West Africa ‘should decriminalise’ low-level drug offences

West Africa should consider decriminalising low-level and non-violent drug offences, according to a report from the West Africa Commission on Drugs. The drug trade in the region...

Stop and search reform pledged

Police stop and search powers are to be overhauled, home secretary Theresa May has announced, with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act code of...

Time to change direction on drugs

The pursuit of a ‘militarised and enforcement-led’ global drugs strategy has resulted in ‘enormous negative outcomes and collateral damage’, according to a report from...

Council alcohol funding fears

Local authority areas with a high level of alcohol-related harm are the least likely to expect increased funding to tackle the problem, according to...

Drug policy reform calls gather momentum

Last month saw demonstrations in 100 cities as part of the Support. Don’t Punish campaign for ‘moreeffective and humane’ approaches to drug policy, according to campaign...

News in brief

Lengthy process The Scottish Government’s plans to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol have been referred to the EU’s Court of Justice in the...

Time to change direction on drugs policy, say economists

The pursuit of a ‘militarised and enforcement-led’ global drugs strategy has resulted in ‘enormous negative outcomes and collateral damage’, according to a new report...

OST: more needs to be done to protect children

The safeguarding of children is not being sufficiently prioritised by professionals making decisions about drug treatment medications, says a new report from Adfam. Improved...

NICE calls for more needle exchange support for steroid users

Needle and syringe programmes need to do more to support people who use image and performance-enhancing drugs, according to NICE (the National Institute for...

Local authorities ‘not recognising impact’ of alcohol

The impact of alcohol is not being recognised and prioritised by local authorities, according to a report from Alcohol Concern. The document looks at...

News in brief

City services Drug and/or alcohol prevention work with staff and businesses in the City of London has been of ‘limited scope and unknown efficacy’, according...

Increase in drug related deaths for older Scots

The proportion of drug-related deaths in Scotland among people aged 45 and above increased from 14 per cent in 2011 to 26 per cent...

UN drug statement ‘an embarrassment’, say harm reduction groups

The joint ministerial statement issued at the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna represents a capitulation to hardline states, according to...

Government announces tougher powers to seize cutting agents

Plans to strengthen powers to seize substances used as ‘cutting agents’ for illegal drugs have been announced by the Home Office. Under the plans,...

News in brief

Big spenders Drug users in the US spend an estimated $100bn annually on cocaine, marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine, according to a White House-commissioned report from...

MPs demand ‘urgent action’ on liver disease

The government, NHS and Public Health England (PHE) need to take ‘urgent action’ to address the growing problem of liver disease, according to a...

MPs demand ‘urgent action’ on liver disease

The government, NHS and Public Health England (PHE) need to take ‘urgent action’ to address the growing problem of liver disease, according to a...

Scottish alcohol-related deaths fall nearly 40 per cent in a decade

Alcohol-related death rates in Scotland fell by 37 per cent – from 39.5 to 24.8 per 100,000 population – in the ten years to...

Government accepts ACMD’s ketamine recommendation

Ketamine is to be upgraded to a class B drug, crime prevention minister Norman Baker has confirmed. Baker has written to Advisory Council on...

A third of services report funding decrease

More than a third (35 per cent) of drug and alcohol services reported a decrease in funding last year, according to a report from...

Improved support needed for older people

Improved support is needed for older people with drug and alcohol issues, says a new report from DrugScope. While the focus of policy and...

News in brief

Voicing concerns Public Health England (PHE) has not yet ‘found its voice’, developed a clear set of priorities or demonstrated that it is sufficiently independent...

More support needed for older people with drug and alcohol problems

Improved support is needed for older people with drug and alcohol issues, says a new report from DrugScope. While the focus of policy and...

A third of services report funding decrease

More than a third (35 per cent) of drug and alcohol services reported a decrease in funding last year, according to a new report...

Government accepts ACMD’s ketamine recommendation

Ketamine is to be upgraded to a class B drug, crime prevention minister Norman Baker has confirmed. Baker has written to Advisory Council on...

Government to opt out of EU directive on new drugs

The UK government will opt out of the European Commission’s proposals for a directive and other regulation on new psychoactive substances, it has announced. The...

