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UK news

FOI release: Number of drug driving convictions

Freedom of Information response for the number of drug driving convictions. The information DVLA holds is provided in the annex. It gives the number of drug related driving offences recorded on the drivers database quarterly from 2011 to 2015. A further breakdown of drug related driving offences in 2015 by month is also included and reflects the position as at 10 October 2015 | DVLA, UK

Interesting things about alcohol and other drugs - Feb 2016

Interesting data you may have missed from the world of alcohol and other drugs over the last month | Andrew Brown, UK

Clinical & Policy Updates: SMMGP News & Updates - Issue #05 (Feb 2016)

A combined update including SMMGP Clinical and Policy Updates as well as Post-Its from Practice and other sector news | SMMGP, UK

Clinical provision of improvised nasal naloxone without experimental testing and without regulatory approval: imaginative shortcut or dangerous bypass of essential safety procedures?

Take-home naloxone is increasingly provided to prevent heroin overdose deaths. Naloxone 0.4–2.0 mg is licensed for use by injection. Some clinicians supply improvised nasal naloxone kits (outside lisenced approval). Is this acceptable? | Addiction, UK

Obesity: Cutting benefits to help people lose weight 'would not work', says health adviser

One of Britain’s most senior medical figures, Professor Black is an expert adviser at the Department of Health. Last year Mr Cameron asked her to conduct an independent review on how to get people who are obese, or addicted to drugs or alcohol, into work. More than 9,000 people are on benefits because of obesity-related health problems, according to the Government | Independent, UK

IBA: Commissioning Alcohol Identification and Brief Advice

An alcohol Identification and Brief Advice (IBA) toolkit to promote the commissioning of alcohol brief interventions | South London Health Innovation Network, UK

Why so little impact from brief alcohol advice in London sexual health clinics?

After similarly negative results in other settings, a major study in London did not find clinically important reductions in drinking among excessive drinkers offered a brief intervention while attending sexual health clinics. Are real-world brief alcohol interventions largely ineffective, or is it just that their impacts have yet to be revealed by research? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Do e-cigarettes make it harder to stop smoking?

People trying to give up smoking often use e-cigarettes to help wean themselves off tobacco. Most experts think they are safer than cigarettes but a surprising paper was published recently - it suggests that people who use e-cigarettes are less successful at giving up smoking than those who don't | BBC, UK

Alcohol-related liver problems to be tackled by specialist 'care teams' in hospitals

Deaths from liver disease have more the doubled in the past two decades, says the Welsh Government | Wales Online, UK 

Pensioners are MORE at risk of dying from illegal drugs than teenagers

The steep increase comes despite figures from just 15 years ago showing the amount of illegal drug deaths of people in their 40s was HALF that of people in their 30s | Daily Express, UK

Legal highs ban in Lincoln 'not working'

Charity workers in Lincoln claim the legal highs ban which was introduced in the city just under a year ago is not making any difference | ITV, UK

Charity calls for action over legal high dealers

A homeless charity in Lincoln says a ban on legal highs in the city centre has pushed the problem underground | BBC, UK

The Zero Alcohol Awards 2016

The Zero Alcohol Awards sponsored by Britvic are the first of their kind to recognise and reward the range of zero alcohol drinks provided by retailers, bars and pubs across the country, alongside the innovators bringing new products to the market and creating new environments to enjoy them in | Alcohol Concern, UK

Man on drugs drove car with missing tyre in Newquay

A teenager released by police drove off in his car with only three tyres while under the influence of drugs | BBC, UK

'Largest ever' Coventry cannabis factory found

Drugs with a street value of more than £2m were recovered after the largest cannabis factory in Coventry was found at a former indoor market, police said | BBC, UK

Man guilty of £1.5m cannabis-smuggling operation

A man has been found guilty of conspiring to smuggle more than £1.5m of cannabis into the UK from South Africa | BBC, UK


International news

Financial despair, addiction and the rise of suicide in white America

The death rate for white Americans aged 45 to 54 has risen sharply since 1999, but Montana officials wrestle to explain why the state has the highest rate of suicide in the US at nearly twice the national average – and it’s rising | Guardian, UK

British American Tobacco faces call for bribery allegations inquiry

US congressmen demand investigation by justice department into Africa claims | Guardian, UK

Jason Donovan: ‘By doing cocaine I was slightly rebelling against standing there in a loincloth’

The singer, 47, on loving Australia, playing Joseph, and editing his life | Guardian, UK

Woody Harrelson applies to open one of Hawaii's first medical marijuana dispensaries

The Hunger Games actor is a resident of the state | Independent, UK

'Don't be a pillock': Helen Mirren's drink-drive message for Super Bowl

Actress appears in 60-second Budweiser advert to be screened during American football showpiece on Sunday | Telegraph, UK

Police say eatery with 'antisocial' wine list was breaching restaurant licence

‘No action’ taken against 10 William Street, say police, after Instagram post by Paddington proprietor goes viral on social media | Guardian, UK

