Drink and Drugs News DDN Dec 2017 - Page 4

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

News

SUPREME COURT FINALLY CLEARS THE WAY FOR MINIMUM PRICING

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
UNCHARTED TERRITORY
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
STUBBING OUT
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
PEOPLE ’ S CHOICE
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 .
NEW RECRUITS
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
SIX PACK
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
4 | drinkanddrugsnews | December / January 2018 www . drinkanddrugsnews . com
News SUPREME COURT FINALLY CLEARS THE WAY FOR MINIMUM PRICING 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 PEOPLE’S CHOICE 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 4 | drinkanddrugsnews | December/January 2018 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 PRofessoR pain and heartache of losing a loved one’. The sIR IAn GIlmoRe spotlight should now fall on England, where ‘cheap alcohol is also causing considerable damage,’ he added. ‘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 alcohol- related 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.’ ‘A great victory for the health of the public.’ 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. NEW RECRUITS A PROPOSAL for a drug and alcohol practitioner apprenticeship level 4 qualification has been put to the Institute for Apprenticeships by the FDAP- coordinated ‘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 year to make sure it meets the needs of employers. 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