Drink and Drugs News DDN Nov2017 - Page 5

Read the full stories, and more, online www.drinkanddrugsnews.com TRUMP DECLARES OPIOID CRISIS ‘A PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY’ US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP has declared the country’s opioid crisis a ‘nationwide public health emergency’ and said that he is ‘mobilising his entire administration’ to address the situation, the White House has announced. Last year more than 2m Americans had an addiction to illicit or prescription opioids, with drug overdoses now the leading cause of ‘injury death’ in the US, outnumbering both traffic and gun fatalities. There were more than 52,000 drug overdose deaths in 2015, with the White House expecting 2016’s total to exceed 64,000 – a rate of 175 deaths per day. In 2016 more than 11.5m Americans reported misuse of prescription opioids and 950,000 reported heroin use, the administration says, with the rising death rate in part the result of ‘the proliferation of illegally made fentanyl’. An interim report from the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis urged him to declare a national emergency earlier this year (DDN, September, page 5). The emergency declaration will allow expanded access to substance misuse treatment and medication, including for people in HIV/Aids programmes, as well as the recruitment of more treatment professionals and provision of grants for people who have been ‘displaced from the workforce’ as a result of addiction. ‘Ending the epidemic will require mobilisation of government, local communities, and private organisations,’ said Trump. ‘It will require the resolve of our entire country. I am directing all executive agencies to use every appropriate emergency authority to fight the opioid crisis. This marks a critical step in confronting the extraordinary challenge that we face.’ The US-based Drug Policy Alliance, however, accused the president of ‘ignoring reality’ and ‘sticking his head in the sand’. ‘While a couple of his proposals might help mitigate overdose, his speech revealed a profound and reckless disregard for the realities about drugs and drug PARENTAL PROBLEMS PARENTS DO NOT HAVE TO REGULARLY DRINK LARGE AMOUNTS for their children to ‘notice changes in their behaviour and experience negative impacts’, according an Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) report. Having seen a parent ‘tipsy or drunk’ was associated with children feeling worried, ‘less comforted than usual’, or experiencing more arguments, says ‘Like sugar for adults’: the effect of non- dependent parental drinking on children and families. Nearly 30 per cent of parents reported having been drunk in front of their children, while more than 10 per cent of children said they’d felt worried or that their parents had given them less attention as a result of drinking. Meanwhile, a report by the University at Buffalo’s research institute on addictions www.drinkanddrugsnews.com use in the United States,’ said alliance director Maria McFarland Sánchez- Moreno. ‘Trump seemed to be saying that prevention boils down to ads encouraging young people to "just say no" to drugs, ignoring the utter failure of that strategy when the Reagan administration started it in the 1980s,’ she continued. ‘And he continued talking about criminal justice answers to a public health problem, even though the war on drugs is itself a major factor contributing to the overdose crisis. Trump had a chance to do something meaningful to help stem the tide of overdose deaths in the country – instead, he is condemning even more people to death, imprisonment, and deportation in the name of his war on drugs.’ A position paper from the Global Commission on Drug Policy has also urged that supplies of prescription opioids should not be cut without ‘first putting supporting measures in place’. Harm reduction options need to be expanded, alongside ‘de facto decriminalisation’ of possession and personal use, says The opioid crisis in North America. The extent of the public health crisis ‘cannot be overstated’, it warns. Position paper at www.globalcommissionondrugs.org ‘criminal justice answers to a public health problem.’ found that children of parents with an alcohol use disorder were more likely to be involved in ‘abusive dating relationships’ as teenagers. Reports at www.ias.org.uk and www.buffalo.edu WELSH WORRIES COCAINE-RELATED HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS in Wales have risen by more than 80 per cent in the last five years, according to figures from Public Health Wales. Admissions for cannabis and synthetic cannabinoids are also up more than 70 per cent, although overall admissions for alcohol and drug use among young people are declining. The figures highlighted ‘big changes’ in patterns of use, said head of the agency’s substance misuse programme, Josie Smith. ‘The increase in harms associated with cannabis and cannabinoids are particularly challenging to interpret. This is in large part due to the growth in the use of synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists including ‘spice’.’ The annual profile for substance misuse 2016-17 at www.wales.nhs.uk BETS ARE OFF THE GOVERNMENT HAS ANNOUNCED that it intends to reduce the maximum stakes allowed on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) as part of its gambling review. Known as the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ (DDN, September 2014, page 6), the controversial machines currently allow users to bet up to £100 a time. The government will now consult on cutting the stakes to as little as £2, while other measures include stricter advertising guidelines and revised codes of practice for online gambling. ‘Given the strong evidence and public concerns about the risks of high stakes gaming machines on the high street, we are convinced of the need for action,’ said gambling minister Tracey Crouch. Consultation at www.gov.uk until 23 Jan. TIMELY INTERVENTIONS THE FIRST FOUR WEEKS OF TREATMENT, as well as the first four after leaving it, are ‘critical intervention points to reduce mortality risk’, says an NHS Health Scotland evidence review on drug-related deaths. Complex psychological and social barriers also need to be addressed to support people to access services, it stresses. Drugs-related deaths r apid evidence review: keeping people safe at www.healthscotland.scot See news focus, page 9. COST CALCULATIONS A NEW EMCDDA REPORT attempts to fill the ‘data gap’ on the costs of drug treatment, with an overview of the economic models used to estimate expenditure worldwide. ‘In this economic climate, more than ever, policymakers and service planners require data and information on the capacity, performance and costs of national treatment systems in order to support investment decisions and to make sound policy choices,’ said EMCDDA director Alexis Goosdeel. The centre has also issued a guide to responding to specific drug issues such as older users, fentanyls, and harm reduction in clubs and festivals. Drug treatment expenditure: a methodological overview and Health and social responses to drug problems at www.emcdda.europa.eu Data and infor ma - tion needed now ‘more than ever’. alexis GoosDeel November 2017 | drinkanddrugsnews | 5