Government bans below-cost alcohol sales

Legislation banning the sale of below-cost alcohol is to come into force in April, subject to Parliamentary approval, the government has announced. The Home Office...

News in brief

Deadly drinking  Vodka consumption is one of the main reasons why a quarter of Russian men die before the age of 55, according to a...

Shake up at Drinkaware over industry links

Alcohol education charity Drinkaware has announced ‘radical’ changes to its governance arrangements and a number of new appointments, following an independent audit of its...

Injecting young people a ‘blind spot’

Injecting drug use among under-18s remains a global data ‘blind spot’, according to a report from Harm Reduction International (HRI). Young people who inject drugs...

Upgrade ketamine to class B, urges ACMD

Ketamine should be upgraded from a class C to class B drug, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has recommended. The recommendation...

Government launches ‘legal high’ review

The government is to review the laws relating to new psychoactive substances, the Home Office has announced, in a bid to ‘clamp down on...

Fewer young people in treatment

Just over 20,000 under-18s received help for drug and alcohol problems in 2012-13, according to figures from Public Health England (PHE), down more than...

‘Golden triangle’ opium production up 22 per cent

Opium production in the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos rose by 22 per cent in 2013, according to the United Nations Office...

News in brief

Green future Transform has launched a new publication on regulating legal markets for non-medical use of cannabis. How to regulate cannabis: a practical guide looks...

Government launches ‘legal high’ review

The government is to review the laws relating to new psychoactive substances, the Home Office has announced, in a bid to ‘clamp down on...

Upgrade ketamine to class B, urges ACMD

Ketamine should be upgraded from a class C to class B drug, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has recommended. The recommendation...

New injecting patterns fuel HIV risks

More people are injecting new psychoactive drugs, amphetamine-type substances and anabolic steroids, according to a report from Public Health England (PHE). In England and Wales,...

Afghanistan sees record opium crop

Afghanistan’s opium poppy cultivation rose by 36 per cent this year, a record high, according to the UN, while opium produc­tion was up almost...

News in brief

HIV action A new three-year HIV prevention programme has been backed by the leaders of all 33 London boroughs, with more than £3m allocated to...

Target ‘enablers’ of teen drinking, says think tank

People who buy alcohol on behalf of underage drinkers should face penalties including community service, shop bans or ‘social shaming’, according to a report...

Marcus Roberts takes the helm at DrugScope

Marcus Roberts has been named as the new chief executive of DrugScope, taking over from Martin Barnes who steps down at the end of...

Marcus Roberts takes the helm at DrugScope

Marcus Roberts has been named as the new chief executive of DrugScope, taking over from Martin Barnes who steps down at the end of...

New HIV risks as injecting patterns change

More people are injecting new psychoactive drugs, amphetamine-type substances and anabolic steroids, according to a report from Public Health England (PHE). In England and...

Hepatitis C ‘grossly under-prioritised’, warns charity

Just 3 per cent of people infected with hepatitis C are treated each year, despite it being curable, says a new report from the...

Government announces new drug powers as Baker replaces Browne

The government is creating new powers to seize chemicals suspected of being used as cutting agents for illegal drugs, as part of its Serious...

News in brief

Coca review A report commissioned by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform is calling for a review of the illegal status of the...

PHE: alcohol treatment ‘performing well overall’

The treatment system for alcohol dependence among adults in England is ‘performing well overall’, with increasing numbers of people accessing and completing treatment, according...

Disadvantaged young ‘a public health time bomb’

The UK’s high level of young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs) – particularly the long-term unemployed – constitutes a ‘public health...

Government announces new drug powers as Baker replaces Browne

The government is to create new powers to seize chemicals suspected of being used as cutting agents for illegal drugs, as part of its...

PHE ‘does not recognise’ picture painted in think tank report

Public Health England (PHE) has issued a statement that it does not recognise the portrait of a treatment system ‘unambitious for recovery’ in the...

Cannabis legalisation could see use rise but potency fall

It is likely that overall cannabis consumption would rise ‘significantly’ if the drug were legalised and prices dropped as a result, according to a...

Eastern Europe still bucking HIV trend

There has been a 33 per cent reduction in HIV infections in adults and children worldwide since 2001 but ‘little change has occurred in...

News in Brief

Probation promises The government has launched an invitation to tender for organisations ‘looking to turn offenders’ lives around’ as part of its controversial ‘transforming rehabilitation’...

