DDN November 2021 November 2021 | Page 5

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Just 25 per cent think regular cannabis use is ‘ very harmful ’

Only a quarter of Britons consider cannabis ‘ very harmful ’ to regular users , according to a new survey from YouGov . More than half , however , consider tobacco to be very harmful , while 35 per cent think the same for alcohol .

Just under 1,700 respondents were asked to rate 12 different substances from ‘ very harmful ’ to ‘ not at all harmful ’, with nitrous oxide considered the second least harmful of all . Just under a quarter of people , meanwhile , thought that making a drug illegal was ‘ an effective way of preventing people from taking it ’, with 60 per cent stating that it was ineffective . Roughly the same proportion of Conservative and Labour voters – at 60 and 67 per cent respectively – considered criminalising drugs ‘ futile for prevention ’, says YouGov .
Just under 30 per cent of people thought that drugs should be considered a health issue , compared
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‘ One in five ’ could have undiagnosed liver disease in NE

ONE IN FIVE ADULTS in the North East could be living with undiagnosed liver disease , according to the British Liver Trust . The charity ’ s ‘ Love Your Liver ’ mobile screening unit visited Newcastle , Sunderland , Hartlepool and Middlesbrough last month and scanned passers-by interested in finding out about their liver health . Of just over 180 people scanned , 35 were sent for further tests .
Hospital admissions for liver disease in the region are above the national average as a result of both high levels of alcohol consumption and increasing levels of obesity . Last year saw alcohol-specific deaths in England rise by more than 20 per cent , with – as in previous years – the North East recording the highest increase .
‘ One in five of us are at risk of liver disease and the numbers of people being diagnosed have been increasing at an alarming rate ,’ said the trust ’ s chief executive , Pamela Healy . ‘ Liver damage develops silently with no signs or symptoms and people often don ’ t realise they have a problem until it is too late . Although the liver is remarkably resilient , if left until symptoms appear , the damage is often irreversible .’
to a quarter who thought it should be a criminal justice issue , while 36 per cent believe it should be treated as both . Less than 10 per cent of 18-24-year-olds believe it should be solely a criminal matter , however , compared to a third of over-65s . People were also asked to class the substances in terms of their impact on wider society , with crack cocaine and heroin considered the most harmful and nitrous oxide and cannabis the least . www . yougov . co . uk
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The figures ‘ highlight the extent to which the government ’ s rhetoric and policies are out of touch with the public ’ s will in several key areas ’, said Volteface ’ s Isabella Ross . ‘ Home secretary Priti Patel ’ s proposed nitrous oxide ban appears particularly detached from popular perceptions of the drug . The survey found that Britons considered nitrous oxide less harmful both to regular users and society than legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco .’ Survey at yougov . co . uk

Two thirds know someone with addiction issues

MORE THAN 64 PER CENT OF ADULTS know someone who is ‘ struggling with an addiction ’, according to a YouGov poll commissioned by The Forward Trust to mark last month ’ s Addiction Awareness Week . Half of the 2,137 respondents , however , said that they still lacked understanding of the condition .
A group of charities including The Forward Trust , Phoenix Futures , FAVOR and the Kaleidoscope Project also launched the awareness-raising Taking Action on Addiction campaign at a high-profile event with a keynote speech by The Duchess of Cambridge . ‘ Addiction is not a choice ,’ she said . ‘ None of us are immune , yet it ’ s rarely discussed as a serious mental health condition and seldom do we take the time to uncover and fully understand the root causes .’ While addiction was often triggered by childhood experiences , anxiety , loneliness or isolation , it remained one of the only mental health conditions ‘ where the person suffering with it is blamed ’, said Forward Trust chief executive Mike Trace . ‘ We need to drive awareness of what addiction is , understand how it impacts people , families , children and communities so we can help people living with it get the support and treatment they need for long term recovery .’
Local News
FINE TIME Change Grow Live clients in Manchester have made a short film based on their experiences . Fine will be premiered on 24 November , and available online afterwards . ‘ There was a real democratic spirit at work , every participant felt valued and listened to ,’ said Nially , a service user . ‘ That ’ s a learning experience .’ https :// vimeo . com / 589955502
NEXT STEPS A free , confidential service , Recovery Steps Cumbria , has been launched by Humankind in partnership with The Well Communities . ‘ Cumbria has followed the national trend of increasing drug and alcohol related deaths ,’ said Humankind ’ s executive director of operations , Ted Haughey . ‘ We hope that by providing a comprehensive service that offers individualised recovery plans we can stop this worrying trend .’ www . humankindcharity . org . uk / service / recovery-stepscumbria .
SUSSEX SUPPORT Southdown has launched a new substance misuse employment service in East Sussex in partnership with Change Grow Live and funding from DWP . ‘ CGL has two offices based in Eastbourne and Hastings but the service does accept referrals for people living across the whole county ,’ said service lead for employment and learning Lisa Kirby . www . southdown . org / Substance Misuse Employment Service