Daily news - 22nd February 2017

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UK news

Drug misuse prevention: targeted interventions

This guideline covers targeted interventions to prevent misuse of drugs, including illegal drugs, ‘legal highs’ and prescription-only medicines. It aims to prevent or delay harmful use of drugs in children, young people and adults who are most likely to start using drugs or who are already experimenting or using drugs occasionally | NICE, UK

Case for lower alcohol taxes 'overstated'

Industry claims of alcohol’s economic benefits to the UK have been overstated, claims a new report from the Institute of Alcohol Studies. ‘Splitting the Bill: Alcohol’s Impact on the UK Economy’ (PDF) challenges the assertion often made by industry groups that economic growth is hampered by policy measures aimed at reducing alcohol-related health and social harms, therefore undermining the case for cutting duty in next month’s Budget | IAS, UK

Long-term daily drinking linked to stiffening of the arteries in men

A UK study found men who consistently drank more than the recommended limits had signs of stiffening of the arteries, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease | NHS Cgoices: Behind the Headlines, UK

Sanctions to tackle tobacco duty evasion and other excise duty evasion

A consultation on proposed new sanctions to tackle tobacco duty evasion and other excise duty evasion | HMRC, UK

Drugs: Rehabilitation

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people have been referred to drug and alcohol dependency programmes under Section 17 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009 since that Act came into force | They work for you, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Minimum Prices

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he has taken to respond to the finding of Public Health England in the Public Health Burden of Alcohol and the Effectiveness and Cost-effectiveness of Alcohol Control Policies, published in December 2016, that increasing the price of alcohol products would save over a billion pounds a year over the next 20 years | They wok for you, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment his Department has made of trends in hospital admissions due to alcohol in the last 10 years; and what steps his Department is taking to reduce such admissions | They work for you, UK

FAQs: Safer Drug Consumption Facilities and Heroin Assisted Treatment

“Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership is currently considering proposals to establish a safer drug consumption facility and heroin-assisted treatment service in Glasgow city centre.” This document has been produced to provide more information on this proposal and to answer some frequently asked questions on the two services | NHS Glasgow et al, UK

Health experts say Wales needs to reassess its relationship with alcohol

Death rates from alcohol misuse have not improved in a decade | Wales Online, UK

Smoking cessation services face cuts

Smoking cessation services are being hit as cash-strapped local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) look to save money | OnMedica, UK

Adrian Goldberg - BBC Radio

At 0:07:24 Judith Yates, an ex-GP, talks about drug consumption rooms. First up is her ex-patient Carl who is 2 years drug free | BBC Radio iPlayer, UK

Cannabis legalisation - podcast

So, what are the choices in cannabis legislation, is it just prohibition or legalisation? Could some types of cannabis actually reduce psychosis? Will legalisation effect potency? And if cannabis is legalised, will everyone start using it? | acast, UK

Fears drug-fuelled "Chemsex" parties are spreading sexual diseases

Figures also show gonorrhoea cases up by a THIRD in city | Liverpool Echo, UK

Support. Don't Punish campaign survey 2017 - Survey

2017 is the 5th year for the Support. Don’t Punish campaign, and we will be coordinating another Global Day of Action on 26th June. We have created this short survey (it should take you no longer than 5-10 minutes to complete) to hear from you about what you think has worked best for the campaign, and what could be improved for this year and beyond | Spport. Don't Punish, UK

In the Court of the North London Hippy

Who is the northlondonhippy? It’s a question I found myself asking two weeks ago after tuning into James O’Brien’s LBC Radio show, just in time to hear the self-proclaimed “fictional hippy and make-believe online drug activist” give a ten-minute interview about his new book, Personal Use, which describes his 36 years as a drug user | Volte Face, UK

High fines: UK pro-cannabis party must pay £23k over late accounts

Electoral Commission comes down on Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol party for ‘numerous failures’ | BBC, UK

Hundreds of bikers will take to the roads this spring in third Action on Addiction ride

Bikers will be turning heads this spring as they take to the roads in the third Action on Addiction ride from Weymouth to Exmouth | Dorset Echo, UK

Danny Dyer EastEnders break reportedly instigated by alcohol-fuelled altercation at awards bash

Danny Dyer's break from EastEnders, taken in order to "sort his life out", was instigated by an altercation at last month's National Television Awards, it has been reported | Telegraph, UK

Suicide prevention A guide for local authorities (PDF)

From the early 1980s onwards there was a pretty consistent downwards trend in suicide rates in England, but that began to change a decade ago. Since then the numbers have risen. It is hard to pinpoint exactly why this has happened, although many believe the economic downturn has been a key factor | LGA, UK


International news

Brain scans predict whether teenagers will use drugs in the future

It's possible to predict whether teenagers will use drugs in a "problematic" way when they get older, a new research paper says | WIRED, UK

Dutch MPs vote in favour of regulated cannabis cultivation

Dutch lawmakers on Tuesday voted in favor of tolerating the cultivation of cannabis, a move that could bring to an end a key paradox of the relaxed Dutch policy on marijuana and hashish | Telegraph, UK

Everything you need to know about marijuana smoking in the Netherlands

Though considered a lowbrow form of entertainment by some, coffeeshops play a vital role in Dutch tourism: figures suggest that 25-30 per cent of people who visit Amsterdam spend time in a coffeeshop | Telegraph, UK

Medicinal cannabis supply given boost after Greg Hunt fast-tracks importation

[Australia] Interim supply by international providers will increase cannabis availability within eight weeks after health minister authorises importation | Guardian, UK