Murders in Spain, and a Dublin attack with AK-47s: the deadly 20-year war of Ireland’s drug cartels

With the shooting in a Dublin hotel of gangster David Byrne, the bloody rivalry between Ireland’s most notorious drug bosses erupted into the lives of ordinary people, leaving police and politicians equally dismayed | Guardian, UK

Ruling holds up 1,400 drink-drive prosecutions

Lawyers for the State have told the Court of Appeal that 1,400 drink-driving prosecutions are being held up by a ruling that breathalyser test statments were not valid if printed in the English language only | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Man (22) 'lucky' to be alive after e-cigarette explodes in his mouth

A 22-year-old man says he's lucky to be alive after his e-cigarette exploded in his mouth and caused considerable burns to his mouth and hands | Independent, Ireland

Improvised naloxone nasal sprays lack evidence of absorption and effect

As the US FDA approves nasal Narcan, researchers at Britain's National Addiction Centre warn against using poorly-tested drug delivery systems | EurekAlert, USA

Better quality of care may reduce risk of death for patients on opioid painkillers

Better quality of care may reduce the risk of death for patients who are prescribed opioid painkillers for chronic pain, say Yale researchers. Their study offers evidence that supports recommendations from clinical practice guidelines encouraging physicians to engage patients with mental health services and substance abuse treatment, as well as to avoid co-prescriptions for sedatives | Science Direct, USA

Drug trends

New website on trends in Australia’s drug markets. This research is used to increase the evidence base for development of policy responses, interventions and a warning system for issues requiring further monitoring | drugtrends.org.au, Australia

Don't drink if planning a pregnancy: avoiding foetal alcohol spectrum disorders

If you're trying to get pregnant, stop drinking. And if you're sexually active and drink alcohol, it's best to use contraception. That's the advice from health experts to protect unborn children from lasting damage, as new research reveals that millions of women risk exposing their developing babies to alcohol | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

Blogs, comment and opinion

The NPS Act - a strategic response

The government’s approach to NPS has been causing something of a twitter storm this week. The proposed Bill has now become an Act and will be implemented onto the statute book on 6th April | CRi, UK

Richard Smith: Commissioning needs to be about all public services not just health

Parliament has three times relegislated the commissioner provider split—in 1990, 2002, and 2012, said Stephen Dorrell, secretary of state for health from 1995-97, in a talk to the Imperial College Centre for Health Policy this week. Every health secretary for the past 26 years—with the exception of Frank Dobson—has believed in commissioning. But, he asked, how does it work, how should it work, and how might it work in the future? | BMJ Blogs, UK

The stories of service users must be at the heart of social care decision-making

People in power are paying more attention to those with lived experience, but for true change they need to share leadership | Guardian, UK

Are drug and alcohol budgets as healthy as ministers claim?

On the face of it the cut to funding for agencies working with Scots with drink and drug problems looks like a non-problem | Herald, UK

The tipping point in addiction

A "tipping point" is a moment when there is a sudden change in a system, caused by an event that itself may be small. A recent example was the abrupt shift in attitude toward the comedian Bill Cosby | BASIS, UK

What does recovery mean and how do we measure it?

An interesting article from a bunch of heavyweights in the drug misuse world, including Emily Finch, John Marsden and John Strang, has just been published in the journal “Drugs: education, prevention and policy | Russell Webster, UK

Scientist David Nutt on the medical benefits of psychedelic drugs

UK professor believes magic mushrooms could be used to treat depression and are less harmful than alcohol | FT, UK

Without smoking in films, I’ll totally lose the plot

The World Health Organisation's proposal to give any film containing smoking an '18' certificate will deprive us of crucial narrative hints | Telegraph, UK

Wine or cancer? If it’s that bad, curb the drinks makers

The chief medical officer tells us we should think before every glass. So why is the drinks industry indulged? | Guardian, UK

Alcohol guidelines: let’s have the facts and decide for ourselves

I might go for a run before the pub, and have that third pint, and nobody will passively die | Independent, UK

This 107-year-old's secret to a long life? Four bottles of red wine a day

Antonio Docampo García, founder of the Bodegas Docampo wine company, would have two bottles with lunch and another two with dinner | Telegraph, UK

An addict's lifeline: New Hampshire town's surprising warrior against heroin

Eric Adams' phone rings. On the other end is a 36-year-old man, a daily heroin abuser who is finally accepting he's on a "path of destruction" and now desperately wants help | CNN, USA

Should High-Nicotine Cigarettes Be Banned?

The modern cigarette is not designed to be recreational, social or even ceremonial. It has evolved into what it is today: a vehicle for addiction, disease and death | Huffington Post Blog, USA

Ice addict’s mum shares drug’s harrowing toll in private diary excerpts

An ice addict’s mum has revealed the heartbreaking impact the drug has had on her family as she watches her child “self-destruct” | Herald Sun, Australia