The world is running out of antibiotics

An analysis of the antibacterial clinical development pipeline, including tuberculosis, launched by WHO shows a serious lack of new antibiotics under development to combat the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance.

The report found very few potential treatment options for those antibiotic-resistant infections identified by WHO as posing the greatest threat to health, including drug-resistant tuberculosis which kills around 250 000 people each year.

Source: WHO | The world is running out of antibiotics, WHO report confirms

Deaths from drugs overdoses still rising

For the third year in row deaths from drugs overdose in Europe have increased, with the UK and Germany together accounting for around half of these deaths, according to the latest European Drug Report.

A total of 8,441 overdose deaths, mainly related to heroin and other opioids, are estimated to have occurred in Europe in 2015, a 6% increase on 2014. Increases were reported in almost all age groups and the UK accounted for 31% of the deaths, with Germany a distant second on 15%.

The report finds that the three European countries with the highest volume of drug online sales are Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, with stimulants, in particular MDMA and cocaine, accounting for most of the sales revenue.

For more information and to download the European Drug Report from the ec.europa.eu website

HIV & Hepatitis in Europe

There are 53 countries in the WHO European Region and within those countries there are 15 million people living with hepatitis C and 13.3 million people living with hepatitis B, the vast majority of whom are unaware of their infection and therefore at risk of developing cirrhosis or liver cancer. On average, fewer than 3% of patients with chronic hepatitis C receive treatment. In addition, there are 2.5 million people living with HIV, almost half of whom are unaware of their infection.

Safe and effective treatments exist that allow people living with HIV and/or viral hepatitis B to lead healthy and long lives. Those living with hepatitis C can be cured. Knowing your health status, however, is the prerequisite to accessing treatment and the WHO strongly supports the European HIV-Hepatitis initiative which aims to break the silence around HIV and viral hepatitis and build momentum to stop these epidemics by 2030.

Read more about HIV and Hepatitis in Europe on the euro.who.int website

Over 2 million HIV cases in Europe

The cumulative number of HIV cases in the WHO European Region has risen to a new high of more than 2 million, with 153,000 new HIV cases identified in 2015 – a 7% increase compared to the previous year and the highest annual number since reporting began in the 1980s.

A new report “HIV/AIDS surveillance in Europe 2015“, also states that 1 in 7 people living with HIV in the European Economic Area (122,000 people) are unaware of their condition.

The main transmission mode also varied by geographical area. HIV infections increased consistently among men who have sex with men in the western and central parts of the Region, while in the eastern part heterosexual transmission increased. Transmission through injecting drug use still accounted for one third of new cases in eastern European countries.

For more information about HIV/AIDS in Europe from the euro.who.int website

New psychoactive substances in Europe: challenges and solutions

The new psychoactive substances (NPS) market has increased so fast that existing drug control laws have been left behind. European countries have responded in a variety of ways: some have introduced new legal responses to NPS, based on existing consumer or health protection laws,  or laws governing medicinal products, while others have developed innovative new legislation. However, in 2014 the EU’s Court of Justice ruled that substances are not medicinal products if they do not have beneficial effects on human health, thus restricting the use of such laws for NPS control.

This report is in two parts; the first is aimed at policymakers, and lists the challenges in NPS control and the solutions adopted in selected Member States. The second part is for legal practitioners, and focuses on the judgment of the Court of Justice and its practical effects on the transnational prosecution of NPS cases, describing the responses of some of the Member States most affected by the ruling.

Download the full report on New Psychoactive Substances on the emcdda.eu website

Drug use and road safety

There is growing concern around the world about drug use and road safety.
This policy brief from WHO provides up-to-date information on drug use and road safety to support informed decisions on road safety and drug policies in WHO Member States. It focuses on drug-driving and not on drink-driving.
It proposes that drug-driving laws and programmes should be integrated into the overall drug policy frameworks. A similar approach has been used in drink-driving laws, which have been integrated into overall alcohol policies. It also points out that successful implementation of integrated policies and programmes requires effective collaboration between different sectors such as transport, police, health, drug control and education. A section of the brief offers examples of the way the public health sector can best contribute to such collaboration.
To download the policy brief on drug use and road safety from the apps.who.int website

 

HIV prevention programmes

Quality Action, a Joint Action of European Union member states, aimed to promote the health of the community by maximising the quality of HIV prevention projects and programmes.

Its final conference earlier this year brought together more than 120 representatives from governmental and non-governmental organisations to share their experiences in applying five quality improvement tools. Over a three year period, Quality Action has trained more than 400 prevention experts in use of these tools and there has been more than 80 practical applications of the tools across Europe.

The Quality Action Charter for Quality in HIV Prevention also provides key principles for reinforcing the effectiveness of HIV prevention through quality improvement.

To find out more about Quality Action on their qualityaction.eu website

Improving quality in HIV prevention

Quality Action is the EU co-funded ‘Joint Action on Improving Quality in HIV Prevention’ involving 45 partner organisations from 26 Member States.

It promotes practical tools and materials to maximise the quality of HIV prevention projects and programmes. Five practical quality improvement tools are ready, and more than 80 practical applications of the tools have been carried out and documented in case studies.

Quality Action has also developed a policy kit which offers concrete actions for integrating quality improvement into HIV prevention policies, strategies and action plans. The ‘Charter for Quality in HIV Prevention’ summarises quality principles, criteria and key activities to put quality improvement into practice and offer practitioners, experts, policy makers and all other stakeholders the opportunity to commit to improving their work in HIV prevention.

More information about Quality Action on the qualityaction.eu website

Tackling Substance Abuse

substance abuse

October 2015 – This seminar looked at some of the issues around drug and alcohol abuse and ways of reducing harm. The expert speakers looked specifically at so-called ‘legal highs’, more correctly known as ‘new pyscho-active substances’ and alcohol, particularly underage drinking.

The programme includes speaker biographies and the presentations include details of the forth-coming NPS law.

Drugs policy and the city in Europe

A paper from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction explores illicit drug problems and responses and the different forms they can take in city environments. It addresses four areas: urban spaces and drug use, responses to city-level drug problems, city-level drugs strategies, and the coordination and funding of city-level policies.

To download the paper, click here on www.emcdda.europa.eu