Daily news - 3rd April 2017

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UK news

APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence publishes declaration of support for helpline

The APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence has today published a Declaration of Support for a national 24 hour helpline and accompanying website.  The declaration is signed by numerous medical bodies and charities | APPG, UK

£400k to cut smoking in Wales, Welsh Government announces

Almost half a million pounds has been announced to try to slash smoking rates in Wales | BBC, UK

Fewer smokers in Wales since ban in enclosed public spaces

There are 94,000 fewer smokers in Wales since a ban on lighting up in enclosed public places came into force 10 years ago, Welsh Government data shows | BBC, UK

New law in Scotland bans e-cigarettes sales to under-18s

Restrictions on e-cigarettes, including a ban on their sale to under-18s, have come into effect in Scotland | BBC, UK

Review of UK Anti-Doping launched

The government has today launched a call for evidence on the role and responsibilities of UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) | Department for Culture, Media & Sport, UK Anti-Doping, and Tracey Crouch MP, UK

Needle Exchange Surveillance Initiative (NESI) 2008-09 to 2015-16

The aim of the Needle Exchange Surveillance Initiative (NESI) is to measure and monitor the prevalence of blood-borne viruses and injecting risk behaviours among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Scotland | Health Protection Scotland, UK

Rise in middle-aged men taking steroids to feel more youthful, experts say

People who work with users have raised concern about a new trend among men in their 40s and 50s who take the drug to fight some of the signs of ageing | Guardian, UK

Family therapies best for substance using teenagers

Multi-prong therapies centred on the family emerge as probably the most effective in this comprehensive and careful synthesis of the results of trials of non-residential programmes for substance using teenagers - but do the outcomes warrant the extra costs? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

How Easy is it for Young People to Access Skunk in the UK?

Whether it’s knocking on a nearby door, making a quick call, or agreeing a deal on the way to school, there’s no ID necessary and no questions asked: teenagers in London never have to venture too far to find skunk | Volte Face, UK

Next steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View (PDF)

A new report reviews the progress made since the launch of the NHS Five Year Forward View in October 2014 and sets out a series of practical and realistic steps for the NHS to deliver a better, more joined-up and more responsive NHS in England | NHS England, UK

Are Home Drug Testing Kits Actually Helpful?

I spoke to two experts to work it out | VICE, UK

What’s the Crack? It’s #TimetoTest Your Drugs

Fiona Measham knows her way around a soundbite.  “You can’t close the stable door after the horse has bolted,” she replies when I ask if we’re seeing a tentative shift in UK attitudes to drug harm reduction policies | Volte Face, UK

Study explains why female sex workers have poor drug rehab results

Street sex workers often have a difficult time getting the most out of drug rehab because of their inability to discuss the root causes of their trauma, and the stigma associated with sex work, a recent study found | Addiction Now, UK

Drug charity to open "boutique hotel" in Leicestershire

A drug rehabilitation charity is hoping to open a "boutique hotel" and farm shop to be run by recovering addicts | BBC, UK

NCA Intelligence Assessment

The Gang and Youth Violence team within the Home Office identified a growing body of intelligence, emerging in particular from London and the South East, that vulnerable young people are being exploited in order to facilitate the running of street level drug dealing within county lines. The purpose of this report is to present a baseline national assessment of the ‘County Lines’ criminal business model and raise awareness of the issue to front line practitioners | NCA, UK

Drugs, weapons and human trafficking: the real impact of money laundering

Criminals rely on money laundering to profit from many crimes, including weapons and drugs. This destroys thousands of lives around the world and in the UK. But to make good on their bad deeds, criminals must use reputable firms to turn dirty money into something they can spend | Telegraph, UK

Cigarette sales cool at Imperial Brands

The amount of cigarettes sold by tobacco giant Imperial Brands looks to have declined once again in the first half of its 2017 financial year | Telegraph, UK

Western Isles opium castle in restoration of the year final

A historic Scotish castle built by a Scots opium baron has made it through to the final of the Great British Buildings Restoration | Scotsman, UK


