Daily news - 4th January 2017

Weekly subscribe button

UK news

MHRA statement on products containing Cannabidiol (CBD) - updated

Our primary concern is patient safety and we wish to reiterate that individuals using cannabidiol (CBD) products to treat or manage the symptoms of medical conditions should discuss their treatment with their doctor. MHRA will now work with individual companies and trade bodies in relation to making sure products containing CBD, used for a medical purpose, which can be classified as medicines, satisfy the legal requirements of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 | MHRA, UK

E-cigarettes: regulations for consumer products - updated

Preliminary guidance on how to get an e-cigarette on the market in the UK, including the notification scheme and reporting problems with e-cigarettes | MHRA, UK

Problem drinking raises risk of heart attack and heart failure, study shows

Problem drinking can increase a person's chances of heart attack and heart failure, a new study has shown | Telegraph, UK

Alcohol drinkers struggle to reduce intake due to their partners' encouragement, says research

'It would be far healthier to talk through your bad day rather than turn to a glass of wine', says Drinkaware ambassador | Independent, UK

Gambling addiction triggers the same brain areas as drug and alcohol cravings

Gambling addiction activates the same brain pathways as drug and alcohol cravings, suggests new research | Science Daily, UK

NICE guidance on dual diagnosis 2016

New NICE guidance on dual diagnosis was released in November 2016: Coexisting severe mental illness and substance misuse: community health and social care services | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

High Impact Complex Drinkers Pilot 2016 (PDF) and

High Impact Complex Drinkers Pilot 2016, Key Messages and Future Directions (PDF)

Surrey County Council's public health team were one of the early partners to the Blue Light project.   Over the subsequent two years they have been working with partners and providers to develop their approach to potential Blue Light clients. In 2014/15 they delivered a one year pilot titled High Impact Complex Drinkers.   They report a potential return on investment of £4 for every £1 invested as well as reductions in drinking and other health improvements.  Surrey is now rolling out a second phase of the project | Alcohol Concern, UK

Key Findings 2017

This is a quick summary of the main discovery for each research paper we have published, organized issue by issue | Addiction, UK

Renewed calls for 'fix rooms' to allow drug users to take drugs under medical supervision

Renewed calls for 'fix rooms' to allow drug users to take their drugs under medical supervision has been made, as it is warned that fatal heroin overdoses are predicted to rise this year, in Swansea and across Wales | South Wales Evening Post, UK

New app requires applicants for testing

King's College London have developed an exciting new app to help people monitor their alcohol use. They are looking for participants to test the app as part of a randomised controlled trial. if you or someone you know might be interested in taking part, click on the link below to get started | Kings College, UK

London Chemsex Network for drug treatment services

Antidote at London Friend and After Party are services supporting gay and bisexual men engaged in chemsex in London. With chemsex continuing to be a prevalent issue for gay & bisexual men we are jointly hosting a scoping meeting for drug treatment services across London with a view to establishing a London Chemsex Network | London Friend, UK

Stop and search podcasts

We're on the front-lines of the 'War on Drugs'! Stop and Search aims to deconstruct our laws and delve into what's really going on in society. With a mix of live panel discussions, celebrity guests, policy experts, rolling news content, podcast-documentaries, and general inquisitiveness... | Jason Reed, LEAP UK, UK

More than 250 arrested for drink & drug driving in Cheshire

Cheshire Police say 156 people were arrested for driving while over the alcohol limit in December. Meanwhile 111 people were stopped and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs. Police say all of those arrested are now likely to face driving bans and large fines | ITV, UK

The best non-alcoholic drinks for dry January

January is the time for diets, detoxes and all-round dreariness in the food world. Whether or not you're embracing Dry January, this is the month when many of us try to give our livers a break after the excess of Christmas, and cut down the amount of alcohol we drink | Telegraph, UK


International news

Australia bans non-prescription codeine to fight opioid crisis

Australia has become the latest country to ban over-the-counter sales of medications containing the opioid painkiller codeine. The new regulation, which will come into effect on 1 February 2018, is hoped to halt the rise in codeine-related deaths, which have more than doubled in Australia since 2000 | New Scientist, UK

Why Amsterdam’s oldest cannabis 'coffeeshop' has been forced to close

When the clocks struck midnight on New Year’s Eve they not only marked the arrival of 2017 but also sounded the death knell for the oldest coffeeshop in Amsterdam, Mellow Yellow, which has closed after half a century in business | Telegraph, UK

Marijuana brands aim for high-end retail in Canada - video

With retailers jockeying for position before cannabis is fully legalised in Canada, "seedy" so-called head shops could soon be a thing of the past | BBC, UK

