Drink and Drugs News DDN November 2019 (1) | Page 5

News DDN EVERY DAY All the news, updated daily www.drinkanddrugsnews.com Stain removal Middlesbrough launches heroin- assisted treatment A pilot heroin-assisted treatment (HAT) programme is being launched in Middlesbrough, the local police and crime commissioner (PCC) has announced. The programme will concentrate on up to 15 people with serious entrenched drug problems. This treatment and recovery pilot is aimed at those for whom all other current methods have failed Participants will visit a clinic twice a day where diamorphine will be administered under supervision. The aim is that with the need to ‘constantly fund street heroin’ removed, clients will be able to engage with health, housing, welfare and other agencies at the clinic and ‘get their lives back on track’. The programme will be available to people for whom all other treatment options have failed and who are ‘causing most concern’ to criminal justice, social care and health services. It has been organised and partially funded by Cleveland PCC Barry Coppinger, with further funding from Durham Tees Valley Community Rehabilitation Company and the Tees and Wear Prisons Group. The scheme is designed in part to ‘free up the substantial public resources’ being used to address drug issues, the PCC’s office states, as well as promote long-term recovery and reduce rates of drug-related deaths and acquisitive crime. The pilot will be independently evaluated with the aim of extending it for a second year with funding from the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA). ‘This treatment and recovery pilot is aimed at those for whom all other current methods have failed,’ said clinical team lead Daniel Ahmed. ‘They are on a cycle of offending, committing crime to raise funds for street heroin, being arrested and going to prison, being released and offending again. The cycle often only ends when they die, often in the street.’ AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL has called on Malaysia to abolish the death penalty for drugs offences. Executions are a ‘stain’ on the country’s criminal justice system, says the NGO, with the use of torture to obtain confessions, an ‘opaque’ pardons process and other serious violations of the right to a fair trial. More than 70 per cent of those on death row – 930 people – are there for drugs offences, and more than half are foreign nationals. ‘Malaysia has a golden chance to break with decades of cruelty,’ said executive director of Amnesty International Malaysia, Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu. ‘Our research found a pattern of unfair trials and secretive hangings that itself spoke volumes.’ Fatally flawed: why Malaysia must abolish the death penalty at www. amnesty.org/en WWW.DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS.COM SOWING SEEDS Addaction’s ‘Roots to Recovery’ gardening project is encouraging people to get involved in outdoor activities to help boost their mental health. As well as nurturing talents or interests people ‘didn’t know they had’ this can also improve self-esteem, says founder Georgie McConnell. HEP HIT Challenging times for prisons DRUGS CONTINUE TO PRESENT a ‘significant challenge’ to prisons, according to the prisons and probation ombudsman’s annual report. While it is ‘difficult to give an exact figure’ for the number of drug-related deaths, the document states, there were 36 ‘other non-natural deaths’ in 2018-19, most of which were drug-related, and a further 23 awaiting classification that are likely to prove the same. Annual report 2018 – 19 at www. ppo.gov.uk Lower limits for online slots THERE IS ‘NO JUSTIFICATION’ for online slot machine style games to have staking levels above £2, says a report from the Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG). The document calls for the government to ‘urgently introduce’ new gambling legislation with a focus on harm prevention, and wants to see the use of credit cards banned by online gambling sites to prevent people using debt to finance their gambling. The sector also needs to urgently Local News adopt a ‘more responsible’ approach to advertising to protect vulnerable people and children, it continues, while the use of ‘VIP’ accounts and other inducements should be restricted. ‘This report highlights the urgent need for a root and branch review of the regulation of online gambling,’ said APPG chair Carolyn Harris MP. See the December/January issue of DDN for a special eight-page supplement on gambling harms Change Grow Live’s Richmond Integrated Recovery Service has achieved ‘micro-elimination’ of hep C with its onsite nurse-led clinic that removes the need for people to be seen in hospital. ‘This is a marvellous achievement for the team at Change Grow Live Richmond,’ said lead nurse Jennifer Hannon. ROYAL RECOGNITION The Cyfle Cymru peer mentoring academy – which helps people develop their own careers and education while supporting and guiding others – has received the Princess Royal Training Award from Princess Anne. The scheme’s success was based on ‘the talents and hard work of our peer mentors’, said programme director Lynn Bennoch. ‘We’re thrilled.’ NOVEMBER 2019 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • 5