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Harm reduction focus for first Biden drug strategy

US president Joe Biden has sent his administration ’ s first National drug control strategy to Congress , focusing on a whole-government approach to the country ’ s ‘ overdose epidemic ’ – almost 107,000 people in the US died a drug-related death in the 12-month period to November 2021 .

The strategy is the first to ‘ champion harm reduction to meet people where they are and engage them in care and services ’, the White House states , as interventions like naloxone and NSP are often still restricted or underfunded at community level . Less than 7 per cent of the 41m people needing treatment for substance issues were able to access it , according to the 2020 national survey on drug use and health . The strategy calls for more access to interventions like naloxone , NSP and fentanyl test strips , and directs federal agencies to integrate them into care systems .
The administration ’ s efforts to expand access to treatment will focus on high-risk populations like people experiencing homelessness and people in – or leaving – prison . ‘ The Biden-Harris administration is committed to deploying an evidence-based approach to policy making ,’ the White House
GAMBLING AND LOTTERY ADVERTISING will no longer be able to use content ‘ likely to be of strong appeal to children or young persons ’, the Committee for Advertising Practice ( CAP ) has announced . This means that prominent sports personalities , celebrities and social media influencers will no longer be able promote gambling brands if they are popular with those under 18 . The restrictions , which will come into force in October , cover ‘ all sportspeople well-known to says , combined with a focus on addressing trafficking and supply .
‘ We applaud the Biden-Harris administration for taking the historic step to support access and funding for harm reduction services and reduce barriers to life-saving medications ,’ said Grant Smith of the Drug Policy Alliance NGO . ‘ Despite over 1m lives lost to drug overdose over the last 20- plus years , this is the first time an administration has included harm reduction in the National drug control strategy .
The administration should continue to focus on its promise of equity by decreasing racial disparities in drug policy and the overdose crisis . Criminalisation approaches only saddle mostly Black , Hispanic and Indigenous people with criminal legal records and often incarceration , which increases their risk for infectious diseases , overdose and death .’ Prioritising spending on public health rather than enforcement was the best path forward , he stated . With the overdose crisis ‘ now costing the US economy over $ 1tn annually we must embrace the evidence-based public health approaches we know work and save lives . But it must be done outside of the harmful apparatus
under-18s ’ – including topflight footballers and those with large social media followings – as well as people from reality TV shows popular with young people , and any references to video game content .
The announcement follows a consultation by CAP launched partly in response to research by GambleAware which found that even advertising abiding by the existing codes had ‘ more potential than previously understood ’ to adversely affect children or vulnerable people
'... historic step to support access and funding for harm reduction services and reduce barriers to life-saving medications .'
GRANT SMITH
of the drug war to be effective and provide the kind of racial equity this administration has long promised .’ Strategy at www . whitehouse . gov

Gambling ads banned from using content likely to appeal to under-18s

( DDN , November 2020 , page 5 ). The All-Party Parliamentary Group ( APPG ) for Gambling Related Harm has previously called for all gambling advertising to be banned . ‘ By ending these practices , our new rules invite a new era for gambling ads , more particular to the adult audience they can target and more befitting of the age-restricted product they ’ re promoting ,’ said CAP director Shahriar Coupal .
Guidance on gambling and lotteries advertising at www . asa . org . uk
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Humankind has opened what ’ s thought to be the UK ’ s first pharmacy technician-led community dispensary embedded in a drug service . Staff at the Home Office-licensed facility at Calderdale Recovery Steps are now able to dispense medications like methadone and buprenorphine onsite . ‘ We ’ re really pleased to be able to offer another option for people who may otherwise remain at greater risk of drug-related death ,’ said Humankind ’ s director of pharmacy Roz Gittins .
TALKING THC Forward Leeds ’ RespectTHC campaign has been raising awareness on the increasing strength of cannabis and risks of regular usage with city-wide events and a social media campaign . ‘ We want people to think about whether they have some level of dependence on cannabis and to feel comfortable in approaching us so they can make positive changes ,’ said manager James Barrie . www . forwardleeds . co . uk / advice / respect-thc /
BROAD CHURCH Glasgow ’ s Woodlands Methodist Church has held a Recovery Rising exhibition and symposium to set out a vision of what a recoveryfocused services could look like , attended by drugs minister Angela Constance . The church was exploring ways to bring ‘ compassion and love ’ to the debate by ‘ fighting stigma and blame and fear toward victims of addictions ’, said its minister Laurent Vernet .
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