Drink and Drugs News DDN December 2018 - Page 21

MEDIA SAVVY Wales. A cautious note of optimism is struck by the fact that, while previous increases had been ‘statistically significant’, rates since 2015 are only increasing slightly and remain ‘broadly stable’. Fentanyl- related deaths continue to rise, however, and deaths related to cocaine have now increased for six years in a row. The news, and the skews, in the national media NOVEMBER SEPTEMBER As a WHO report states that one in 20 global deaths are now caused by alcohol, PHE launches its ‘Drink Free Days’ campaign in collaboration with Drinkaware as a ‘clear to follow, positive and achievable’ way for middle-aged drinkers to reduce their health risk. Partnering with the industry-funded body, however, leads to concern from some in the treatment sector and the resignation of PHE’s alcohol leadership board co- chair Sir Ian Gilmore. Scotland pledges a ‘person-centred, health approach’ in its new drug strategy, Rights, respect and recovery. Meanwhile, the impact of price increases associated with ongoing buprenorphine supply problems continues to be felt, compounded, as PHE’s Pete Burkinshaw tells DDN, by ‘the financial pressures local authorities and services are currently under. We will continue to do everything we possibly can.’ August: Fentanyl- related deaths continue to rise, and deaths related to cocaine have now increased for six years in a row. OCTOBER Canada becomes the second, and largest, country to legalise the recreational use of cannabis, with justice minister Jody Wilson- Raybould stating that this ‘progressive public policy’ would help keep cannabis ‘out of the hands of youth and profits out of the pockets of criminals’. www.drinkanddrugsnews.com DECEMBER As the year comes to close preparations are well underway to bring people together for DDN’s 2019 conference, Keep on Moving. See you on 21 February! IN THE UK, ALCOHOL IS A NATIONAL TREASURE. While advocates against the status quo should continue to unroll startling health data to the public, we have another task that is equally im - portant: dismantling the glorification of alcohol. Regulating the messages on billboards and products and, more perniciously, on card racks and in gift shops. The messages on t-shirts, candles, coasters, and fridge magnets; everywhere you look. The endorsement and enabling of binge drinking sells, because so many of us do it. Catherine Gray, Lancet , 1 November October next year. I haven’t seen a single good reason for the delay… In the welter of negativity about politics, it is easy to forget that many politicians have principles, and that some of them are even prepared to stand by them. My view is that most politicians are more idealistic and sincere than most people think. Thank you to Tracey Crouch for reminding us of that. John Rentoul, Independent , 4 November ‘It is easy to forget that many politicians have principles, and that some of them are even prepared to stand by them.’ THE ADVERSE EFFECTS OF EXCESSIVE ALCOHOL ARE LEGION. The Alcohol Health Alliance, a group of more than 50 medical organisations, says 23,000 deaths a year are linked to alcohol… The unpalatable truth is that the NHS itself militates against individual responsibility because its core assumption of healthcare entitlement is a one-way street. People will only alter their risky behaviour if they have to contribute to the cost of treating the consequences. That means replacing the NHS with some kind of European-style social insurance system, with higher premiums for self- destructive lifestyles. Melanie Phillips, Times , 6 November GAMBLING IS A SIMPLE BUT SOCIALLY WASTEFUL BUSINESS where the amount of money made by the industry varies according to the losses made by the punters. And when it becomes addictive – as it often does – there are higher healthcare, welfare and criminal justice bills to be paid. The government will never eradicate problem gambling but it can take steps to minimise it. Larry Elliott, Guardian , 8 November TRACEY CROUCH, THE SPORTS MINISTER, earned widespread admiration this week for her principled resignation over gambling machines. She wants a law to cut the maximum stake from £100 every 20 seconds to £2, and was furious when Philip Hammond in the Budget announced it would be delayed until THANKS TO THE ‘COUNTY LINES’ BUSINESS MODEL of the gangs, huge quantities of coke are now flooding Britain’s market towns and villages, bringing bloodshed in their wake. As the wave of violence sweeps the UK, those who snort this drug cannot maintain their moral blindspot. Clare Foges, Sun , 7 November December/January 2019 | drinkanddrugsnews | 21