International news

Binge drinking before pregnancy 'increases risk' of diabetes for babies, study suggests

Women can make their children more vulnerable to diabetesby drinking heavily even before they become pregnant, new research suggests | Telegraph, UK

Lawrence, Massachusetts: America's battleground on drugs and immigration

Hispanic-majority town struggling with opioid epidemic faces cuts to sanctuary city funding that could only worsen drug crisis and legitimize deportation fears | Guardian, UK

Trump misses the mark with opioid crisis plan, health advocates say

Commission to tackle painkiller addiction is being called redundant, as Trump plays catch up with an issue that’s been a priority concern for years | Guardian, UK

Inaccuracy and Stigma in Coverage of Australia's so-called "Ice Epidemic"

Australian media outlets are portraying problematic ice use as an “epidemic”, but some experts claim that excessive coverage of the most extreme consequences of use is inaccurate and dangerous | Talking Drugs, UK

Israel's medical marijuana pioneers look to cash in on $20bn market

Country has seen 500 companies apply to join ‘green rush’ in cannabis products after more than 100 studies in pharmaceutical use | Guardian, UK

Russia develops a taste for alcohol-free beer as government fights drinking

Russians are among the biggest drinkers of alcohol in the world, yet are developing a new taste for alcohol-free beer, which could help save a brewing industry that has stalled under government initiatives to discourage drinking | Reuters, UK

Thousands dead: the Philippine president, the death squad allegations and a brutal drugs war

Now in a safe house, a former police officer fears for his life after allegedly exposing Rodrigo Duterte’s role in extrajudicial killings when mayor of Davao | Guardian, UK

Hair testing shows high prevalence of new psychoactive substance use

Hair samples from 80 young adults outside of NYC nightclubs and dance festivals were tested for 82 drugs and metabolites in a new study using ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry | Science Daily, USA

Experimental small molecule shows potential in preventing meth relapse

The reason methamphetamine users find it so hard to quit -- 88 percent of them relapse, even after rehab -- is that meth takes advantage of the brain's natural learning process, say scientists | Science Daily, USA

Flavors in e-cigarettes linked to increasing use among youth and young adults

Flavored e-cigarettes and e-cigarette marketing could be increasing e-cigarette use among youth and young adults, according to researchers from the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health in Austin | News - Medical, USA

Risky alcohol consumption can increase at time of retirement

Every tenth employee increases their alcohol consumption to risky levels at the time of retirement from full-time employment. However, the increase seems to be temporary as risky drinking often decreases during the retirement. For most pensioners, alcohol consumption remains below the risk levels before and after retirement, a new Finnish study concludes | Science Daily, USA

Instagram and E-Cigarettes: How Celebrity Endorsements Can Influence Our Youth

Social media marketing has a huge impact on teens and young adults, influencing their attitudes about different products and their subsequent buying habits. Such an endorsement of e-cigarettes by a celebrity can promote usage among youth and prove to be harmful in the long run | Medical News Bulletin, USA

The Changing Face of American Heroin Users

A new study suggests heroin use has become increasingly socially acceptable in America | Pacific Standard, USA

Opioid overdoses are climbing. But prescription painkillers aren’t driving them anymore

Heroin and fentanyl deaths are now eclipsing deaths from prescription drugs like oxycodone | Vox, USA

Fragile recovery: Shannon Long’s story illustrates how difficult sobriety can be

The up-and-down journey, marked by the ever-present risk and reality of relapse, means opioid addicts who want to quit – like this 24-year-old mother from western Maine – face a grueling, sometimes lifelong battle | Portland Press Herald, USA

The government’s struggle to hold opioid manufacturers accountable

Sixty-six percent of all oxycodone sold in Florida came from this company. But the DEA’s case against it faltered | Washington Post, USA

A 'Catch-22' of medical marijuana and organ transplants

A rise in the use of medical marijuana has spurred a debate about organ transplantation, and it's changing some laws across the nation | CNN, USA

