Going Public

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The UK’s public health bodies have added their voices to the call for decriminalisation. Reports advocating the decriminalisation of drugs come along fairly regularly these...

Public health bodies call for decriminalisation of drugs

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A report from the UK’s two major public health organisations has called for the personal possession of all illegal drugs to be decriminalised. Published by...

National News July/August 2016

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INTERVENTIONS UP There were nearly 100,000 alcohol brief interventions carried out in Scotland in 2015-16, according to official figures – 59 per cent more than...

Reforming zeal

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The Queen’s Speech saw the government announce a major shake-up of the prison system. DDN hears from a former governor about what sort of...

Public health bodies call for decriminalisation of drugs

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A report from the UK’s two major public health organisations has called for the personal possession of all illegal drugs to be decriminalised. Published by...

‘New pledges’ announced as part of alcohol deal

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A set of new pledges has been announced by the government as part of its ‘responsibility deal’ with the alcohol industry. They include an...

News in brief

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Coca review A report commissioned by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform is calling for a review of the illegal status of the...

Sharp rise in Scottish drug-related hospital admissions

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The rate of drug-related hospital stays in Scotland has increased from 41 per 100,000 population to 124 per 100,000 since 1996/97, according to new...

Fewer young people in treatment

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Just over 20,000 under-18s received help for drug and alcohol problems in 2012-13, according to figures from Public Health England (PHE), down more than...

Drug services see reduction in frontline staff

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More than half (53 per cent) of respondents to DrugScope’s latest State of the sector survey have reported a reduction in the number of...

CMO toughens alcohol guidelines

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Men should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week, according to strict new guidelines from the chief medical officer. The previous...

Government to consider benefit sanctions for refusing treatment

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The government has re-ignited the debate over whether benefit entitlement should be linked to accepting treatment, with the publication of a new review by...

Doctors: e-cigarettes ‘no gateway’ to smoking

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  E-cigarettes are much safer than smoking, do not result in the normalisation of smoking and do not act as a gateway to smoking, says...

National news from the substance misuse field

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A round-up of national news – September 2015 Black books The government has reignited the debate over whether benefit entitlement should be linked to accepting treatment, with...

Local news

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Anti-overdose scheme sees success More than 500 people have been trained to administer naloxone by Addaction’s Recovery Partnership, preventing heroin overdoses in Coventry and Warwickshire. ‘Naloxone...

NICE calls for more needle exchange support for steroid users

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Needle and syringe programmes need to do more to support people who use image and performance-enhancing drugs, according to NICE (the National Institute for...

Black people six times more likely to be stopped and searched...

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                     Black people are stopped and searched for drugs at 6.3 times the rate of white people, according to a new report from Release and...

Government unveils major prison reforms

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The government has announced sweeping reforms of the prison system as part of the Queen’s Speech, including the establishment of six autonomous ‘reform prisons’....

UN highlights ‘alarming’ rise in new drugs

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New psychoactive drugs are proliferating at an ‘unprecedented’ rate and pose ‘unforeseen public health challenges’, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and...

Scots record second-highest number of drug deaths

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Scotland recorded its second-highest number of drug deaths in 2012, although the number of deaths in under-25s was down by a fifth, according to...

Government to opt out of EU directive on new drugs

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The UK government will opt out of the European Commission’s proposals for a directive and other regulation on new psychoactive substances, it has announced. The...

US signals softer stance on drug sentencing for non-violent offenders

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The US administration has indicated a softening of its stance on drug sentencing, with proposals to abolish mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders....

Legal high deaths ‘could’ top heroin deaths, says CSJ

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The rate of deaths linked to new psychoactive substances could be ‘higher than heroin’ within two years, according to a report from the Centre...

Ireland considers consumption rooms and decriminalisation for personal use

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The Government of Ireland is considering the introduction of drug consumption rooms, as well as decriminalising small amounts of drugs for personal use. The announcement...

Government announces new drug powers as Baker replaces Browne

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The government is creating new powers to seize chemicals suspected of being used as cutting agents for illegal drugs, as part of its Serious...

