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Weekly news - 29th April 2022

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In date order, Monday to Friday

Written evidence: Drugs

37 submissions from organisations and individuals responding to the Government enquiry into the effectiveness of the UK drug framework in today’s society | Home Affairs Committee, UK

Trends in Mortality From Novel Psychoactive Substances as “Legal Highs”: Gender Differences in Manner of Death and Implications for Risk Differences for Women

[Open access] This study aimed to examine drug-related deaths in the UK in which novel psychoactive substances (NPS) are an implicated substance, and to focus on female deaths in comparison with male deaths. While male overdoses dominate epidemiological statistics, there is an increase in female drug-related deaths and a narrowing of the gap between gender mortality rates which is to date unexplained | Frontiers in Psychiatry, UK

Open consultation: Mental health and wellbeing plan: discussion paper and call for evidence

[Updated to extend closing date to 7 July.] The government is committed to improving mental health and wellbeing outcomes, particularly for people who experience worse outcomes than the general population. We want to ensure our new plan responds to the public’s priorities and set out what we can do as a whole society to drive better outcomes. Therefore, we are launching a discussion paper and call for evidence to ask the public a range of questions to help develop the new plan | DHSC, UK

Debate on progress towards the Government’s Smokefree 2030 ambition

A Westminster Hall debate has been scheduled for 9.30am on Tuesday 26 April 2022 on progress towards the Government's Smokefree 2030 ambition. The subject for the debate has been nominated by the Backbench Business Committee, and the debate will be opened by Bob Blackman MP and Mary Kelly Foy MP. A debate pack covering background to the topic is provided | House of Commons Library, UK

Fight against spiking hampered by lack of understanding and poor victim support

The Home Affairs Committee has warned that spiking will remain an invisible crime unless more is done to improve awareness and support victims. In a report published today the Committee finds that a lack of available data on spiking has made it difficult to get a clear picture of its true extent, and will remain a barrier to policing until data collection is improved | UK Parliament, UK

Mental health quality indicator profile

Of the 7,269 referrals to community-based specialist drug and alcohol treatment services completed in the quarter ending 31 December 2021, 93% involved a wait of three weeks or less | Public Health Scotland, UK

Letter from the Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Probation to the Chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs

Government response to ACMD recommendations on GHB, GBL & related substances | Home Office, UK

Working with the police to improve public health: expansion of digital learning hub

The new section on Police Scotland aims to showcase the important role the police have in helping to improve health. It will strengthen learning within public services about the factors that affect health – such as the difficult conditions in which people live, and common signs of complex social circumstances such as poor mental health or problematic drug use | Public Health Scotland, UK

Make early diagnosis of liver disease routine

Three quarters of people with liver disease are diagnosed at a late stage when it is often too late for treatment or intervention. There are now 50% more liver transplants than ten years ago – but not everyone is lucky enough to receive a transplant | British Liver Trust, UK

Secondary School Educational Resources

For far too long school students have been denied access to the truth about drugs, which has undermined their trust in health information in general and put them at greater risk of harm. This new initiative sets out to rectify this failure by presenting teaching materials that are evidence-based, balanced and proportionate. In this way, we hope to minimise the harms from the use of all drugs, whether legal or illegal | Drug Science, UK

A complete ban on all smoking would not improve healthy life expectancy for 40 years

New research says ending smoking tomorrow would not be enough to hit Government’s 2035 UK healthy life expectancy target | City University London, UK

Labour adverts attack Lib Dems for wanting to decriminalise drugs

Labour is buying targeted online adverts attacking the Lib Dems for wanting to decriminalise drugs, The Independent has learned | Independent, UK

Experts and charities give ‘overwhelming’ support to Tory drug recovery policy

Some 124 respondents described themselves as “fully supportive” of the proposals, while a further 26 said they were “partially supportive”. A number of influential drug policy campaigners, including Peter Krykant, have publicly voiced concerns regarding “harm reduction” measures | Courier, UK

UK government fund invests in cannabis oil company and London microbrewery

Taxpayer-backed British Business Bank’s Future Fund, set up to provide loans in pandemic, announces 75 new investments | Guardian, UK

Doncaster clinical trial highlights potential for more effective substance misuse treatment

Service users at Aspire have seen their recovery and on-going abstinence prospects boosted thanks to a pioneering trial with anti-depression therapy | Aspire, UK