Drink and Drugs News DDN May 2019 | Page 5

Read the full stories, and more, online www.drinkanddrugsnews.com NEW STRATEGY TO TACKLE ‘GAMBLING HARMS’ A NEW THREE-YEAR STRATEGY TO REDUCE GAMBLING HARMS has been launched by the Gambling Commission, the government has announced. The strategy will bring together businesses, regulators, charities and health bodies to ‘work to bring a lasting impact’. The strategy will focus on prevention, education and support – delivering ‘truly national’ treatment that ‘meets the needs of users’ – while the commission has also pledged to take a ‘firm’ regulatory enforcement approach. Gambling advertising has long been a controversial issue, with new standards to protect children from ‘irresponsible’ adverts published by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) earlier this year (DDN, March, page 4). Finding help for problem gambling, meanwhile, is still seen largely as a postcode lottery – ‘if you use substances you’re far better off in terms of access to treatment’, gambling harm consultant Owen Baily told this year’s DDN conference (DDN, March, page 16). ‘With gambling it very much depends on where you live.’ ‘The Gambling Commission’s strategy reflects our clear expectation that the whole sector must come together to reduce problem gambling and the harm it does to people and their families,’ said sport and civil society minister Mims Davies. ‘Through increased ‘The whole sector must come together to reduce prob - lem gambling and the harm it does to people and their families’ THERE ARE NO SPECIFIC UP-TO-DATE GUIDELINES for forensic toxicology investiga - tions for drug-related deaths except for single substance groups such as fentanyl and its analogues, according to an EMCDDA report. This is the case at both the European and wider international levels, says the agency, despite between 7,000 and 9,000 drug-related fatalities being reported in Europe every year for the past decade. Screening for NPS in post-mortem specimens, for example, requires up-to-date technical equipment and is therefore ‘generally limited to specialised laboratories’. An analysis of post-mortem toxicology practices in drug-related death cases in Europe at www.emcdda.europa.eu MIMs davIes research, education and treatment I want to see faster progress made in tackling this issue.’ Public Health England will also conduct a review of evidence on the public health aspects of gambling to be published next spring, looking at the ‘range and scale’ of gambling harms and the impact on health and wellbeing. ‘PHE welcomes the strategy’s commitment to taking a public health approach to gambling related harms,’ said the agency’s director of alcohol, drugs and tobacco, Rosanna O’Connor. Strategy at www.reducinggamblingharms.org COUNTY CONCERNS THE HOME OFFICE has produced a series of posters to help staff working in social housing identify potential victims of county lines activity and report their concerns. The number of potential modern slavery victims reported to the authorities has risen by more than 80 per cent in the last two years to just under 7,000, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA) (DDN, April, page 4). The numbers of British citizens and minors referred doubled between 2018 and 2019, both partly the result of exploitation of young people by county lines gangs. www.drinkanddrugsnews.com FORENSIC FINDINGS ‘Psychedelics are set to have a major impact on neuro science and psychiatry...’ dR RoBIn caRhaRT-haRRIs PSYCHEDELIC CENTRE THE WORLD’S FIRST FORMAL CENTRE FOR PSYCHEDELIC RESEARCH has been launched at Imperial College London. The £3m centre will focus on the use of psychedelics in mental health care and as ‘tools to probe the brain’s basis of consciousness’. The centre’s opening represents a ‘watershed moment for psychedelic science, symbolic of its now mainstream recognition,’ said its head, Dr Robin Carhart-Harris. ‘Psychedelics are set to have a major impact on neuroscience and psychiatry in the coming years.’ DEADLY SERIOUS ALMOST 100 EXECUTIONS FOR DRUG-RELATED OFFENCES are known to have been carried out in 2018, according to Amnesty International. While this represents 14 per cent of the total number of global executions, it is down from 28 per cent in 2017. Overall, almost 700 executions in 20 countries were recorded by the agency last year, a decrease of more than 30 per cent compared to 2017. May 2019 | drinkanddrugsnews | 5