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The Impact of Alcohol on Health and Society – 17th November 2015, Glaziers Hall, London


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Alcohol Concern’s Annual Conference, ‘The impact of alcohol on health and society’, will be this year’s key event for everyone with a professional interest in alcohol issues, from local authorities to the police, from public health professionals to those who work in the social care system.



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5th National Recovery Conference 2015 


Addaction’s 5th National Recovery Conference is taking place at the impressive Macron Stadium in Bolton on 19 and 20 November. The event is free for people in recovery, and subsidised for professionals working in the drug and alcohol treatment sector.




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UK news

Boosters needed for brief advice to cut drinking of young emergency patients

Analysis of the only four randomised trials of brief alcohol interventions among young adults receiving emergency care after getting drunk tentatively suggested that booster sessions or later advice are needed to reduce drinking - but were these real-world emergency department interventions? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Small change to preventive messages could prompt heavy drinkers to seek help

‘Social norm’ interventions which aim to reduce consumption by telling heavy drinkers how their drinking compares to their peer group have a patchy record, but this British study suggests for students they might be improved by ranking against peers (eg, ‘You drink more than 80% of students’) rather than comparing how many units of alcohol they consume | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

New guidelines of CAYT repository of impact studies (PDF)

“Evidence-based” practice – meaning “best practice” or “with well-supported evidence” – is a crucial element in policy development and the implementation of programmes in the prevention field. When selecting prevention programmes for young people, policy makers, practitioners and health and education professionals need easy access to reliable and independently validated information | Mentor - CAYT, UK

Six reported after Galashiels drugs operation

Six people are expected to appear in court as part of an ongoing drugs operation in Galashiels | BBC, UK

Put warning labels on smartphones to prevent digital addiction, say researchers

Smartphones and tablets should carry warning labels like alcohol and cigarettes, research has claimed | Telegraph, UK


International news

'Cocaine' prank sees US student jailed for two days

Officials at the University of Miami were far from amused when they found lines of powdered sugar on the kitchen counter of Jonathan Harrington's student digs and called the police | Independent, UK

American prisons to free 6,000 drug traffickers in biggest-ever inmate release

October 30 will see 6,000 drug dealers freed from American jails as the country struggles to cope with the world's largest prison population | Telegraph, UK

Five held in Paris over 'devils breath' zombie drug in second sting in weeks

Police arrest five Chinese nationals in Paris on suspicion of blowing scopolamine, a powerful "hypnotic" drug, into strangers' faces" | Telegraph, UK

Antarctic scientists face breathalyser tests due to alcohol-fuelled fighting and 'indecent exposure'

Audit of two Antarctic bases run by United States heard that alcohol was fuelling “unpredictable behaviour”, with calls to deploy breathalysers | Telegraph, UK

EU officials in hot water over big tobacco link

EU officials were guilty of maladministration because they failed to be “open” about meetings with tobacco company lobbyists, the European Ombudsman has found | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Global Standards for quality health care services for adolescents

Global initiatives are urging countries to prioritize quality as a way of reinforcing human rights-based approaches to health. Yet evidence from both high- and low-income countries shows that services for adolescents are highly fragmented, poorly coordinated and uneven in quality. Pockets of excellent practice exist, but, overall, services need significant improvement and should be brought into conformity with existing guidelines | WHO, Switzerland

FDA's new anti-smoking campaign uses hip-hop to target youth

Government health officials are betting they can adapt the sounds, style and swagger of hip-hop culture to discourage young African Americans, Hispanics and other minority youths from using tobacco | Medical Xpress, USA

Colorado marijuana users sue grower over fungicide

Two Colorado marijuana users have sued a cannabis grower claiming a "patently dangerous" agricultural fungicide that becomes poisonous when ignited was applied without their knowledge to pot plants they later smoked, court documents showed on Monday | Reuters, USA

Risk profiling is key to managing pain in era of opioid abuse

Patients undergoing rehabilitation for physical injuries and their physicians can better understand who is most at risk of abusing opioids by reviewing their family history, lifestyle and environment for critical cues about susceptibility to addiction | Science Daily, USA

Survival Tactics and Strategies of Methamphetamine-Using HIV-Positive Men Who Have Sex with Men in San Diego

In this article, two ways that HIV-positive drug users survive under the supervision of law enforcement agencies, community health organizations, and social welfare offices are differentiated | PLOS One, USA

A Review of the Statistical and Quantitative Methods Used to Study Alcohol-Attributable Crime

Modelling the relationship between alcohol consumption and crime generates new knowledge for crime prevention strategies | PLOS One, USA

New NDARC resource provides heroin dependence treatment information

A new information kit developed by researchers at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at UNSW provides a step by step guide to the evidence for medically assisted treatment for heroin dependence as well as answering commonly asked questions | NDARC, Australia

Mental As: How illicit drugs and alcohol affect a person living with mental illness

Stronger versions of illicit drugs, such as crystallised methamphetamines or 'ice', are causing increased difficulty in the treatment of patients, mental health experts say | ABC News, Australia

When drug abuse is a symptom of a bigger problem

There’s a belief that you can’t treat substance abuse until the person with the issue is ready to do something about it. But when mental health issues are also involved, it’s a more complicated treatment process | Perth Now, Australia

Children to be first to try medicinal cannabis in Victoria once legalised

Children suffering severe epilepsy will be among the first to be treated using a range of non-smokable marijuana products including oils, sprays and vaporisers | Herald Sun, Australia

Victoria to grow its own medical marijuana

Victoria is set to become the first state in Australia to legalise marijuana cultivation to treat serious medical conditions including cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy and chronic pain | Age, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Naloxone – what the new legislation changes mean

Kate Halliday, SMMGP Programme Lead, discusses the recent legislation changes which make naloxone more readily available for those that need it | SMMGP, UK

Lessons from Boston: enforcement built around support, compassion and understanding

Much our sector’s work in the criminal justice system focuses on breaking a cycle of interlinked offending and substance misuse. Burdened with a criminal record and without stable employment or a strong support network, people can often relapse from their recovery and from there find themselves back in custody. But if we want to radically reduce reoffending, we also need to commit to working with those at risk of committing an offence before a crime has been committed | Simon Antrobus Blog, UK

Should women abstain from alcohol throughout pregnancy?

Everyone agrees that current advice on alcohol is inconsistent and confusing, but whereas Mary Mather and Kate Wiles conclude we should move to a clear recommendation to abstain, Patrick O’Brien thinks it is wrong to assume pregnant women cannot understand the evidence | BMJ, UK

Barbara O’Donnell: Together we can cut deaths from alcohol

Drinking patterns vary around the world, but rising consumption is a problem in many countries | Scotsman, UK

What It's Like Being a Female Cocaine Boss

Walking up the slopes of Rio's Rocinha favela with Raquel Santos de Oliveira is a convoluted business. Every few minutes, the 50-year-old is stopped and greeted by one of the favela's characters, from drunks to old ladies to gang members. "If you ask anyone here if I was a bandida [drug dealer], they will say yes," she says. "People still respect me." | VICE, UK

After Flirting With Decriminalization, Argentina Set to Get Tough on Drugs

No matter who wins Argentina's upcoming election, it seems the country is set to diverge from its flirtation with drugs decriminalization and embark on a highly questionable and extremely dangerous strategy of militarizing its drug policy | Talking Drugs Blog, UK

Points Roundtable, “Becoming a Marihuana User”: Howard Becker

I have never been a “marijuana expert,” certainly never claimed to be such a thing. But I was, for quite a while, the only sociologist who had ever actually published anything about it | Points: Blog of the alcohol and drugs history society, USA