Daily news -28th April 2017

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UK news

Evidence of harm from fentanyl contaminated heroin

Those of you in contact with heroin users should be alert to the increased possibility of overdose arising from heroin cut with these synthetic opioids, be able to recognise possible symptoms of overdose and respond appropriately | MHRA and NHS, UK

UK drug users at risk from dangerous heroin mix

A deadly synthetic opioid recently detected in heroin supplies in the north east of England could be present in drugs around the UK, the NCA has warned today | NCA, UK

Two people die in suspected spice-related incidents

Prisoner dies of suspected overdose at HMP Forest Bank in Salford, and Somerset police investigate death of man in Taunton | Guardian, UK

Police in Lancashire tackle surge of spice-related incidents

Officers have responded to nearly six times as many call-outs over synthetic cannabinoid use in past year as they did two years ago | Guardian, UK

Commons alcohol policy briefings: MUP, taxation, licensing, pubs & street drinking

A spate of alcohol research briefings produced by the House of Commons Library have recently been released, suggesting continuing Government interest in alcohol's impact on society. Whilst alcohol policy is unlikely to form a significant feature of any campaigning in the forthcoming general election, an expectation of the need to tackle alcohol harms now seems further embedded amongst the general population | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

The late night levy

This Library Briefing Paper looks at the late night levy and changes to be introduced through the Policing And Crime Act 2017 | parliament.uk, UK

Plain tobacco packaging 'may cut smokers by 300,000 in UK'

Plain cigarette packaging could lead to 300,000 fewer smokers in the UK over the next year, a major review suggests | BBC, UK

Tobacco packaging design for reducing tobacco use

Tobacco use is the largest single preventable cause of death and disease worldwide. Standardised tobacco packaging is an intervention intended to reduce the promotional appeal of packs and can be defined as packaging with a uniform colour (and in some cases shape and size) with no logos or branding, apart from health warnings and other government-mandated information, and the brand name in a prescribed uniform font, colour and size | Cochrane Library, UK

Binge drinking could trigger abnormal heart rhythms

Researchers who attended the annual Bavarian beer and folk festival found binge drinkers were more likely to have abnormal heart rhythm patterns | NHS Choices: behind the headlines, UK

Motion S5M-05279: Willie Rennie, North East Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 24/04/2017 - Preventing Drug-related Harm and Deaths

That the Parliament understands that a record 706 drug-related deaths were registered in 2015, which represents a 15% increase on the 2014 figure and is part of a steady rise in drug-related deaths over the last two decades... | Scottish Parliament, UK

Effectiveness Bank hot topics April/May 2017

Latest selection of hot topics on our radar. The crisis of drug misuse
in the United Kingdom – what new figures tell us about the upsurge from 2013/2014, and the population most at risk. How much hope can be pinned on the opiate antidote naloxone for curbing overdose deaths, particularly with England slow to take advantage of developments? And, a substantially revised look at the role government policy might have played in falling _crime and disorder in the night time economy (and how drinks industry involvement could be putting the brakes on) | Drug and alcohol Findings, UK


To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made an assessment of the differing risks posed by different strengths of cannabis; and, if so, whether they have published those results | They work for you, UK

Heart Diseases: Smoking

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the risk of heart disease to women who smoke | They work for you, UK

Offender Management Statistics quarterly: October to December 2016

Key statistics relating to offenders who are in prison or under National Probation Service and community rehabilitation companies’ supervision. [States that More than half of those remanded in custody were being held for either: Violence Against the Person (22% of those on remand), Theft Offences (16%) or Drug Offences (16%). ] | MoJ, UK

Tesco introduces new alcohol free section

Recognising an increasing demand for low and no-alcohol drinks, Tesco has launched an alcohol-free section in UK stores. This will make it the first supermarket in Britain to dedicate an area solely to drinks which are 0.5% ABV and below | Club Soda, UK

Join us at the film festival on 1 May 2017

We are hosting a FREE Recovery Street (UK) & REEL Recovery Film (USA) festival on Monday, 1 May. Come and watch these inspirational films and participate in the Q&A, whilst eating popcorn! | Action on Addiction, UK

Mindful drinking: Blenheim’s innovative approach to drinking less

Blenheim has recently been collaborating with Club Soda on a pioneering new project to encourage more mindful drinking | Blenheim, UK

Hundreds set to march through Cardiff in favour of cannabis legalisation

"At the moment there is a massive medical need and most people resort to going to the street dealers, and that’s not what anyone wants" | Wales Online

Forward Leeds runs half marathon for St. George’s Crypt

Staff from drug and alcohol service Forward Leeds are running to raise funds for a charity that works with the homeless and vulnerable in the city | Forward Leeds, UK

Lucy King jailed over toddler daughter's methadone death

The mother of a two-year-old girl who swallowed a fatal dose of a heroin substitute has been jailed for three and a half years over her death | BBC, UK