Cannabis legalisation could see use rise but potency fall

It is likely that overall cannabis consumption would rise ‘significantly’ if the drug were legalised and prices dropped as a result, according to a...

New psychoactive drug deaths double

Deaths involving new psychoactive substances in England and Wales have almost doubled in a year, from 29 in 2011 to 52 in 2012, according...

US signals softer stance on drug sentencing for non-violent offenders

The US administration has indicated a softening of its stance on drug sentencing, with proposals to abolish mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders....

Scots record second-highest number of drug deaths

Scotland recorded its second-highest number of drug deaths in 2012, although the number of deaths in under-25s was down by a fifth, according to...

Equal in the eyes of the law?

A new report from Release and LSE says police stop and search policy is exacerbating racial inequality in the criminal justice system. Black people are...

News in brief

Talk it over A guide for parents on how to talk to their children about club drugs has been published by Adfam, the Angelus Foundation...

Black people six times more likely to be stopped and searched...

                     Black people are stopped and searched for drugs at 6.3 times the rate of white people, according to a new report from Release and...

Government consults on proposals for new drug-driving offences

The government has published plans to make it easier to prosecute people who drive under the influence of drugs. A new offence of  ‘driving...

Minimum pricing ‘will not be taken forward’

Minimum unit pricing will ‘not be taken forward at this moment’, the government has announced in a statement on the outcome of its alcohol...

PMA in ecstasy tablets warning

Drugs agencies have reacted with concern to the number of recent deaths thought to involve PMA, which can be present in ecstasy tablets or...

News in brief

Not foiled again The government has accepted the ACMD’s advice to allow for the provision of foil by treatment providers ‘subject to the strict condition...

On the margins – news focus

Little specialised support exists for women who use drugs and are involved in prostitution, says a new report from DrugScope. ‘I’ve been raped, I’ve been beaten...

News in brief

Care consultation The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is carrying out a consultation to get feedback on its plans ‘to help ensure that people receive...

UN highlights ‘alarming’ rise in new drugs

New psychoactive drugs are proliferating at an ‘unprecedented’ rate and pose ‘unforeseen public health challenges’, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and...

Glamourised ‘lifestyle’ promotions must be banned, says Alcohol Concern

Alcohol advertising that promotes ‘lifestyle’ images of drinkers or scenes that glamourise drinking should be banned, according to a report from Alcohol Concern. The...

Alcohol dependency prescriptions up three quarters in a decade

Prescriptions to treat alcohol dependency have risen by 73 per cent in a decade, according to figures from the Health and Social Care Information...

UN highlights ‘alarming’ rise in new drugs

New psychoactive drugs are proliferating at an ‘unprecedented’ rate and pose ‘unforeseen public health challenges’, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and...

News focus

What effect will payment by results have on the probation service? DDN hears reactions to the government’s controversial Transforming rehabilitation plans. ‘Radical reforms to the way...

Euro drug scene in ‘state of flux’

New threats are continuing to challenge Europe’s established models of drug policy and practice, according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug...

Latin American states consider consequences of drug reform

Tackling the drug problem requires a ‘multifaceted’ and flexible approach, as well as a conviction to ‘maintain unity in the midst of diversity’, according...

Minimum pricing fails to make Queen’s Speech

Plans to introduce minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol were absent from last month’s Queen’s Speech, which set out the government’s legislative programme for...

News in brief

Mixed results The overall performance of the drug and alcohol Payment by Results (PbR) pilots has been ‘mixed’ so far, according to a report from...

European drug scene in a ‘state of flux’

New threats are continuing to challenge Europe’s established models of drug policy and practice, according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug...

Minimum pricing fails to make Queen’s Speech

Plans to introduce minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol were absent from the Queen’s Speech, which sets out the government’s legislative programme for the...

News Focus

Keeping it in the Family How can workers be best equipped to identify and address parental alcohol misuse? DDN reports from Alcohol Concern's recent conference.  Up...

Vulnerable young choose high profile brands

Heavily advertised brands and cheap, strong alcohol are the drinks most consumed by vulnerable young people involved with treatment services, according to an Alcohol...