Local news from the substance misuse field

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Cornwall service users celebrate life skills Service users in Cornwall have successfully completed a new accredited course, ‘life skills in action’. The course, designed by Cornwall...

Heroin deaths continue to fall

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The number of deaths related to heroin and morphine fell from 41 per cent of total drug-related deaths in 2010 to 32 per cent...

Local news from the substance misuse field

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DDN takes a look at local news from the substance misuse field across the country Notts awards honour spirit of recovery The first Spirit of Recovery...

Alcohol services ‘improving’

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The situation regarding alcohol treatment in England is improving, claims a new report from the NTA. While alcohol has long been seen as a...

Minimum pricing fails to make Queen’s Speech

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Plans to introduce minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol were absent from last month’s Queen’s Speech, which set out the government’s legislative programme for...

New HIV risks as injecting patterns change

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More people are injecting new psychoactive drugs, amphetamine-type substances and anabolic steroids, according to a report from Public Health England (PHE). In England and...

Increase in drug related deaths for older Scots

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The proportion of drug-related deaths in Scotland among people aged 45 and above increased from 14 per cent in 2011 to 26 per cent...

NICE pill for heavy drinkers

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A drug that helps to reduce the craving for alcohol in heavy drinkers has been recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care...

Fedotov calls for ‘evidence-based’ practices

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Evidence-based practices are the best means of preventing and treating drug misuse, said UNODC chief executive Yury Fedotov in his closing message to the...

Minimum pricing ‘could breach EU law’

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The Scottish Government’s plans to introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol could potentially breach EU free trade laws, according to an initial ruling by...

Media savvy

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The new law to ban legal highs will fail because proving psychoactivity requires expensive testing of the substances in specialised laboratories, and there is...

Homelessness report slammed

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Homelessness charities have criticised the government’s new report into preventing homelessness, in the light of ongoing welfare reforms.  While Making every contact count sets out...

News Focus

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The Francis report: What about drug and alcohol services? The Francis report into the Mid Staffs NHS Trust dominated the headlines and reignited the debate...

Minimum pricing ‘will not be taken forward’

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Minimum unit pricing will ‘not be taken forward at this moment’, the government has announced in a statement on the outcome of its alcohol...

West Africa ‘should decriminalise’ low-level drug offences

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West Africa should consider decriminalising low-level and non-violent drug offences, according to a report from the West Africa Commission on Drugs. The drug trade in the region...

Alcohol industry ‘can’t be trusted’ on responsible drinking

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The drinks industry ‘can’t be trusted’ to promote responsible drinking and is ‘undermining its own pledges’ to encourage safer use of alcohol, according to...

Local news from the substance misuse field

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Live LSD drug trials take place Research has taken place that saw the world’s first live brain scans of individuals taking LSD. A group of scientists,...

Local news from the substance misuse field

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‘LOCK, STOCK’ STAR GIVES BOOST TO RAPT DAY PROGRAMMES Jason Flemyng, star of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, lent his support to Alcohol Awareness...

Ex-drug users in battle for business title

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This week will see the grand final of business awards for budding entrepreneurs from marginalised backgrounds, with four businesses competing in a live showdown...

News in brief

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Policy shift The Obama administration has published its 2013 national drug control strategy, which includes a commitment to reform the country’s criminal justice system through...

Cannabis legalisation could see use rise but potency fall

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It is likely that overall cannabis consumption would rise ‘significantly’ if the drug were legalised and prices dropped as a result, according to a...

News in brief

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Voicing concerns Public Health England (PHE) has not yet ‘found its voice’, developed a clear set of priorities or demonstrated that it is sufficiently independent...

Legal high deaths ‘could’ top heroin deaths, says CSJ

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The rate of deaths linked to new psychoactive substances could be ‘higher than heroin’ within two years, according to a report from the Centre...

Psychoactive Substances Bill

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Psychoactive Substances Bill must be re-worded, warns ACMD The Psychoactive Substances Bill should be re-worded to ensure the legislation is effective, enforceable and does not...

