Daily news - 6th April 2017

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UK news

DDN March 2017

We had to make drug-related deaths the focus of this year’s conference. The room was packed with people that were directly affected, as demonstrated by the question, ‘who in this room has lost someone?’ | DDN, UK

SPICe Briefing (PDF)

This briefing explores the issue of drug misuse in Scotland. It begins with an overview of the Scottish Government’s National Drugs Strategy before providing a summary of the prevalence and trends in drug misuse from the latest available data. It then covers approaches to the treatment of people with a drug problem and drugs services in Scotland. Current policy issues are discussed in the final section | Scottish Parliament, UK

Problem drug users in Scotland ‘increasingly aged over 35’

The growing number of middle-aged problem drug users in Scotland could pose a challenge for health services unless greater planning for their care is undertaken, a charity has warned | Scotsman, UK

Waterpipe smoking (shisha) in England The public health challenge (PDF)

This document provides a summary of the current evidence of the health effects of waterpipe smoking, an overview of the prevalence of waterpipe smoking in Britain, two case studies of local authority approaches to addressing local public health and regulatory challenges, and suggested actions for Local Authorities (LAs) to consider in relation to waterpipe smoking. [From Feb 2017] | PHE, UK

Opioid Painkiller Dependency Alliance (OPDA)

The OPDA is a unique collaboration of pain and addiction specialists and patient groups dedicated to raising awareness of opioid painkiller problems and campaigning for dedicated services. Become an affiliate member and make our voice stronger | OPDA, UK

Ketamine depression treatment 'should be rolled out'

Doctors trialling the use of ketamine to treat depression are calling for the treatment to be rolled out | BBC, UK

'I've been taking ketamine for my depression' - video

Dr Rupert McShane, who has led a trial in Oxford since 2011, says ketamine can work on patients like Helen who have depression "where nothing has helped before | BBC, UK

Evaluation of the South West Hepatitis C Partnership Pilot

An evaluation of a project in which Addaction and The Hepatitis C Trust partnered together to support people with a history of injecting drug use who were engaged with Addaction services into hepatitis C treatment. This report evaluates the success of the pilot's three key interventions | HCV Action, UK

Long-term sustainability of NHS and Adult Social Care under threat

The Select Committee on the Long-term Sustainability of the NHS has slammed the 'short sightedness' of successive governments for failing to plan effectively for the long-term future of the health service and adult social care | Parliament.uk, UK

New Smoking cessation programme aimed at Justice sector launched by Breaking Free Group

Breaking Free Group has launched the world’s first digital smoking cessation programme developed specifically for use in prisons | Breaking Free, UK

420 celebrations: Cannabis campaigners to stage event in Durham as part of global protest

As part of global ‘420’ celebrations, activists will visit the historic city on Thursday, April 20 in a show of opposition to the continuing criminalisation of the Class B drug | Northern Echo, UK

Illicit cigarettes covered in coffee to fox sniffer dogs

A shopkeeper covered packets of counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco with coffee to throw sniffer dogs off the scent, a court heard | Northern Echo, UK

Mentally ill man killed woman in drug-induced psychosis, jury says

Inquest finds Cerys Yemm, 22, was unlawfully killed by Matthew Williams, 34, who died after being Tasered by police | Guardian, UK

Is it harder to get hold of laughing gas in Bristol since legal high ban?

Almost a year on from the government's ban on legal highs, how much has really changed? | Bristol Post, UK


International news

Smoking prevalence and attributable disease burden in 195 countries and territories, 1990–2015: a systematic analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015

The scale-up of tobacco control, especially after the adoption of the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control, is a major public health success story. Nonetheless, smoking remains a leading risk for early death and disability worldwide, and therefore continues to require sustained political commitment | Lancet, UK

Smoking causes one in ten deaths globally, major new study reveals

Efforts to control tobacco have paid off, says study, but warns tobacco epidemic is far from over, with 6.4m deaths attributed to smoking in 2015 alone | Guardian, UK

Regulations on electronic cigarettes may impact effectiveness as cessation tool, study reveals

A study published today in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, reveals that regulations on electronic cigarettes (ECs) may impact their effectiveness as a cessation tool. This study might help explain some of the mixed results on the effectiveness of ECs that has been published in the literature | News Medical, UK

Taking Care of ‘Canna-Business’

The legal cannabis industry was last weekend the subject of a lavish profile in the business section of The Telegraph | Volte Face, UK

