All posts by Raf

Health bodies call for drugs to be decriminalised

Two leading public health organisations have called for the possession and personal use of all illegal drugs to be decriminalised in the UK.

The Royal Society for Public Health and the Faculty of Public Health said the government’s approach to drugs policy had failed.

There should be a greater focus on treatment and education, they added.

The Home Office defended its record, saying drug misuse had declined over the past 10 years.

The report, called Taking A New Line On Drugs, said criminal sanctions failed to deter illegal drug use, undermined people’s life chances and could act as a barrier to addicts coming forward for help.

It called for a “sea change in approach” and said the UK should adopt the Portuguese system under which people caught using drugs were offered treatment and support rather than being punished.

However, dealers and suppliers would still be prosecuted.
‘New approach’

The report also suggested that drugs education be made mandatory, and that responsibility for drugs policy be moved from the Home Office to the Department of Health.

Those who misuse drugs are in need of treatment and support – not criminals in need of punishment
Shirley Cramer, Royal Society for Public Health

Royal Society for Public Health chief executive Shirley Cramer said: “For too long, UK and global drugs strategies have pursued reductions in drug use as an end in itself, failing to recognise that harsh criminal sanctions have pushed vulnerable people in need of treatment to the margins of society, driving up harm to health and wellbeing even as overall use falls.

“On many levels, in terms of the public’s health, the ‘war on drugs’ has failed.

“The time has come for a new approach, where we recognise that drug use is a health issue, not a criminal justice issue, and that those who misuse drugs are in need of treatment and support – not criminals in need of punishment.”

Baroness Molly Meacher, speaking on behalf of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform, welcomed the report.

She said the current system “criminalises some users of psychoactive drugs whilst very harmful psychoactive drugs including alcohol and tobacco remain legal”.

A Home Office spokesman said: “The UK’s approach on drugs remains clear – we must prevent drug use in our communities and support people dependent on drugs through treatment and recovery.

“At the same time, we have to stop the supply of illegal drugs and tackle the organised crime behind the drugs trade.”

The spokesman said there had been a drop in drug misuse over the past decade and more people were recovering from dependency now than in 2009-10.

Come join us for Recovery Month 12 and 13 September

Women’s Theatre

12 September 5pm
61 Munster Road, SW6 5RE
“Hush-a-bye baby, don’t say a word
good little girls should been seen and not heard”
The Payne Family are keeping secrets, even from each other. The plot’s thickening, the pressure’s building and the lid’s about to be blown clean off!
(All resemblance to anyone you know is purely coincidental)

Annual General Meeting

We would like to invite you to attend our AGM on
13 September from 7pm.
Munster Road
An opportunity to hear about the plans for the company, meet the board and see our latest production
Unfinished Business

OET Company

Unfinished Business
Megan has just left treatment for her substance misuse. Although her recovery is apparently stabilised, getting back into her life sparks a sequence of events that threatens to push her into past behaviours.
Touring to treatments centres as part of codependency awareness and relapse prevention. A 35min piece followed by a 30 minute workshop. If you are intrested in booking the show please contact Siva Zagel, Creative Producer, at

PwC paid internships for women returning to work

Have you been out of the workplace for more than 2 years? Are you looking to work in or return to Professional Services?

We’re looking for talented women who want to work for an organisation that welcomes a diverse and flexible workforce supporting its people throughout their career.

Back to Business is a 16 week paid senior internship programme, starting in November 2016, aiming to encourage senior professional women to restart their career after an extended break.

This programme supports our diversity and inclusion agenda of increasing the proportion of its senior female talent, but is open to all.

What’s in it for you?

We know that returning to work after a long break may not be easy, so we want to make this as successful and enjoyable for you as possible. The programme is designed to help you transition back into the work environment and give you an opportunity to upgrade your skills. Our Back to Business programme will provide:

· A week long induction with your peers

· A dedicated Partner Sponsor

· A member of your assigned team to shadow and help you with your initial transition back

· The opportunity to work on real client projects

· Touch points throughout the programme to see how you are getting on

· Potential opportunities to become permanent at the end of the programme

The programme will also give you the opportunity to develop new relationships, broaden your professional networks and meet with other programme participants, as well as people in your respective business area.

