News in brief

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 costs, according to new research by Adfam. An inde­pendent social return on investment (SROI) study commissioned by the charity, the first of its kind in the sector, demonstrates the power­ful case to fund and expand family services, it says. ‘This research provides sound evidence to what we already know – that supporting families makes both moral and economic sense,’ said chief executive Vivienne Evans. Full briefing on the research available at See Family Matters column, page 13.

Evidence examination

The ACMD’s recovery committee (DDN, January, page 18) has published its first report, intended to ‘map out the terrain’ that it will examine in more detail in a forthcoming series of focussed reviews. Recovery from drug and alcohol dependence: an overview of the evidence at

It’s mutual

The first in a series of Recovery resources briefings to help commissioners and service providers improve the recovery orientation of their services is available to download from the NTA website. Turning evidence into practice: helping clients to access and engage with mutual aid includes suggestions for practical steps that services can take as well as tips on developing dialogue with service users.

 Escaped Khat 

Khat should not be controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act, the ACMD has recommended after being asked by the government to review the evidence. The herbal product is chewed for its stimulant properties, and its use is widespread in parts of the UK’s Somali, Ethiopian and Yemeni communities. ‘The ACMD considers that the evidence of harms associated with the use of khat is insufficient to justify control,’ the council stated. ACMD khat report 2013 at

 Treading the boards

The stage version of Elizabeth Burton Phillips’ book, Mum, Can You Lend Me Twenty Quid? What Drugs Did To My Family (DDN, October 2011, page 20) tours the north of England this month, with a southern tour to follow in April. Details of dates and venues at

Homeless help

DrugScope has joined forces with St Mungo’s on a new campaign to make sure that women who are homeless and facing drug or alcohol problems get the help they need. The organisations want to hear examples of best practice in supporting homeless women, as most homelessness provision has traditionally been designed for men. ‘Women experiencing homelessness face stigma from society,’ said DrugScope chief executive Martin Barnes. ‘For those who also have problems with drug or alcohol use, this can be even more severe. We want to hear from practitioners on the ground and women using services themselves about what works and what support is missing.’

 Community cash

The 2013/14 budget for local public health services will be just under £2.7bn, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced, rising to around £2.8bn in 2014/15. Every local authority would receive a ‘real terms’ increase in funding, he said. ‘By putting local authorities in charge of public health, we are giving them the power, freedom and the funding to tackle the issues that blight their local areas and help improve the lives of their local communities.’ Full details of allocations at

 Licensing links

A new briefing on public health and alcohol licensing has been published by the LGA and Alcohol Research UK. The briefing contains a list of potential partnership bodies and useful documents, and explains the policy context.

 FRANK decade

The Home Office’s drugs advice service FRANK is marking its tenth anniversary with the launch of three new adverts and an online live chat facility for its website. More than 35m people have visited the website since its launch.

 Aiming to score

A mephedrone awareness campaign, Do you know the score? has been launched by the Welsh government to coincide with the Six Nations Rugby tournament. Leaflets, posters and radio adverts highlight the risks associated with taking the drug and let users know where they can get help, while campaign beer mats will be distributed to every Wetherspoons pub in Wales.