Drink and Drugs News November 2016 - Page 4

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GLASGOW CONSIDERS CASE FOR UK ’ S FIRST CONSUMPTION ROOM

GLASGOW COULD BECOME THE SITE OF THE UK ’ S FIRST CONSUMPTION ROOM , after the Glasgow City Joint Integration Board officially approved the development of a business case .
A full business case for both a consumption room and heroinassisted treatment will now be drawn up , and formally considered when the board meets in February . Any facility established in the city should also offer wraparound services such as counselling , primary health care and advice on issues like housing and welfare , however , according to a working group established by the local alcohol and drug partnership ( ADP ) ( DDN , July / August , page 4 ). This would help maximise engagement with the target population and increase ‘ the potential for harm reduction ’, the group said .
The working group reviewed how existing consumption room services operated in places like Europe , Canada and Australia , as well as considering feedback from stakeholders . A detailed costing of the facility will now be carried out , alongside a consultation with local residents and businesses to identify a location .
There are an estimated 5,500 people who inject drugs in Glasgow , according to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde , with around 500 ‘ very vulnerable ’ people injecting in public places around the city centre . Last year the city saw a spike in new HIV infections – 47 compared with the ‘ previously consistent ’ annual average of ten – and also recorded more than 150 drug-related deaths , while police and community safety teams regularly deal with problems associated with discarded needles .
The ADP said it would now develop a ‘ robust ’ case to support the development of the service , which is likely to prove controversial . ‘ Today ' s decision marks real progress towards delivering a service model that meets the needs of this small , but very vulnerable , group ,’ said the partnership ’ s vice chair Dr Emilia Crighton . ‘ We are now one step closer to catching up with other countries in the way we tackle this problem . This public injecting group has high rates of hospital admissions , incarceration and homelessness . While conventional treatment and services are effective for the majority of people , we believe this facility will make a major impact in reducing health risks and the resulting costs for this group .’
Although the ultimate goal was for users to remain drug free , until people were ‘ ready to seek and receive help to stop using drugs it is important to keep them as safe as possible while do they continue to use drugs ’, she stated .
Meanwhile , France ’ s first consumption room has been opened in Paris by health minister Marisol Touraine and the city ’ s mayor , Anne Hidalgo . Located in a hospital near the Gare du Nord , the facility is a partnership with harm reduction organisation Gaia-Paris and employs a multi-disciplinary team of 20 , with staff expecting around 200 visitors a day . Touraine called the centre a ‘ breakthrough for public health in our country ’ and ‘ an innovative and courageous response to a health emergency ’. A second facility in Strasbourg is also expected to open before the end of the year . www . glasgow . gov . uk gaia-paris . fr
OPIUM UP
AFGHAN OPIUM PRODUCTION has soared by 43 per cent compared to 2015 levels , according to UNODC ’ s latest Afghanistan opium survey . The increase – to 4,800 metric tons – was ‘ worrying ’, said UNODC executive director Yury Fedotov . While the area under opium cultivation has also risen by 10 per cent , the most important driver in the increased production is higher yield per hectare , the document explains . The country ’ s western and southern regions – which together account for 84 per cent of total poppy cultivation – have recorded increases in yield per hectare of 37 and 36 per cent respectively . Document at www . unodc . org
The Project will give ‘ a voice to a group who are poorly understood and rarely listened to ’.
PROF DAVID BEST
‘... this facility will make a major impact in reducing health risks and the resulting costs for this group .’
DR EmIlIA CRIghTOn
CONVICTION POLITICS
PRISONS ARE FAILING to rehabilitate offenders and should be radically restructured , according to the final report of the RSA ’ s ‘ Future prison ’ project ( DDN , September , page 10 , and June , page 7 ). Inconsistent political leadership has created a system that ‘ puts public safety at risk ’ says A matter of conviction : a blueprint for community-based prisons . Among a range of recommendations in the document is that a new ‘ rehabilitation duty ’ be legislated requiring prisons and probation services to track individual and institutional progress towards rehabilitation . Report at www . thersa . org
PREVENTATIVE PRIORITIES
GETTING PEOPLE BACK INTO WORK is a key way to tackle health inequalities in the North East , according to a report from NECA ( North East Combined Authority ). Last year the region recorded the highest number of drug-related deaths in the country for the third year running ( DDN , October , page 4 ) and it also experiences high rates of alcohol-related harm . The document calls for a ‘ radical shift ’ to close the health and wealth gaps with the rest of the country , including better joint working , shifting the spending focus towards prevention and developing training for primary care staff on helping people with mental health conditions back into the workplace . ‘ The entire system needs to shift its priority towards preventing poor health ,’ said PHE chief executive Duncan Selbie . Health and wealth : closing the gap in the North East at www . northeastca . gov . uk
HUMAN HARMS
ENFORCING AMERICA ’ S DRUG LAWS has caused ‘ devastating ’ and ‘ unjustifiable ’ harm to individuals and communities , says a report by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union . The document is calling for personal use and possession to be decriminalised for all drugs , as well as increased funding to improve and expand harm reduction services . Every 25 seconds : the human toll of criminalizing drug use in the US at www . hrw . org
FAMILY FOCUS
A JOINT RESEARCH PROJECT into what recovery means for the families of those with substance problems has been launched by Adfam and Sheffield Hallam University . The ‘ Family life recovery project ’ aims to map the recovery journey of family members through an in-depth survey and a series of workshops , with the results published next summer . The work would give ‘ a voice to a group who are poorly understood and rarely listened to – those who bear much of the burden of addiction and who themselves are affected by the experience ’, said project lead , Professor David Best . www . adfam . org . uk
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