News in brief

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A QUIET DRINK Much of the UK’s alcohol consumption is ‘moderate and social’, according to the latest study by the University of Sheffield’s alcohol research...

Doctors warn on prescription addiction

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A consensus statement has been issued by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) cautioning against the long-term...

Latin American states consider consequences of drug reform

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Tackling the drug problem requires a ‘multifaceted’ and flexible approach, as well as a conviction to ‘maintain unity in the midst of diversity’, according...

Marcus Roberts takes the helm at DrugScope

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Marcus Roberts has been named as the new chief executive of DrugScope, taking over from Martin Barnes who steps down at the end of...

OST: more needs to be done to protect children

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The safeguarding of children is not being sufficiently prioritised by professionals making decisions about drug treatment medications, says a new report from Adfam. Improved...

‘Millions’ of children exposed to World Cup alcohol marketing

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Viewers of the key World Cup broadcasts this summer saw one example of alcohol marketing for every minute of playing time, according to a...

‘More than 50’ cocaine cutting agents identified

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More than 50 cutting agents have been identified in cocaine, including some that can cause ‘serious medical harm’, according to a report from the...

National news from the substance misuse field

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A round-up of national news – October 2015 Emergency inquiry An inquiry into the impact of alcohol-related incidents on the emergency services has been launched by the...

Fatal anthrax case in England confirmed

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The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has confirmed that an injecting drug user with an anthrax infection has died in hospital in Blackpool. The case...

Local authorities unprepared for hep C responsibility

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Local authorities are ‘not ready to take responsibility’ for hepatitis C, according to an audit of English commissioners and local councils by The Hepatitis...

Government consults on proposals for new drug-driving offences

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The government has published plans to make it easier to prosecute people who drive under the influence of drugs. A new offence of  ‘driving...

Government launches ‘legal high’ review

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The government is to review the laws relating to new psychoactive substances, the Home Office has announced, in a bid to ‘clamp down on...

PHE: Increase hep C treatment or face liver cancer time bomb

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England will see 1,650 annual cases of hepatitis C-related end-stage liver disease and cancer by 2035 if the current low levels of treatment are maintained, according to Public Health...

Government backs plain tobacco packaging

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The government has announced that it backs the public health case for introducing standardised packaging of tobacco, with MPs set to vote on the...

National news from the substance misuse field

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News in brief – June 2015   Support. Don't Punish  The Support. Don’t Punish campaign will be holding its third global day of action on 26 June, to coincide...

Europe: ‘new era’ of declining heroin use and complex stimulant market

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Europe could be moving into a ‘new era’ in which heroin will play a ‘less central role’ in the continent’s drug problem, according the...

Alcohol minimum unit pricing still on the cards

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Minimum unit pricing (MUP) is ‘not dead and buried’, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Misuse, Tracey Crouch MP, told Alcohol Concern’s...

Cannabis legalisation could see use rise but potency fall

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It is likely that overall cannabis consumption would rise ‘significantly’ if the drug were legalised and prices dropped as a result, according to a...

Improved support needed for older people

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Improved support is needed for older people with drug and alcohol issues, says a new report from DrugScope. While the focus of policy and...

Scots drug-related deaths down from record highs

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The number of drug-related deaths in Scotland fell by 9 per cent last year, according to figures from the Scottish Government, with deaths among...

Lib Dems would ‘adopt Portugal approach’

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The Liberal Democrats’ manifesto will ‘contain the most far-reaching drug reform policies ever put forward by a major political party ahead of an election’,...

News in brief

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Sound investment Every pound spent on family support services in the drug and alcohol sector saves the public purse £4.70 in NHS and criminal justice...

Euro drug scene in ‘state of flux’

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New threats are continuing to challenge Europe’s established models of drug policy and practice, according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug...

New injecting patterns fuel HIV risks

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More people are injecting new psychoactive drugs, amphetamine-type substances and anabolic steroids, according to a report from Public Health England (PHE). In England and Wales,...

Local authorities ‘not recognising impact’ of alcohol

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The impact of alcohol is not being recognised and prioritised by local authorities, according to a report from Alcohol Concern. The document looks at...