Crystal meth haul

It's Australia's biggest yet. Guess where it was hidden... | BBC, UK

Tales from inside Peru's cocaine valley – video

A fifth of the world’s cocaine is produced in one valley. Controlled in part by Shining Path Maoist guerillas, Peru’s poorest region, the Valle de los Ríos Apurímac, Ene y Mantaro, is ungovernable and the drug trade flourishes | Guardian, UK

How Khalil Rafati quit crack cocaine and heroin to become a juice millionaire

When Khalil Rafati was on the brink of death for the ninth time, he decided to turn his life around. Now, he's a millionaire | Independent, UK

Stressed-out doctors turn to drink and drugs in rise of mental health issues

The 50 doctors, dentists and pharmacists treated for addiction and mental health problems last year are likely to be the "tip of the iceberg" of health professionals with similar issues, it emerged yesterday | Independent, Ireland

Automatic drink-driving ban 'could save eight lives a year'

Up to eight people a year are killed by drivers with just a small amount of alcohol in their systems, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has warned | Independent, Ireland

'HPRA guidance is biased. It didn't use expert advisors with practical experience of cannabis'

The government position of claiming concern for safety with unnecessary delays requires a public protest, write Gino Kenny TD and Dr Peadar O’Grady | Journal, Ireland

Hospitals Deny Patients Organ Transplants for Smoking Weed

While the tension between state and federal laws has created a difficult situation for cannabis users, there’s another factor that is complicating the changing attitude towards weed: hospitals | GIZMODO, USA

Introduction to the Special Series on Mindfulness and Addiction

Today, people struggling with addiction have more paths to recovery than ever before. They can start on a path to change using self-help resources or mutual aid groups, and they can turn to professional treatment providers for psychotherapy and medication | BASIS, USA

Could targeting oxtyocin help treat opioid addiction?

A new review of published research indicates that the oxytocin system—a key player in social reward and stress regulation—is profoundly affected by opioid use. Therefore, it may be an important target for developing medications to treat opioid addiction and to prevent relapse | Medical Xpress, USA

Curbing alcohol to fight HIV could save money in Kenya

Public health research shows that alcohol may be a factor in more than 13 percent of deaths due to infectious diseases, including HIV | Medical Xpress, USA

New study reveals some women with prenatal opioid dependence are not being treated

A new study by Queen's University researcher Susan Brogly (Surgery) has revealed that 25 per cent of women suffering from a prenatal opioid dependence were not being treated for their addiction. Using data from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), the study also shows rising numbers of affected mother-infant pairs and associated health care costs | Medical Xpress, USA

Kansas City Votes To Eliminate Jail Time For Marijuana Possession

“The era of reefer madness in Kansas City has come to an end,” said one advocate | Huffington Post, USA

For Over 30 Years, A Son Chronicled His Mother's Life, Death And Love Of Cigarettes

What began as a warning to others about the dangers of smoking turned into a tender collaboration between a parent and her child | Huffington Post, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Voices of older people affected by a loved one’s alcohol or drug use

The 2011 census showed a 35% surge since 2001 in the number of older carers, to nearly 1.3 million. Whilst we do not know exactly how many of them are caring for someone who uses drugs or alcohol, there is evidence that a minimum of 1.5 million people are affected by someone else’s drug use | DrinkWise AgeWell Blog, UK

Opioid analgesic dependence: where do we go from here?

The British Medical Association has recently produced recommendations for the support of people with prescribed drug dependence. Their focus is appropriately broad, addressing benzodiazepines, antidepressants and opioids, with three main themes for development | BJGP editorial, UK

Children living with a parent dependent on alcohol

The impact of parental drinking on the health and development of children | Better Health for all blog, UK

Can Couples, Siblings or Friends Join a Rehab Programme Together?

Family and friends can be a crucial part of the addiction recovery process. They play a vital role in supporting the addicted person, as well as challenging their behaviour and setting up boundaries for them. But what if two friends, a couple, brothers and sisters, or family members both suffer from addiction? Should they attend the same rehab programme together? | Castle Craig Blog, UK

Massachusetts Doctors Want a Safe Place for People to Use Illegal Drugs

The United States is currently home to zero facilities where users of illicit intravenous drugs can get high under a doctor's supervision. Seattle and King County, Washington recently announced plans to open two such facilities, called supervised injection sites | Reason Blog, USA

First annual International Day of Drug Checking on March 31, 2017 - recap

DanceSafe partnered with organizations across the globe to host the first annual International Day of Drug Checking on March 31, 2017, an initiative to raise awareness of the tools that exist to help mitigate risks for people who choose to use illicit drugs | DanceSafe Blog, USA

Wastewater drug monitoring: Never let the evidence get in the way of a good story

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 | AOD Media Watch, Australia