Daily news - 20th February 2017

Weekly subscribe button

UK news

Responsible drinking messages & labels: do drinkers pay attention?

Two recent studies have explored the extent to which 'warning' or 'responsible drinking' messages on drinks labels or in bars or pubs are noticed. Both studies firstly question the level of attention given to such messages in the first case, but also whether attention to such messages may have any effect on drinking behaviour | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Qualitative exploration of why people repeatedly attend emergency departments for alcohol-related reasons

Understanding why people repeatedly attend Emergency Departments (EDs) for alcohol-related reasons is an important prerequisite to identifying ways of reducing any unnecessary demands on hospital resources | Biomed Central, UK

Stockton drugs deaths: Three dead after taking 'low grade heroin'

The deaths of three people in the space of a week are being blamed on a batch of low grade heroin which is circulating on Teesside | BBC, UK

Smokers trying to quit hit by postcode lottery as GPs ration help

Health experts warn of rising death rates and a false economy as cutbacks hit treatment | Guardian, UK

Pregnant mum: ‘Quitting smoking didn’t enter my mind’ - video

A pregnant mum from South Shields has told how early intervention from her midwife enabled her to quit smoking under a scheme to help expectant mums | BBC, UK

2.5 million children live with alcoholic parents

As many as 2.5 million children live with alcoholic parents in the UK, MPs and peers have claimed | Marilyn Stowe, UK

Changing Pressures on Drug & Alcohol Treatment Services - Infographic

The way drug and alcohol treatment services have been funded and what is expected of them has changed considerably with various cultural and political shifts over the last 30 years. Responsibility and funding for services has passed between government departments and has been justified under different guiding philosophies | Lifeline Project, UK

Hepatitis B: promoting vaccination in at-risk adults

Posters, flyers and postcards promoting hepatitis B vaccination in at-risk adults | PHE, UK

Pressure on smokers and obese could steer patients into private healthcare

In what some campaigners have called a steer to force people into private healthcare, much of the STPs promise to deliver savings by putting the onus on patients to improve their health before receiving treatment | I news, UK

Knee and hip replacement surgery 'almost TWICE as likely to fail in smokers'

Those who use cigarettes are at an increased risk of requiring repeat procedures because of infections, say scientists | Express, UK

Amy Winehouse recovery home 'has given me a future' - video

Grace Gunn is one of the first residents of Amy's Place - a home for young women recovering from alcohol and drug addiction set up in memory of the late singer Amy Winehouse | BBC, UK

Armed Forces: Alcoholism

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the debate on the Armed Forces Covenant of 2 February 2017, HC column 1270, when he expects the alcohol working group to publish its findings | They work for you, UK

Electronic Cigarettes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the UCL report Nicotine, Carcinogen, and Toxin Exposure in Long-Term E-Cigarette and Nicotine Replacement Therapy Users: A Cross-sectional Study which found that people who switch to vaping have 97.5 per cent lower levels of NNA in their system, whether they will encourage people to switch from smoking cigarettes to vaping | They work for you, UK

The Sunshine Makers Screening and Q&A

The special screening of The Sunshine Makers was followed by a Q&A discussion with the film’s director Cosmo Feilding-Mellen, Amanda Feilding and Dr. James Rucker of Maudsley Hospital | Beckley Foundaton, UK

Heroin addict turned film director - video

Garry Fraser is a former heroin addict from Edinburgh who was picked by film director Danny Boyle to help direct his new movie, T2 Trainspotting | BBC World Service, UK

Teenager, 17, who died after taking ecstasy at the O2 took a fatal overdose in the queue because she feared sniffer dogs would find the pills

A teenage girl who died after taking ecstasy at the O2 took a fatal overdose in the queue because she feared sniffer dogs would discover her stash | Mail Online, UK

40 syringes found in Rhosddu Wrexham clean-up

Forty syringes have been found during the clean-up of areas in Wrexham | BBC, UK

Lloyd's alcohol ban challenges City of London's drinking culture

While in bars in the City many are complaining about the ban, others say lunchtime drinking is already a thing of the past | Guardian, UK

Danny Dyer takes a break from EastEnders to 'sort his life out' after struggling to give up alcohol

Danny Dyer has been forced to take a break from EastEnders in order "to sort his life out", it has been reported | Telegraph, UK

