Weekly news - 24th July 2009


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Drug Misuse Declared: Findings from the 2008/09 British Crime Survey

This annual statistical bulletin examines the prevalence and trends of illicit drug use among a nationally representative sample of 16 to 59 year olds (with a particular focus on young people aged 16 to 24) resident in households in England and Wales. [Home Office UK]

Smoking, Drinking and Drug use among young people in England in 2008

This survey is the latest in a series designed to monitor smoking, drinking and drug use among secondary school pupils aged 11 to 15. Information was obtained from 7,798 pupils in 264 schools throughout England in the autumn term of 2008. [NHS Information Centre, UK]

Recovery and drug dependency: a new deal for families [PDF]

Drawing on a seminar held by Adfam and DrugScope on the positive role families can play in supporting recovery from drug dependency, this paper considers recovery and the family as mutually reinforcing and suggests ways of moving forward to improve outcomes for problematic drug users, their families and wider society. [DrugScope, UK]

UKDPC Consultation paper on sentencing for drug offences

The UK Drug Policy Commission has published its response to the Sentencing Advisory Panel’s consultation on sentencing for drug offences. [UKDPC, UK]

Transform submission to the Sentencing Advisory Panel consultation on sentencing for drug offences

Transform welcomes this consultation and its commitment to reviewing the evidence regarding the enforcement of prohibition. However, we are concerned that the narrow parameters of the sentencing guidelines consultation do not allow it to go far enough. [TDPF, UK]

NTA Parliamentary Briefing July 2009

The latest parliamentary briefing from the NTA on developments in drug treatment and the work of the NTA. [NTA, UK]

Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 - new guidance on cannabis possession

This circular provides new guidance for police on the use of penalty notices for disorder (PNDs) for cannabis possession offences. [Ministry of Justice, 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]

Maintenance treatment with buprenorphine and naltrexone for heroin dependence in Malaysia: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

This unique randomised trial tested what would happen if detoxified opiate addicts were then maintained on a substitute drug, on an opiate-blocking medication, or simply counselled. The results led to the introduction of methadone prescribing programmes in Malaysia. [Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK]

Distributing foil from needle and syringe programmes (NSPs) to promote transitions from heroin injecting to chasing: an evaluation

British needle exchanges which piloted distribution of foil packs for smoking heroin found they were widely used and may have increased attendance and reduced the number of injections, lending weight to current attempts to legalise such provision. [Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK]

Methadone users 'more likely to carry on injecting'

Drug users prescribed methadone are less likely to die but are at substantially greater risk of carrying on injecting opiates, according to researchers at the University of Bristol. [Pulse Magazine, UK]

Briefing on Independent Safeguarding Authority

The Independent Safeguarding Authority was set up in January 2009 to strengthen the protection of children and vulnerable adults following the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. Strengthened safeguards for children and vulnerable adults is a welcome development, however these changes could have a potential negative impact on the employment options of people with substance misuse problems or histories. It has particular significance for drug or alcohol services that employ ex-service users. [LDAN, UK]

Presentation lides now available on DIP website

The Home Office’s DIP website has uploaded a range of PDFs outlining projects working with drug users. Projects featured include engagement with Asian, African and Nepalese communities, services for parents with substance misuse problems and work in the North East which uses sports coaching to help improve drug treatment outcomes. [Home Office, UK]

Recognising complexity: commissioning guidance for personality disorder services

Guidance for commissioners in the NHS, criminal justice system, local authorities and others, which provides information and suggestions on best practice when considering services and systems for people with personality disorders. Many individuals with Personality Disorder also misuse drugs or alcohol as a way of managing overwhelming emotions. Annex 6 provides best practice information on how mental health and substance misuse services can collaborate to address need. [DoH, UK]

RCN campaigning shapes sharps agreement

An European-wide agreement between employers and trade unions to provide health care staff with better protection from needlestick injuries has today been signed in Brussels. Read the RCN publication Needlestick injuries. The point of prevention (PDF 1.44MB). [Royal College of Nursing, UK]

Response from Concateno plc to ‘Road Safety Compliance Consultation’

This response focuses on section five of the consultation on drug driving and road safety. Concateno plc is Europe’s leading provider of drug and alcohol testing, and a long-standing supplier of drug testing solutions to the UK government and the public sector. [Concateno, UK]

Drug and alcohol use among rural Irish adolescents: a brief exploratory study

Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with a random sample of 220 students from schools and youth training centres within a rural area of the south eastern region of Ireland. The results show that against the backdrop of rising drug use prevalence, the attitudes towards drug use of both adolescent users and abstainers have become more liberal and 'normalised'. [National Documentation Centre on Drug Use, Ireland]

Children’s Minister: Government consultation on young people and alcohol receives wide-ranging support

Children’s Minister, Dawn Primarolo, today published the responses to a consultation on children, young people and alcohol. The responses show that there is a broad base of support for guidelines from the Chief Medical Office on safe levels of drinking. There is also a clear need for government advice and information for parents. [DCSF, UK]

Royal College of Nursing: improve alcohol regulation

The Royal College of Nursing says that excessive drinking is a cultural and regulatory problem and more effective regulation in the sale of alcohol is needed. [RCN, 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 sessions focusing on some of the key strategic issues facing alcohol coordinators and strategic leads. [Alcohol Policy UK]

Summer edition of Alcohol Alert, quarterly magazine of Institute of Alcohol Studies, available

The cover story is about the recent Health Select Committee on alcohol. [IAS, UK]

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]

Americans of all incomes say they could not afford drug or alcohol treatment if they needed it [PDF]

Nearly half of U.S. adults say that they would not be able to afford alcohol or drug treatment if they or someone in their family needed it, according to a telephone survey conducted this past June [CESAR, USA]

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]

How might schools influence young people's drug use? Development of theory from qualitative case-study research

Various pathways may plausibly underlie school effects on drug use. These support the idea of “whole-school” interventions to reduce drug use through: recognizing students’ varied achievements and promoting a sense of belonging, reducing bullying and aggression, and providing additional social support for students. [Journal of Adolescent Health, US]

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]