National news from the substance misuse field

A round-up of national news – October 2015

Emergency inquiry

An inquiry into the impact of alcohol-related incidents on the emergency services has been launched by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm. Alcohol-related harm costs the NHS an estimated £3bn per year and puts intense pressure on services, particularly at weekends. A central objective of the inquiry will be to ‘build a clear picture’ of the time and resources lost to alcohol, said group chair Fiona Bruce MP.


An involving document

A new guide detailing the benefits of involving recovering drug and alcohol users in treatment design has been published by PHE. The guide sets out the different levels of user involvement, with useful examples of good practice. ‘Those who have recovered from addiction themselves have the experiences, and often the expertise, to help others and can make an important contribution to the development of successful services,’ said PHE’s director of alcohol, drugs and tobacco Rosanna O’Connor. Service user involvement: a guide for drug and alcohol commissioners, providers and service users at


Götz goes

Alexis Goosdeel has been appointed as the new EMCDDA director, the agency has announced. He takes up the position next January, replacing Wolfgang Götz, who has held the post since 2005. Mr Goosdeel has been at the EMCDDA since 1999, before which he co-founded Belgian harm reduction NGO Modus Vivendi.


BBV boost

A new briefing to support local authorities and drug services in reviewing their BBV prevention and treatment interventions has been published by PHE. Preventing blood-borne virus transmission among people who inject drugs draws together published evidence and guidance, as well as feedback from treatment services. Available at


Boundary change

‘Locally-led and coordinated’ action is vital to support people with multiple and complex needs, according to a new report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). Public spending on individuals experiencing problems like addiction, homelessness and offending is still ‘largely reactive’, says the document – preventative support would deliver better results and save money by avoiding duplication and avoiding the need for expensive crisis care. Breaking boundaries: towards a ‘troubled lives’ programme for people facing multiple and complex needs at


Penalty points

A new tool to instantly compare the penalties for drug possession and supply across Europe has been developed by EMCDDA. Searches can also be refined according to drug type, quantity and the ‘addiction or recidivism of the offender’. Penalties for drug law offences in Europe at a glance at