The countries that smoke the most weed, in one map

The legal status of cannabis is changing globally, with more countries opting to legalise recreational and medicinal use of the drug | Indy, UK

An Alternate History of America's Meth Problem

Before Americans were panicking about heroin, they were freaking out about meth. By now you've probably heard something about the drug and its litany of evils; even leaving aside pop culture phenomena like Breaking Bad, the stuff is everywhere—even in the occasional donut, some cops seem to believe | VICE, UK

The beer-filled life of a professional brewmaster

The life of professional brewmaster Jamie Floyd may sound like a dream, but he swears it's tougher than it sounds | Independent, UK

Man cuts out alcohol and coffee for two years and this is what happened

Thousands of people are three days into a Dry January, the tedious annual ritual of skipping all alcoholic drinks for 30 days | Independent, UK

Huge rise in illegal drugs sent to country by post

Criminals are increasingly trying to use Ireland's postal service to traffic drugs into the country | Independent, Ireland

'Many have sinister side effects': How gardaí tackle the sale of drugs on the Dark Web

Gardaí say the use of electronic currencies and encryption tools make it difficult to identify vendors of track money | Journal, Ireland

700 per cent rise in seizures of African drug Khat

Customs officials have seen a massive increase in dangerous African drug Khat with €195,000 of the plant seized this year at Dublin Airport | Sunday World, Ireland

Ireland tried to ban smoking in public in 1986 - and Big Tobacco was not impressed

1986 saw government health warnings introduced on tobacco products in Ireland for the first time | Journal, Ireland

Gamblers' brain activity resembles patterns in drug addicts - research shows

Compulsive gamblers seek games of chance because of the same brain circuits that drive drug addiction, research has shown | Independent, Ireland

Marijuana Legal In The UK? New Classification Of Cannabis Ingredient Announced

People in the U.K. will soon be able to use cannabis-based products containing the plant’s medical component cannabidiol, or CBD, according to reports | IBTimes, USA

Few Pain Patients Become Long-Term Opioid Users

Less than two percent of patients with prescriptions for opioid pain medication become long-term opioid users, according to a large new study published online in the journal Pain | Pain News Network, USA

Supervised injection site for addicts could save San Francisco money, lives

Addicts regularly use drugs on the streets of San Francisco, and some people there say giving addicts a safe, clean place to shoot up – and clean needles – could help curb overdose deaths and diseases | Reuters, USA

Canada faces deadly fentanyl overdose crisis

Sirens scream non-stop through the urban heart of Vancouver, as responders race toward drug addicts overdosing—and dying in such numbers that the city's morgues are full | Medical Xpress, USA

NEW: Local Drug Action Team Program

The LDAT program has been funded by the Australian Government as part of the response to the Final Report of the National Ice Taskforce 2015 and the 2015 National Ice Action Strategy | ADF, Australia

Smokers stock up on tobacco before the 'ridiculous' price increase

As cigarette prices go up, in January 2017, people stock up before the surge | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Most interesting things about alcohol and other drugs in 2016

Over the course of 2016, Andrew Brown (@andrewbrown365) has collected the most interesting statistics around alcohol and other drugs. Here he picks some that you might have missed | MEAM, UK

The year at PHE: Online highlights from 2016

A look back at 2016's campaigns and reports | PHE Blog, UK

CEO blog: Hopes for the New Year

Well 2016 was quite a year all round! At Mentor we had a pretty momentous year. Both via our direct delivery and in supporting our partners we continued to reach hundreds of thousands of young people to help build their skills and knowledge to be more resilient to risks from drugs & alcohol | Mentor Blog, UK

Underdiagnosed, undertreated and on the rise – getting to grips with alcohol-related brain damage (ARBD)

Guest blogger Andrew Misell, Director of Alcohol Concern Cymru, explains what Alcohol Concern has been doing in recent years to promote better understanding of alcohol-related brain damage (ARBD) and better support for people with the condition and their carers | SMMGP Blog, UK

Alarm at drug finds in prisons may be misplaced

It cannot be ideal that drugs are still so frequently detected in our prisons, and the illicit trade is known to contribute to conflict behind bars | Herald View, UK

London is the cocaine capital of Europe

The latest findings from the largest European project in the emerging science of wastewater analysis were released last month (13 December 2016) by the Europe-wide SCORE group, in association with the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA). The project analysed wastewater in over 50 European cities in 18 European countries in March 2016 to explore the drug-taking behaviours of their inhabitants | Russell Webster, UK