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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...

News in brief

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South west strategy A pilot programme to help tackle hep C in the South West has been launched by Addaction Cornwall in partnership with the...

Alcohol-related deaths more than 50 per cent higher in Scotland

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An average of 22 people per week died of an alcohol-related cause in Scotland in 2015, according to an NHS Health Scotland report, a...

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...

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...

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...

PHE to produce ‘orange book’ for alcohol treatment

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Public Health England (PHE) is working to produce the first UK-wide set of clinical guidelines for alcohol treatment, the agency has announced. While the...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Alcohol focus for new NHS plan

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Alcohol care teams will offer support to alcohol-dependent patients in more hospitals, as part of the new NHS long-term plan. The teams will be...

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...

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...

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...

Scottish Affairs Committee calls for decriminalisation

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The Scottish Affairs Committee has become the latest group of MPs to call for an overhaul of the UK’s drug laws, saying that the...

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...

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...

Cautious welcome for increase in public health grant

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The public health grant 2020-21 has been set at £3.279bn, the government has announced – an increase of £145m on the 2019-20 figure. Health...

Label calories on drinks, says 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...

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...

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...

Address ‘blind spot’ around older drinkers, charity urges

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More needs to be done to help older adults avoid alcohol-related harm, says a new report from the International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK). Retirement is...

Drop ‘politically motivated’ charges against drug war critic, Duterte told

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Human Rights Watch (HRW) is calling on authorities in the Philippines to immediately drop ‘politically motivated’ charges against senator Leila de Lima, ‘one of...

‘Aspirational’ treatment standards published by WHO and UNODC

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A revised edition of the International standards for the treatment of drug use disorders has been published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and...

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...

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,...

Homeless deaths up by a quarter over five years

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There were almost 600 deaths of homeless people in England and Wales in 2017, according to ONS figures, an increase of 24 per cent...

Big rise in numbers seeking treatment for crack

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There has been a 23 per cent increase in the number of people seeking treatment for crack cocaine, from 2,980 to 3,657, according to...

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...

Tailored treatment needed for prescription drug misuse, says ACMD

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Prescription-only drugs are being widely diverted to supplement the use of illegal substances, according to a new report from the Advisory Council on the...

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,...

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...

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...

ACMD: safeguarding treatment vital to avoid more deaths

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Maintaining the ‘capacity and quality’ of treatment is essential to prevent more increases in opioid-related deaths, says a new report from the ACMD. The...

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...

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,...

Naloxone news

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Martindale Pharma is notifying people in receipt of Prenoxad Injection kits, as well as those involved in their supply, of a temporary change in...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 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...

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...

FDAP members’ interests and accreditation safe with SMMGP

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It's business as usual for FDAP members, the organisation's outgoing chief executive has confirmed. In a statement on 19 January that the professional body for substance...

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...

‘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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

CGL and Sova announce full merger

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Change Grow Live (CGL) and its subsidiary Sova are to fully merge, the charities have announced. The merger will mean integration of the infrastructure,...

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...

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...

Put health warnings on all alcohol labels, 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...

PHE updates on hepatitis B vaccine shortage

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Since mid-2017 the UK has experienced a shortage of hepatitis B vaccine due to global manufacturing issues. In response to the shortage, Public Health...

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...

Drug poisoning deaths highest ever

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Drug poisoning deaths hit highest level ever Last year saw England and Wales register the highest number of drug poisoning deaths since records began more...

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...

Alcohol treatment at crisis point, says report

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A cycle of disinvestment coupled with reduced capacity and staffing levels means that the alcohol treatment sector in England is in crisis, according to...

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...

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’...

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...

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...

‘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...

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...

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...

Alcohol-related hospital admissions up 20 per cent in a decade

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Alcohol was the main reason for almost 360,000 hospital admissions in 2018-19, according to new figures from NHS Digital – a 6 per cent...

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...

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...

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...

Media Savvy… Who’s been saying what?

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In a rare outbreak of common sense, ministers are axing plans for a minimum alcohol price. The hardest-up and responsible drinkers would have been...

New campaign calls for national focus on preventing drug-related deaths

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A new initiative launched at the Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF)’s annual conference is calling for a national focus on preventing drug deaths, and reinforces the...

ACMD rejects time-limited substitution treatments

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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...

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...

‘Biggest ever’ drugs importation operation busted

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Thirteen men have been arrested as part of an investigation into what the National Crime Agency (NCA) is calling the largest UK drugs importation...

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...

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...

Victor Adebowale to leave Turning Point after two decades

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Turning Point chief executive Lord Victor Adebowale has announced that he will be standing down after almost 20 years in the role. Lord Victor,...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Record drug fatalities ‘a national tragedy’ 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...

Introduce cigarette-style labelling for alcohol, says public health body

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It should be ‘mandatory’ to include the government’s low-risk drinking guidelines of 14 units per week on alcohol labels, says the Royal Society for...

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...

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...

