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 huge discrepancies in provision worldwide. ‘This is a public health emergency and an intolerable situation,’ said senior fellow at the alliance, Dr Stephen Connor. ‘Barriers to adequate pain treatment worldwide include overly-restrictive laws and regulation, over-exaggerated fears of addiction and a lack of understanding of the issues among governments and health professionals. Attitudes need to change.’
The prevalence of drug use is now stable around the world, according to UNODC’s World drug report 2014. Around 5 per cent of the global population used an illicit drug in 2012, it says, while the number of problem drug users stood at around 27m. However, in recent years ‘only one in six drug users globally has had access to or received drug dependence treatment services each year’, said UNODC executive director Yury Fedotov. Report at www.unodc.org
A Friendly Word
A new report on how treatment services could be improved for the LGBT community has been issued by the charity London Friend. Out of your mind draws on interviews with both service users and commissioners, and includes practical toolkits as well as recommendations. ‘Our research has found very poor representation of LGBT treatment need in local needs assessment, and our clients have told us treatment services don’t always understand the drugs they are using, or how they’re being used,’ said London Friend chief executive Monty Moncrieff. ‘It feels like LGBT issues are literally out of people’s minds when they plan and deliver drug and alcohol services.’ Report at londonfriend.org.uk
Pick a Priority
A new interactive map showing the priorities of health and wellbeing boards across England has been produced by the Local Government Association (LGA). Users can either select a specific area to see a summary of local priorities or choose a theme to find out which areas are focusing on it. The aim is to support the boards and stimulate collaboration, says the LGA. Tool at www.local.gov.uk
Alcohol Research UK has announced its 2014 small grants scheme to support research projects, pilot studies or relevant conferences. More information at: alcoholresearchuk.org/grants/. Application deadline is 16 July.
Road to Ruin
Around 28,000 people die annually and 1.34m are injured on Europe’s roads as a result of accidents caused by people driving under the influence of a psychoactive substance – primarily alcohol – according to a report from EMCDDA. ‘As drug consumption patterns change, particular concerns arise,’ said EMCDDA director Wolfgang Götz. ‘These include an ever-expanding range of psychoactive substances and medicinal products as well as context-specific risks such as those posed by young people driving home from nightlife venues after consuming a mix of alcohol and drugs.’ Drug use, impaired driving and traffic accidents at www.emcdda.europa.eu
A series of October events is being planned by Adfam to celebrate its 30th birthday, with a focus on campaigning against ‘the stigma that affects so many families’. A campaign pack is available from the Adfam website, and the organisation is encouraging local groups and services to hold their own awareness-raising events. Resources at www.adfam.org.uk
BMA Ban Call
The sale of cigarettes should be banned to anyone born after the year 2000, the British Medical Association (BMA) has stated, after delegates at its annual conference voted to support the motion. The move would ‘help create the first tobacco-free generation’, it says. ‘The level of harm caused by smoking is unconscionable,’ said research assistant in academic public health, Tim Crocker-Buqué. The policy would ‘not instantly prevent all people from smoking’, he said, but rather ‘de normalise’ it.
An alcohol ‘return on investment tool’ to inform local decision making has been developed by NICE. The tool helps to model the economic re – turns that can be expected for different interventions, and comes with a range of support materials. Users can mix and match interventions to see which package provides the best value for money. Free download at http://bit.ly/1smrjS8
Westminster Drug Project (WDP) has been awarded the Investors in People Standard, which demonstrates an organisation’s
commitment to staff development. ‘We strive on a daily basis to make sure that each and every one of our employees reaches their full potential,’ said WDP chair Yasmin Batliwala.
Bristol’s Southmead Project is holding its 20- year celebration event on 20 September, featuring presentations, discussions, drama and music. http://southmeadproject.org.uk