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Weekly news - 4th June 2021

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In date order, Monday to Friday:

New treatment standards for drug users

New standards for treatment for drug users will ensure everyone has access to the support which works best for them. The 10 new standards, published today by the Drug Deaths Taskforce, will reinforce a rights-based approach for people who use drugs and the treatment they should expect, regardless of where they live | Scottish Government, UK

Funds open for drugs services

Four separate funds - worth a total of £18 million - to support improvements to drugs services are open for applications | Scottish Government, UK

Impact of minimum unit pricing on alcohol purchases in Scotland and Wales: controlled interrupted time series analyses

As a policy option to reduce consumption of alcohol and the harm it does, on May 1, 2018, Scotland introduced a minimum price of 50 British pence (p) per unit of alcohol (8 g) sold; Wales followed suit on March 2, 2020, with the same minimum unit price (MUP). We analysed household purchase data based on bar codes to assess the impact of these policy options in the medium term for Scotland and in the immediate term for Wales | Lancet, UK

Minimum unit alcohol price has 'lasting impact'

The introduction of minimum pricing of alcohol has had a lasting impact in Scotland and is starting to have an effect in Wales, a study has found | BBC, UK

The future of UK music festivals

This inquiry considered Government policy to support music festivals due to take place this year and the economic and cultural contribution that music festivals make to the UK. It includes a look at drug-related harm at festivals and the role of drug checking | UK Parliament, UK

Festivals face spike in drug deaths from lower tolerance of illegal substances due to Covid, MPs warn

Festivals face spike in drug deaths from lower tolerance of illegal substances due to Covid, MPs warn | i news, UK

On World No Tobacco Day ASH calls on Government to do more to protect young people and consult on raising the age of sale to 21

On World No Tobacco Day [31st May] Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is calling on Government to heed findings from a major study in The Lancet that three quarters of the world’s smokers have their first cigarette by 21 and the average age of regular smoking is 19 | ASH, UK

A systematic review and meta-analysis of the prevalence of take-home naloxone (THN) ownership and carriage

[Open access] Drug-related deaths globally are increasing year on year, with the largest proportion of these being opioid-related. The opioid antagonist naloxone distributed for take-home use (‘Take-Home Naloxone (THN)’) has been championed as one method of tackling this public health crisis, however to be effective it must be available at an opioid overdose. Ownership and carriage are therefore fundamental to THN success. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of ownership and carriage of THN internationally among people who use drugs | IJDP, UK

Alcohol consumption in the general population is associated with structural changes in multiple organ systems

Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with damage to various organs, but its multi-organ effects have not been characterised across the usual range of alcohol drinking in a large general population sample. We assessed global effect sizes of alcohol consumption on quantitative magnetic resonance imaging phenotypic measures of the brain, heart, aorta and liver of UK-Biobank participants who reported drinking alcohol | E life sciences, UK

COVID-19: Nearly half of UK adults going through pandemic job loss are drinking more alcohol - survey

The figures could increase further when the furlough scheme is wound down later this year | ITV, UK

English councils start banning smoking outside pubs and restaurants

Five local authorities take matters into own hands amid Covid outdoor eating culture | Guardian, UK

Opioid Agonist Therapy reduces mortality risk among people with opioid dependence

A new global review has found that receiving Opioid Agonist Therapy (OAT) is associated with lower risk of multiple causes of death among people with opioid dependence | University of Bristol, UK

Drugs minister pledges to finally address the menace of street drugs - the main driver of Scotland's drug deaths

Drugs policy minister Angela Constance to urgently seek a new prescribing approach to tackle street Valium | Daily Record, UK

University study highlights alarming rise in usage and costs of antidepressants

Researchers at the University of Huddersfield have warned there is an urgent need for the country's mental health interventions to create strategies optimizing the use of antidepressants after conducting a study which has highlighted an alarming rise in relation to usage and costs | Medical Xpress, UK

All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group Inquiry: The Future of Cask Beer

The press release highlights the devastating impact of the Covid  pandemic on  pubs and the wider hospitality sector – and correspondingly on the sales of cask and draught beer | APPBG, UK