The implementation of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, which was due to come into force last week, has been temporarily postponed by the government. Alkyl nitrites (‘poppers’) have also been exempted from the controversial legislation after the ACMD wrote to drugs minister Karen Bradley to say that, in its view, they did not fall within the scope of the act’s current definition of ‘psychoactive substances’. A proposed amendment to exempt poppers from the legislation was defeated earlier this year (DDN, February, page 4).
CRI has changed its name to change, grow, live, the organisation has announced. ‘Our priority is to work with service users, who are some of the most vulnerable people in society, and help them to make the changes they need to make to live independent and purposeful lives,’ said chief executive David Biddle. ‘We believe that everyone is capable of positive and lasting change and we wanted to have a charity name that more closely reflects this vision.’
TAKE IT TO THE LIMIT
Nine per cent of drinkers in the UK had drunk more than the new recommended weekly limit in a single day, according to the latest alcohol figures from ONS. While the proportion of 16-24 year olds who had drunk in the previous week had fallen from 60 per cent in 2005 to less than half, those young people who did drink were the most likely to have consumed their weekly recommended limit in one day, and almost three in five adults reported drinking some alcohol in a typical week. ‘It’s clear from these figures that although there are now more people, especially younger ones, who don’t drink alcohol at all, there is still a significant group of other people who are drinking well in excess of the latest health advice,’ said ONS statistician Jamie Jenkins.
Figures at www.ons.gov.uk
The chancellor’s decision to freeze duty rates on beer, cider and spirits as part of his controversial budget last month has been criticised by alcohol health bodies. The budget did ‘nothing to protect young people from the devastating harms of the cheapest, strongest alcohol’ said campaign group Balance North East.
The Local Government Association (LGA) is calling on the government to extend tax breaks on beer to lower-strength ciders, wines and spirits. This would encourage the industry to widen the availability of low-strength drinks and help combat the annual £3.5bn cost of dealing with alcohol-related ill health, it says. ‘The drinks industry and several retailers have gone some way to make and sell lower strength drinks but we want them to go much further,’ said LGA spokesperson Tony Page.
HIV-related deaths and new HIV infections among people who use drugs could be almost entirely eliminated by 2030 with ‘just a tiny shift in global drug control spending’, according to a report from Harm Reduction International. Redirecting 7.5 per cent of the US $100bn spent on drug enforcement and control to harm reduction measures would cut deaths by 93 per cent, says The case for a harm reduction decade: progress, potential and paradigm shifts. Document at www.ihra.net
The revised weekly limit of alcohol units can be bought for as little as £2, according to a report from Alcohol Concern Cymru. A ‘snapshot’ survey of supermarkets and off-licences in six towns and cities across Wales found alcohol on sale for as little as 15.5p per unit. ‘Typically, it’s heavy drinkers who favour low-price alcohol, meaning that it is the cheapest alcohol on the market that is bought and consumed in the greatest quantities and which causes the greatest harm,’ said spokesperson Mark Leyshon.
WELSH ON THE DEAL
A proposed ban on the use of e-cigarettes in public places in Wales (DDN, May 2014, page 4) has been defeated by a single vote. Although Plaid Cymru had originally planned to allow its assembly members a free vote on the public health bill of which the proposals were part, it ultimately voted against, meaning the bill failed to pass.
Collective Voice has become an associate of the Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) coalition, which works to improve policy and services for people with multiple needs. ‘The majority of individuals using substance misuse services have a wide range of other needs,’ said Collective Voice chair Karen Biggs. ‘To support them we need to influence policy and services across different sectors, and MEAM will provide excellent links across criminal justice, homelessness and mental health.’
A new national campaign to help address preventable illnesses caused by lifestyle factors such as drinking or smoking has been launched by PHE. One You aims to encourage adults to ‘take control’ of their health to avoid problems in later life.
Non-expert in-house legal advice and fear of expensive appeals mean many local authorities are failing to use licensing ‘to its full potential’, according to a report from the Institute of Alcohol Studies. The 2003 Licensing Act is ‘commonly interpreted to the advantage of the licensed trade’, says The Licensing Act (2003): its uses and abuses 10 years on, with any health concerns addressed likely to be those related to street drinking or domestic violence. ‘Local councils could help themselves more by paying closer attention to the act and case law in order use licensing more assertively, but there is also a need for the government to better support councils against challenges from the licensed trade,’ said lead author Jon Foster.
Report at www.ias.org.uk