DS Daily - 22nd July 2009


Turning the tide

Tourists have long been joined by people seeking drug and alcohol treatment in Weston-super-Mare. But a new regulation scheme aims to improve standards and clean up the town's image, writes Owen Bowcott [Guardian, UK]

Practical research-based handbook for peer-based recovery in the UK

This free monograph is likely to become the handbook for the growing peer-based recovery movement in the UK. For administrators, the approaches it reviews offer a way to reconcile decreasing per-patient resources with a policy agenda now focused on reintegration and recovery [Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK]

Drug warning after fourth death

A spate of drug deaths and near misses in Forth Valley has prompted local police to issue a warning to illegal drug users. The Central Scotland force said there had been four drug deaths in the past month and four near fatal overdoses within the past 24 hours in Falkirk. [BBC, UK]

Most needy denied access to welfare grants

Families and individuals in the most extreme need are being denied grants by the government's welfare chest of last resort because it has been capped for three years despite soaring demand, according to the system's official watchdog. [Guardian, UK]

Nurse pilot scheme provides care to people in custody

Nurses in Scotland have just completed a pilot scheme to provide care to those in custody. The three-year project saw nurses provide 24-hour services including alcohol and drug referrals to people held in police cells in Dundee, Perth and Arbroath. [Nursing Times, UK]

Increase in number of girls seeking addiction treatment 

An increase in the number of 15-year-old girls seeking drug and alcohol treatment over the last year has been reported by the country’s main residential treatment centre.  In the last year the Aislinn centre has raised the number of beds it provides by 20 per cent in order to cope with the increase in demand. [Irish Times]

Alcohol disorder plan under fire

Plans to combat alcohol-fuelled violence in city centres have suffered a setback after it emerged no councils had signed up to a flagship initiative. [BBC, UK]

Revellers get police texts

Messages are being sent to the phones of people on nights out in Lancashire by police trying to prevent alcohol-related sexual assaults. It aims to highlight the dangers of drinking excessive alcohol, to reduce the chance of sex attacks. [BBC, UK]

Research call over teenage drinkers

Campaign group Alcohol Concern has called for more research into the way alcohol can affect teenagers' health. The organisation said it was concerned the recent rise in teenage drinking would result in more people suffering alcohol-related illnesses at younger ages. [Nursing in Practice, UK]

Q&A: Alcohol and teenagers

My sixteen-year-old son is off to Newquay on a holiday with some friends soon. What safe drinking advice can I give him? [Times, UK]

Banning alcohol ads won’t cure alcoholism

Despite a sceptical literature on the relationship between alcohol advertising and drinking initiation and consumption, there remain powerful public health campaigns to restrict or eliminate alcohol ads. [Spiked, UK]

Mandatory code consultation goes on the road

Publicans and off-license owners are being invited to share their views on a new mandatory code of conduct for alcohol retailers which will ban irresponsible promotions like 'all you can drink for £10' and 'dentist’s chairs' – pouring alcohol directly into people’s mouths. [Egov monitor, UK]

AERC Alcohol Academy launch event - summary and slides

The launch of the AERC Alcohol Academy took place last month in London with a one day event of workshops and presentations. The launch event included the following sessions focusing on some of the key strategic issues facing alcohol coordinators and strategic leads. [Alcohol Policy UK]

Moving forward: progress and priorities - working together for high quality sexual health: Government response to the Independent Advisory Group's review of the Sexual Health and HIV Strategy PDF 600kb

The Government published its response to the Independent Advisory Group’s review of the 2001 Sexual Health and HIV Strategy on 21 July 2009. The response outlines the progress made in improving sexual health since 2001 and responds to each of the national level recommendations put forward by the IAG. [DoH, UK]

Abstinence versus harm reduction

Ann Livingston may not always agree with the "cold turkey" crowd, but there is a lot to admire about the abstinence-based Last Door service, she says. But despite their different priorities, Livingston and Last Door manager Louise Cooksey are running in the same direction. [24 Hours Vancouver, Canada]

US offers $50m reward for capture of ten Mexican drug barons

The United States is offering a reward of $5 million (£3 million) for the capture of each of ten Mexican drug barons who have smuggled more than $1 billion-worth of narcotics across the border. [Times, UK]

New tactics to combat Afghanistan’s drug trade

The U.S. will deploy dozens of drug enforcement agents to Afghanistan to target Taliban-affiliated drug labs and trafficking rings. This is a departure from an eight-year, Bush-era counter-narcotics strategy. [New Statesman, UK]

Venezuela ‘fuelling drugs trade’

Corruption in Venezuela's government and military is allowing drug trafficking into the US to flourish, a US congressional report has said. [BBC, UK]

Effects of Voucher-Based Intervention on Abstinence and Retention in an Outpatient Treatment for Cocaine Addiction: A Randomized Controlled Trial

The aims of this study were to assess whether voucher magnitude improved cocaine abstinence and retention in an outpatient treatment for cocaine dependence, and to determine the effectiveness of a contingency management intervention in a European cultural context. [Experimental and clinical psychopharmacology]

Amendment to anti-coca chewing provisions: Bolivia to file request at the UN

In March 2009, Evo Morales sent his formal request to the Secretary General Bang Ki Moon to delete articles 49(c) and 49(e) of the 1961 UN Single Convention that explicitly mention that "coca leaf chewing must be abolished with twenty-five years from the coming into force of this Convention" (which happened in December 1964). The request will be discussed on Thursday, 30 July, at the annual meeting of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). [TNI UNGASS 10-year review blog]

Unforeseen benefits: Addiction treatment reduces health care costs (PDF)

This paper demonstrates how addiction treatment will contribute to containing costs in reforming America’s health system. Studies show that addiction treatment significantly reduces emergency room, inpatient and total health care costs. [Open Society Institute, USA]

Using propensity scores to adjust for selection bias when assessing the effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous in observational studies

The effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is difficult to establish. Observational studies consistently find strong dose–response relationships between AA meeting attendance and abstinence, and the only experimental studies favoring AA have been of 12-step facilitation treatment rather than of AA per se. Pending future randomized trials, this paper uses propensity score (PS) method to address the selection bias that potentially confounds the effect of AA in observational studies. [Drug and alcohol dependence journal]

Pilot alcoholism treatment program targets gay men

What gay man doesn't like a cocktail? Certainly, there are enough gay men who seem to drink too much. But 40 years after Stonewall — the birth of the gay liberation movement took place at a bar, let’s remember — Columbia University researchers have been trying to figure out if gay men can avoid giving up the nightlife just because they have a drinking problem. [New York News, USA]

Pandemic influenza awareness programme

The Pandemic Influenza Awareness Programme was written by Tower Hamlets PCT and its aim is to give NHS staff, both clinical and non clinical an overall general awareness of pandemic influenza from the history of the virus, through to infection control, signs & symptoms, and caring for a patient.  It consists of 3 modules, is interactive and each module ends with an assessment to ensure learning has taken place. [DoH, UK]