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Weekly news - 24th September 2021

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Cocaine, the yuppie drug? Not now, say experts – its lure is crossing all classes

Once a potent symbol of 1980s excess, the class A narcotic has become commonplace. So how do we curb its soaring use? | Guardian, UK

British gangs and international rivals join forces to increase cocaine sales

Analysis by National Crime Agency finds more than 1,700 UK criminal groups involved in drug supply | Guardian, UK

Launch of television campaign on preventing drug-related deaths (PDF)

Today sees the launch of a television and online campaign to promote intervention when someone experiences a drug overdose. The public are being encouraged to learn how to recognise an overdose and intervene to save lives. The campaign also encourages the public to order the freely available medication naloxone which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Opioids, like heroin, were implicated in 90% of Scotland’s 1339 drug related deaths in 2020 | SDF, UK

Health ‘levelling up’ will flop if cuts are not reversed, Javid told

Exclusive: Ministers must restore public health funding after decade of cuts, world expert Michael Marmot to say | Guardian, UK

Drink-driving: Wales has highest ratio of Britain's casualties

Wales has the highest percentage of drink-drive casualties in Britain, according to UK government data | BBC, UK

Sexual Health and Blood Borne Viruses – Learning Needs report published

A new report has been published by Scottish Drugs Forum which assesses the learning needs of the Sexual Health and BBV sector across Scotland | SDF, UK

Evaluation of a national smoke-free prisons policy using medication dispensing: an interrupted time-series analysis

In Scotland, all prisons implemented a comprehensive smoke-free policy in 2018 after a 16-month anticipatory period. In this study, we aimed to use data on medication dispensing to assess the impact of this policy on cessation support, health outcomes, and potential unintended consequences among people in prison custody | Lancet, UK

Warning UK faces 'worst research blackout in history' as Home Office falters on drug law

Tory MP Crispin Blunt has blamed the Home Office for blocking a change to how an illegal hallucinogenic drug is tested as a new antidepressant | Daily Express, UK

Stoptober campaign evaluation

Added 'Stoptober 2020 campaign evaluation'. | PHE, UK

Report of the Emerging Drug Trends and Drug Checking Working Group 2021 (PDF)

An emerging stimulant and poly drug culture among new user groups are currently major issues of concern. Compared with European counterparts, there are limited localised studies on the area of drug use in nightlife settings. As well as this, a gap in service provision has been identified and there are currently no tailored services to meet the needs of young people who use drugs | HSE, Ireland

Smokers encouraged to take part in Stoptober, as they report smoking more during pandemic

Stoptober is back and calling on smokers to join the 2.3 million people who have made quit attempts since the campaign’s launch 10 years ago | PHE, UK

Experts warn of identical pills containing different drugs in the UK

Drug testing charity The Loop is warning UK clubbers of identical-looking pills which contain different chemical substances | BBC, UK

Dame Carol Black Review – A response from the family support sector (PDF)

As a united voice, we welcome Dame Carol Black’s Review which represents a key opportunity to improve drug treatment and recovery services across England. Drug misuse, in addition to harming individuals and communities, can pose considerable harm to children, families and friends. Many of the themes highlighted in the Reviewcan be applied to families, but their specific needs are not focused on | Adfam et al, UK

5000 alcohol-related cancer deaths could be prevented every year by doubling alcohol taxes in the European Region, says WHO/Europe

An estimated 10 700 new cancer cases and 4850 alcohol-related cancer deaths could be avoided annually in the WHO European Region by doubling current excise duties on alcoholic beverages. The United Kingdom, the Russian Federation and Germany – which together account for nearly 40% of all potential lives saved – would be among the main winners of this economic measure | WHO, Denmark

How to Save a Life – campaign toolkit

Scottish Drugs Forum has now launched the How to Save a Life campaign toolkit. The kit features all materials surrounding the campaign in one place. It includes information on the #StopTheDeaths initiative, information on naloxone and how to use it, useful links, posters and social media content | SDF, UK

National overprescribing review report

The findings and recommendations of the national overprescribing review led by Dr Keith Ridge, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England | DHSC, UK

Warnings instead of prosecution for Class A drug users

Officers can already issue a formal warning for possession of lower category drugs. Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain told MSPs this would now include Class A drugs in a bid to address the underlying causes of Scotland's drugs death crisis | BBC, UK

New WHO report sheds light on the dark impact of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products

Novel and emerging tobacco products are the subject of a new WHO report that looks at a range of issues, from the harm caused by toxic ingredients and nicotine exposure to how, with hardly any regulation, new nicotine and tobacco products are aggressively marketed to potential users, including children and adolescents | WHO, Denmark

A new way of working: ending rough sleeping together (PDF)

The Kerslake Commission examined lessons from the emergency response which supported people sleeping rough during the Covid-19 pandemic. Their learnings aim to help all agencies involved in supporting those who are rough sleeping, or homeless and at risk of rough sleeping, to understand what worked during the pandemic and what is now needed to embed the good practice that was shown during the past year | Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping, UK

Characteristics of women who stop smoking in pregnancy

Experimental analysis of data from the Maternity Services Data Set (MSDS), April 2018 to March 2019 | PHE, UK