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 sleep on the streets. People received no help in nearly 60 per cent of cases, including victims of domestic violence. ‘This is nothing short of a scandal,’ said Crisis chief executive Jon Sparkes. ‘On top of the human cost, it is incredibly expensive for society, which has to pick up the pieces.’ Turned away: the treatment of single homeless people by local authority homelessness services in England at www.crisis.org.uk

 

NEW DIRECTION

The Liberal Democrats voted to pass a new party policy on drugs ‘based on the latest evidence’ at their conference in Glasgow last month, including ‘immediately’ ending the use of imprisonment for possession as well as tightening the laws on stop and search. ‘When it comes to tackling crime it is easy to talk tough,’ said the party’s home affairs spokesperson Julian Huppert. ‘But talking tough doesn’t deliver results.’ 

 

POPPY PROBLEM

Despite a decade-long reconstruction programme and more than $7bn spent on counter-narcotics activity, Afghanistan’s poppy cultivation is at an ‘all-time high’, according to a report from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). ‘I strongly suggest that your departments consider the trends in opium cultivation and the effectiveness of past counter-narcotics efforts when planning future initiatives,’ special inspector general John F. Sopko wrote to secretary of state John Kerry and other senior US government figures. 

 

PUBLIC SECTOR PRIZE

WDP chair Yasmin Batliwala has been named winner of the Women in the City, Woman of Achievement public sector category award 2014.‘There are so many fantastic women working in the public sector, which makes me extremely proud to have won this award,’ she said. ‘I am dedicated to supporting women’s progress in the public sector and ensuring gender equality and diversity, particularly through helping the most vulnerable in society.’

 

NALOXONE ACTION PLAN

An ‘action summit on naloxone’ has taken place in London to create an immediate action plan for England ‘to cut the red tape which is causing unnecessary deaths’. Dr Chris Ford hosted the meeting, which included CEOs of treatment providers, researchers, doctors, user groups, experts by experience and officials from government departments, and considered ideas and practice from Scotland and Wales. ‘It always comes down to people, not policies,’ she said, challenging the government’s refusal to amend regulations on distributing naloxone until October 2015. Full report in December’s DDN.

 

NO SMOKE 

Turning Point has launched smoking cessation pilots in six of its substance misuse services across the country, backed by Public Health England (PHE). Staff will be supported to address smoking with service users and deliver very brief advice (VBA) on giving up. ‘If someone has sought help for alcohol and drug problems, it makes sense that they are given the opportunity to stop smoking at the same time and further improve their chances of a healthy life.’ said PHE’s director of alcohol, drugs and tobacco, Rosanna O’Connor. 

 

BRINK BOOST

Alcohol-free Liverpool venue The Brink (DDN, December 2013, page 20) has won in the ‘social change and intervention’ category at this year’s Merseyside Independent Business Awards. ‘It’s our intention to make The Brink a truly self-sustaining business and that means reducing our reliance on grants and donations,’ said Action on Addiction Merseyside’s head of service Karen Hemmings. ‘This win shows that we are a serious business.’

 

E-ADS

Advertisers will be able to show e-cigarettes in their TV commercials from later this month, under a new ruling from the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP). Although TV adverts for e-cigarettes are already allowed, the devices are not permitted to be shown on screen. The new ruling specifies that adverts must not target non-smokers or under-18s and ‘avoid containing anything that promotes the use of a tobacco product or shows the use of a tobacco product in a positive light’. 

 

MULTIPLE IMPACT 

Welfare reforms are having an ‘overwhelmingly negative’ impact on people with multiple needs, according to a Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) Voices from the frontline report. Among the disturbing findings in Evidence from the frontline: how policy changes are affecting people experiencing multiple needs are reports of vulnerable women turning to sex work, subsistence theft or being forced to depend on violent partners after losing their benefits. Document at meam.org.uk

 

Smart in liquidation 

Trustees of Smart Recovery UK (SRUK) have announced that the charity will cease trading and go into liquidation after a dispute with its US-based licensor (ADASHN) could not be resolved. Their statement said that ‘overall SRUK has been a great success’ and expressed their ‘best wishes and  hopes for all those seeking recovery within the UK.’