Drink and Drugs News DDN Dec 2017 | Page 4

‘ A great victory for the health of the public .’
‘ Impetus to change .’



THE UK SUPREME COURT has ‘ unanimously ’ dismissed the Scotch Whisky Association ’ s ( SWA ) appeal against last year ’ s ruling by Scottish judges in favour of minimum pricing . The decision means the Scottish Government can now finally implement the Alcohol ( Minimum Pricing ) ( Scotland ) Act 2012 . ‘ The 2012 Act does not breach EU law ,’ says the Supreme Court ’ s ruling . ‘ Minimum pricing is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim .’
The road to minimum pricing has been a long and complicated one . The Alcohol ( Minimum Pricing ) Bill was passed 18 months after a previous bill had its provisions for minimum pricing removed ( DDN , June 2012 , page 4 ), only to face a legal challenge from the SWA and others on the grounds that the measure breached EU trade law . When this was finally rejected by the Scottish Court of Session ( DDN , November 2016 , page 4 ), the SWA lodged its latest appeal ( DDN , December 2016 , page 4 ).
Minimum pricing will now be introduced on 1 May 2018 , with the government consulting on the proposed minimum unit price of 50p in the meantime . The ruling also makes it more likely that minimum pricing will be implemented in Wales , following the recent introduction of the Public Health ( Minimum Price for Alcohol ) ( Wales ) Bill ( DDN , November , page 4 ). David Cameron ’ s coalition government abandoned plans to introduce minimum pricing on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence that it would reduce harm without penalising moderate drinkers ( DDN , August 2013 , page 4 ). However , a report earlier this year from the House of Lords Select Committee on the Licensing Act 2003 stated that if minimum pricing is introduced in Scotland and proves ‘ effective in cutting down excessive drinking ’ then England should follow suit ( DDN , April , page 5 ).
‘ In a ruling of global significance , the UK Supreme Court has unanimously backed our pioneering and life-saving alcohol pricing policy ,’ said health secretary Shona Robison . ‘ Given the clear and proven link between consumption and harm , minimum pricing is the most effective and efficient way to tackle the cheap , high-strength alcohol that causes so much damage to so many families .’ The SWA said that it accepted the ruling and that it would ‘ continue to work in partnership with the government and the voluntary sector to promote responsible drinking and to tackle alcohol-related harm ’. Alcohol Health Alliance chair Professor Sir Ian Gilmore said the decision represented ‘ a great victory for the health of the public ’, adding that the five years of legal challenges to the original legislation meant that ‘ many families have needlessly suffered the pain and heartache of losing a loved one ’. The spotlight should now fall on England , where ‘ cheap alcohol is also causing considerable damage ,’ he added .

‘ A great victory for the health of the public .’

PRofessoR sIR IAn GIlmoRe
‘ Now is the time for Westminster to step up and save lives ,’ echoed Alcohol Research UK CEO Dr Richard Piper , ‘ As alcohol has become more affordable , the rates of alcoholrelated ill-health have risen . The fact is , something has to be done . Minimum pricing is a much more targeted measure than tax , because it raises the prices only of the very cheapest and strongest drinks on the market – those that tend to be consumed by the heaviest drinkers .’
Meanwhile , plans for a drug consumption room in Glasgow have suffered a setback following the Scottish Lord Advocate ’ s failure to back a change of legislation to allow possession of heroin within the facility . ‘ This is a hugely depressing decision ,’ said Scottish Drugs Forum CEO David Liddell . ‘ It means that a drug consumption room cannot be delivered in a timescale that will respond to the pressing needs of a group who are among the most vulnerable in our society .’ year to make sure it meets the needs of employers . The first courses would then be rolled out in 2019 . Providers who would like to be involved in the group should email fdap @ smmgp . org . uk
AFGHANISTAN ’ S OPIUM PRODUCTION has increased by 87 per cent this year , according to the latest UNODC survey . Production now stands at a record 9,000 metric tonnes , with the area under poppy cultivation also increasing by 63 per cent since 2016 . Afghanistan is the world ’ s largest cultivator of the opium poppy , with the unprecedented levels of production and cultivation meaning more ‘ high quality , low cost heroin ’ will reach consumer markets across the world , says the agency . The increases were ‘ dizzying ’ and represented ‘ a profoundly alarming trend ’, said UNODC executive director Yury Fedotov . ‘ For both Afghanistan , and the world , we are heading towards uncharted territory .’ Afghanistan opium survey 2017 at www . unodc . org
MORE 11 TO 15-YEAR-OLDS HAVE TAKEN DRUGS THAN SMOKED CIGARETTES , according to NHS Digital ’ s latest Smoking , drinking and drug use among young people report . In a survey of more than 12,000 pupils , 44 per cent had ever had an alcoholic drink , 24 per cent had taken drugs and 19 per cent had smoked cigarettes , compared to almost 50 per cent in 1996 . While the 24 per cent who had ever taken drugs was up 9 per cent from 2014 ’ s figure , part of the increase may be explained by new questions on nitrous oxide and NPS , says NHS Digital , adding that ‘ more years of data are needed to understand if this is a genuine trend ’. Report at digital . nhs . uk
MARK MOODY has been appointed as the new chief executive of change , grow , live ( CGL ), the charity has announced . Moody , who joined the charity 17 years ago as a frontline worker , will take over from David Biddle in 2018 . The appointment also marks the first time that service users have been involved in the chief executive ’ s recruitment and appointment process . ‘ I know we have appointed a person that genuinely listens and respects the views of service users ,’ said service user representative Sue Edwards . ‘ CGL is an amazing charity and this appointment will build on the real difference it makes to people ’ s lives .’ ‘ Working for change , grow , live is an absolute privilege and I am honoured to take up the position of chief executive , leading this fantastic organisation ,’ said Moody .
A PROPOSAL for a drug and alcohol practitioner apprenticeship level 4 qualification has been put to the Institute for Apprenticeships by the FDAPcoordinated ‘ trailblazer group ’ ( DDN , July / August , page 18 ). If accepted , the group will design a standard and an assessment plan , with a consultation scheduled for next
ALCOHOL CONCERN IS PARTNERING WITH SIX CHARITIES for 2018 ’ s Dry January , the organisation has announced , including Breast Cancer Now , Action for Children , Crisis and the British Liver Trust . ‘ In the last ten years we have seen a 20 per cent increase in the number of deaths from liver disease , a major cause of which is drinking too much alcohol ,’ said British Liver Trust CEO Judi Rhys . ‘ Dry January should be seen as the impetus to change your relationship with alcohol forever – we recommend that you have two to three consecutive alcohol-free days every week .’ www . alcoholconcern . org . uk / dry-january
‘ Impetus to change .’
JudI Rhys
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