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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...

New chief appointed for Addaction

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Mike Dixon will take over the role of Addaction chief executive from 1 May, the organisation has announced, replacing interim chief executive Guy Pink. Dixon...

‘Laughable’ alcohol responsibility deal has worsened nation’s health, says charity

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The government’s controversial public health responsibility deal for alcohol has pursued initiatives ‘known to have limited efficacy’ while obstructing more meaningful action, according to...

New maps identify areas of need for gambling treatment

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A new series of interactive maps to identify local levels of demand for gambling treatment has been released by GambleAware. The maps show usage...

PHE alcohol adviser resigns over industry partnership

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  The co-chair of Public Health England’s (PHE) alcohol leadership board has resigned over the agency’s partnership with industry-funded Drinkaware for its new ‘Drink Free...

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...

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...

Government rules out benefit sanctions for refusing treatment

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People with drug and alcohol problems should not be made to undergo treatment in order to claim benefits, according to a long-awaited review by...

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...

All party group lobbies PHE for prescription drug helpline

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The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Prescribed Drug Dependence has set out its case for a national helpline for people struggling to withdraw...

Drug checking services have long-term influence on behaviour

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Using drug checking services at festivals can permanently influence behaviour, according to a new study by the University of Liverpool. The study looked at...

A million have quit smoking since lockdown

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More than a million people in the UK have stopped smoking since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to research by ASH and...

Don’t squander chance to end rough sleeping, urge parliamentarians

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The government needs to establish a £100m housing support fund to avoid losing a ‘golden opportunity’ to put an end to rough sleeping, says...

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...

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...

Local news from the substance misuse field

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Festival-goers offered harm reduction advice Swanswell team members were on hand to provide drug and alcohol advice at the Download Festival in Leicestershire last month. Working...

England and Wales should introduce minimum pricing, say Lords

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England and Wales should follow suit if minimum unit pricing is introduced in Scotland and proves ‘effective in cutting down excessive drinking’, says a...

International study supports low UK alcohol guidelines

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The UK’s comparatively low threshold for recommended safe drinking levels has been supported by a major new study. As international low-risk drinking guidelines vary substantially,...

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...

Provisional figures show 16 per cent increase in alcohol deaths

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Provisional data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for the first three quarters of 2020 show 5,460 deaths related to alcohol-specific causes, up...

New alcohol strategy needed ‘urgently’

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A new UK-wide alcohol strategy is now ‘required urgently’, according to a report from the Commission on Alcohol Harm. It should be evidence-based and...

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...

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...

Government announces £3.2m emergency funds for rough sleepers

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Emergency funding totalling £3.2m to help rough sleepers to self-isolate has been announced by communities secretary Robert Jenrick. Homelessness organisations have been highly critical...

A third of 17-year-olds have tried cannabis

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More than 30 per cent of young people have tried cannabis at least once by the age of 17, according to research by UCL’s...

Scots consider methadone evidence

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The Scottish Government has commissioned an independent expert group to ‘objectively consider the evidence’ supporting the role of opiate replacement therapy in treating problematic...

Prescribe exercise instead of pills for chronic pain, says NICE 

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People with chronic primary pain should be offered a range of treatments to help manage their condition, says new guidance from NICE, rather than...

No apparent link between ‘toughness’ of drug laws and use, says...

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There is ‘no apparent correlation’ between the toughness of a country’s approach to drugs and levels of use, according to a Home Office study...

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...

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...

Government pledges cash for rough sleeper substance support

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More than 40 areas will receive money from a £23m fund to provide rough sleepers in emergency accommodation with drug and alcohol support, the...

Aggressive marketing and changing attitudes driving increased crack use

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Aggressive marketing by dealers and a change in attitudes towards the drug were among the reasons for increasing levels of crack cocaine use in...

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...

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...

Scots look to ban TV alcohol ads before 9pm

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The Scottish Government’s new alcohol strategy includes a range of plans to tighten marketing regulations. The Scots will ‘press the UK Government to protect...

First national guidance on tackling street drinking issued

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The first national guidance on tackling street drinking has been launched by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs). Written by Alcohol Concern...

US administration to use ‘all appropriate authority’ in response to opioid...

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The US president, Donald Trump, has instructed his administration to use ‘all appropriate emergency and other authorities’ to respond to the country’s opioid crisis....

Alcohol industry ‘misrepresenting’ cancer evidence

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The drinks industry is misrepresenting the evidence about alcohol-related cancer risks, according to research by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and...

Smoking rates hit record low

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The proportion of adults in England who smoke has fallen to just over 15 per cent, according to a report from NHS Digital, ONS...

Nurses at risk from synthetic cannabinoid use in prisons

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The widespread use of synthetic cannabinoids like ‘spice’ in UK prisons is risking the health of nurses and other staff, according to the Royal...

Government launches prescription drug review

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Public Health England (PHE) is to launch an independent review into the ‘growing problem’ of prescription drug dependency, the government has announced. Dependence-forming drugs such...

Minimum pricing being implemented ‘effectively’

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Minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol is being implemented effectively in Scotland, according to a report from NHS Health Scotland. Levels of compliance among...

Activists out in force for fifth Support Don’t Punish day of...

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Thousands of people once again took to the streets to call for an end to the war on drugs as part of the Support...

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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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...

Lib Dems promise legal cannabis market

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The Liberal Democrats have made a manifesto commitment to decriminalise the possession of illegal drugs for personal use and introduce a ‘legal, regulated’ market...

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...

Ground-breaking recovery research focuses on families

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‘What does recovery from addiction look like for families?’ is the subject of a ground-breaking research project from Adfam and Sheffield Hallam University’s Helena...

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...

Childhood trauma can alter response to opioids

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People with a history of childhood trauma are more likely to have a euphoric response to opioids, according to a study by scientists at...

Set target to cut Scots alcohol consumption by 10 per cent,...

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The Scottish Government should establish a target to reduce overall alcohol consumption by 10 per cent over the next decade, says a new report...

Government announces interim housing plans for rough sleepers

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New funding from the Treasury will provide ‘interim support’ for 15,000 vulnerable people placed in temporary accommodation during the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has...

A week’s units ‘for the price of a coffee’

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Drinkers in England can consume their entire weekly guideline amount of alcohol for the price of a coffee, according to new research from the...

‘Unprecedented’ purity levels for heroin, cocaine and ecstasy

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Heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and MDMA are now being sold at ‘unprecedented’ levels of purity, according to the latest DrugWise survey of the UK’s...

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...

Rodrigo Duterte’s punishing regime

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The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has been taking the ‘war on drugs’ to extremes that have shocked the world. DDN asks what,...

With You launches needle exchange search engine

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A new search engine for people to find information about needle and syringe services in their area has been launched by With You. Accessible...

Scots record highest ever drug deaths

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More drug-related deaths were registered in Scotland in 2011 than in any previous year, according to figures released by National Records for Scotland. There...

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...

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...