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Weekly news - 29th July 2022

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Drug law reform: letter from Minister for Drugs Policy

Letter from the Minister for Drugs Policy, Angela Constance, to UK Minister for Crime and Policing | Scottish Government, UK

Child vaping risks becoming ‘public health catastrophe’ in UK, experts warn

There are fears that the e-cigarette boom has the potential to create a generation of young people hooked on nicotine | Guardian, UK

Most prisoners who need drug treatment on release don't get it - but one council bucks the trend

A local authority has one of the best rates of engagement in the country, with 62% of prison leavers who need drug treatment receiving vital help. But how is Sandwell, a place with high rates of poverty offering people a lifeline? | Sky News, UK

Protest march called in Belfast after deaths of 14 homeless people

Activists demand help for vulnerable as cost of living and public health emergency put more people on streets | Guardian, UK

The COVID hangover: Addressing long-term health impacts of changes in alcohol consumption during the pandemic (PDF)

There has been an increase in the number of higher risk drinkers, and the heaviest drinkers have increased their consumption the most, which brings a risk of more alcohol-related health problems. Changes in alcohol consumption have continued beyond the national lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. There was a 20% increase in alcohol-specific deaths in England in 2020 compared with 2019, and this trend persisted through 2021. There have also been changes in healthcare access during the pandemic, which could mean other aspects of alcohol harm worsen but become less visible | IAS, UK

Lockdown drinking increase could cause 25,000 excess deaths in England

Alcohol-related mortality rates over 20 years set to rise due to people increasing consumption during Covid | Guardian, UK

High-strength cannabis linked to addiction and mental health problems

Largest ever study into the health effects of different types of cannabis highlights concerns about stronger forms of the drug | University of Bath, UK

Doctors warn ‘dangerous’ laughing gas is becoming an ‘epidemic’ amid rise in hospitalisations

We are seeing an ‘epidemic’ of young people’ admitted over abuse of laughing case, warns Dr David Nicholl | Independent, UK

Festival drugs: Warning over 'imposter' substances threat

Drug testing charity the Loop said it found Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pills with double the normal amount of MDMA at this year's Secret Garden Party | BBC, UK

Detailed insight into drug-related deaths in Scotland seeks to inform collective response

In-depth analysis into drug-related deaths that were experienced in Scotland in 2017 and 2018 has been published by Public Health Scotland (PHS) today [Item below], providing insight into the lives of those who died and highlighting potential areas for future interventions | Public Health Scotland, UK

National drug related death database (Scotland)

The NDRDD includes 1,209 deaths which occurred in 2018, of which 1,154 were classed as non-intentional (in 2017, 899 of 956 deaths were non-intentional) | Public Health Scotland, UK

Major milestone reached in hepatitis C treatment

A partnership between Change Grow Live, Humankind, NHS England and the Hepatitis C Trust has led to people receiving treatment for hepatitis C directly from a substance use treatment service for the first time in England | Humankind, UK

Press release: Drive to get offenders drug-free and cut crime

New prison wings designed to get offenders clean will receive funding thanks to the government’s 10-year strategy to tackle drug-fuelled crime |
Ministry of Justice, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, and The Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP, UK

Drug Related Deaths in Scotland

Statistics of drug-related deaths, broken down by age, sex, substances implicated in the death, underlying cause of death, and NHS Board and Council areas | National Records of Scotland, UK

Small decrease in drug death figures

1,330 people lost their lives to drug misuse in Scotland in 2021, according to latest figures published by National Records of Scotland | National Records of Scotland, UK

Scottish government under pressure as drug deaths fell by just nine in 2021

‘Heart-breaking’ figures are first decrease since 2013 but raise questions over slow progress | Guardian, UK

#WorldHepatitisDay — EMCDDA practical resources to help European countries beat viral hepatitis

To mark the occasion, the EMCDDA is showcasing its online toolkit designed to help European countries beat viral hepatitis. The practical resources aim to support countries in promoting HCV testing and care for people who inject drugs (PWID) through drug services | EMCDDA, Portugal

High rates of avoidable deaths among most disadvantaged

A new study, looking at more than half a million adults in Scotland, has highlighted very high rates of premature mortality from avoidable causes of death amongst society’s most disadvantaged | University of Glasgow, UK

Genetic study provides evidence that alcohol accelerates biological aging

The short-term effects of excessive drinking are well known, but to date it has been less certain whether alcohol also accelerates the aging process | University of Oxford, UK