Treatment of Insomnia: Cannabis Reconsidered

Poor sleep is a common effect of stress and trauma. Conventional psychiatric and psychological treatments often don’t seem adequate to the challenges we are facing | Psychology Today, USA

Canada’s overdose crisis (Part 2): 'Pop-up' injection sites

Canada is grappling with what its federal health minister called a “serious and growing opioid crisis”, which has caused an unprecedented rise in overdose deaths across the country | Observers, Canada

Cracks in the ice - online toolkit

We are pleased to announce that the Cracks in the Ice Community Toolkit has now been officially launched as part of the Australian Government's National Ice Action Strategy. Cracks in the Ice provides the Australian community with trusted, evidence-based information about crystal methamphetamine (“ice”) | Department of Health, NDARC, CREM, NDRI, Australia

Viability of an Early Warning System (ViEWS) study

The Australian National Advisory Council on Alcohol and Drugs (ANACAD) has funded NDARC to conduct a feasibility study for an early warning system (EWS) project, involving a data collection model that allows rapid triangulation of existing data to provide an early warning and current assessment of patterns of drug use and related problems that can be rolled out across jurisdictions and coordinated at a national level | NDARC, Australia

How anti-smoking campaigns actually helped Philip Morris create a 'better cigarette'

New Zealand just gave electronic cigarettes the all-clear | Business Insider, Australia


Blog, comment and opinion

Interesting things about alcohol and other drugs, April 2017

Andrew Brown (@andrewbrown365) looks at new statistics about alcohol and other drugs, including figures showing a steady rise in drug-related hospital admissions | MEAM, UK

The Proposal for a Safer Drug Consumption Facility and Heroin-Assisted Treatment in Glasgow City Centre: key documents

Since early 2015, Glasgow has been the centre of a significant HIV outbreak among people who inject drugs | Kirsten Horsburgh Blog, UK

A letter to … My brother, who doesn’t know that I’m a heroin addict

You came to visit me last year. Together we planned your trip. You were to stay at my house – I didn’t even realise that your grown-up form (so much taller and broader now) would be far too long for my short couch | Guardian letters, UK

Is drug policy about drugs?

This week, I’ve been at a mini-conference to discuss prohibition through different periods of history and across different countries and societies.  Although I did (part of) my first degree in history, anything I write now is more based on what ‘I reckon’ rather than any genuine knowledge, historic or current.  So it’s not clear what I was doing there, but they let me in anyway | Thinking to some purpose, UK

Heroin Assisted Treatment (HAT): Saving lives, improving health, reducing crime

Prescribing heroin for some dependent users, usually for use in clinics under medical supervision, is called heroin assisted treatment (HAT). The practice is well established, already legal under UK (and international) law, and has a long history, including in the UK, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and Canada | Transform Blog, UK

HIV, AIDS and services for injecting drug users in Mountjoy prison in Dublin in the mid-1990’s

Researching the history of HIV and AIDS has meant learning about a great many of the dilemmas and difficulties that faced policy makers and service providers in the 1980s and 1990s.  One of the themes that stands out is the importance of bold individuals and new ways of thinking in tackling the very knotty problems of HIV and prisons | Exploring the history of prisoner health blog, Ireland

Learning from Italy’s Lead on Naloxone

In the United States, where an epidemic of overdoses from heroin and other opioids is front-page news, it is becoming more widely accepted that people who use drugs and their communities should have access to naloxone, an overdose antidote, in case of an emergency | Open Society Foundations, USA

Stop using drug policy as a political tool – a message to the Federal Government

Methamphetamine is back at the forefront of national attention, thanks to the framing of new wastewater analysis data as further evidence of a national ‘ice epidemic’. The reality, of course, is more complex, according to UnitingCare ReGen CEO Laurence Alvis. In the article below, he calls for political leaders to stop using drug policy as a political tool and for journalists to lift their game | Croakey Blog, Australia