British people will be given cannabis for pain treatment as part of a clinical experiment that might lay the groundwork for millions of people to be able to access the medicine through the NHS. The Times reports that medical regulators have authorised the UK's first study of pure cannabis for those suffering from chronic pain caused by illnesses such as arthritis | MixMag, UK

England has a new drugs strategy – what now lies ahead?

The new drugs strategy for England shows the government is serious about righting the wrong of nearly a decade of disinvestment and political neglect. £533 million has been committed over the next three years to community treatment and recovery services, with additional funding for prisons | Kings Fund blog, UK