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More research needed on medicinal cannabis, says NICE

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More research is needed on cannabis-based medicinal products before they can be widely prescribed, says the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)....

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...

Budget cuts could reverse falling drug use rates among young people

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Ongoing budget cuts and restructuring in the public sector are putting young people’s services at risk and could threaten progress in reducing levels of...

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...

Better collaboration needed to tackle county lines properly

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Efforts to tackle the activities of county lines drug gangs are being hampered by lack of a ‘fully integrated, national response’, according to a...

News in Brief

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

Heroin deaths continue to fall

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

Public health body backs festival drug testing

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The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has called for music festivals to provide drug safety testing facilities ‘as standard’, as the summer festival...

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...

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...

MDMA back in vogue as NPS numbers continue to rise

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

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,...

Doctors warn on prescription drug 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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Gambling on credit cards to be banned from April

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Gambling businesses will no longer be allowed to let customers use credit cards to gamble, the Gambling Commission has announced. The ban will apply...

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...

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...

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...

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

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

News in brief

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

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...

Homelessness report slammed

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

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...

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...

Fedotov calls for ‘evidence-based’ practices

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

Drug poisoning deaths hit highest level ever

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

‘Golden triangle’ opium production up 22 per cent

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Opium production in the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos rose by 22 per cent in 2013, according to the United Nations Office...

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

Government unveils major prison reforms

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

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...

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,...

Alcohol treatment figures encouraging, says NTA

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

Legal cannabis tax could be worth £1bn

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A ‘root and branch’ reform of UK cannabis policy is ‘long overdue’, says a new report from Volteface and free market think tank the...

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...

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...

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...

Figures reveal worrying increase in number of rough sleepers

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The number of people sleeping rough in England has increased by 16 per cent in a year, according to government figures. The autumn 2016...

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...

New psychoactive drug deaths double

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

More support needed for older people with drug and alcohol problems

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

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...

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...

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...

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...

Drug-related deaths highest since records began

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Registrations of deaths relating to poisoning (overdose) in England and Wales have once again broken previous records, according to figures from the Office for...

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...

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...

‘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...

Addiction psychiatry facing oblivion, royal college warns

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Addiction psychiatry could be ‘wiped out in the next ten years’ without urgent action, warns a report from the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych)....

Latin American states consider consequences of drug reform

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

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...

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,...

Drug-driving arrests

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Monthly drug-driving arrests top 400 More than 400 people a month are being arrested for drug driving in England and Wales, according to the Institute...

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...

All party group lobbies PHE for prescription drug helpline

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

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...

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...

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,...

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...

UN drug policy a ‘spectacular failure’, says IDPC

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The UN’s ten-year strategy to eradicate the international illegal drugs market has been a ‘spectacular failure of policy’, says a new report from the...

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’...

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...

England and Wales should introduce minimum pricing, say Lords

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

‘Put people first,’ Fedotov tells UNGASS

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The world needs global drug policies that ‘put people first’, UNODC executive director Yury Fedotov told the opening session of the UN General Assembly...

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,...

Internet drives ‘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...

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...

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...

Government unveils major prison reforms

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

New helpline for prisoners released during pandemic

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A new free-phone helpline has opened for men and women in the North East who are being released from prison during the coronavirus crisis. The...

‘No let up’ on legal highs, says government

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The government has initiated a range of measures as part of its stated aim to tackle new psychoactive substances (NPS). Along with the banning...

Drug policy reform calls gather momentum

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

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...

News in brief

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

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...

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...

Call for new drugs policy organisation

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

Round-up of National News, October

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QUITTING TIME The smoking rate in England has fallen to its lowest ever level, at below 17 per cent, according to figures from PHE. Last...

News Focus

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

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...

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...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

News Focus

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

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...

Scotland records highest ever drug deaths  

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Scotland has yet again recorded its highest ever number of drug-related deaths, at 934. The 2017 figure is 8 per cent up on the...

News in brief

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

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...

Drug services see reduction in frontline staff

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

Homepage News Tab

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Read our round-up of what's happening across the UK International Overdose Awareness Day The 31st August 2016 marks International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD), a global event held...

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...

Improved support needed for older people

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

‘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...

Older drinkers account for majority of 7,000-plus deaths

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Last year saw 7,327 ‘alcohol-specific’ deaths in the UK, according to the latest ONS figures, with the highest death rate in the 55-64 age...

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...

Drugs behind ‘huge increase’ in prison violence

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A ‘huge increase’ in violence across the prison estate has taken place in the last five years, according to the latest annual report from...

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...

Ground-breaking recovery research focuses on families

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

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Stop and search reform pledged

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Police stop and search powers are to be overhauled, home secretary Theresa May has announced, with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act code of...

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...

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...

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...

Number of over-40s in opiate treatment triples in a decade

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The number of people aged over 40 in treatment for opiate use has tripled in little over a decade, according to a report from...

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...

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...

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...

We’ll get through this, pledge activists

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A comprehensive advice sheet for people who use drugs during the coronavirus outbreak has been prepared by EuroNPUD, INPUD and Respect Drug User Rights....

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...

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...

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...

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...

Nine out of ten councils now provide take-home naloxone

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Take-home naloxone has been made available by 90 per cent of English local authorities, according to a report from the Local Government Association (LGA)....

Overdose deaths up across Europe

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The total number of drug overdose deaths in Europe has risen for the third consecutive year, according to EMCDDA’s European drug report 2017. There...

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...

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,...

Vulnerable young choose high profile brands

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

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...

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...

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...

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),...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Going Public

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

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...

Children and alcohol

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

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...

News in brief

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Care consultation The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is carrying out a consultation to get feedback on its plans ‘to help ensure that people receive...

News in brief

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

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...

Better joined up working needed between treatment and child sexual abuse...

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Around six per cent of young people seeking alcohol or drug treatment report having been the victims of sexual exploitation, according to a PHE-commissioned...

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...