Theresa May’s Religion Has Made Her An ‘Extremist’ On Drugs Policy, Professor David Nutt Says

Exclusive: Former government advisor hits out at PM | Huffington Post, UK

Drug Policy: One Year On

Free event. London. March 1st. What’s happened over the last year in drug policy? Have we made any progress? Has there been any tangible effort to reform our drug laws from within Westminster? | Volte Face, UK

Probe into Randox Manchester 'manipulated' drug tests

Hundreds of police investigations could be reviewed over fears a laboratory used by police "manipulated" drug test results | BBC, UK

Cannabis worth THOUSANDS of pounds washes up on British beach

The haul was spotted by a dog walker who called police after several carrier bags full of the plants came ashore in the tide at Slapton Sands in Devon | Express, UK

Police ‘looked into claims pro-wrestler supplied Princess Margaret with cocaine’

Police investigated claims Princess Margaret had received cocaine from a professional wrestler, according to a former officer | Metro, UK


International news

Carfentanyl: Australia issues warning over deadly drug

Australian police have issued a warning over a potentially deadly drug that is 10,000 times as strong as morphine | BBC, UK

Police cast doubt over future of Melbourne music festival after drug overdoses

Police to meet with organisers of Electric Parade festival after more than 20 people treated at event and 40 arrested for drug possession | Guardian, UK

Racial Profiling and “Brutal” Policing in Hamburg’s Drug Crackdown

Discriminatory and heavy-handed drug policing is prompting mounting criticism in the German city of Hamburg | Talking Drugs, UK

Venezuelan vice-president just latest to be called drug trafficker

Tareck El Aissami joins counter-narcotics generals and a consul in being tied to drug trade by US Treasury | Guardian, UK

Thousands of Filipino Catholics march against death penalty, war on drugs 

Thousands of Roman Catholics marched in the Philippines capital Manila on Saturday in the biggest gathering denouncing extra-judicial killings and a government plan to reimpose the death penalty for criminals | Telegraph, UK

Dead distillers: Weird and wonderful stories of US whiskey and moonshine makers

Hard liquor has been made in the US for hundreds of years, but not without some hurdles along the way... | Independent, UK

HSE to develop nicotine addiction guidelines

The HSE is to develop new clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of nicotine addiction | Irish Times, Ireland

Children and Duterte's drug war: Lessons from the past

More than 30 children have been killed since the Philippine president launched his controversial war on drugs in June | Al Jazeera, Qatar

Strong alcohol policies protect against drunk driving deaths among young people

Stronger alcohol policies protect young people from dying in crashes caused by drunk driving according to researchers. The study supports the importance of comprehensive alcohol control policies to reduce the number of young people who die in alcohol-related crashes | Science Daily, USA

Smoking Cigarettes May Prevent Anemia, Plus Nicotine Benefits For Schizophrenia, Parkinson's Disease

Smoking cigarettes has long been proven to cause numerous deadly diseases, but there are also rare circumstances under which it can actually serve as medicine | Medical Daily, USA

Doctor-lawmaker tries to restrict smoking in tobacco country

When Dr. Ralph Alvarado was elected to the Kentucky state Senate in 2014, he found his new colleagues had something in common with most of his patients: They knew smoking was bad, they just couldn't quit | Medical Xpress, USA

Sharp Rise Is Reported in Older Americans’ Use of Multiple Psychotropic Drugs

Almost half of these people were not diagnosed with any mood, chronic pain or sleep problem, researchers reported in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine | NYTimes, USA

Prescription-drug monitoring cuts doctor-shopping for painkillers

State programs that require physicians to check drug registries before writing prescriptions appeared to slash the odds of doctor-shopping for opioid pain relievers, a new study found | Fox News, USA

Canada opioid crisis leads to more organ transplants

A surge in the number of overdose deaths in Canada has led to more organs being available for transplant, an official at the epicenter of the opioid crisis said Friday | Medical Xpress, USA

The ‘only town’ in America where cops grant amnesty to drug addicts seeking help

The coastal Massachusetts town of Gloucester was in the middle of a quiet Friday evening this March when a phone call disturbed the police chief relaxing at home. Another deadly heroin overdose had just hit the city, the chief learned | Washington Post, USA

