Weekly news - 18th October 2013

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Game on: drug and alcohol services and the new local players - Updated Conference brochure

As the new arrangements for localised drug and alcohol treatment funding bed down, this conference brings together an array of top level speakers and workshops leaders to discuss all the current hot topics of importance to our sector. Find out more here | DrugScope, UK

National Crime Agency warns of heroin purity increasing, and possible link to overdoses [no link]

The National Crime Agency have released an intelligence assessment showing that heroin with a particularly high purity level is circulating in the UK, and that this may be linked to increasing numbers of fatal and near-fatal overdoses. The UK-wide average purity from police seizures of quantities of heroin above 25g was 39% in June 2013, up from 13% in July 2012. There are also regional variations, with some areas such as the West Midlands seeing particularly high purity levels. Drug treatment clients should be advised about these concerns, and asked to relay the message to others not in touch with treatment services | NCA, UK

TWP venue starts testing seized drugs to alert clubbers

A nightclub in Greater Manchester is beginning a project to examine the quality of seized drugs | BBC, UK

How can councils tackle alcohol issues locally? – talkpoint

From 'drunk tanks' to stricter licencing, we discuss the best ways to cope with the problems associated with excessive drinking | Guardian, UK

Update on commissioning & policy in England - John Jolly - video

John Jolly, Chief Executive of Blenheim CDP gives a bleak assessment of the implications of the new localism agenda for drug & alcohol treatment in England, "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few". Filmed at the NNEF meeting in Bournemouth | NNEF, UK

Legal challenges to protect and improve services - Niamh Eastwood - video

Niamh Eastwood - Chief Executive of Release, talking about increasing problems as a result of the changing landscape around drugs and drug treatment & the help & support that Release can offer | NNEF, UK

Eyes on Ages (PDF)

A research report on alcohol age limit policies in European Member States and the associated legislation, enforcement and research | European Commission, Belgium

Experts deliver warning on emerging psychoactive substances (EPS) and hallucinogens

More than 40 per cent of all regular psychostimulant users have used an emerging psychoactive substance (EPS) in the previous six months according to research to be released by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at a conference in Melbourne today (October 15) | NDRAC, Australia

Fulfilling lives: A guide to the new policy environment for multiple needs (PDF)

This briefing has been prepared by DrugScope on behalf of the Making Every Adult Matter Coalition. It provides an overview of policy themes and initiatives relevant to the multiple needs agenda, including substance misuse, criminal justice, homelessness, mental health and broader issues of public service reform | MEAM, UK

The Trust's Hepatitis C 'State of the Nation' Policy Report

A new report, published today by The Hepatitis C Trust, has found that hepatitis C is grossly under-prioritised in England. Despite it being curable, only 3% of people receive treatment each year | Hep C Trust, UK

Directors of public health: role in local authorities

The roles and responsibilities guidance describes both the statutory and non-statutory elements of the role of director of public health, and sets out the arrangements that allow local authorities to have confidence in their appointments. It will also allow them to build on their own good practice while meeting national requirements | DoH, PHE, UK

Research Studentships: Deadline Approaching

Deadline: 4th November: Universities are invited to apply for one of three jointly-funded research studentships.  These studentships will be awarded for studies commencing in the academic year 2014/15 and offer £7,000 per year match funding for three years to enable a student to undertake research in the alcohol field leading to a PhD | Alcohol Research UK, UK

Smoking trends in Great Britain since 2000

A timeline and chart that shows the smoking trends in Great Britain between 2000 and 2012. The time lines includes key dates that impacted on the sale and restriction on tobacco | ONS, UK

Ketamine-like drug lifts depression without the trip

A drug similar to ketamine has been shown to work as an antidepressant, without the psychosis-like side effects associated with the party drug | New Scientist, UK

Alcohol treatment system continues to perform well but there is more to be done

Press release: The system for treating alcohol dependence among adults in England is performing well overall for those accessing services, according to the latest annual statistics released by Public Health England | PHE, UK

Alcohol treatment in England 2012-13 (PDF)

The key statistics for 2012-13: 109,683 people received alcohol treatment in 2012-13, up from 108,906 the year before. 75,773 people started treatment during the year, up from 74,353 in 2011-12. 18,563 people dropped out of treatment, similar to the number in the previous year. 40,908 people successfully completed their treatment, up from 38,174 in 2011-12 | PHE, UK

Second instalment of ‘Matrix Bites’ foundation course

Second weekly cell-by-cell ‘bite-size’ introduction to the Alcohol and Drug Treatment Matrices, cumulating to a year-long foundation course. This one deals with the influence of the practitioner in alcohol screening and brief intervention | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Norman Baker: UK prepared to defy EU over legal high laws

The UK could be prepared to defy European Union attempts to govern laws on potentially deadly legal highs, a Home Office minister has said | Telegraph, UK

Drugs decriminalisation and law change call from peer - video

Britain's drugs laws were introduced in 1971, but a peer said there were more people using a wider range of drugs, and she called for a reform of the rules "to keep our young people much safer" BBC, UK

Crime is falling

Latest statistics for the 12 months to June 2013 from the Office for National Statistics show that crime continues to fall | Home Office, UK

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill: Criminal Justice

These documents form the Criminal Justice part of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill | Home Office, UK

Talking to your child about legal highs and club drugs: a parent's handbook (PDF)

This booklet provides background on the nature, history and legality of legal highs and club drugs and considers some of the myths that surround them. It also provides some tips on how parents might start health conversations with their children on this topic, and where to go if they need further help | Adfam, Angelus Foundation, UK