Meet Cannabrand: The first ever Marijuana marketing brand

Olivia Mannix, the founder of Cannabrand, is on a quest to transform attitudes towards marijuana | Independent, UK

New hepatitis C infections among HIV-positive gay men drop by half after direct-acting antiviral roll-out in Netherlands

A little more than a year after the Netherlands instituted a policy allowing unrestricted access to direct-acting antivirals for the treatment of hepatitis C, researchers have already seen a dramatic decline in acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections among one at-risk population, HIV-positive men who have sex with men | NAM Aidsmap, UK

Father pens emotional open letter about his daughter's drug addiction

Drug problem is an old one but 'never before right now have the drugs been indiscriminately taking our children’s lives', says Sean O'Leary | Independent, UK

Yes, we jail too many Indigenous Australians – but what happens next is worse

Where non-Indigenous people are more likely to be at risk of post-release death from accidental drug overdose, particularly opioids, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more likely to die from alcohol-related harmspreventable health conditions and suicide | Guardian, UK

The Natives: This is Our America - BBC iPlayer

What’s it really like to be a young Native American? Beset with alcohol and drug problems, this South Dakota reservation is desperate to revive ancient traditions and joins the protest against the Dakota Access oil pipeline which they say threatens their land | BBC, UK

Randomised controlled trial evaluation of Tweet2Quit: a social network quit-smoking intervention

We evaluated a novel Twitter-delivered intervention for smoking cessation, Tweet2Quit, which sends daily, automated communications to small, private, self-help groups to encourage high-quality, online, peer-to-peer discussions | BMJ, UK

Scaring young people about substance use won’t work

Jacky Jones: Whole school approach requires time and commitment from parents and teachers | Irish Times, Ireland

Afghanistan Synthetic Drugs Situation Assessment (PDF)

The phenomenon of synthetic drugs cannot be understood by focussing on Afghanistan alone. Rather, this report situates the dynamics of synthetic drugs in the country within the wider context of South-Western and Central Asia in order to understand the recent emergence and origins of synthetic drugs in Afghanistan | UNODC, Switzerland

Congress Moves To Expand Drug Testing Of Benefit Applicants

The bill, which now moves to a Senate vote, would undo limitations on which applicants for unemployment benefits can be drug tested | BuzzFeed, USA

Cocaine addiction leads to build-up of iron in brain

Cocaine addiction may affect how the body processes iron, leading to a build-up of the mineral in the brain, according to new research from the University of Cambridge. The study, published today in Translational Psychiatry, raises hopes that there may be a biomarker - a biological measure of addiction - that could be used as a target for future treatments | EurekAlert, USA

Many adolescents think it is 'probably impossible' to get heroin

Despite reports about the increase in heroin use, more teens believed it was "probably impossible" to get heroin in 2014 than in 2002, according to a Saint Louis University study | News Medical, USA

State lawmakers channel grief into fight against opioids

In statehouses across the country, lawmakers with loved ones who fell victim to drugs are leading the fight against the nation's deadly opioid-abuse crisis, drawing on tragic personal experience to attack the problem | Medical Xpress, USA

Latest Medical Marijuana Innovations? Five Entrepreneurs Share Their Thoughts

Medical Marijuana is legal in twenty-eight states. Wait, what? | Forbes, USA

Can Marijuana Ease The Opioid Epidemic?

Evidence is mounting that medical marijuana can alleviate chronic pain in many patients. But some doctors remain wary | Huffington Post, USA

Smokers with existing illnesses more likely to use e-cigarettes, study finds

In the U.S. more than 16 million people with smoking-related illnesses continue to use cigarettes. According to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, current and former smokers who suffer from disease are more likely to have reported using an e-cigarette | News - Medical, USA

After CVS Stopped Cigarette Sales, Smokers Stopped Buying Elsewhere, Too

The decision by CVS Health to stop selling cigarettes contributed to a drop in tobacco purchases for all retailers, new data from the drugstore giant shows | Forbes, USA

Bill would ban tobacco discounts, coupons in New York

Coupons and other discounts for tobacco products would be banned under a proposal from a pair of state lawmakers from the Lower Hudson Valley | Democrat & Chronicle, USA

Hepatitis C will be eradicated in Australia by 2026, researchers predict

Hepatitis C may soon be a thing of the past, with Australia well on the way to eradicating the potentially deadly virus within the next 10 years, researchers say | abc.net.au, Australia

Medicinal cannabis market offers new opportunities for agriculture

Twenty-five companies have applied for licences to grow and manufacture medicinal cannabis in Australia | abc.net.au, Australia

WA Greens push to decriminalise drug use

Greens leader Richard Di Natale has called for the decriminalisation of drug possession for personal use while campaigning in Perth for the WA election | Australian, UK


Blogs, comment and opinion

Interesting new drug facts (February 2017)

Members of public less concerned about drug dealing and drunkenness | MEAM Blog, UK

Alcohol Consumption Patterns and Vascular Properties: The Value of Repeatedly Measured Longitudinal Data

In this issue of JAHA, O'Neill et al demonstrate the utility of longitudinal data in illustrating the relation between alcohol consumption and arterial stiffness. Recent reports from various parts of the world detail a disturbing stagnation and decline in peace‐time population life expectancy | JAHA Editorial, UK

And finally...

New Zealand crystal meth addicts steal hundreds of garden gnomes

Police warned of growing trend whereby meth addicts steal garden decorations to fund their habits | IBTimes, UK