Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England

This report contains results from a survey of secondary school pupils in England in years 7 to 11. 12,051 pupils in 177 schools completed questionnaires in the autumn term of 2016. | NHS Digital

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This survey report presents information on the percentage of pupils who have ever smoked, tried alcohol or taken drugs and their attitudes towards these behaviours.  It also includes breakdowns by age, gender, ethnicity and region.

Other areas covered include the use of new psychoactive substances (also known as legal highs), beliefs about drinking, whether pupils had ever got drunk and consequences of drinking. Questions on the use of nitrous oxide have also been asked for the first time.

Key Facts

In 2016

  • 19 per cent of 11-15 year old pupils had ever smoked, which is similar to 2014
  • 44 per cent of pupils had ever drunk alcohol
  • 24 per cent of pupils reported they had ever taken drugs. This compares to 15 per cent in 2014. Part of the increase since 2014 may be explained by the addition of questions on nitrous oxide and new psychoactive substances. After allowing for this however, it still represents a large increase. Therefore an estimate from the next survey in 2018 is required before we can be confident that these survey results reflect a genuine trend in the wider population. In the meantime the results for drug taking from this survey should be treated with caution.
  • 3 per cent of pupils were regular smokers, 10 per cent had drunk alcohol in the last week and 10 per cent had taken drugs in the last month.

Full report: Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England – 2016: Report

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How alcohol and drug treatment helps to reduce crime

Report re-affirms how important drug treatment is in cutting crime, as well as preventing alcohol and drug-related deaths and helping people recover from dependence. | Ministry of Justice | Public Health England

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In England, almost 300,000 adults get help for drug and alcohol dependency each year. Most people receiving drug treatment are addicted to heroin or crack cocaine, or both, and many commit crimes to fund their addiction.

New analysis published last week by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has added to the evidence of how alcohol and drug treatment can help to prevent crime.

The analysis revealed that:

  • In 2012, nearly 133,000 people started treatment for drugs and alcohol, 35% of which had a criminal conviction recorded against them in the two years previous
  • Overall 44% of people in treatment hadn’t offended again two years after starting treatment
  • The number of recorded offences by people in treatment fell by a third over the two years, from 129,000 to 86,500
  • People who had been in prison before starting treatment, and those who dropped out and came back to treatment, were more likely to reoffend
  • People who successfully completed their treatment, or were still in treatment at the end of the two years, were less likely to reoffend

Full story at Public Health England

Full report: The impact of community-based drug and alcohol treatment on re-offending

The Role of Nurses in Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services

Guidance for commissioners, providers and clinicians on the roles of nurses in alcohol and drug treatment in England. | Public Health England

This resource describes the many potential roles of nurses in alcohol and drug treatment in England to help commissioners and providers of specialist adult alcohol and drug treatment services to recruit the right workforce to meet local needs.

The document outlines:

  • The roles of nurses working in alcohol and drug treatment including the contribution they can make to health and social care outcomes
  • The added value nurses can bring to alcohol and drug treatment
  • The competences and skills that should be expected of nurses working in alcohol and drug treatment
  • What is required to develop and maintain these competences

Full document: The Role of Nurses in Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services:  A resource for commissioners, providers and clinicians

Alcohol, drugs and tobacco: commissioning support pack

Annually updated alcohol, drugs and tobacco commissioning support pack for local authorities | Public Health England

This commissioning support pack will help local authorities to develop joint strategic needs assessment and local joint health and wellbeing strategies which effectively address public health issues relating to alcohol, drug and tobacco use.

The pack covers 4 topics, which are:

  • planning alcohol harm prevention, treatment and recovery in adults
  • planning drugs prevention, treatment and recovery in adults
  • planning comprehensive interventions for young people
  • planning comprehensive local tobacco control interventions

For each of these topics, there are:

  • a set of good practice principles and indicators to help local areas assess need and plan and commission effective services and interventions
  • bespoke data for each local area to help them commission effective services and interventions

Documents available via Public Health England

New resource to reduce alcohol stigma

New e-learning programme  developed for NHS healthcare professionals to reduce the stigma faced by patients with alcohol problems.

A package of training materials, including facilitator’s notes, are included in a new e-learning programme, which aims to help health professionals to have a better understanding of alcohol dependency and to improve longer-term outcomes for patients.

The resources will be of interest to health and social care staff who come in to contact with patients with alcohol problems in either: hospital, primary care or community settings.

A new film also complements the e-learning package and uses emotional and thought-provoking real stories voiced by patients to highlight the problems they face.

Access the free Alcohol Stigma e-learning programme here.

How alcohol industry organisations mislead the public about alcohol and cancer

Alcohol consumption increases the risk of several types of cancer, including several common cancers | Drug and Alcohol Review

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As part of their corporate social responsibility activities, the alcohol industry (AI) disseminates information about alcohol and cancer. We examined the information on this which the AI disseminates to the public through its ‘social aspects and public relations organizations’ and related bodies. The aim of the study was to determine its comprehensiveness and accuracy.

Most of the organisations were found to disseminate misrepresentations of the evidence about the association between alcohol and cancer. Three main industry strategies were identified:

  1.  denial/omission: denying, omitting or disputing the evidence that alcohol consumption increases cancer risk.
  2. distortion: mentioning cancer, but misrepresenting the risk.
  3. distraction: focussing discussion away from the independent effects of alcohol on common cancers. Breast cancer and colorectal cancer appeared to be a particular focus for this misrepresentation.

Full reference: Petticrew, M. et al. (2017) How alcohol industry organisations mislead the public about alcohol and cancer. Drug and Alcohol Review. Published online: 7 Septmeber 2017

Alcohol: applying All Our Health

Evidence and guidance to help healthcare professionals reduce alcohol-related harm | Public Health England

Public Health England have updated their evidence and guidance pages to reflect the correct number of adults drinking at levels that pose risk to their health.

Alcohol-related harm is a major health problem. Reducing alcohol-related harm is one of the key indicators in health improvement.

31% of men and 16% of women in England drink alcohol in a way that presents increasing risk or potential harm to their health and wellbeing. This proportion is higher for the 15 to 64 age group.  The Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 revealed that, in England, alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for early death, ill health and disability for those aged 15 to 49 years. For all ages it is the fifth most important.

Up to 17 million working days are lost annually through absences caused by drinking; up to 20 million are lost through loss of employment or reduced employment opportunities.

Public Health England’s alcohol learning resources provides online resources and learning for commissioners, planners and practitioners working to reduce alcohol-related harm.

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Image source: http://www.gov.uk

Read more at Public Health England