Daily news - 3rd February 2017

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UK news

Conservative minister pledges new strategy to help children of alcoholics

Nicola Blackwood, public health minister, praises Labour frontbencher Jon Ashworth for his speech and says government will act | Guardian, UK

Residential rehabilitation: the high road to recovery?

Though close to the heart of the UK government’s abstinence-based
ambitions for recovery, their own research has cast doubt on whether
residential rehabilitation is a good deal for the public purse. We look
at the evidence for residential rehabilitation, and whether despite the
rhetoric, these services are under threat | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

This Is Why Gen Z Isn't Into Drink or Drugs

The amount of teenagers using illegal drugs has halved since 2001 | VICE, UK

Alcoholic Drinks and Drugs: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how much was spent on treatment for drug and alcohol addiction in 2016 | They work for you, UK

Our policy position on alcohol taxation (PDF)

[Call for action and recommendations] Cheap alcohol carries a tremendous cost, damaging not only people’s health, but also the economy and wider society | Alcohol Health Alliance, UK

Round two 'Local Alcohol Action Areas' (LAAA): evaluation to follow?

The Home Office has announced thirty-three new 'Local Alcohol Action Areas' (LAAA) which aim to 'tackle alcohol-related crime and health harms and create a more diverse night-time economy' | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Increase in drink driving casualties, while still no progress reducing deaths

Statistics released by the Department for Transport today show an increase in casualties and incidents caused by drink driving, while there has been no improvement in drink driving related deaths since 2010 | IAS, UK

Drugs map of Britain -Alcohol: Britain's Most Harmful Drug - BBC iplayer

London’s intake of this country's most harmful drug is boosted in December when British people drink 41% more alcohol than other months of the year | BBC, UK

Welsh motorists 'finally getting' drink-drive message

Motorists in Wales are "finally getting the message" about drink-driving as the number of people who failed or refused breath tests fell to its lowest levels | BBC, UK

Welcome to FDAP members [Letter to FDAP members from SMMGP] (PDF)

SMMGP will take over the membership and accreditation function of FDAP from the 1st February. Our aim is for there to be as little disruption as possible for FDAP members during this period of transition. [MS Word version of letter] | SMMGP, UK

Older Carers Pamper Day

Adfam is running a free pamper and support day for anyone aged over 55 affected by the substance use of a loved one. We will be starting with a lovely buffet lunch, then massage and mindfulness slots will be available. The day will end with a peer support session where people can stay to share their experiences and Adfam will provide signposting to services | Adfam, UK

First study into the safety of e-cigarettes seeks volunteers

The first study to closely follow toxicity markers in smokers who replace tobacco for e-cigarettes is seeking volunteers | SGUL, UK

Inconvenient Truths

On Tuesday 7th February Volteface will be publishing ‘Black Sheep: An investigation into Existing Support for Problematic Cannabis Use’ We invited Paul Hayes, the CEO of Collective Voice, to share his perspective on the state of cannabis abuse in the UK | Volte Face, UK

The Molecular Hug

Two studies released this week in the reputable scientific journals Cell and Current Biology have shed more light on how LSD works in the brain, taking us a step closer to the ideal designer psychedelic | Volte Face, UK

A psychedelics expert says magic mushrooms will be approved for depression by 2027 — here's why

Ask a healthy person who's tripped on psychedelics what it felt like, and they'll probably tell you they saw sounds or heard colors: The crash-bang of a dropped box took on an aggressive, dark shape. A bright green light seemed to emit a piercing, high-pitched screech | Business Insider, UK

Heroin addict-turned-athlete rows into record books

An Irishman who battled heroin addiction and suicidal thoughts before becoming a clean-living endurance athlete has rowed his way into the record books | ITV, UK

Blyth deaths could be linked to same batch of heroin

The same batch of heroin could be responsible for the deaths of two men in the same town, police have warned | BBC, UK

Police issue 'legal high' warning in Lincoln

Lincolnshire Police are issuing a warning after a number of people have been taken ill in Lincoln this evening as a result of a suspected reaction to a psychoactive substance | ITV, UK