Brighton considers ‘consumption rooms’

The provision of drug consumption rooms is being considered by Brighton and Hove’s Safe in the City partnership and health and wellbeing board.  The proposal...

Three quarters of Scots drugs death victims ‘not on prescription’

The majority of drug-related deaths in Scotland in 2011 were among people not in receipt of a substitute prescription, according to a new report...

Cultivating problem

Twelve Afghan provinces are likely to show an increase in opium cultivation this year, according to UNODC’s Afghanistan opium risk assessment 2013, with cultivation...

Alcohol minimum unit pricing still on the cards

Minimum unit pricing (MUP) is ‘not dead and buried’, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Misuse, Tracey Crouch MP, told Alcohol Concern’s...

News in brief

Policy shift The Obama administration has published its 2013 national drug control strategy, which includes a commitment to reform the country’s criminal justice system through...

Minimum pricing still on the cards

Alcohol minimum unit pricing is ‘not dead and buried’, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Misuse, Tracey Crouch MP, told Alcohol Concern’s...

Brighton to consider ‘consumption rooms’

The provision of drug consumption rooms will be considered in a meeting of Brighton and Hove’s Safe in the City partnership board at the...

Media Savvy… Who’s been saying what?

In a rare outbreak of common sense, ministers are axing plans for a minimum alcohol price. The hardest-up and responsible drinkers would have been...

News Focus

Do emerging drug use trends in parts of London’s gay scene risk creating a new health crisis? - DDN reports on the National Aids Trust’s...

Please Mr President

Mad Men star Jon Hamm is one of more than 175 American entertainment figures, civil rights leaders, business leaders, academics and others who have...

Heroin deaths continue to fall

The number of deaths related to heroin and morphine fell from 41 per cent of total drug-related deaths in 2010 to 32 per cent...

Local authorities unready for hep C responsibility

Local authorities are ‘not ready to take responsibility’ for hepatitis C, according to an audit of English commission­ers and local councils by the Hepatitis...

Huge increase in alcohol-related liver disease in under 30s

 The number of hospital admissions for alcohol-related liver disease in people under 30 has risen dramatically in the last decade, according to figures from...

News in brief

Council call London’s drug and sexual health services are failing to respond appropriately to gay men’s drug use, according to NAT (National Aids Trust). The...

Local authorities unprepared for hep C responsibility

Local authorities are ‘not ready to take responsibility’ for hepatitis C, according to an audit of English commissioners and local councils by The Hepatitis...

News Focus

The Francis report: What about drug and alcohol services? The Francis report into the Mid Staffs NHS Trust dominated the headlines and reignited the debate...

News in brief

Gambling on health. There is a ‘great deal in common’ between alcohol and gambling problems, as well as the way they can be treated and...

Heroin deaths continue to fall

The number of deaths related to heroin and morphine fell from 41 per cent of total drug-related deaths in 2010 to 32 per cent...

Internet drives ‘new era’ for European drug market

Supply and demand of illicit drugs in Europe is entering an ‘important new era’, according to a report from the European Monitoring Centre for...

Fewer heroin and crack users, says NTA

The number of heroin and crack cocaine users in England has fallen below 300,000 for the first time, according to figures issued by the...

Health groups demand ‘radical steps’ on alcohol

A minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol should be introduced for ‘all alcohol sales’ along with prohibition of ‘all alcohol advertising and...

Health groups call for ‘radical steps’ on alcohol

A minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol should be introduced for ‘all alcohol sales’ along with prohibition of ‘all alcohol advertising and...

‘New era’ for European drug market

Supply and demand of illicit drugs in Europe is entering an ‘important new era’, according to a report from the European Monitoring Centre for...

News focus

Prescription for change? With addiction to prescription and over-the-counter drugs at epidemic proportions in the US, GPs here are being warned to take care when...

News in brief

Sound investment Every pound spent on family support services in the drug and alcohol sector saves the public purse £4.70 in NHS and criminal justice...

Doctors warn on prescription addiction

A consensus statement has been issued by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) cautioning against the long-term...

Alcohol services ‘improving’

The situation regarding alcohol treatment in England is improving, claims a new report from the NTA. While alcohol has long been seen as a...

Doctors warn on prescription drug addiction

A consensus statement has been issued by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) cautioning against the long-term...

