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Weekly news - 25th February 2022


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Valium deaths soar as drug users mix ‘benzos’ with cocaine

Benzodiazepines, used to counteract stimulants, were mentioned on the death certificates of 476 people in England and Wales last year | Guardian, UK

NHS stops taking gambling funds to treat addiction

The NHS will stop taking money from the gambling industry to treat people with addiction, the NHS England national mental health director has said | BBC, UK

Children at risk: Cuts to alcohol addiction treatment coincide with increase in parents' heavy drinking

Millions of children are at risk due to an increase in heavy drinking among adults, combined with cuts to alcohol addiction services | Sky News, UK

Alcohol sales and harm in Scotland during the COVID-19 pandemic

Public Health Scotland (PHS) has published an analysis of the latest available data on alcohol sales and harms in Scotland during the COVID-19 pandemic. This provides a picture of how the pandemic and its related restrictions may have impacted on alcohol sales, alcohol-related hospital stays and alcohol-specific deaths | Public Health Scotland, UK

Covid in Scotland: Alcohol deaths increased during pandemic

Deaths in Scotland wholly linked to alcohol increased during the pandemic, despite consumption decreasing in general, new figures have shown | BBC, UK

MUP’s impact on alcohol consumption and behaviour of homeless and street drinkers

Findings show that the experience and understanding of MUP varied among this group. For some MUP worked as intended and discouraged from drinking, others however were unaffected, some switched drinks, and a minority experienced unintended consequences such as exacerbating a tendency to beg or steal to obtain alcohol | Public Health Scotland, UK

Electronic Cigarettes for Smoking Cessation: Cochrane Living Systematic Review

Plain language briefing and Briefing for healthcare professionals and policy makers both updated - February 2022 | CEBM, UK

National drug and alcohol treatment waiting times: 1 July 2021 to 30 September 2021

Of the 7,818 referrals to community-based specialist drug and alcohol treatment services completed in this quarter, 93% involved a wait of three weeks or less | Public Health Scotland, UK

Addressing the leading risk factors for ill health

A review of government policies tackling smoking, poor diet, physical inactivity and harmful alcohol use in England | The Health Foundation, UK

MP rebuffed lobbyist’s plan for parliamentary group funded by drinks firms

Alison Thewliss said plan for APPG sponsored by alcohol firms shows need for transparency | Guardian, UK

Swann seeks views on Minimum Unit Pricing for Alcohol [Northern Ireland]

Health Minister Robin Swann has today launched a new public consultation on the introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing for Alcohol into Northern Ireland | Department of Health Northern Ireland, UK

Taking drugs? New outreach campaign in university halls of residence

University is a time for self-discovery and experiencing the world away from the eyes of parental figures. For many, this means indulging in the nightlife and party scene of a new city and potentially experimenting with alcohol and other drugs | BDP, UK

Glasgow Taxis Supporting #StopTheDeaths

More than 20 drivers for Glasgow Taxis have applied to receive and carry naloxone as part of the nationwide initiative to reduce drug deaths | SDF, UK

Major UK study to assess the impact of community organisations on public health

The positive impact community organisations have on health and wellbeing is to be examined for the first time as part of a major new study funded by the NIHR | NIHR, UK

Medical cannabis on Isle of Man: Minister welcomes sector growth

Proposals for a medical cannabis facility on the Isle of Man have been welcomed by the enterprise minister | BBC, UK

Alcohol addiction: Trying to go sober without any funding

Organisations which provide treatment say their funding has not kept up with demand and has been slashed nationally over the last five years | BBC, UK

Open consultation: Provider Selection Regime: supplementary consultation on the detail of proposals for regulations

The proposed Provider Selection Regime will be a new set of rules replacing the existing procurement rules for arranging healthcare services in England. The proposed rules will be introduced by regulations made under the Health and Care Bill. This consultation closes at 11:45pm on 28 March 2022 | DHSC, UK

Drugs: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to page 112 of the Levelling Up in the United Kingdom White Paper, how much and what proportion of the total £100 million investment in Project ADDER (Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement and Recovery) has been allocated to Newcastle | They work or you, UK

Impact of introducing a minimum alcohol tax share in retail prices on alcohol-attributable mortality in the WHO European Region: A modelling study

Alcohol use and its burden constitute one of the largest public health challenges in the WHO European Region. Raising alcohol taxes is a cost-effective “best buy” measure to reduce alcohol consumption, but its implementation remains uneven. This paper provides an overview of existing tax structures in 50 countries and subregions of the Region, estimates their proportions of tax on retail prices of beer, wine, and spirits, and quantifies the number of deaths that could be averted annually if these tax shares were raised to a minimum level | Lancet, UK

New WHO signature initiative shows raising alcohol taxes could save 130 000 lives per year

Alcohol taxation is one of the most cost-effective policies for lowering drinking levels and attributable harm. To enhance the untapped power of health taxes, the WHO Regional Director for Europe’s Advisory Council on Innovation and Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD Advisory Council) has proposed a new signature initiative on taxation for countries to consider in their fiscal policies | WHO, Denmark