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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...

Heroin deaths double in just four years

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The number of heroin-related deaths in England and Wales has doubled since 2012, from 579 to 1,201, according to the latest ONS figures. Last...

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...

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...

CQC voices ‘serious concerns’ over residential detox

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Clients undergoing medically supervised withdrawal in residential settings are being ‘put at risk’ by poor quality care, according to a briefing from the Care...

Regulated cannabis market would generate ‘£1bn’ in tax

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Introducing a legalised, regulated cannabis market in the UK would generate ‘at least £1bn in tax income, if not more’, according to a report...

Government reverses controversial FOBT delay

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The government has abandoned its plans to delay the reduction in the maximum stake allowed on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs). The announcement that...

We’ll introduce mandatory alcohol labelling, says Labour

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Alcohol labelling that includes up-to-date drinking guidelines and nutritional information would be mandatory under a Labour government, according to shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth....

Proportion of prisoners developing drug problem doubles in five years

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The proportion of prisoners who say they have developed a drug problem while in custody has doubled to almost 15 per cent since 2013-14,...

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...

Economic burden of alcohol could be almost 3 per cent of...

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Combining minimum unit pricing (MUP) with increased alcohol taxation would lead to both ‘substantial’ reductions in alcohol-related harm and increases in government revenue, according...

Government unveils ‘landmark’ prison and courts bill

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The government has published its prison and courts bill, which it says will pave the way for the ‘biggest overhaul of prisons in a...

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....

Training key to boosting alcohol brief interventions

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Targeted training leads to a ‘significant increase’ in the delivery of alcohol brief interventions in primary care, according to new research. Specifically trained nurse...

International Remembrance Day

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Demonstrators gather outside Parliament to mark International Remembrance Day This year’s International Remembrance Day was marked by a demonstration outside Parliament that saw speeches from Professor John Strang and others. The annual event is...

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...

Scots drug death taskforce up and running

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The taskforce set up by the Scottish Government to try to address the country’s rising drug death rate will hold its first meeting later...

Betway hit with record £11m fine for failing ‘VIP’ customers

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Online gambling company Betway will have to pay £11.6m for failings relating to a number of high-spending customers as well as its money-laundering responsibilities,...

Government to consult on calorie labelling for alcohol

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The government will launch a consultation on plans to provide calorie labelling for alcohol, it has announced. The consultation, which will be launched before...

Government promises to ‘transform’ mental health support

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Prime minister Theresa May has announced a range of measures to ‘transform’ mental health support across the country. Tackling the ‘burning injustice’ of mental...

SMMGP launches substance misuse training scheme

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SMMGP has launched an updated website and ‘premium membership’ CPD scheme, which offers additional high quality professional development including regular clinical and policy updates,...

Duterte removes police from drug war

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Controversial Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has removed the country’s police force from its lead role in his violent crackdown on drugs, the Philippine government...

Scots signal drug policy shift

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Leading members of the Scottish Government have discussed a potential shift in policy ahead of the country’s new drug strategy, which is due to...

Extra 3p on beer would ‘raise £100m for alcohol treatment’

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Increasing alcohol duties by just 1 per cent would raise around £100m a year to invest in treatment services, according to a new briefing...

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...

Parties set out drug and alcohol manifesto pledges

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The SNP is the latest political party to publish its manifesto, which repeats the party’s call for drug policy to be devolved so that...

London rough sleepers housed in hotels

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More than 1,000 homeless people in London are now self-isolating in hotels and other locations during the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the mayor’s office....

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...

Media Savvy: the news, and the skews, in the national media

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The media’s treatment of the troubled families programme, whose evaluation has recently been made public, cannot have cheered David Cameron in his last week...

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...

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...

Investigate Duterte for ‘crimes against humanity’, says Amnesty

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The International Criminal Court (ICC) must ‘urgently’ open an investigation into crimes against humanity committed during Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’, says...

UK among biggest consumers in ‘buoyant’ cocaine market

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Cocaine purity levels in Europe are at their highest for a decade, according to the latest EMCDDA annual report, with a ‘buoyant’ market and...

All change for alcohol charities

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A new alcohol charity has been launched following the merger of Alcohol Concern with Alcohol Research UK (DDN, April 2017, page 5). Alcohol Change...

NHS to open young persons’ gambling clinic

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The country’s first NHS gambling clinic for children is to open this year, NHS England has announced. The move is a response to ‘growing...

Almost 30 countries now have some form of decriminalisation

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Twenty-nine countries – or 49 jurisdictions – worldwide have now adopted some form of decriminalisation for drug use or possession for personal use, according 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...

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...

Take alcohol ads off the streets, Scottish Government urged

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Alcohol advertising should be removed from streets, parks and public transport, according to a new report from Alcohol Focus Scotland. The document also wants...