Drug injecting centre in Glasgow will save NHS millions

A new safe drug injecting centre in Glasgow could save the public purse around £13million a year, estimates suggest | Evening News, UK

First conviction in Camden Town bong ban 'sets precedent' for more police raids

Police have vowed to push on with an operation to make Camden Town a bong-free zone after a shopkeeper was convicted yesterday (Wednesday) of selling thousands of items of drug paraphernalia | Camden New Journal, UK

Five arrests after Northamptonshire Police raid Crick cannabis factory

Five men have been arrested following the discovery of a cannabis factory in Northamptonshire | BBC, UK

'Impossible' to link pepper spray to drug bag choke death

It is "impossible" to tell if the use of a pepper spray caused a man to fatally swallow a bag of drugs he had in his mouth, an inquest has heard | BBC, UK

Colombia ex-footballer Diego Osorio faces drugs charges

A former football player who played for Colombia's national team in the 1990s has been charged with drug trafficking | BBC, UK

Drugs gang 'linchpin' recaptured after going on the run

A man once described as the linchpin of a massive drug dealing network has been recaptured after absconding from prison | BBC, UK

Drug user admits manslaughter after boy killed in Penge car crash

Joshua Dobby could face life sentence over deaths of 10-year-old Makayah McDermott and his aunt Rosie Cooper in south London | Guardian, UK


International news

Global economic cost of smoking-attributable diseases

The detrimental impact of smoking on health has been widely documented since the 1960s. Numerous studies have also quantified the economic cost that smoking imposes on society. However, these studies have mostly been in high income countries, with limited documentation from developing countries. The aim of this paper is to measure the economic cost of smoking-attributable diseases in countries throughout the world, including in low- and middle-income settings | BMJ, UK

Devastating impact of meth in the womb exposed in South African schools

Extent of crisis becomes clear as children of women caught up in tik epidemic struggle with hyperactivity and aggression | Guardian, UK

Scoping review of case management in the treatment of drug and alcohol misuse, 2003–2013 (PDF)

This is the final report of a scoping review commissioned by the HRB National Drugs Library. The objective of the review was to examine the peer-reviewed non-experimental literature on case management and substance use published between 2003 and 2013, and to answer specific research questions based on the literature. These comprised questions on the nature of case management, the outcomes that have been studied, and gaps in the literature | HRB, Ireland

Factsheet: Cocaine - the Irish situation (PDF)

This factsheet contains information on treatment, prevalence, mortality and crime in Ireland | HRB, Ireland

Drugnet Ireland. Issue 60, Winter 2017 

Results from fourth general population survey on illicit drug use in Ireland | DrugNet, Ireland

Record-breaking Irishman rows Atlantic after beating alcohol and heroin addiction

An Irish former heroin addict and alcoholic who tried to kill himself became a superfit endurance athlete and rowing across the Atlantic - sponsored by a whiskey company | Irish Mirror, Ireland

Three out of four inmates have drug problems

Three out of every four prisoners has a drug problem; one in seven are on methadone treatment; 30 are “psychotic” and waiting to be transferred to psychiatric hospitals at any time; and dozens would immediately become homeless if they were released | Irish Examiner, Ireland

So-called 'synthetic marijuana' linked to serious health problems

Synthetic marijuana compounds are marketed as safe, legal alternatives to marijuana that cannot be detected by standard drug testing, but these substances differ chemically from marijuana; are linked to dangerous side effects, including seizures, psychosis, dependence, and death; and are not safe substitutes, say University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) scientists | Medical Xpress, USA

One Way e-Cigarettes May Up CV Risk: Altering HR Variability

Habitual e-cigarette use may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by shifting the cardiac autonomic balance toward greater sympathetic activity and increasing oxidative stress, according to new research | Medscape, USA

Electronic cigarettes are not harmless, study shows

A study published in JAMA Cardiology has added to growing evidence that electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are not harmless | Science Daily, USA

