DDN September 2023 DDN September_2023_v2 | Page 4


Calls for shift to ‘ public health-based interventions ’

The 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act is outdated and should be reformed to support ‘ greater use of public health-based drug interventions ’, says a report from the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee .

The committee wants to see a new legislative framework that includes consumption room pilots and drug testing at festivals , with better joint working between health , social services and police . However , there should also be an ‘ appropriate ’ criminal justice response , it states , with law enforcement doing all it can to ‘ stamp out the illicit trade of controlled drugs ’ – bolstered by a stronger public health framework that keeps people out of addiction and prison .
While the government ’ s drug strategy has helped to shift the focus towards public health , it is unlikely to achieve its aims without a ‘ significant expansion in the range and availability of health-based interventions ’, the report warns . The government should learn from locally developed schemes that are having a positive impact , it adds . However , the document also expresses concern about the long-term sustainability of funding for the sector , questioning whether the twoyear period of the latest funding allocation is enough for service providers to ‘ embed change ’.
The drugs classifications system should be reviewed by ACMD to make sure it accurately reflects the risk of harm – with additional reviews carried out every ten years – the document states , with psychedelic drugs reclassified to support research into their therapeutic use . However , the committee does not believe that cannabis should be legalised or regulated for non-medical use .
Among the report ’ s other recommendations are a UK-wide , postal-based anonymous drug checking service , centralised funding for diamorphine-assisted treatment , a national naloxone programme for England , and more use of schemes to divert people away from the criminal justice system . Trauma-informed practices should be used by all police forces when dealing with drug offending , it adds , with more done to ensure that vulnerable young people exploited by county lines gangs are kept out of the criminal justice system .
‘ Whilst the drug strategy is moving in the right direction , it requires much more meaningful action to tackle the broad range of drug-related problems ,’ said committee chair Dame Diana Johnson .
‘ The criminal justice system will need to continue to do all it can to break up the criminal gangs that drive the trade in illicit drugs . However , it must also recognise that many children and young people involved need to be supported to escape , not punished for their involvement .’
Report at https :// committees . parliament . uk / committee / 83 / home-affairs-committee
‘... children and young people involved need to be supported to escape , not punished for their involvement .’
David Woolfall / Wiki

Drone deliveries

AI or drones to help prevent fatal overdoses have been awarded a share of £ 5m funding from the Department of Health and Social Care and Department for Science , Innovation and Technology .
The projects will explore how AI wearable technologies can detect overdoses and alert healthcare professionals or family members to provide lifesaving care , or how naloxone can be dispersed via drone .
Twelve projects will receive funding from the Office for Life Sciences , as part of the Reducing Drug Deaths Innovation Challenge . Among the innovations are a chest-worn biosensor that can detect the onset of life-threatening respiratory depression and which alerts emergency services and nearby carriers of naloxone , a controlledrelease patch for naloxone and flumazenil delivery , and a handheld device for selfmonitoring benzo use .

Naloxone finder

AN APP THAT USES GOOGLE MAPS to highlight places such as pharmacies and needle exchanges that offer free naloxone has been launched by Turning Point and Somerset Council .
The Carry Naloxone app , which was developed in partnership with Bristol University , also provides short videos on how to recognise an overdose . The scheme is being piloted in Somerset and will be rolled out nationally if successful , and launches at the same time as on online click-and-deliver scheme for people unable to collect a kit .
The campaign will also feature posters that include a QR code to help people find the nearest place stocking naloxone . ‘ Carrying naloxone is really important , not keeping it in a cupboard ,’ said senior lecturer at Bristol University Dr Jennifer Scott , who developed the app . ‘ No one can predict when the medication might be needed and the quicker it is given , the more likely it is to save someone ’ s life .’ See feature , page 24