Following advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), the Home Office has placed a temporary class drug order on two “legal” highs – Benzo Fury and NBOMe. From the 10th of June it will be illegal to manufacture, import or supply the substances but not to possess them.
A legal high is an unregulated psychoactive substance which is sold as a legal alternative to another substance, usually illegal. Benzo Fury has a similar effect on the user as amphetamines such as speed whilst NBOMe is a psychedelic, resembling LSD.
The ACMD will now have 12 months to decide whether they should be placed under permanent control under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
With summer (allegedly…) here, police forces nationwide are launching their summer anti drink drive campaigns.
Throughout June additional checks will be made using both marked and unmarked police patrols. This will involve both marked and unmarked police patrols at all times of the day. Particular attention being placed on early morning checks, for drivers still under the influence of alcohol from the night before.
Members of the public are also being encouraged to report drivers if they suspect someone is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The current drink-drive limit in the UK is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
Evidence has been found that alcohol misuse by those over 65 is on the increase. As a result the Big Lottery Fund (part of the National Lottery) have confirmed that they are contributing £25m into a national fund, aimed at dealing with the issue of alcohol misuse for this age group.
There are a number of reasons why the elderly may be inclined to drink more - loss of a loved one, loneliness, retirement, insomnia, illness or pain are all known to be contributory factors.
The problems with drinking to excess at an older age are insignificantly increased, not least because of the fact that the body becomes less tolerant of alcohol the older we get. Alcohol is not broken down as effectively meaning that an older person is likely to feel the effects more quickly which increases the possibly of falls and injury. Recent evidence showed that 8% of the number of people admitted to A&E with alcohol related injuries were aged 65 and over.
NHS figures released this week show a significant increase in the the number of alcohol related hospital admissions in the last decade.
The data relates to England and confirms that in 2011/12 there were 200,900 admissions where the primary diagnosis was attributable to the consumption of alcohol, compared to the 2010/11 figure of 198,900. The figure in 2002/03 was 142,000. These figures reflect a 41% in less than 10 years.
Since 2003 there has been a 73% increase in the number of drug prescriptions for the treatment of alcohol dependency, from 102,741 to 178,247 in 2012.
A study carried out in the US has found that tobacco and smoking featured less regularly in films released between 1996-2009 however on-screen alcohol use has increased significantly. In 1988, as part of the The Master Settlement Agreement tobacco companies ended payments for tobacco brand placements in movies. No agreement is in place regarding alcohol.
Researchers from the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire reviewed 1400 films, the top 100 releases from 1996-2009. Of those films, 906 were aimed at youth audiences and 494 for adults. In total the reviewers found a total of 500 tobacco brand appearances and 2,433 alcohol brand appearances.
Concern is rising that people, particulary children are influenced by what they see on screen and therefore may be encouraged to drink alcohol as it appears “normal” to do so. A spokesperson for the study said ”Children who see smoking in the movies are more likely to initiate smoking, I think there is some concern that that may hold true for alcohol as well.”