Nicotine creates a chronic drug memory in the brain

A researcher reports a surprise that came after three months into her study on nicotine abstinence, when lab rats suddenly became fearless and sought out well-lighted areas that prey animals normally avoid. At the same time, signaling in the brain’s reward system changed, as shown by a study | Science Daily, USA

Nonmedical use of prescription drugs among young people: A growing global concern

Balancing a country's need to make prescription drugs available to those in need while simultaneously curbing nonmedical use is one of our greatest challenges... | Medical Xpress, USA

Study affirms that cocaine makes users more likely to risk unsafe sex

Cocaine use has long been tied anecdotally to higher-than-usual rates of impulsive behavior, including risky sex, but the tie-in has been difficult to study with any scientifically controlled rigor | Medical Xpress, USA

How Cannabis Ecommerce Challenges Are Driving Web Innovation

Cannabis and ecommerce would complement one another like seed and soil, if only federal law would allow it | Entrepreneur, USA

A Drug Company Hiked Up The Price For Its Overdose Antidote By 600% During An Opioid Epidemic

The drug, an easy-to-use injectable version of the overdose drug naloxone, was hiked up from $575 to $4100. “This is a drug without which many people would die,” said one drug expert | BuzzFeed, USA

Burgeoning Marijuana Market Prompts Concerns about Crop’s Environmental Impact

Outdoor cannabis cultivation in northern California has damaged forestlands and their inhabitants. Will legalization of recreational marijuana make things worse or better? | Scientific American, USA

Medical marijuana's underexplored potential for helping opioid addiction

A small human pilot study, along with a number of animal studies, are revealing that cannabinoids, extracts of cannabis legally sold as medical marijuana, could reduce cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms in heroin users | Medical Xpress, USA

Pregnant Women Turn to Marijuana, Perhaps Harming Infants

More expectant mothers are using marijuana, believing it safe. But research suggests it may hurt brain development and reduce birth weight | NYTimes, USA

Dogs on Marijuana: Not Cool

New York veterinarians are treating more and more of the animals sickened by ingesting someone’s marijuana | NYTimes, USA

Big-box liquor boom

There has been explosive growth in the number of ‘big-box’ liquor stores established in Victoria over the last 15 years. New research reveals that the number of big-box liquor stores owned by Wesfarmers and Woolworths has increased dramatically from just three to 68 (from 2001 to 2016), after the Victorian Government lifted a regulatory cap on ownership in 2000 | FARE, Australia

Methamphetamine traffickers could be jailed for life, under WA Labor's plans for tougher laws

Methamphetamine traffickers could be jailed for life, if the WA Labor Party wins next month's state election | abc.net.au, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

What should we expect of drug treatment?

Reviewing the evidence on drug misuse treatment | Russell Webster, UK

A smoke-free NHS

It’s time to stop tolerating tobacco smoking on NHS premises | BMJ views, UK

A week in the life of the EUSPR President

We thought you might be interested to read this recent piece by Prof David Foxcroft, Professor of Community Psychology and Public Health at Oxford Brookes University, UK, and current President of the European Society for Prevention Research (EUSPR). David documents what a week in his life looks like | EUSPR Blog, UK

The Philippines can’t fight its meth battle until it wins the war on corruption

President Rodrigo Duterte has halted his crackdown on drugs to tackle crooked police – but the rot goes way beyond law enforcement | Guardian, UK

Identifying Neural Adaptations Underlying Cocaine Addiction

A new study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrated that chronic exposure to cocaine, followed by withdrawal, induces changes in the strength of connections between reward neurons in the brain | Science Blog, USA

What Can We Expect From Drug Policy Reform In 2017?

Twenty-seventeen is poised to be a challenging year for drug policy reform. Extrajudicial killings have surpassed 7,000 in the Philippines, 140 lives have been claimed in Brazil’s prison riots, and the U.S. president is gearing up to pursue the war on drugs with renewed vigor | Huffington Post Blog, USA

Quitting smoking made me a criminal

When I quit smoking last year, I got a message from Associate Professor Colin Mendelsohn from the School of Public Health at the University of NSW | News.com.au, Australia