Striving on the front line of Melbourne's drug crisis

Almost 20 years have passed since Nicole Warr's cousin died from a heroin overdose. He had just turned 21 | Age, Australia

When The Government Legalised Medicinal Cannabis Things Only Got Harder For The Seriously Ill

The future of medicinal cannabis in Australia is embroiled in a battle between two access pathways | Buzzfeed, Australia

Alcohol-related admissions flood WA hospitals amid nation-worst figures

Drunks are flooding WA hospitals, with one in five admissions to emergency departments booze related, a snapshot survey reveals | Perth Now, Australia

Coroner recommends trial of safe injecting room in north Richmond amid heroin deaths

Queensland needs to reduce bottle-shop hours and accept an increase in alcohol tax to reduce alcohol-fuelled harm, a public health policy expert says | Age, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Nicotine in the news

Forget La La Land (you know, that place where WHO and CDC views on vaping live) – instead grab your popcorn for some much more rewarding screen time | NSP Blog, UK

Mental health issues are rife in prison, but I'm not trained to deal with them

The young men I find rocking on their beds need a mental health professional. Instead they get well-meaning but unprepared prison officers like me | Guardian, UK

Lloyds is right to ban lunchtime drinking – but in my day it was the norm

Back in the early 70s, there was a pub every 100 yards, a posh wine bar where women were not permitted to buy drinks at the counter, not to mention the infamous City Golf Club, where drunken cartoonists would slice the necks off champagne bottles with a carving knife | Independent Voices, UK

Cakes and ale? Hold the ale

The Lloyd’s booze ban is no shock. We’re rubbish at defending our way of life | Guardian CIF, UK

Dry January is for wimps - I'm doing Dry 2017

Last year was rough: I was writing a book that wasn’t going well, I got a bout of depression in the summer and then my dad died unexpectedly in October. I got through it the way I got through all tough times; I drank. I ended the year a stone heavier, with a cold I could not shake and a mood that could only be described as erratic. High as a kite one minute, weeping the next | Telegraph, UK

‘This House Would Say No To Drugs’, The Oxford Union, 16th February 2017

On Thursday, 16th February 2017, the Oxford Union held a debate on the motion ‘This House Would Say No To Drugs’ | CLEAR, UK

There’s one real way to stop gang crime: legalise drugs

I covered another stabbing the other day, a particularly nasty one this time. An 18-year-old was repeatedly knifed in the stomach and beaten over the head with a baseball bat | Spectator, UK

“Martha would be turning 20 this year”

This is adapted from a speech given by Anyone’s Child member,  Anne-Marie Cockburn, at the University of Essex’s THINK debate: ‘the War on the War on Drugs’ | Anyone's Child, UK

Viewing addiction as a brain disease promotes social injustice

The view of drug use and drug addiction as a brain disease serves to perpetuate unrealistic, costly, and discriminatory drug policies, argues Carl L. Hart | Nature Opinion, USA

Just how mainstream is marijuana? There’s now a “Congressional Cannabis Caucus.”

Time to dispel any doubts you may still have that marijuana reform is truly a mainstream political issue. This week, a bipartisan group of U.S. representatives formed the first-ever "Congressional Cannabis Caucus" to work on legislation related to marijuana legalization and regulation | Wonk Blog, USA

Opinion: Ban will rob smokers of a chance to quit

The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) recent interim decision to effectively ban nicotine-containing e-cigarettes is a harsh blow to smokers. Australian smokers will be denied access to life-saving technology estimated to have helped millions of smokers to quit overseas | Newcastle Herald Opinion, Australia

Australia emerges as a leader in the global darknet drugs trade

Australia is a leading country in the darknet drugs trade, with more online drug vendors per capita than any other nation except the Netherlands, according to research presented at this week’s Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association Conference | Conversation, Australia

Fact Check: Would shortening the length of Rainbow Serpent Festival reduce harm?

Hannah Francis from The Age wrote a piece entitled “Police want to cut length of Rainbow Serpent Festival following death of 22-year-old”. How would a shorter festival have prevented this tragedy and might doing so actually increase harm? | AOD Media Watch, Australia



And finally...

Cannabis cows enjoy a 'high tea' in Waikato

Police have begun a high-steaks competition, asking social media users to caption a photo of cows munching on a slightly different type of grass | NZHerald, New Zealand