DDN_April_2024 DDN April 2024 | Page 5

Local News
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Government bans 14 nitazenes

Fifteen more synthetic opioids , including 14 nitazenes , have been controlled as class A substances , the Home Office has announced . While the government ’ s priority is to ‘ engage with vulnerable people at risk of being sold these lethal drugs and divert them towards treatment ’, anyone caught in possession could face ‘ up to seven years imprisonment , an unlimited fine , or both ’, it states .

The 15 new synthetic opioids to be made class A drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act are metonitazene , protonitazene , isotonitazene , butonitazene ,

Drug executions up more than 40 per cent

THERE WERE AT LEAST 467 DRUG-RELATED EXECUTIONS in 2023 , according to the latest report from HRI . The figure is 44 per cent higher than the previous year and does not account for the ‘ dozens , if not hundreds ’ of executions believed to have taken place in China , Vietnam , and North Korea , HRI points out . Ninety-eight per cent of known drug-related executions took place in Iran .
Drug offences accounted for more than 40 per cent all confirmed global executions last year , the highest proportion since 2016 , with drug-related executions also confirmed in Kuwait , Saudi Arabia and Singapore . Almost 60 of those executed for drugs belonged to ethnic minority groups – in Iran and Singapore – while 13 were foreign nationals , and six were women . At the end of 2023 , 34 countries still retained the death penalty for drug offences , the report states .
There was also a 20 per cent rise in the number of confirmed death sentences for drug offences , almost half of which were passed by courts in Vietnam and a quarter in Indonesia . At least 3,000 people are estimated to currently be on death row for drugs , across almost 20 countries .
The death penalty for drug offences : global overview 2023 at https :// hri . global / flagship-research / death-penalty / the-death-penalty-for-drug-offencesglobal-overview-2023 / flunitazene , metodesnitazene ( metazene ), etodesnitazene ( etazene ), N-pyrrolidinoetonitazene ( etonitazepyne ), N-piperidinyl-etonitazene ( etonitazepipne ), N-pyrrolidino protonitazene , ethyleneoxynitazene , N-desethyl protonitazene , N-desethylisotonitazene , N-desethyletonitazene and brorphine . Three stimulants – diphenidine , ephenidine and methoxyphenidine – have also been controlled as class B drugs along with a synthetic cannabinoid , with a short-acting benzodiazepine made a class C drug .
The government is also enhancing its surveillance and early warning system , it has announced – including analysing wastewater or recording overdose spikes in specific locations – with the information passed on to public health and criminal justice agencies to enable rapid action . ‘ Synthetic opioids are significantly more toxic than heroin and have led to thousands of deaths overseas ,’ said crime and policing minister Chris Philp . ‘ We are determined to ensure these destructive and lethal drugs do not take hold in our communities in the UK . We are enhancing our early warning system to ensure the right agencies can respond rapidly if these drugs are detected in communities .’ See nitazenes feature page 10

Scotland : Increase in suspected drug deaths

THERE WERE 1,197 SUSPECTED DRUG DEATHS in Scotland last year , according to police figures – a 10 per cent increase on 2022 . Almost three quarters of the deaths were among men , 14 per cent up on the previous year , while deaths among women fell by 1 per cent . Two thirds of the deaths were among people aged between 35 and 54 .
The Police Scotland data is based on reports from the observations and enquiries of officers attending scenes of death , and are distinct from the official figures published by National Records of Scotland , which are based on death certificates and supplementary information from forensic pathologists .
Scotland ’ s drug death total for 2022 was down by a fifth on the previous year , but was still almost four times higher than in 2000 ( DDN , September 2023 , page 5 ). The provisional figures for 2023 , however , suggest that the confirmed statistics due to be published later this year will show that ‘ Scotland ’ s public health emergency continues ’, said the Scottish Drugs Forum ( SDF ).
‘ This is the latest sign that our response to this emergency has been inadequate ’ said CEO Kirsten Horsburgh . ‘ Our immediate concern is with local funding decisions . This is not a time to cut core services or commissioned services that treat or otherwise support people at risk .’
Figures at https :// www . gov . scot / publications / suspecteddrug-deaths-scotland-october-december-2023 /

Local News

DOG FRIENDLY Two Scottish charities have won praise from the Dogs Trust for keeping people experiencing homelessness and their dogs together . Edinburgh ’ s Bethany Christian Trust Welcome Centre and Glasgow Salvation Army ’ s Huntershill Court were singled out by the Together Through Homelessness scheme . The trust ’ s free support , advice and vet care had been ‘ invaluable ’, said Eleanor McLachlan from Bethany Christian Trust .
SHEFFIELD SERVICE A new NHS gambling clinic has opened in Sheffield , bringing the national total to 15 . ‘ Gambling addiction is a cruel disease which has the power to destroy people ’ s lives , and as referrals continue to rapidly increase for these services it is right that we increase the support available in line with demand ,’ said NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard .
CREATIVE COMMUNITY BDP is hosting a ‘ creative communities ’ spring show on 8 April at the Unitarian Hall , Bristol , featuring contributions from Rising Voices , Lyrically Lifted , Bristol Recovery Orchestra and Changing Tunes . The show starts at 3pm – for more information call 0117 987 6000 and ask for creative communities . dogstrust . org . uk