Scots drug death toll the highest yet

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Scotland has once again recorded its highest ever number of drug-related deaths, at 867. The 2016 figure is 23 per cent higher than the...

West Midlands PCC proposes consumption rooms and prescribed heroin

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A range of proposed harm reduction measures to cut drug-related crime and deaths, and reduce costs to public services, has been set out by...

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...

Government announces drugs and violence review

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The government has appointed Professor Dame Carol Black to lead a wide-ranging review into ‘the ways in which drugs are fuelling serious violence’. Professor...

Millions being prescribed potentially addictive drugs

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Millions of people in England are being prescribed potentially addictive medications, according to the findings of a major review by Public Health England (PHE).  Announced...

Disappointment for campaigners looking for alcohol duty increase

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Duty rates for for beer, cider and spirits have been frozen in the 2020 budget, disappointing health campaigners who had been urging the government...

Tayside achieves world first in effectively eliminating hep C

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NHS Tayside in Scotland has become the first region in the world to effectively eliminate hepatitis C, with 90 per cent of patients diagnosed...

Irish liver cancer rates up 300 per cent in two decades

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The number of primary liver cancers in Ireland increased by more than 300 per cent between 1994 and 2014, according to figures from the...

Wiltshire police issue Xanax warning

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Police in Wiltshire have issued a warning to parents following incidents in which around 20 young people in the Salisbury area have received medical...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Heroin assisted treatment pilot launches in Glasgow

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Scotland’s first heroin-assisted treatment service has been launched in Glasgow, the city council has announced. The Enhanced Drug Treatment Service (EDTS) will treat people...

Regular drinkers consuming more during lockdown

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Almost 20 per cent of daily drinkers are consuming more alcohol during the coronavirus lockdown, according to research commissioned by Alcohol Change UK. However,...

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...

Glasgow considers case for UK’s first consumption room

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Glasgow could become the site of the UK’s first consumption room, after the Glasgow City Joint Integration Board officially approved the development of a...

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...

Delayed drug strategy promises ‘national recovery champion’

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The government’s long-awaited drug strategy has finally been published, and includes both a new ‘national recovery champion’ role and a cross-government drug strategy board...

Sustained budget cuts having severe impact on treatment system

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The treatment sector’s ability to absorb funding cuts through efficiency savings and service redesign has been ‘exhausted’, according to the latest State of the...

Home secretary announces medicinal cannabis review

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The government is to undertake a review of the medicinal use of cannabis, home secretary Sajid Javid has announced. The move follows headline stories...

North South Charity Merger

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Health and social care charity Humankind and London-based alcohol and drug charity Blenheim CDP have announced they are intending to merge in April 2019...

‘Biased’ classification fuelling drug problem, says Global Commission

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Biased historical classification of psychoactive substances has been a significant contribution to the world drug problem, according to a new report from the Global...

Scottish off-sales down almost 4 per cent since MUP

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The volume of off-trade alcohol sales in Scotland dropped by 3.6 per cent in the year following the introduction of minimum unit pricing (MUP),...

Scottish off-sales down 5 per cent in year after MUP

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Sales of alcohol from supermarkets and off-licences in Scotland fell between 4 and 5 per cent in the year after minimum unit pricing (MUP)...

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...

Durham police to offer heroin-assisted treatment

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Durham Constabulary is planning to become the first police force in England to offer heroin-assisted treatment to problem drug users. Under the proposals, people whose...

Leeds peer support launched for people with hepatitis C

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A new peer-led group has been launched in Leeds to support people with hepatitis C. Staff from Forward Leeds are aiming to help clients gain support...

NHS England sets out ambitious plans to eradicate hep C

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England could be the first country to eliminate hepatitis C, according to plans announced by the NHS. The health service has called on the...

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...

Tougher rules to protect children from gambling ads

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New standards to protect children from ‘irresponsible’ gambling adverts have been published by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP). The new guidelines prohibit online...

Nearly 100,000 could be unaware they have hep C

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Up to two thirds of the estimated 143,000 people in the UK living with a chronic hepatitis C infection may be unaware they have...

Sales of low-alcohol beers up 30 per cent

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Sales of no-alcohol and low-alcohol – or ‘nolo’ – beers have increased by 30 per cent since 2016, according to a report from the...

Northern Ireland to consult on minimum pricing

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Northern Ireland is to launch a ‘full consultation’ on minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol, its health minister Robin Swann has announced. The decision...

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...

Doctors call for urgent tobacco control plan

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More than 1,000 doctors and other healthcare professionals have written an open letter to prime minister Theresa May and health secretary Jeremy Hunt calling...

Family members urged to share their experiences

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A major new national survey on the impact of addiction and recovery on family members has been launched by Adfam and Sheffield Hallam University,...

