March 2017 DDN March 2017 DDN Magazine - Page 5

‘ We need measures which address the pocket money prices ... the 24 hour availability and its heavy marketing .’
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ALCOHOL DEATHS UP AGAIN

‘ We need measures which address the pocket money prices ... the 24 hour availability and its heavy marketing .’
PRof SiR iAn giLmoRe
THERE WERE 8,758 ALCOHOL-RELATED DEATHS IN THE UK IN 2015 , according the latest ONS figures , a slight increase from 8,697 the preceding year . The figures are nearly double the 4,929 deaths recorded 20 years previously , however .
Nearly two thirds of the deaths were among men , and both male and female death rates were highest in the 55-64 age range . Scotland remains the UK country with the highest death rates , although these have been falling since their peak in the early 2000s .
‘ Despite recent falls in overall alcohol consumption , the upward trend of alcohol-related deaths persists ,’ said chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance , Professor Sir Ian Gilmore . ‘ We know that alcohol is the third largest risk factor for disability and disease , and the biggest risk factor for death , ill-health and disability for people aged 15-49 . Yet the UK government has yet to implement the measures needed to lower this burden of alcohol-related mortality . We need measures which address the pocket money prices alcohol is being sold at , the 24 hour availability of alcohol , and its heavy marketing .’ The alliance is calling on the government to introduce a minimum unit price , ‘ which we know would reduce consumption and in doing so , the attendant harm ’, said Gilmore .
A new lottery-funded website , Bereaved through Alcohol and Drugs ( BEAD ), has now been launched by Adfam and Cruse . The site aims to be a ‘ source of information , support and hope ’, and includes practical information , first-person accounts and other resources . ‘ For most of us , bereavement will be the most distressing experience we will ever face ,’ say the organisations , but the death of a loved one through alcohol and drugs can involve additional anguish through issues like stigma , shame and isolation .
Meanwhile , the latest Department for Transport figures show an increase in drink-driving casualties and no improvement in drink driving-related deaths since the beginning of the decade . There were 8,480 drink-drive casualties in 2015 – 3 per cent up on the previous year – along with around 220 deaths .
Campaigners have long been calling for the government to lower the drink-drive limit in England and Wales in line with other European countries . ‘ The government have taken their eye off the ball , and need to listen to the overwhelming evidence that a lower drink driving limit would save lives and improve road safety ,’ said senior research and policy officer at the Institute of Alcohol Studies , Jon Foster . ‘ There is huge professional and public support for this .’
Alcohol-related deaths in the UK registered in 2015 at www . ons . gov . uk . Reported road casualties in Great Britain : estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels 2015 at www . gov . uk . BEAD website at www . beadproject . org . uk
CALL CONCERNS
THE NSPCC HELPLINE has received 25,000 contacts raising concerns over substance use near children over the last three years , the charity has stated – an average of almost one call per hour . The number of annual contacts has increased by 16 per cent since 2013 / 14 , and the agency has made more than 20,000 referrals to external agencies such as the police and children ’ s services . ‘ Drug and alcohol abuse can have hugely damaging effects around children , and it ’ s clearly troubling to see a rise over time in reports of this problem to our helpline ,’ said NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless . ‘ Substance misuse all too often leads to the neglect or abuse of a child and it ’ s absolutely crucial that we do all we can to stop that .’
MONITORING THE MONITOR
PHE IS LOOKING FOR FEEDBACK on how National Drug Treatment Monitoring System ( NDTMS ) management reports are being used , and whether they are ‘ still fit for purpose ’ in the current operating environment . Consultation available at https :// surveys . phe . org . uk / NDTMS _ reporting _ consultation _ 2017 # until 31 March .
DRUG DATA
A COMPREHENSIVE ROUND-UP of new and previously published information on adult and young people ’ s drug use in England has been published by NHS Digital . Statistics on drug misuse , England – 2017 includes figures from ONS , NDTMS , crime surveys and more . Around one in 12 people had taken an illicit drug in the last year , it says . Document at www . gov . uk
COSTS OF A DRINK
THE FIRST MANIFESTO to help the estimated 2.5m children of heavy drinkers has been launched by the All Party Parliamentary Group ( APPG ) on Children of Alcoholics . The document calls on the government to develop a national strategy alongside properly funded local support , improved education and training for professionals , and better awareness raising for children . Children of alcoholics are twice as likely as other children to have problems at school , three times more likely to consider suicide and four times more likely to become alcoholics themselves , says A manifesto for change . Document at liambyrne . co . uk
PRISON PROMISES
THE GOVERNMENT has published its ‘ landmark ’ prison and courts bill , which it says will pave the way for the ‘ biggest overhaul of prisons in a generation ’. The bill ‘ underpins ’ measures in the prison reform white paper ( DDN , December 2016 , page 5 ), setting in law for the first time that ‘ a key purpose ’ of prisons is to reform , as well as punish , offenders . Prison governors will ‘ take control ’ of budgets for health , education and employment , the government says , ( DDN , June 2016 , page 5 ), and ‘ will be held to account ’ for getting people off drugs and into work . Recent figures showed that deaths , suicides and assaults in the prison system all reached record numbers last year ( DDN , February , page 4 ). Prison and courts bill at http :// services . parliament . uk / bills / 2016- 17 / prisonsandcourts . html
De Lima has conducted investigations into Duterte ’ s involvement in extra judicial killings .
PHONY WAR
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH ( HRW ) is calling on authorities in the Philippines to drop ‘ politically motivated ’ charges against senator Leila de Lima , one of the few lawmakers openly critical of president Duterte ’ s violent ‘ war on drugs ’. Charges have been filed against de Lima for alleged violations of the country ’ s drug laws , and if convicted she faces between 12 years and life in prison . De Lima has previously conducted investigations into Duterte ’ s involvement in extrajudicial killings and links to death squads . HRW has also issued a report claiming that Philippine police are ‘ routinely ’ killing drug suspects in cold blood then falsifying evidence by planting drugs , guns and ammunition at the scene . License to kill : Philippine police killings in Duterte ’ s ‘ war on drugs ’ at www . hrw . org
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