The synthetic opioids claiming lives in the UK
The Briefing Room
by BBC Radio 4
1w ago
Deaths from synthetic opioids such as nitazenes and fentanyl are low in the UK but there are fears the problem could escalate and that figures don't show the true picture of the situation. David Aaronovitch explores how dangerous these drugs are, why the opioid crisis is so bad in the US, where they come from and why a shortage of heroin in the UK could mean drug cartels switch to supplying these often fatal alternatives. Guests: Rick Treble, Forensic chemist, and advisor to the Government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. Dr Caroline Copeland, Director of the National Programme on Su ..read more
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The crisis in dentistry: why is it happening and what should we do about it?
The Briefing Room
by BBC Radio 4
2w ago
This week a great queue of dentistless Bristolians appeared outside a new practice offering NHS treatment. That followed a report on children’s health which specifically referenced the poor and worsening state of their teeth. This week the government announced a package to try and improve things in England. But did it go anything like far enough to solve the problems of too few dentists being willing or able to treat NHS patients? David Aaronovitch is joined by the following experts: Beccy Baird, Senior Fellow, the King’s Fund Ian Mills, Dentist and Associate Professor of Primary Care Dentistr ..read more
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What’s the point of Ofsted?
The Briefing Room
by BBC Radio 4
3w ago
This week the Education Select Committee said that Ofsted and the Government must rebuild trust and make major changes to school inspections. This follows months of news coverage of the death of Ruth Perry, the headteacher who killed herself following an Ofsted inspection at her primary school. The coroner ruled that it contributed to her death. This week we ask - what’s the point of Ofsted? David is joined by the following experts: Sam Freedman, senior fellow at the Institute for Government John Jerrim, Professor of Education and Social Statistics, at UCL Carole Willis, Chief Executive, Natio ..read more
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Is the UK prepared for more floods?
The Briefing Room
by BBC Radio 4
1M ago
The UK is experiencing more rain and more floods than previously, and because of climate change this is set to get worse. More than 6 million homes are at risk of flooding in the UK. What is the state of the country’s flood defences? Can people get insurance? What can we do to prepare for a wetter future? David Aaronovitch is joined by the following experts: Louise Slater, Professor of Hydroclimatology at the University of Oxford Edmund Penning-Rowsell, Research Associate at Oxford University Centre for the Environment Hannah Cloke, Professor of Hydrology at the University of Reading Steven Fo ..read more
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Why is local government in such trouble?
The Briefing Room
by BBC Radio 4
1M ago
It’s been another difficult week for local government. Birmingham City Council announced it needs to make up to 600 redundancies to help balance its books and Middlesbrough Council decided to apply to the Government for £15m of emergency funding to avoid effective bankruptcy. Also this week new figures have been released showing just how much debt some local authorities hold. And it’s a lot. Since 2021 there have been six councils which have declared themselves effectively bankrupt. Given the responsibilities of local government that feels serious for many of us. So what are the financial pres ..read more
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Israel-Gaza: Is it turning into a regional conflict?
The Briefing Room
by BBC Radio 4
1M ago
As if the conflict in Gaza wasn’t bad enough, the fighting has ignited old and new tensions elsewhere across the region. Since the surprise attack by Hamas on 7th October, clashes on the Lebanon-Israel border have restarted, attacks on US troops stationed in Syria and Iraq have escalated and a group of Houthi armed rebels from Yemen has started firing rockets at cargo ships trying to access the Suez Canal from the Red Sea. So in this week’s programme David Aaronovitch asks how close the war in Gaza is to becoming a wider conflict across the Middle East. David is joined by the following experts ..read more
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Brexit: Could we rejoin the EU even if we wanted to?
The Briefing Room
by BBC Radio 4
1M ago
It’s almost 4 years since the UK left the European Union. Recent polls show a majority of people want to re-join the EU. But is this a realistic option? So in this week’s programme David Aaronovitch asks could we re-join the EU if we wanted? If we did, would it be of any benefit to the UK? And under what terms would the EU have us back? David is joined by the following experts: Peter Foster, Public Policy Editor at Financial Times Mujtaba Rahman, Managing Director for Europe at Eurasia Group who advise investors on political risk Jill Rutter a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Government who d ..read more
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Aliens: Are we closer to finding intelligent life beyond Earth?
The Briefing Room
by BBC Radio 4
2M ago
Aliens are back on the radar after a US Congressional hearing in the summer that featured former intelligence officer, David Grusch. The US Air Force veteran was once part of a task force created to look into what used to be called UFOs. Mr Grusch gave evidence that caused a sensation in America, claiming that the US military had, for decades, been in possession of crashed UFOs and 'non-human biologics'. His shocking claims were evidence that, whatever their accuracy, both created and reflected a growing and serious debate - from astrophysicists and astrobiologists to policymakers about what i ..read more
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What can the UK learn from other countries about assisted dying?
The Briefing Room
by BBC Radio 4
2M ago
Euthanasia is illegal in the UK. All attempts to change the law have failed. Other countries have legalised assisted dying and/or euthanasia. In this week’s Briefing Room with David Aaronovitch we find out what their experience has been and what, if anything, the UK could learn from that. Joining David on the programme are: - Imogen Goold, professor of medical law at University of Oxford - Agnes van der Heide, Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam - Thaddeus Pope, Professor, Health Law Institute, Mitchell Hamline School of Law (Minnesota, USA) - Richard Huxtable, professor of medical ..read more
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Ukraine: what's the counter-offensive latest?
The Briefing Room
by BBC Radio 4
2M ago
The start of Ukraine’s counter-offensive against occupying Russian forces was hailed as the breakthrough moment of the war so far. Now six months on, we ask what happened? The Secretary General of NATO has said we should be ‘prepared for bad news’ and the White House has warned that the US is running out of time and money to fund the war. In this week's Briefing Room with David Aaronovitch we find out why things haven’t progressed as hoped and how much Ukraine’s key backers still support the war. Joining David to discuss are: Shashank Joshi - Defence Editor at The Economist Michael Clarke - Pr ..read more
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