You’ll have a chance to make a real impact and contribute to our business with continued support throughout. You’ll also have opportunities to explore careers at PwC and broaden your professional network.

At the end of the 16 weeks there may be an opportunity to become permanent depending on your performance and your desire to continue with us.

For further information visit the website

Recently Published Report Shows Use Of Drugs & Alcohol In Children

A recently published report shows that children as young as five years old are using alcohol, tobacco and other drugs in Antigua.

That data is however three years old as the survey which turned up the finding was done since 2013 and is only now being released.

Observer Media’s Kieron Murdoch reports that the head of the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy has attributed the delay to the many channels the report had to go through before publication.

The report provides statistics about the patterns of drug use among local secondary school students as well as access to drugs and the perception of harm from drugs.

ONDCP Director, Lieutenant Colonel Edward Croft says the data Data had to be analyzed and go to the appropriate ministries for them to address any concerns…before the document was published.

The report has revealed that alcohol and marijuana are the choice drugs among the 851 secondary school students who took the self-administered survey in 2013.

The study also shows that although more adolescents used drugs in 2013, overall, when compared with 2005, the increases for each category were relatively small.

Four hundred and 22 boys and 417 girls answered the questionnaire. They were drawn nine government secondary schools and three private institutions.

Fifty-eight per cent of the males reported using marijuana.

Just over half of all the students surveyed, considered marijuana to be quite easy to get and just under a third said they got the illegal substance from a friend.

Wetherspoon and Stonegate pubs tap into St. Peter’s non-alcoholic beer

Pub chain giants JD Wetherspoon and Stonegate will begin pouring a range of non-alcoholic beers brewed by St. Peter’s in a bid to tap into a rise in teetotalism among younger drinkers.

Suffolk brewery St. Peter’s, which already makes cask ales and bottled beers for pubs and supermarkets, has spent three years and nearly £1m developing its alcohol-free beer in a bid to counteract falling alcohol sales.

Chief executive Steve Magnall says younger drinkers “have a completely different attitude to alcohol” which the leisure industry needs to respond to. “They drink less but still want a social pint at the end of the day,” he said.

The idea began in 2013 when St. Peter’s owner John Murphy, the branding guru behind HobNobs biscuits and the Mini Metro car, was diagnosed with cancer meaning he couldn’t drink the brewer’s range of organic ale, bitter, porter and stout.

It has now signed supply deals with Stonegate, which runs 660 pubs in the UK, and JD Wetherspoon, which owns nearly 1,000 outlets, that will begin trialling the draft and bottled beers from next month.

Tesco will stock the beer later this year, as as 1,300 Nisa stores, ahead of “Dry January”, an informal event when people give up alcohol for the month to either detox or raise money for charity.

Around 21pc of Britons are now teetotal, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which has crept up from 19pc five years ago, partly due to growing ethnic diversity but also a broader change in drinking habits.

Although binge drinking is a recognised problem among young people, they are also far less likely to drink alcohol as an age group – around half of 16 to 24 year-olds (48pc) will have had a drink in the past week, compared with two-thirds of 45-64 year-olds, ONS figures show.

Mr Magnall said that the drinks market is rapidly moving towards lower-calorie and soft drinks. “But blokes in particular want to stand there holding a pint in their hand, not an orange juice or a coke,” he said.

St. Peter’s’ “Without” range, which turns out around 200,000 bottles a month, is made using a tightly-guarded brewing process that Mr Magnall says is different from versions already on the market, such as Becks Blue, where the alcohol is stripped from the beer during the alkalisation process.

“This process makes the beer very thin,” he said. “But our drink feels like you’re drinking a beer, looks like a beer, and tastes like a beer.”

It currently makes up 10pc of the £4m-turnover brewery’s output, with all 16 of its brewers required to sign a non-disclosure agreement to keep the brewing process a secret.

At 0.009pc alcohol, according to the brewery’s latest test, Mr Magnall says there is more alcohol in a glass of orange juice than a bottle of Without.

St. Peter’s brewery, which also has a gluten-free beer range, posted £3.8m sales in the year to February 28 2015, according to the latest available results, and a £44,800 pre-tax loss.