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Weekly news - 20th August 2021

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In date order, Monday to Friday

Drug and alcohol deaths hit record high after government cuts funding for treatment services

Some council areas have seen cuts to services of more than 40 per cent | Independent, UK

MSPs urge SNP Government to back Right to Recovery bill to curb Ayrshire drug deaths

The Scottish Conservatives' Right to Recovery bill hopes to enshrine in law that everyone who needs treatment can get it | Daily Record, UK

Teesside faces 'scourge' of drug deaths increase

Deaths in Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Stockton-on-Tees, and Redcar and Cleveland increased last year to 123, from 88 in 2019 | BBC, UK

‘I’m dying, I need help’: Inside the battle to turn around England’s drugs death capital

Blackpool has topped the country’s drug fatality rates for more than a decade. Now a dozen recovering addicts are part of a pilot programme to tackle a crisis that’s out of control... | Independent, UK

Priti Patel wants to ‘make an example’ out of middle-class cocaine users

‘There will be high-profile arrests,’ says Home Office official | Independent, UK

How universities could educate students about safe drug use: Calling for reform

Campaigners are calling on universities to move away from punitive policies and instead turn to harm reduction when it comes to drugs. But what would an alternative approach look like? | HuckMag, UK

Drug users urged to be extra careful following a high number of likely heroin overdoses

Public Health England (PHE) has issued a warning of a sharp rise in the number of overdoses linked to people using drugs in several areas across England | PHE, UK

Alcohol-specific deaths

This statistical report details information on the number of deaths that were registered in Scotland in 2020 which are classified as alcohol-specific. It also includes breakdowns by sex, age, cause of death and deprivation | National Records of Scotland, UK

Alcohol deaths at highest level for a decade

Deaths caused by alcohol rose by 17% last year to the highest level for more than a decade, new official figures show | BBC, UK

Just ten local authorities have increased treatment spending in last five years

Only ten local authorities have been able to increase their spending on drug and alcohol treatment services in real terms since 2016, according to analysis by the Labour Party for the House of Commons Library | DDN, UK

DRUG ALERTS - August 2021 (UK)

The following information is for people who use heroin or are in contact with people who use heroin | Release blog, UK

National Patient Safety Alert - Public Health England

In the past 10-14 days there have been an unprecedented number of overdoses (with some deaths) in people who use drugs, primarily heroin, in some parts of the country (5 London boroughs, Hampshire, Essex, West Sussex, Dorset, Thames Valley). This alert contains urgent actions for providers where staff may encounter people who use drugs and those providers that provide emergency care for opioid overdose | MHRA, UK

A joint thematic inspection of community-based drug treatment and recovery work with people on probation

The findings in this inspection were consistent with the overall picture, with probation services often overstretched. Practitioners did not always have the time to examine individuals’ back stories and identify factors that could help support them into recovery, stay safe and move away from drug-related offending. Probation court teams made too few recommendations for treatment. [Press Release here] | HM Inspectorate of Probation, UK

Support for drug users on probation in England and Wales ‘not good enough’

Fewer than 3,000 people referred for specialist drug misuse treatment in 2019/2020, report says | Guardian, UK

Merthyr Tydfil: Valium leaves one dead and another in hospital

South Wales Police has warned that the batch of the drug - also known as diazepam - could be circulating in in Merthyr Tydfil | BBC, UK

NIN on drug health harms briefing – May 2021

This [just published] briefing summarises the topics covered at the May 2021 meeting of the national intelligence network (NIN) on the health harms associated with drug use, with updated information where appropriate | PHE, UK

MS patients ‘denied’ approved cannabis treatment – charity

Thousands of people are being “denied” a cannabis-based treatment which can help improve symptoms of spasms, a charity has said | Evening Standard, UK

Teens who use cannabis frequently more likely to have premature baby, study suggests

Teenagers who use cannabis frequently may be more likely to have children born preterm, when they become parents up to twenty years later, finds a new University of Bristol-led study. The research, published in Scientific Reports, repeatedly assessed 665 participants in a general population cohort on their tobacco and cannabis use between ages 14 to 29 years, before pregnancy | University of Bristol, UK