Value for money?

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As DDN went to press, a major Commons debate on the UK drug laws was taking place, the first for 40 years. The debate...

‘Worsening financial situation’ leads to closure of DrugScope

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DrugScope trustees have taken the decision to close the organisation, based on its ‘worsening financial situation’. Founded 15 years ago from a merger between...

Drug poisoning deaths hit highest level ever

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Last year saw England and Wales register the highest number of drug poisoning deaths since records began more than two decades ago, according to...

Heavy cannabis use can cause lasting cognitive problems in young

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Persistent cannabis use is associated with ‘neuropsychological decline’ among those whose use began in adolescence, says a new study.  The findings are ‘suggestive of a...

News in brief

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Council call London’s drug and sexual health services are failing to respond appropriately to gay men’s drug use, according to NAT (National Aids Trust). The...

PMA in ecstasy tablets warning

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Drugs agencies have reacted with concern to the number of recent deaths thought to involve PMA, which can be present in ecstasy tablets or...

Upgrade ketamine to class B, urges ACMD

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Ketamine should be upgraded from a class C to class B drug, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has recommended. The recommendation...

News in Brief

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Agonisisng Statistics Almost 18m people died ‘in unnecessary pain’ in 2012 as a result of inadequate access to painkillers like morphine, says the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance, with...

News from the substance misuse field

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News in brief A round-up of national news from the substance misuse field Special measures The Portman Group is instructing off-licences, supermarkets, convenience stores and other retailers not...

OECD urges governments to get tough on alcohol

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Governments need to introduce more effective policies to tackle harmful drinking, according to a new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development...

Public health directors voice cuts concerns

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More than 70 per cent of directors of public health say that drug and alcohol services in their area are likely to be reduced...

Establish royal commission on drug policy, says select committee

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The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has called for a royal commission on UK drug policy to be set up in its Drugs:...

Cultivating problem

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Twelve Afghan provinces are likely to show an increase in opium cultivation this year, according to UNODC’s Afghanistan opium risk assessment 2013, with cultivation...

Eastern Europe still bucking HIV trend

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There has been a 33 per cent reduction in HIV infections in adults and children worldwide since 2001 but ‘little change has occurred in...

A third of services report funding decrease

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More than a third (35 per cent) of drug and alcohol services reported a decrease in funding last year, according to a report from...

Put health warnings on all alcohol, say MPs

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Health warnings should be included on all alcohol labels, says the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Alcohol Misuse, to go alongside a new...

Only 4 per cent of global drug users with HIV receiving...

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Just 4 per cent of the worldwide total of drug users living with HIV are receiving antiretroviral therapy, according to Harm Reduction International’s (HRI)...

E-cigarettes ‘safer than smoking’

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E-cigarettes are around 95 per cent less harmful than tobacco and have the ‘potential to help smokers’ quit, according to a new expert independent...

Muted response to first ungass since 1990s

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The world needs global drug policies that ‘put people first’, UNODC executive director Yury Fedotov told the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on...

News focus

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Prescription for change? With addiction to prescription and over-the-counter drugs at epidemic proportions in the US, GPs here are being warned to take care when...

News focus

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What effect will payment by results have on the probation service? DDN hears reactions to the government’s controversial Transforming rehabilitation plans. ‘Radical reforms to the way...

Marcus Roberts takes the helm at DrugScope

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Marcus Roberts has been named as the new chief executive of DrugScope, taking over from Martin Barnes who steps down at the end of...

News in brief

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City services Drug and/or alcohol prevention work with staff and businesses in the City of London has been of ‘limited scope and unknown efficacy’, according...

News in brief

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UNDERCOVER SCANDAL An undercover ‘mystery shopper’ investigation carried out by Crisis revealed that homeless people seeking help from local authorities are being turned away to...

News in brief – May 2015

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Who's responsible? Responsible drinking messages in advertising are being used by the alcohol industry to promote their brands rather than help consumers ‘make sensible choices...