Surrey mother battles 'drug-dealer family' for son's custody

A judge has ordered an investigation into whether a six-year-old living with the family of convicted drug dealers should be returned to his mother | BBC, UK

Addicted to love? Craving comes in two forms, and both can hurt

You can’t eat, you can’t sleep and all you can think about is your next fix. You may be addicted to love | New Scientist, UK


International news

Cocaine 'trousers' worn by airline passengers as US officials say they confiscate 10 kilos of narcotics

Two passengers were found with cocaine strapped to their legs according to Customs and Border Protection officers at JFK Airport, New York | Telegraph, UK

Roadside drug testing kits may not work in cold weather

The Medical Bureau of Road Safety advised the traffic corps on "proper operating conditions for the analysers" and confirmed that the device is not guaranteed to work when below 5C | Irish Examiner, Ireland

The “Let’s Talk About Drugs” National Youth Media Awards 2017 overall winner has been announced

The Drugs.ie "Let’s Talk About Drugs” National Youth Media Awards 2017 overall winner has been announced at an awards ceremony in Dublin | Drugs.ie, Ireland

Researchers hope to recruit 25,000 Berlin weed-smokers for study

A research initiative hopes to get approval for a study that would recruit 25,000 recreational cannabis consumers in Berlin - if it can get government approval | Local, Germany

The opioid epidemic may be even deadlier than we think

The current drug crisis already kills more people than guns or cars. But a new study suggests it’s even worse than the current numbers say | Vox, USA

Opioid abuse drops when doctors check patients' drug history

There's a simple way to reduce the opioid epidemic gripping the country, according to new Cornell research: Make doctors check their patients' previous prescriptions | Medical Xpress, USA

E-cigarettes do not promote cancer growth in lab tests

A new study found no evidence that a commercially available e-cigarette vapor promotes the development of cancer in laboratory cells. In contrast, smoke from a reference cigarette was positive for cancer-promoting activity at very low concentrations | EurekAlert, USA

Trauma surgeon seeing rise in burns from electronic cigarettes

Dr. Gary Vercruysse and his colleagues noticed something strange going on in their emergency room about a year-and-a-half ago. It all started when a 58-year-old man with severe burns to his left thigh arrived at Banner - University Medical Center Tucson for treatment | Medical Xpress, USA

10 interesting stats on the treatment of drug dependency across Australia, including uptake of opioid pharmacotherapy

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has published the latest data on opioid pharmacotherapy, as well as the uptake of alcohol and other drug treatment services | AJP, Australia

West Aussies the country's biggest boozers

WA has Australia’s highest rate of drinkers, and more of them have increased their alcohol consumption in the past year compared to drinkers in other States | Perth Now, Australia

Judge praises drug dealer: 'It's a good business model'

A Supreme Court judge has praised a drug dealer for his savvy business skills in running a methamphetamine operation. Justice Ann Lyons yesterday told Brodie Gary Satterley that "it obviously wasn't the best business, but it's a good business model" | Bayside News, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Football’s unholy alliance with alcohol sends a dangerous message to young people

Last year, as 24 football-mad nations across Europe cheered on their heroes, and Portugal battled their way to UEFA Euro 2016 glory, do you remember seeing any alcohol marketing pitch-side? Chances are you probably did. If you normally watch football in the UK, nothing remarkable in that, you might think. Except that the French have a law, known as “Loi Évin”, that specifically prohibits using sporting events as a platform for promoting alcohol | Conversation, UK

The do’s and don’ts of using focus groups in prevention research

For this month’s blog, I take time to reflect on my recent experiences conducting focus group (FG) interviews with young adults and share the challenges that I faced along the way | EUSPR Blog,

An Opioid Epidemic In This Society, A Pain Crisis In Others

Non-medical use of prescription opioids is now the fourth most-prevalent form of substance use in Canada; it trails only alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis. Between 2000-02 and 2010-12 Canadians' use of prescription opioids more than tripled | Huffington Post Blog, Canada

Why Are Senior Citizens Using More Illicit Drugs?

Most people—no matter their age—don’t picture a senior (50+) when it comes to imagining an illicit drug user | Psychology Today Blog, USA

Addiction Treatment Professionals: An Understudied Population within Recovery Settings

Is There a Relationship Between Alcohol/Drug Counselor’s Strength of Belief in the Disease Concept of Addiction and Burnout? | Points Blog, USA



And finally...

When you drop your drugs... in court

Video. An arrest warrant's out for a man who dropped a bag of drugs during a court appearance in Ohio | BBC, UK

Some Guy Asked the Cops to Send a Drug Dog to Find His Missing Heroin

A local cop said it was "the most bizarre" 911 call he's ever heard after 41 years on the job | VICE, USA