Welsh Government moves to introduce minimum pricing

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A new Welsh Government bill aims to establish a minimum unit price for alcohol, and make it an offence for alcohol to be supplied...

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,...

 England sees ‘sharp decline’ in youth drinking

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The last 15 years have seen a ‘sharp decline’ in drinking levels among young people in England, according to a new report from the...

British ‘get drunk’ more regularly than other nationalities

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British people who drink get drunk more regularly than other nationalities, according to the latest Global drug survey. Respondents in the UK reported getting...

Drug poisoning admissions continue to rise

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Last year saw more than 18,000 hospital admissions for poisoning by drug misuse in England, according to figures from NHS Digital, an increase of...

Coronavirus guidance issued for providers and commissioners

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New guidance for commissioners and treatment providers during the COVID-19 outbreak has been issued by Public Health England (PHE) and the Department for Health...

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...

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...

Duterte temporarily suspends his ‘war on drugs’

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Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has announced a temporary suspension of his violent ‘war on drugs’ while he addresses the problem of police corruption. He told...

Sarah Newton MP comments on the new drug strategy

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The new drug strategy represents a 'balanced approach' to enforcement and support, says Sarah Newton, minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability. The shocking pictures of people using ‘spice’...

Naloxone provision ‘chronically inadequate’, says Release

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Levels of naloxone provision by local authorities are ‘chronically inadequate’ and ‘certainly not sufficient to prevent opioid deaths to any meaningful extent’, according to...

Minimum pricing law passed in Wales

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The National Assembly for Wales has approved the introduction of minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol. Approval of the Public Health (Minimum Price for...

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...

County lines gangs recruiting ever-younger children

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Children as young as seven are being exploited by county lines drug gangs, according to a new report from The Children’s Society. While those...

Homeless people dying of preventable substance problems

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At least 12,000 people experiencing homelessness went without drug and alcohol treatment in 2018, according to research by St Mungo’s – a year that...

Time to ban all gambling ads, say MPs

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The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Gambling Related Harm has called for a ban on all gambling advertising as well as a complete...

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...

Government expands ‘evidence-based’ drugs education

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Public Health England (PHE) has announced a new three-year contract for Mentor UK to expand its ADEPIS education programme to more schools and community...

Be overdose aware

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Yesterday (31 August) marked International Overdose Awareness Day, a global event designed to spread the message that ‘the tragedy of overdose death is preventable’,...

Scotland confirms alcohol minimum unit price at 50p

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The Scottish Government has confirmed that it will recommend the country’s minimum price per unit of alcohol be set at 50p, following the results...

Hep C deaths down 11 per cent in a year

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Deaths from hepatitis C-related end-stage liver disease fell by 11 per cent last year compared to 2016, according to new figures from Public Health...

Welsh Government to press ahead with 50p minimum price

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The Welsh Government has committed to introducing a 50p minimum unit price for alcohol, following the results of a public consultation. ‘Ministers remain of...

Two in five homeless deaths now drug-related

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There were an estimated 726 deaths of homeless people in England and Wales registered during 2018, according to the latest figures from the Office...

Government’s coronavirus advice on protecting rough sleepers ‘inadequate’, says Crisis

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The government’s new COVID-19 guidance for hostels or day centres for people rough sleeping is inadequate and fails to include measures that would allow...

Home secretary ‘minded to’ explicitly exempt poppers from Psychoactive Substances Act

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The home secretary, Priti Patel, has written to the ACMD seeking its advice on formally exempting alkyl nitrates – or ‘poppers’ – from the...

‘A national tragedy’ – Record drug fatalities for Scotland

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Scotland has once again recorded its highest ever number of drug-related deaths, at 706 – almost two per day. The 2015 figures are 15 per...

Campaigners call for total alcohol advertising ban

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Existing regulations are failing to protect young people from exposure to alcohol advertising and the ‘subsequent drinking’ it leads to, according to a collection...

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...

Release mounts powerful anniversary exhibition

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Release is marking its 50th anniversary with a pop-up exhibition showing the impact of drug policies on communities worldwide. The Museum of Drug Policy...

More support for children of alcohol-dependent parents

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The government has pledged to increase support for children living with alcohol-dependent parents. The plans include faster identification of at-risk children – including those...

Prisoners dying ‘preventable deaths’ because of NPS, says ombudsman

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Prisoners are dying ‘preventable deaths – particularly as a result of the alarming levels of drug abuse in jails’, says the annual report of the...

Correct methadone dosage vital for people being treated for TB

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Methadone dose optimisation is vital when treating people on opioid substitution programmes for tuberculosis (TB) and other conditions, according to new research. Researchers at Aston...

Almost 70 per cent of 20-year-olds gamble

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Sixty eight per cent of 20-year-olds had participated in gambling in the last year, according to a study by GambleAware. While this fell slightly...