Local news from the substance misuse field

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Duchess of cambridge visits treatment programme The Duchess of Cambridge visited HMP Send this month to see a RAPt addiction service in action. The programme, based...

Blackpool sees second fatal anthrax case

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A person who injected heroin has died in hospital in Blackpool from anthrax infection, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has confirmed. The death comes...

Huge increase in alcohol-related liver disease in under 30s

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 The number of hospital admissions for alcohol-related liver disease in people under 30 has risen dramatically in the last decade, according to figures from...

News in brief

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Not foiled again The government has accepted the ACMD’s advice to allow for the provision of foil by treatment providers ‘subject to the strict condition...

Injecting young people a ‘blind spot’

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Injecting drug use among under-18s remains a global data ‘blind spot’, according to a report from Harm Reduction International (HRI). Young people who inject drugs...

News in brief

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Psychoactive survey A consultation on new psychoactive substances has been launched by the National Assembly for Wales’ health and social care committee, looking at issues...

Safer drinking

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Alcohol industry ‘can’t be trusted’ on safer drinking The drinks industry ‘can’t be trusted’ to promote safer drinking and is ‘undermining its own pledges’ to...

Harmful youth drinking falls, but inequalities persist

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The rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions among the under-18s has fallen by more than 40 per cent over the last decade, according to new...

Prison staff overwhelmed by NPS crisis

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Health staff at a large Nottinghamshire prison risk being ‘overwhelmed’ by the demands of treating people seriously affected by use of new psychoactive substances...

Turning Point responds to ‘race to the bottom’ claims

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Third sector treatment provider Turning Point has issued a statement in response to the Unite trade union’s claims that the charity is planning to...

Three quarters of Scots drugs death victims ‘not on prescription’

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The majority of drug-related deaths in Scotland in 2011 were among people not in receipt of a substitute prescription, according to a new report...

News in Brief

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Probation promises The government has launched an invitation to tender for organisations ‘looking to turn offenders’ lives around’ as part of its controversial ‘transforming rehabilitation’...

Government accepts ACMD’s ketamine recommendation

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Ketamine is to be upgraded to a class B drug, crime prevention minister Norman Baker has confirmed. Baker has written to Advisory Council on...

Foil rules for services come into force

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Legislation has come into force this month allowing services to provide aluminium foil ‘for the purpose of smoking drugs’, with a new briefing from...

Children more familiar with ‘beer than biscuits’

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Primary school children are more familiar with beer brands than leading makes of biscuits, crisps or ice cream, according to a new report from...

Expert group calls for focus on abstinence

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Substitute prescribing ‘not an end in itself’, says group chaired by Prof John Strang. Service users should not be ‘parked indefinitely’ on substitute medication and...

‘New era’ for European drug market

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Supply and demand of illicit drugs in Europe is entering an ‘important new era’, according to a report from the European Monitoring Centre for...

UN highlights ‘alarming’ rise in new drugs

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New psychoactive drugs are proliferating at an ‘unprecedented’ rate and pose ‘unforeseen public health challenges’, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and...

Target ‘enablers’ of teen drinking, says think tank

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People who buy alcohol on behalf of underage drinkers should face penalties including community service, shop bans or ‘social shaming’, according to a report...

Put calories on drinks labels, says public health body

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Calorie labelling should be introduced for alcoholic drinks, according to the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH). More than 80 per cent of the...

New government must help those with multiple needs

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The incoming government should launch a national programme of improved and coordinated support for those with multiple and complex needs, according to charity the...

Minimum pricing ‘could breach EU law’

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The Scottish Government’s plans to introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol could potentially breach EU free trade laws, according to an initial ruling by...

North West tops alcohol-related liver deaths table

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Rates of premature death from liver disease are higher in the North West than anywhere else in England and are also increasing at a...

Local authorities unready for hep C responsibility

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Local authorities are ‘not ready to take responsibility’ for hepatitis C, according to an audit of English commission­ers and local councils by the Hepatitis...

Government bans below-cost alcohol sales

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Legislation banning the sale of below-cost alcohol is to come into force in April, subject to Parliamentary approval, the government has announced. The Home Office...

