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DrugWise Weekly - 24th January 2020



In date order, Monday to Friday:

The prison system: Priorities for investment (PDF)

An insight into the prison system with recommendations for change. Includes a discussion on the use of drugs in prison and notes that in the 12 months to March 2019, 17 per cent of drug tests on prisoners were positive | Reform, UK

Proportion of UK prisoners with drug problem doubles in five years – study

Prisons not equipped to stop drug supply and security standards vary, thinktank [Reform] says | Guardian, UK

UK police boss demands crown prosecution protects cannabis patients

A UK police and crime commissioner in Wales is calling for assurances that people using cannabis for medicinal purposes will not be prosecuted | Health Europa, UK

‘Ready to Drink’ Alcoholic Beverages

Popular ‘ready to drink’ pre-mixed spirits sold in major UK retailers are unnecessarily high in hidden sugar and calories and should be forced to reformulate immediately to the agreed criterion set by government in the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) or pay the fine– according to a NEW product survey by Action on Sugar at Queen Mary University of London to mark Sugar Awareness Week (20th-26th January 2020) | Action on Sugar, UK

Almost three quarters of drinkers unaware of links between alcohol and cancer, poll claims

Nearly 80 per cent say they will continue to drink after learning of risk | Independent, UK

Mental health: needs of gang-affiliated young people

A briefing on the burden of mental illness faced by young people involved with gangs, part of the 'Ending Gang and Youth Violence' programme | PHE, UK

Additions to the Effectiveness Bank 20 January 2020

Rubbing shoulders in this bulletin, interventions with different methods and aims derived from differences in what we value most and how we see drug use: always bad, or only bad if it causes harm. Within the harm-reduction tradition, turning heroin into a medication to reduce illegal use of the same drug and needle exchange to prevent disease spread, but also brain stimulation methods targeting craving and dependence plus spiritual and religious interventions helping people take what for many are ‘12 steps’ toward recovery | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Alcohol, tobacco & other drugs in Australia

The consumption of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs is a major cause of preventable disease and illness in Australia. This report consolidates the most recently available information on alcohol, tobacco and other drug use in Australia, and includes key trends in the availability, consumption, harms and treatment for vulnerable populations. Further, information on a range of health, social and economic impacts of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use are highlighted | AIHW, Australia

On-line course explores the effectiveness of alcohol screening and brief interventions

First instalment of a fortnightly course on the evidence for alcohol treatment and related topics. This instalment selects, explains and explores seminal and key research on the effectiveness of screening and brief interventions, intended to reduce harm across a population of heavy but not dependent drinkers. “Invaluable,” “a godsend,” “useful and brilliantly written,” “phenomenal ... tremendous ... fantastic,” say subscribers | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

How government policy in 2020 can nurture recovery, reduce inequalities and save lives

The recent Conservative manifesto was light on detail around drug and alcohol treatment, however a subsequent addition was published laying out plans to tackle addiction. This includes two crucial pledges: to introduce a combined addictions strategy and a ‘dedicated monitoring unit at the heart of government’ | Collective Voice, UK

'No evidence' of minimum alcohol pricing impact on young drinkers

NHS experts have found no evidence that minimum pricing for alcohol is having an impact on underage drinking. A study of 50 drinkers aged between 13 and 17 found there was no change in their consumption habits after the policy came into force | BBC, UK

First study published into under 18 drinkers post MUP

Interviews with young people under 18 years old who reported drinking alcohol found that Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) did not impact on the their acquisition, consumption or related behaviours, either positively or negatively. Many of the products favoured by the young people were, on average, already being sold above 50 pence per unit before MUP was introduced | NHS Health Scotland, UK

Trends for 2020: Nearly 60% of people trying lower alcohol substitutes

The latest survey from the alcohol social responsibility body the Portman Group shows that over half of alcohol drinkers (59%) have at least tried a low alcohol product (products with an ABV of above 0.05%, up to 1.2%) | Portman group, UK

Tobacco harm reduction and the right to health (PDF)

People smoke for the nicotine. They die from the tar. Many people want to quit, but repeatedly fail. What if 1.1 billion smokers had access to safer alternatives? And what happens if that access is denied? Tobacco harm reduction and the right to health offers an introduction to what we mean when we talk about harm reduction and tobacco harm reduction. Denying smokers access to safer nicotine products is denying them their right to health - and millions of lives are at stake | GSTHR, UK