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’...

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...

Trump administration to step up ‘war on drugs’

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The US administration under President Donald Trump has signalled that it intends to intensify the ‘war on drugs’, with a return to 1980s-style prevention...

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...

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...

Time to change direction on drugs

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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 report from...

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...

Local authorities failing to provide sufficient naloxone

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The amounts of naloxone being provided by local councils and prisons are ‘extremely limited’, warns a new report from Release. While all but three...

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...

Rehabs ‘failing’ older drinkers

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Three quarters of residential alcohol treatment facilities are failing older adults because of ‘arbitrary age limits’, according to a report from Alcohol Research UK. More...

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...

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...

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...

Numbers seeking treatment for crack up nearly 20 per cent

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There was an 18 per cent increase in the number of people seeking treatment for crack problems in 2017-18, according to the latest PHE...

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...

Alcohol admissions up again

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There were 1.09m hospital admissions for an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition in 2014-15, up from 1.06m the previous year, according to the latest...

Cannabis legalisation a mental health risk, says Rethink

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Moves to legalise cannabis risk ‘fuelling the nation’s mental health crisis’, the charity Rethink Mental Illness has warned. While it recognises the ‘strong arguments’ for...

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...

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...

More than half of 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...

‘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...

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...

Government announces tougher powers to seize cutting agents

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Plans to strengthen powers to seize substances used as ‘cutting agents’ for illegal drugs have been announced by the Home Office. Under the plans,...

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...

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...

Proposed Glasgow consumption room moves a step closer

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A report to be presented to the Glasgow City Integration Joint Board later this month will identify potential sites for what could be the...

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 new report...

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...

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,...

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...

More than 120 children slain in Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’

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More than 120 killings of children and young people were carried out in the Philippines between July 2016 and December 2019, according to a...

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...

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...

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...

Government denies imminent end to rough sleeper funding

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The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has denied claims that it will no longer be funding the scheme to provide emergency accommodation...

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...

A third of relationships affected by substance use ‘break down’

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Thirty three per cent of relationships affected by drug or alcohol problems will eventually break down, according to research by the charity OnePlusOne in...

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...

Recovery games celebrate a winning team

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A fun-packed day was enjoyed by more than 650 people who came to Doncaster for the fourth annual recovery games. Participants from all over the UK...

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...

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...

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 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...

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...

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...

Drink limits: more ‘clarity’ but controversy continues

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The government has published the final version of its revised alcohol guidelines, stating that both men should and women should drink no more than...

Time to publish ‘evidence based’ alcohol strategy, government told

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A new government alcohol strategy needs to ‘lead the way internationally’ in reducing the damage caused by alcohol misuse, according to a document from...

News in brief

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Cocaine cutting agents More than 50 different cutting agents have been identified in cocaine, including some that can cause ‘serious medical harm’, according to an...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Half of people with gambling disorders have not accessed support

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Just under half of people with a gambling disorder have not accessed treatment or support, according to a study by GambleAware. Of those scoring...

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...

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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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,...

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 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...

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...

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...

National news from the substance misuse field

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News in brief A round-up of national news – July 2015 Report it A new campaign to raise awareness of LGBT hate crime, and urge people to...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Coordinated effort needed to eliminate hepatitis C

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An ‘urgent, coordinated’ effort is needed to increase testing and treatment for hepatitis C in order to ensure the elimination of the disease in...

Time for a ‘fresh approach’ to policy, says UKDPC

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There should be a wholesale review of both the Misuse of Drugs Act and the drugs classification system, according to a report from the...

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...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

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,...

Pharmacists allowed to dispense methadone without prescription

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Pharmacists are to be allowed to give out methadone, buprenorphine and other medicines containing controlled substances such as opioids or barbiturates without a prescription...

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...

New strategy to tackle ‘gambling harms’

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A NEW THREE-YEAR STRATEGY TO REDUCE GAMBLING HARMS has been launched by the Gambling Commission, the government has announced. The strategy will bring together...

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 announces £12m winter payments for rough sleepers

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Local authorities will receive £10m in cold weather payments to help keep rough sleepers safe over the winter, the government has announced, with an...

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...

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...

SNP votes to back decriminalisation 

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The Scottish National Party (SNP) has given ‘overwhelming support’ for the devolution of drug laws to Scotland to allow decriminalisation of drug possession. Delegates at...

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...

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...

‘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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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....

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...

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...

More than half test positive in community hep C pilot

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A pilot project offering hepatitis C testing in pharmacies with needle exchange facilities has been hailed a success, with more than 50 per cent...

Nearly 2m drinkers should be sent for liver scans, says NICE

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People drinking at potentially harmful levels should be sent for scans to detect early liver disease, according to new draft guidance from the National...

National Crime Agency issues fentanyl warning

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The National Crime Agency (NCA) has taken the ‘unusual step’ of warning drug users to be vigilant following the detection of powerful synthetic opioid...

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...

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...

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,...