News in brief

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Care consultation

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is carrying out a consultation to get feedback on its plans ‘to help ensure that people receive high-quality care’. The consultation, which is open until 12 August, is ‘the next step towards making the changes needed to deliver our purpose’, the organisation says. The regulator’s chair recently stated that the organisation’s previous board was ‘totally disfunctional’ in the wake of a number of high-profile scandals.

Consultation at www.cqc.org.uk

Educate and prevent

A new Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention Information Service (ADEPIS) has been launched by Mentor UK, in partnership with DrugScope and Adfam. As well as a website with free resources and guidance for schools and others working with children and young people, the DfE-funded service is developing a set of standards and good practice guidelines.

mentor-adepis.org

Banning fury

Two groups of legal highs, ‘NBOMe’ and ‘Benzofury’, will be illegal for a year under a temporary class drug order (TCDO) while a decision is made on whether they should be permanently controlled. ‘This temporary class drug order will protect the public and give our independent experts time to prepare advice,’ said crime prevention minister Jeremy Brown. ACMD chair Sir Les Iversen said in a letter to home secretary Theresa May that the action was ‘appropriate as a pre-emptive measure in advance of the summer music festival season’.

Trouble time

The government’s ‘troubled families’ programme is to be expanded, with £200m invested ‘to help 400,000 high-risk families’ and incentives for health, social service and criminal justice agencies to work more closely together. The government was ‘extending the approach to a wider group of families who, for example, are struggling with health problems or parenting, where their children are not in school or are at risk of being taken into care,’ said programme head Louise Casey.

Time to C reality

Governments need to acknowledge that ‘drug policy approaches dominated by strict law enforcement practices’ perpetuate the spread of hepatitis C by exacerbating marginalisation and undermining people’s access to harm reduction and treatment services, according to a report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy.

The negative impact of the war on drugs on public health: the hidden hepatitis C epidemic at www.globalcommissionondrugs.org

Khat in the bag

Khat is to become a class C drug, home secretary Theresa May has announced. Although the ACMD did not recommend banning the drug, the decision would ‘help protect vulnerable members of our communities’, she stated, and the government has promised a ‘proportionate’ policing response in terms of possession for personal use. DrugScope said it was ‘concerned and disappointed’ that the government had gone against the ACMD’s advice, while Release said that ‘once again, the government chooses to ignore the evidence when it comes to drug policy’.

Strategy support

More consideration needs to be given to the specialist needs of women involved in prostitution and substance use when planning strategies and services, according to a report from DrugScope and AVA. ‘We need more and better support from policy makers, planners and commissioners, and from services on the ground to help these women, many of whom have multiple and complex needs,’ said DrugScope chief executive Martin Barnes.

The challenge of change at www.drugscope.org.uk. See news focus.

Prescription for change

New commissioning guidance on support for people addicted to prescription or over-the-counter medicines has been issued by Public Health England (PHE). Depending on local need, support could be delivered through existing services, developed in partnership with local GPs or via dedicated services and support groups, it says. ‘Problems of addiction to medicines can occur in any community, so all local authorities should have a plan to assess and respond to local need,’ said PHE director of alcohol and drugs, Rosanna O’Connor. ‘While GPs should be the first port of call for problems of dependence on these drugs, specialist help should also be provided to anyone who needs it.’

Guidance at www.gov.uk

Mental help

Mental health nurses are to join police officers on patrol in four pilot sites to ‘improve responses to mental health emergencies’, the government has announced.
The nurses will accompany police to incidents where immediate mental health support is needed, so that people are not ‘detained in the wrong environment’. The first pilots will take place in Derbyshire, Devon and Cornwall, North Yorkshire and Sussex, with more to be announced.