Consultation

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CQC consults on new inspection regime The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is holding a consultation on its planned changes to the way substance misuse services...

New psychoactive substances detected

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Two new substances a week identified in Europe New psychoactive substances (NPS) are now being detected in Europe at a rate of two per week,...

Public health directors voice cuts concerns

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More than 70 per cent of directors of public health say that drug and alcohol services in their area are likely to be reduced...

Committee calls for royal commission on drug policy

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The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has called for a royal commission on UK drug policy to be set up in its Drugs:...

Brighton considers ‘consumption rooms’

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The provision of drug consumption rooms is being considered by Brighton and Hove’s Safe in the City partnership and health and wellbeing board.  The proposal...

Government announces new drug powers as Baker replaces Browne

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The government is to create new powers to seize chemicals suspected of being used as cutting agents for illegal drugs, as part of its...

Scottish alcohol-related deaths fall nearly 40 per cent in a decade

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Alcohol-related death rates in Scotland fell by 37 per cent – from 39.5 to 24.8 per 100,000 population – in the ten years to...

England and Wales see sharp rise in drug deaths

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Nearly, 2,000 drug misuse deaths were registered in England and Wales in 2013, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).  Male...

ACMD highlights prevention knowledge gap

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More needs to be done to ‘identify and understand the best approaches to substance abuse prevention’, according to a briefing paper from the Advisory...

Psychoactive Substances Bil

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Psychoactive Substances Bill must be re-worded, warns ACMD The Psychoactive Substances Bill should be re-worded to ensure the legislation is effective, enforceable and does not...

300m drug users world-wide by ‘end of century’

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Opium production in Afghanistan has ‘rebounded’ to its previously high levels, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) 2012 world...

Health groups call for ‘radical steps’ on alcohol

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A minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol should be introduced for ‘all alcohol sales’ along with prohibition of ‘all alcohol advertising and...

Alcohol dependency prescriptions up three quarters in a decade

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Prescriptions to treat alcohol dependency have risen by 73 per cent in a decade, according to figures from the Health and Social Care Information...

Afghanistan sees record opium crop

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Afghanistan’s opium poppy cultivation rose by 36 per cent this year, a record high, according to the UN, while opium produc­tion was up almost...

Time to change direction on drugs policy, say economists

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The pursuit of a ‘militarised and enforcement-led’ global drugs strategy has resulted in ‘enormous negative outcomes and collateral damage’, according to a new report...

Half of those living with hep C unaware

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Around half of people living with hepatitis C infections are unaware that they have the virus, according to a new Public Health England (PHE)...

A third of Scottish drug related deaths are parents

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More than a third of Scottish drug-related deaths in 2013 were parents or parental figures, according to figures from ISD Scotland – affecting more...

National news from the substance misuse field

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BRIEF BRIEFING ‘Decisive’ coordinated action is needed to ensure a future for alcohol brief interventions, according to a report from the Alcohol Academy and Alcohol...

Scots hit treatment targets early

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Ninety per cent of people in Scotland who start treatment for a drug or alcohol problem are waiting three weeks or less, according to...

Heroin deaths continue to fall

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The number of deaths related to heroin and morphine fell from 41 per cent of total drug-related deaths in 2010 to 32 per cent...

New psychoactive drug deaths double

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Deaths involving new psychoactive substances in England and Wales have almost doubled in a year, from 29 in 2011 to 52 in 2012, according...

Shake up at Drinkaware over industry links

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Alcohol education charity Drinkaware has announced ‘radical’ changes to its governance arrangements and a number of new appointments, following an independent audit of its...

Funding fears for harm reduction

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International provision of harm reduction services is under threat from a funding crisis and lack of political will, according to a report from Harm...

Plain tobacco packaging

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Government backs plain tobacco packaging The government has announced that it backs the public health case for introducing standardised packaging of tobacco, with MPs set...

Monthly drug-driving arrests top 400

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More than 400 people a month are being arrested for drug driving in England and Wales, according to the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM)....

News in brief

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POPPING OUT   The implementation of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, which was due to come into force last week, has been temporarily postponed by the...

