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Weekly news - 11th February 2022

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In date order, Monday to Friday

Government launches landmark reviews to tackle health disparities

The government announces leads for independent reviews into ethnic inequalities for medical devices and tobacco control | DHSC, UK

National Wound Care Guide: An introduction to recognising and assessing common wounds and injecting injuries in people who inject drugs (PDF)

This resource aims to help people working within harm reduction and injection equipment provision (IEP) services, and anyone who works with people who inject drugs, to assess injection sites and identify potential complications arising from injecting street drugs | SDF, UK

Alcoholism: Rehabilitation

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support residential and non-residential treatment centres that help people tackle alcohol addiction | They work for you, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to (a) support people with problematic alcohol use and (b) prevent people from developing problematic alcohol use | They work for you, UK

Back to the future – drug strategies and deja vue (PDF)

DrugWise hasn’t ‘spoken’ for some while because to be honest, there hasn’t been that much to speak about regarding UK drug policy. Now we have the Dame Carol Black review and the government’s response. This is not a detailed resume of the contents of either as I’m sure many of those reading this will be well acquainted with both documents. This is more by way of some personal top line observations... | DrugWise, UK

DDN February 2022

Service user involvement, co-production, peer-led initiatives – whatever the terminology, we’re glad to see the renewed efforts to make the voice of experience a vital part of the infrastructure of services. Almost two decades ago when we started DDN, the two-year rule – a nebulous guideline about an amount of time required to be drug-free and therefore stable enough to enter full-time work, and grasped by many as a reason not to put service users on an equal footing – was a real barrier to admitting people back into employment and an equal status | DDN, UK

The NHS Addictions Provider Alliance’s ‘Stigma Kills’ campaign calls for a change in attitude towards addiction

The NHS Addictions Provider Alliance (NHS APA) is launching a public campaign today (Tuesday 8th of February) called ‘Stigma Kills’. The campaign aims to reduce the stigma of addiction by asking individuals and organisations to stop defining people by their addiction and see the person behind it | NHS APA, UK

Assessing the feasibility, acceptability and accessibility of a peer-delivered intervention to reduce harm and improve the well-being of people who experience homelessness with problem substance use: the SHARPS study

[Open access] The study established that a peer-delivered, relational harm reduction intervention is acceptable to, and feasible and accessible for, people experiencing homelessness and problem substance use. While the study was not outcomes-focused, participants did experience a range of positive outcomes. A full randomised controlled trial is now required to assess intervention effectiveness | Harm Reduction Journal, UK

Worrying numbers of older children having energy drinks regularly

Up to a third of UK children - mostly young teens - consume at least one energy drink a week, while some are having them almost daily, new research suggests | BBC, UK

Youth drinking in decline: What are the implications for public health, public policy and public debate?

[Open access] Youth drinking has declined across most high-income countries in the last 20 years. Although researchers and commentators have explored the nature and drivers of decline, they have paid less attention to its implications. This matters because of the potential impact on contemporary and future public health, as well as on alcohol policy-making. This commentary considers how youth drinking trends may develop in future, what this would mean for public health, and what it might mean for alcohol policy and debate | IJDP, UK

Justice Department evaluating safe injection sites for drugs like heroin

The sites aim to mitigate overdoses by providing safe places for individuals to use the drugs | Independent, UK

Shooting Up: infections and other injecting-related harms among people who inject drugs in the UK, 2020 An update December 2021

This report describes the extent of infections and injecting-related harms among people who inject drugs (PWID) in the United Kingdom.

Some key messages: 1) Data indicate people who inject drugs have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, with access to services severely limited. 2) Hepatitis C continues to be the most common infection among PWID in the UK. 3) Hepatitis B remains uncommon but vaccine uptake needs to be sustained, particularly in younger age groups and recent initiates to injecting where the uptake of vaccination is particularly low. 4) HIV infections and outbreaks continue to occur among PWID, although, HIV prevalence in this group remains comparatively low. 5) Cases of bacterial infections among PWID dropped in 2020, although this is thought to be due to limited hospital activity as a result of the pandemic. 6) The recent increase in the sharing and re-use of injecting equipment observed among PWID participating in bio-behavioural surveys is of concern. 7) Changes in psychoactive drug preferences could lead to riskier injecting practices, particularly the continued high levels of in injection of crack cocaine in England and Wales, and increase in injection of powdered cocaine in Scotland.  8) Rates of both fatal and non-fatal overdose are at an all-time high. This is in the context of improved availability of naloxone and increased self-reported carriage of take-home naloxone among PWID. | UKHSA, UK

Drugs inquiry launched

The Home Affairs Committee announces a new inquiry to examine illegal drug use in the UK and its effect on society | UK Parliament, UK

COA Week - 13th February - 19th February

In the UK, COA Week is led by the charity Nacoa UK who provide year-round support. Please join us in our 12th year in the UK. Together we can increase awareness of this hidden problem and the support available. Find out how you can help children of all ages know they are not alone | NACOA, UK

Drug- and alcohol-related homicides

According to the Homicide Index, in the last three years almost a third (32%) of homicide victims were thought to be under the influence of alcohol and/or illicit drugs at the time of the homicide | ONS, UK

Covid pandemic: Drinkers shun beer for wine and spirits

Beer sales plunged in the UK during the Covid pandemic as people avoided pubs and drank wine and spirits at home instead, industry analysis found | BBC, UK

UK to trial vape vending machines

Digital ID tech company 1account has launched a vape vending machine, which will be rolled out in supermarkets this spring | Charged Retail, UK

CDC proposes softer guidance on opioid prescriptions

The nation's top public health agency on Thursday proposed changing—and in some instances, softening—guidelines for U.S. doctors prescribing oxycodone and other opioid painkillers | Medical Xpress, USA