National news from the substance misuse field


‘Decisive’ coordinated action is needed to ensure a future for alcohol brief interventions, according to a report from the Alcohol Academy and Alcohol Research UK. Alcohol identification and brief advice (IBA) has proved difficult to implement effectively, says the document, with ongoing issues around primary care as the key setting and ‘understanding what brief intervention actually involves’. Alcohol brief intervention: where next for IBA? at



The number of drug seizures in England and Wales fell by 14 per cent in 2014-15 to just over 167,000, according to figures from the Home Office. More than 124,000 of these were seizures of cannabis – down by 17 per cent on the previous year. Overall class A seizures were also down by 10 per cent, despite seizures of heroin increasing by more than 70 per cent. Seizures of drugs in England and Wales, 2014/15 at



The first guide to substance use and sight loss has been published by the Thomas Pocklington Trust, and includes key resources for professionals and best practice examples. ‘Our research found that both sight loss and substance abuse services are not adequately equipped to deal with these overlapping issues,’ said lead author Sarah Galvani. ‘Substance abuse can sometimes be used as a coping mechanism for sight loss, but the combination of both issues can create a complex challenge for support professionals.’ Substance use and sight loss at



More children than previously thought are dying or being hospitalised after ingesting opioid substitution therapy (OST) medications, according to a new report from Adfam. The charity says lessons from previous tragic cases have still not been learned and wants to see all incidents of children ingesting OST medication ‘fully investigated and recorded’, with the information properly analysed and shared with local services. Adfam is calling for proper training for parents as well as for all professionals who come into contact with parents and carers prescribed OST drugs.

Medications in drug treatment: tackling the risks to children – one year on at

See feature, page 12



Joanna ManningA new resource booklet has been produced by The Children’s Society to help young people affected by a parent or carer’s alcohol or drug treatment.

Help me understand aims to encourage ten to 14-year-olds to talk to support workers and has been designed to communicate simply and directly, including messages from others in the same situation.

‘While having a parent or carer in treatment can be a positive thing, it can also be very confusing and distressing,’ said Joanna Manning, national lead on substance misuse at The Children’s Society. ‘[This] will be a valuable tool for workers to use in helping children and young people to stay safe and to understand the importance of accepting and sharing their feelings.’

The booklet was launched at Adfam/DDN’s safeguarding conference Everybody’s business, held in Birmingham.

Available to download at