News from the substance misuse field

News in brief

A round-up of national news from the substance misuse field

Drug driving regulations

The government’s drug driving regulations have come into force, making it illegal for someone to drive if they have a certain level of illegal drugs in their blood. Police now have the power to stop drivers and carry out a ‘field impairment assessment’ if they suspect them of being on drugs, which could lead to arrest and a blood or urine test at a police station. Penalties for drug driving include fines of up to £5,000 and up to six months in prison.

Scots look to tackle legal highs

Authorities should attach conditions relating to the sale of new psychoactive substances (NPS) when issuing public entertainment licences, according to a report from the Scottish Government’s expert review group. Meanwhile, Lincoln’s city council has voted in favour of introducing a public space protection order (PSPO) to stop people taking NPS in public places. Anyone breaching the order – the first of its kind in the country – could be issued with a fixed penalty notice or face a fine.

New psychoactive substances expert review group at 

MSM action plan

PHE has published an action plan to address health and wellbeing inequalities faced by men who have sex with men (MSM). Promoting the health and wellbeing of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, the first document of its kind from a national body, looks at issues such as reducing the number of new HIV infections, rates of higher-risk drinking and ‘use of harmful substances’.

Available at 

EMCDDA looks at online supply

A ‘trendspotter’ study on the online supply of drugs has been issued by EMCDDA. The dividing line between the ‘surface web’ and ‘deep web’ is becoming increasingly blurred, says The internet and drug markets, resulting in a new ‘grey’ market. Meanwhile, another EMCDDA report, Mortality among drug users in Europe: new and old challenges for public health examines the overall number of lives lost to drug use in nine European countries.

Reports at 

Drug strategy review

The government has published the third annual progress review of its drug strategy, looking at developments since December 2013 and future priorities for ‘reducing demand, restricting supply and building recovery’.

Drug strategy annual review: 2014 to 2015 at

Online alcohol training

SMMGP has launched a free e-learning module for anyone wishing to learn more about management of alcohol use disorders, including how the commissioning process works and knowledge of evidence-based integrated care pathways.

Online at