HPA confirms sixth anthrax case

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A sixth UK case in the ongoing anthrax outbreak has been confirmed by the Health Protection Agency (HPA). ‘A person who injected heroin has...

Vulnerable young choose high profile brands

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Heavily advertised brands and cheap, strong alcohol are the drinks most consumed by vulnerable young people involved with treatment services, according to an Alcohol...

Hepatitis C ‘grossly under-prioritised’, warns charity

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Just 3 per cent of people infected with hepatitis C are treated each year, despite it being curable, says a new report from the...

MPs demand ‘urgent action’ on liver disease

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The government, NHS and Public Health England (PHE) need to take ‘urgent action’ to address the growing problem of liver disease, according to a...

News in brief

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Ageist agenda Better knowledge is needed of what works in the identification, treatment and prevention of drug problems in older people, according to a report...

Government announces roll out of family drug and alcohol courts

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The Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) scheme is to be extended, the government has announced. Currently operating in London, Buckinghamshire and Gloucestershire, the...

Benefit sanctions for refusing treatment

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Government to consider benefit sanctions for refusing treatment The government has reignited the debate over whether benefit entitlement should be linked to accepting treatment, with...

MDMA back in vogue as NPS numbers continue to rise

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The declining levels of MDMA use in Europe since the early to mid 2000s have been reversed, according EMCDDA’s annual drug report, with nine...

Unions criticise services handover to third sector

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Public service union Unison and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have criticised plans for Manchester’s drug services to be handed over from the...

Health groups demand ‘radical steps’ on alcohol

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A minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol should be introduced for ‘all alcohol sales’ along with prohibition of ‘all alcohol advertising and...

News in brief

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HIV action A new three-year HIV prevention programme has been backed by the leaders of all 33 London boroughs, with more than £3m allocated to...

News in brief

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Lengthy process The Scottish Government’s plans to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol have been referred to the EU’s Court of Justice in the...

ACMD rejects time-limited substitution therapy

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Time limits on heroin substitution treatment such as methadone would ‘not benefit’ drug users’ recovery and would increase the possibility of relapse, according to...

Charities welcome home HIV self-testing

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The first legally approved home HIV self-testing kits have gone on sale in the UK. The kits are able to detect antibodies in small...

Local news from the substance misuse field

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Addiction charity wins excellence awards Phoenix Futures has been awarded two UK excellence awards for leadership and customer satisfaction by the British Quality Foundation (BQF). The...

Fifth anthrax case for UK

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An injecting drug user in Oxford has been diagnosed with an anthrax infection, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA). The patient is said...

Please Mr President

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Mad Men star Jon Hamm is one of more than 175 American entertainment figures, civil rights leaders, business leaders, academics and others who have...

Young drug and alcohol consumption continues to fall

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Illegal drug use among secondary school pupils remains significantly lower than a decade ago, according to new figures from the government’s Health and Social...

NPS penalties for prisoners

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Grayling announces tough NPS penalties for prisoners People found smuggling or using new psychoactive substances (NPS) in prison will face a new range of punitive...

New psychoactive substances in Europe

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Two new substances a week identified in Europe New psychoactive substances (NPS) are now being detected in Europe at a rate of two per week,...

Lib Dems make legal cannabis case

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A report setting out what a regulated cannabis market in the UK could look like has been published by the Liberal Democrats. The document...

Call for new drugs policy organisation

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A new drug policy body with responsibility for collecting and sharing evidence should be established in order to ‘improve drug policy knowledge and evaluation’,...

News Focus

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Keeping it in the Family How can workers be best equipped to identify and address parental alcohol misuse? DDN reports from Alcohol Concern's recent conference.  Up...

Disadvantaged young ‘a public health time bomb’

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The UK’s high level of young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs) – particularly the long-term unemployed – constitutes a ‘public health...

MPs demand ‘urgent action’ on liver disease

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The government, NHS and Public Health England (PHE) need to take ‘urgent action’ to address the growing problem of liver disease, according to a...

