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Record drug deaths for England and Wales

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England and Wales have once again recorded their highest ever number of drug-related deaths, according to the latest figures from the Office for National...

Government unveils major prison reforms

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Sweeping reforms of the prison system were announced as part of last month’s Queen’s Speech, including the establishment of six autonomous ‘reform prisons’. Governors...

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...

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...

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...

Alcohol-related hospital admissions up 15 per cent in ten years

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There were 338,000 hospital admissions in 2017-18 where the ‘main cause’ was a result of drinking alcohol, according to the latest figures from NHS...

Migrants will not be charged for most drug and alcohol services,...

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Updated government guidance on implementing health charging regulations for overseas visitors has clarified the position on drug and alcohol services. These can be considered...

Government to set up county lines ‘coordination centre’

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The government is to establish a £3.6m National County Lines Coordination Centre as part of its new Serious Violence Strategy. The strategy identifies ‘the changing...

UN drug statement ‘an embarrassment’, say harm reduction groups

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The joint ministerial statement issued at the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna represents a capitulation to hardline states, according to...

Even moderate drinking can have ‘negative impact’ on children

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Nearly a fifth of children have experienced embarrassment as a result of their parents’ drinking, according to a report from the Institute of Alcohol...

Frontline staff worn down by alcohol-fuelled behaviour

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Alcohol-related behaviour is having a severe impact on the ability of emergency services staff to do their jobs, according to a report from the...

County Concerns

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The Home Office has produced a series of posters to help staff working in social housing identify potential victims of county lines activity and...

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...

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...

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...

A round-up of national news: December 2016

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WORRYING PREDICTIONS Alcohol is expected to cause around 135,000 cancer deaths over the next 20 years, costing the NHS an estimated £2bn, according to a...

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...

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...

Service users search for the ‘wow factor’

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Service users in London have been discovering their ‘wow factor’ – ways of wellbeing – at a conference coproduced with Central and NorthWest London NHS Foundation...

News in brief

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Talk it over A guide for parents on how to talk to their children about club drugs has been published by Adfam, the Angelus Foundation...

Supreme Court finally clears the way for minimum pricing

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The UK Supreme Court has ‘unanimously’ dismissed the Scotch Whisky Association’s (SWA) appeal against last year’s ruling by Scottish judges in favour of minimum...

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...

FDAP moves apprenticeships a step closer

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The next step has been taken towards developing a Drug and Alcohol Worker Apprenticeship to ensure greater competency and consistency across the sector. The Federation...

Cocaine and ecstasy driving increase in class A use

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Around 1.1m adults took a class A drug in the last year, according to the latest Home Office figures, 3 per cent up on...

Afghan opium production up by almost 90 per cent

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Afghanistan’s opium production has increased by 87 per cent this year, according to the latest UNODC survey. Production now stands at a record level...

GHB should be reclassified, says ACMD

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GHB, GBL and related compound 1,4-BD should be reclassified as class B substances, the ACMD has stated in a letter to home secretary Priti...

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...

Medications in drug treatment: tackling the risks to children

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OST and children: lessons still ‘not heeded’, says Adfam More children than previously thought are dying or being hospitalised after ingesting opioid substitution therapy (OST)...

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...

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...

One in 20 global deaths caused by alcohol, says WHO

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More than 3m people died as a result of harmful alcohol use in 2016, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), representing one in...

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...

Media Savvy September 2016

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Cheers, Theresa. The PM is already showing the sort of common sense her predecessor frequently lacked. The slapdown for top doc Dame Sally Davies...

More than half of over 50s drinking at risky levels

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More than 50 per cent of over 50s are drinking at levels that ‘could cause health problems now or in the future’, according to...

Obama commutes drug sentences before leaving office

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Barack Obama marked the end of his presidency by commuting the sentences of 330 prisoners, bringing the total number of commutations granted to more than...

‘No safe level’ of alcohol consumption

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The health risks associated with drinking are ‘massive’ and there is no safe level of alcohol use, according to a major new study published...

Drugs trade driving huge increase in modern slavery cases

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The exploitation of young people by drug dealers is contributing to a significant increase in the number of ‘modern slavery’ cases, according to a...

‘Don’t go cold turkey this January – get long-term help’

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People with addiction issues should avoid going ‘cold turkey’ in January, according to national charity Change, Grow, Live (CGL). ‘New Year’s resolutions are great, but...

‘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...

Scottish courts uphold minimum pricing plans

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A legal challenge from the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and others against the Scottish Government’s plans to introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol has...

Categorise people dependent on drugs as high-risk population, government urged

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People who are dependent on drugs – including alcohol – should be categorised as a high-risk population for COVID-19, says a submission from Release and...

On the margins – news focus

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Little specialised support exists for women who use drugs and are involved in prostitution, says a new report from DrugScope. ‘I’ve been raped, I’ve been beaten...

Improve cooperation to tackle criminal justice system’s health inequalities

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The mortality rate for prisoners is 50 per cent higher than for the general population, according to a new report from the Revolving Doors...

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...

‘Resilient’ organised crime groups adapting to pandemic conditions

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‘Active and resilient’ organised crime groups have been successfully adapting their drug trafficking routes, transportation models and concealment methods during the COVID-19 pandemic, according...

Government urged to overhaul drinks marketing regulation

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The government needs to undertake a ‘thorough review’ of the way alcohol marketing is currently regulated, according to a report from the charity formed...

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...

Deaths in prison hit record levels

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Last year saw a record 354 deaths in prison custody, according to figures from the Ministry of Justice – an increase of nearly 100...

FDAP closes and transfers functions to SMMGP

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The Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals (FDAP) is to close at the end of this month, it has been announced. In a statement...

Middlesbrough HAT pilot has ‘dramatic impact’

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The Middlesbrough heroin assisted treatment (HAT) pilot launched last year (DDN, November 2019, page 5) has had a ‘dramatic impact’, according to the programme’s...

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...

Budget cuts spell more pain for services

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Local authorities have been forced to reduce planned public health spending on services including drug and alcohol treatment by £85m as a result of...

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...

Time for a compulsory tax on the gambling industry, say academics

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A new compulsory levy should be placed on the gambling industry to support people with gambling problems, according to a report published in the...

PHE launches online NPS monitoring tool

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A new national system to monitor the effects of NPS has been launched by Public Health England (PHE) and the Medicines and Healthcare products...

Nearly two thirds of opioid users in treatment, says PHE

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Sixty per cent of England’s opioid users are now in treatment – one of the highest reported international rates – according to an evidence review by...

Universities and colleges ‘failing to protect’ students from drug harms

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Educational institutions are failing to protect their students from the ‘potential harms of drugs’, according to a report from the National Union of Students...

Decriminalise possession to ease prison crisis, say Lib Dems

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The Liberal Democrats have called for the possession of drugs for personal use to be decriminalised as a way of easing the overcrowding problem...

Government launches wide ranging gambling review

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The government has launched a review to ensure that gambling laws are ‘fit for the digital age’, covering areas such as advertising and promotion,...

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...