Hiding in Plain Sight: Understanding Alcohol Abuse, Addiction and Dependency

Alcohol-related illness creates a huge cost for the NHS and causes considerable harm not only to the those who are drinking, but also to their family and friends. However, among many, perceptions around the ‘normal’ intake of alcohol are far from the recommended maximum units and there is little understanding of the phrases used to explain alcohol-related illnesses.

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Spice: The Ongoing Public Health Emergency

Referred to by one English Police and Crime Commissioner as “the most severe public health issue we have faced in decades”, Spice is one of a group of synthetic cannabinoids whose notoriety is growing by the day.

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Don’t underestimate the role of childhood experiences in the development of substance use issues.

Today is World Mental Health Awareness Day and, this year, the focus is on children and young people’s mental health. According to the World Health Organisation, half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, and, unsurprisingly, the “harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs among adolescents is a major issue”. 

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Conference 2018 slides

View the presentation slides from our 2018 conference on the theme of creating lasting behaviour change, including slides from: Dr Henrietta Bowden Jones, Danny Hames, Dr Luke Mitcheson, Dr Dima Abdulrahim, Viv Evans OBE and Rob Eyers.

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On publication of ONS’ data showing drug-poisoning-related deaths in England and Wales highest in 24 years of study, NHS SMPA’s Emily Finch talked to BBC Radio 4 about the challenges facing services.

“The first thing we have to remember is that every death represents a huge loss for a family, loss of a son or daughter, parent or sibling, so this is really affecting people.”

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NHS Substance Use Inpatient Network, Public Health England & Department for Health and Social Care met to discuss diminishing medically managed detox provision.

Meeting with PHE and DHSC offered an opportunity to examine the specific challenges that NHS detox facilities face within the current economic climate and commissioning arrangements.

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Commissioners and Providers must work together to find innovative solutions: Richard Roberts on key points from #EXCO2018.

The needs of long-term heroin users are increasingly complex. Additionally, trends showing a rise in the prevalence of crack, the use of new Psychoactive Substances (NPS) (particularly in the prison and homelessness populations), and the threat of Fentanyl provide significant challenges for commissioners. It is crucial that in future, commissioners procure services that are able to respond effectively.

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How can we provide strong, effective and relevant services to crack cocaine users?

Leaving aside the debates in the media regarding Police numbers and budgets, I was drawn to growing concerns regarding the prevalence and purity of crack cocaine in UK markets, and consequently its link to increasing levels of serious violence across the country.

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Market Failure and the Funding Crisis in Substance Misuse Treatment: NHS SMPA’s Dr David Manley comments on key points made at InterAction 2018

While cuts are reportedly at 30%, they are as high as 45% in some local areas. This has led to diminishing support for people with complex multiple needs associated with their substance use, and a shift from systemic (integrated) provision to simple service provision in many areas of the UK.

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Public Health England announce a new £4.5million fund aimed at supporting children and parents affected by alcohol.

With an estimated 200,000 children affected by alcohol in England, this investment is well needed and NHS SMPA sincerely welcome it.  However, there is much more to do than this funding will allow, so this needs to be the start point for investment in this area, not the end.

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Inspiring evidence-led approach in Derby reduces service users’ risk of accidental overdose.

The establishment of the HIT Team has had a significant impact on reducing the numbers of drug-related deaths locally, and shows the value (both qualitatively and financially) of innovative, joined-up, evidence-based approaches to substance misuse services.

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