Substance misuse staff eligible for testing

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People working in drug and alcohol treatment are among those now eligible for coronavirus testing if they develop symptoms, the government has announced. While testing...

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...

A round-up of national news: November 2016

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OPIUM UP Afghan opium production has soared by 43 per cent compared to 2015 levels, according to UNODC’s latest Afghanistan opium survey. The increase –...

Let’s talk about sex work

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A new guide to the legal framework around sex work has been published by Release. As well as setting out the criminal offences related...

Recovery focus for updated ‘Orange Book’

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The government has published the updated version of its Drug misuse and dependence: UK guidelines on clinical management, usually referred to as the Orange...

Media language enabling discrimination, says Global Commission

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Negative portrayals in the media and politics are reinforcing the perception that drug use is ‘immoral’ and people who use drugs are a threat...

Campaigners call for urgent reform in sixth annual day of action

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The sixth Support. Don’t Punish global day of action is taking place on 26 June. Last year saw events in more than 200 cities...

It’s time to get tested, urges PHE

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Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England have launched a nationwide exercise to identify and treat people who have previously been diagnosed with hepatitis...

Time to investigate Duterte for crimes against humanity, says Amnesty

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The UN Human Rights Council should immediately open an investigation into Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’, states a report from Amnesty International. The Philippine president’s...

Have your say on alcohol harm

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A new Commission on Alcohol Harm has been launched with a call for written evidence. The commission has been established in the absence of...

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...

Around 9,000 children are ‘problem gamblers’

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Approximately 450,000 children in England and Wales are now gambling every week, according to a report from the Gambling Commission, with around 9,000 of...

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...

Boost harm reduction to halt deaths, government urged

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The government needs to ensure that the provision of the ‘whole range’ of harm reduction initiatives is in place to address increasing rates of drug-related deaths,...

Most UK cannabis now ‘high potency’ 

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Almost 95 per cent of cannabis seized by police in 2016 was of a high potency variety, according to a report from King’s College,...

Relax laws on e-cigarettes, urge MPs

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Regulations on the licensing, prescribing and advertising of e-cigarettes need to be relaxed, says a report from Parliament’s cross-party Science and Technology Committee. Despite...

Home Office gives go-ahead for pilot drug-testing scheme

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The Home Office has granted the UK’s first official licence for a drug checking service. Anyone over the age of 18 can now take...

Middlesbrough launches heroin-assisted treatment programme

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A pilot heroin-assisted treatment (HAT) programme is being launched in Middlesbrough, the local police and crime commissioner (PCC) has announced. The programme will concentrate...

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...

Government to scrap PHE

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The government is to abolish Public Health England (PHE), it has announced. A new organisation, The National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP), will instead...

National News, September 2016

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END THE KILLINGS UNODC executive director Yury Fedotov has condemned the ‘apparent endorsement of extrajudicial killing’ of suspected drug offenders in the Philippines by president...

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...

Lifeline to close after almost 50 years

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The Lifeline Project, which provides services to around 80,000 people, is to close as a result of financial difficulties. Staff at the charity, which...

Trump declares opioid crisis ‘a public health emergency’

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US president Donald Trump has declared the country’s opioid crisis a ‘nationwide public health emergency’ and said that he is ‘mobilising his entire administration’...

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...

Racial disparity in stop and search increasing, says report

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Black people are nine times more likely to be stopped and searched for drugs in England and Wales than white people, according to a...

Scots record highest ever drug-related hospital admissions

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Scotland has seen a fourfold increase in drug-related hospital stays in the last 20 years, according to the latest figures from the Scottish NHS....

Shutting up shop

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The crisis in funding has dominated the sector for years, but with many big names now closing their doors the situation for residential facilities...

Online COVID-19 support tool launched in Scotland

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An online tool has been launched to update on changes to treatment and pharmacy services during COVID-19

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...

Leeds launches ‘Like My Limit’ alcohol campaign

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Forward Leeds is among local services launching initiatives for Alcohol Awareness Week, 14-20 November. Their Like My Limit campaign aims to reach 17,000 dependent...

FDAP members offered support and development by SMMGP

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SMMGP has reassured members of the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals (FDAP) that they will be fully supported throughout their takeover of the...

Tobacco plan aims for ‘smoke-free generation’

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The government has published its new tobacco control plan, outlining that its vision is ‘nothing less than to create a smoke-free generation’. Earlier this...

Three in five drinking ‘to cope’

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Almost 60 per cent of adults who drink are ‘doing so because it helps them to cope with the pressures of day-to-day life’, according...

Opiates and cocaine ‘bigger global health threat than ever’

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Record-high production levels for opiates and cocaine, coupled with expanding drug markets, mean the drugs are now a ‘bigger global threat to public health...