Alcohol treatment figures encouraging, says NTA

The situation regarding alcohol treatment in England is improving, claims a new report from the NTA. While alcohol has long been seen as a...

News in brief

Methamphetamine use grips Asia Pacific Amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) – a category that includes amphetamine, methamphetamine, methcathinone and ‘ecstasy group substances’ – were the primary drug...

Call for new drugs policy organisation

A new drug policy body with responsibility for collecting and sharing evidence should be established in order to ‘improve drug policy knowledge and evaluation’,...

HPA confirms sixth anthrax case

A sixth UK case in the ongoing anthrax outbreak has been confirmed by the Health Protection Agency (HPA). ‘A person who injected heroin has...

Committee calls for royal commission on drug policy

The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has called for a royal commission on UK drug policy to be set up in its Drugs:...

Establish royal commission on drug policy, says select committee

The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has called for a royal commission on UK drug policy to be set up in its Drugs:...

Europe: ‘new era’ of declining heroin use and complex stimulant market

Europe could be moving into a ‘new era’ in which heroin will play a ‘less central role’ in the continent’s drug problem, according the...

Ex-drug users in battle for business title

This week will see the grand final of business awards for budding entrepreneurs from marginalised backgrounds, with four businesses competing in a live showdown...

Scots consider methadone evidence

The Scottish Government has commissioned an independent expert group to ‘objectively consider the evidence’ supporting the role of opiate replacement therapy in treating problematic...

Budget cuts could reverse falling drug use rates among young people

Ongoing budget cuts and restructuring in the public sector are putting young people’s services at risk and could threaten progress in reducing levels of...

Time for a ‘fresh approach’ to policy, says UKDPC

There should be a wholesale review of both the Misuse of Drugs Act and the drugs classification system, according to a report from the...

Young adults seeking heroin or crack treatment at ‘all-time low’

The number of young adults entering treatment for heroin or crack is at its lowest recorded level, according to figures released by the NTA. There...

Fifth anthrax case for UK

An injecting drug user in Oxford has been diagnosed with an anthrax infection, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA). The patient is said...

Scots hit treatment targets early

Ninety per cent of people in Scotland who start treatment for a drug or alcohol problem are waiting three weeks or less, according to...

North West tops alcohol-related liver deaths table

Rates of premature death from liver disease are higher in the North West than anywhere else in England and are also increasing at a...

Blackpool sees second fatal anthrax case

A person who injected heroin has died in hospital in Blackpool from anthrax infection, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has confirmed. The death comes...

A grand new website!

Welcome to our new website! We're very excited that we can now share DDN with you in a more dynamic, interactive format. When we set...

Homelessness report slammed

Homelessness charities have criticised the government’s new report into preventing homelessness, in the light of ongoing welfare reforms.  While Making every contact count sets out...

Fatal anthrax case in England confirmed

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has confirmed that an injecting drug user with an anthrax infection has died in hospital in Blackpool. The case...

Scots record highest ever drug deaths

More drug-related deaths were registered in Scotland in 2011 than in any previous year, according to figures released by National Records for Scotland. There...

Heavy cannabis use can cause lasting cognitive problems in young

Persistent cannabis use is associated with ‘neuropsychological decline’ among those whose use began in adolescence, says a new study.  The findings are ‘suggestive of a...

Expert group calls for focus on abstinence

Substitute prescribing ‘not an end in itself’, says group chaired by Prof John Strang. Service users should not be ‘parked indefinitely’ on substitute medication and...

300m drug users world-wide by ‘end of century’

Opium production in Afghanistan has ‘rebounded’ to its previously high levels, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) 2012 world...

Unions criticise services handover to third sector

Public service union Unison and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have criticised plans for Manchester’s drug services to be handed over from the...

News in brief

A round up of news from the field. Heavy toll Two million patients a year are presenting to hospital emergency departments with alcohol-related illness or injury,...

Scots pass ‘landmark’ alcohol minimum pricing bill

The Alcohol Minimum Pricing Bill has been passed by the Scottish Parliament, 18 months after the previous Alcohol etc (Scotland) Bill had its provisions...

Turning Point responds to ‘race to the bottom’ claims

Third sector treatment provider Turning Point has issued a statement in response to the Unite trade union’s claims that the charity is planning to...