England and Wales see sharp rise in drug deaths

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Nearly, 2,000 drug misuse deaths were registered in England and Wales in 2013, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Male drug...

Alcohol death rate remains unchanged

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There were 8,416 alcohol-related deaths registered in the UK in 2013, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This represented an...

E-cigarettes ‘safer than smoking’

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E-cigarettes ‘safer than smoking’ E-cigarettes are around 95 per cent less harmful than tobacco and have the ‘potential to help smokers’ quit, according to a...

A round-up of National News

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LONG-TERM TOLL Alcohol-related admission rates are falling for the under-40s but rising among over-65s, according to the latest local alcohol profiles from PHE, with the...

News in brief

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A round up of news from the field. Heavy toll Two million patients a year are presenting to hospital emergency departments with alcohol-related illness or injury,...

Fewer heroin and crack users, says NTA

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The number of heroin and crack cocaine users in England has fallen below 300,000 for the first time, according to figures issued by the...

Glamourised ‘lifestyle’ promotions must be banned, says Alcohol Concern

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Alcohol advertising that promotes ‘lifestyle’ images of drinkers or scenes that glamourise drinking should be banned, according to a report from Alcohol Concern. The...

Upgrade ketamine to class B, urges ACMD

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Ketamine should be upgraded from a class C to class B drug, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has recommended. The recommendation...

Drug policy reform calls gather momentum

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Last month saw demonstrations in 100 cities as part of the Support. Don’t Punish campaign for ‘moreeffective and humane’ approaches to drug policy, according to campaign...

News in brief

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Opium increase Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan rose by 7 per cent to more than 220,000 hectares in 2013, according to UNODC figures, with opium...

Organisations working with offenders at increasing financial risk

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Voluntary sector organisations working with offenders continue to be dogged by financial uncertainty, according to the latest State of the sector report from Clinks....

Treatment threatened by constant re-procurement, warns ACMD

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The quality of treatment for heroin users is being threatened by diminishing funds and ‘disruptive re-procurement processes’, according to a new report from the...

Young adults seeking heroin or crack treatment at ‘all-time low’

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The number of young adults entering treatment for heroin or crack is at its lowest recorded level, according to figures released by the NTA. There...

News Focus

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Do emerging drug use trends in parts of London’s gay scene risk creating a new health crisis? - DDN reports on the National Aids Trust’s...

News in brief

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Deadly drinking  Vodka consumption is one of the main reasons why a quarter of Russian men die before the age of 55, according to a...

Children and alcohol

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Children more familiar with ‘beer than biscuits’ Primary school children are more familiar with beer brands than leading makes of biscuits, crisps or ice cream,...

Substance-related bereavement

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Don’t worsen substance-related bereavement, professionals urged A new set of good practice guidelines to support people who have lost a family member or friend through...

Decriminalisation would mean global gains, say medics

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Drugs should be decriminalised across the globe as existing policies are directly contributing to ‘many of today’s most urgent public health crises’, according to...

News in brief

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Methamphetamine use grips Asia Pacific Amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) – a category that includes amphetamine, methamphetamine, methcathinone and ‘ecstasy group substances’ – were the primary drug...

Minimum pricing fails to make Queen’s Speech

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Plans to introduce minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol were absent from the Queen’s Speech, which sets out the government’s legislative programme for the...

PHE: alcohol treatment ‘performing well overall’

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The treatment system for alcohol dependence among adults in England is ‘performing well overall’, with increasing numbers of people accessing and completing treatment, according...

News in brief

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Big spenders Drug users in the US spend an estimated $100bn annually on cocaine, marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine, according to a White House-commissioned report from...

Time to stop criminalising drug users, says global commission

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A new report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy has called for an end to the criminalisation of drug use and possession. Among...

DrugScope closes

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DrugScope trustees have taken the decision to close the organisation, it has been announced, based on its ‘worsening financial situation’. Founded 15 years ago...

Drug-related in Scotland

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Scots record highest number of drug-related deaths ever   Scotland recorded 613 drug-related deaths last year, the highest figure ever, according to new statistics from National...