Daily news - 6th January 2017

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UK news

DrugScope library archive

Excellent progress is being made on making DrugScope library available | Wellcome Institute, UK

Is your postman delivering drugs?

Large amounts of illegal drugs are being delivered unknowingly by UK postal workers with few checks, Radio 1 Newsbeat has found | BBC Newsbeat, UK

Revealed: How thousands of London children are exposed to Scientology group in schools

Tens of thousands of schoolchildren have been exposed to a Scientology organisation through drugs education presentations, the Standard has learned | Evening Standard, UK

Scottish Conservatives call for action on cannabis as hospital admissions reach 10-year high

The SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison, however, said that drug use among the general population 'continues to fall and levels among young people remain low' | Independent, UK

Calls for rethink on vaping ban in hospital grounds

Vaping should be allowed in hospital grounds and in certain public places to prevent misleading messages over the harm of using e-cigarettes, public health experts say | Scotsman, UK

Alcohol policy in 2016 & what's in store for 2017?

By most accounts 2016 was a turbulent year in national and world politics; in UK alcohol policy terms it was by no means uneventful either - the revised drinking guidelines for instance. Looking forward to 2017, it could prove another significant year with the end of Scotland's Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) legal saga finally in sight, but potentially a new one beginning with Brexit's impact on alcohol to be played out | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Nurse-led brief intervention versus standard advice

A UK study of nurse-led alcohol interventions found reductions in
excessive drinking across all patients, but no significant advantage for
a structured brief intervention over standard advice. This study from
2006 is being revisited as part of our programme to fill gaps in
analyses of key studies highlighted in the treatment matrices whose
findings remain important to UK practice | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Short-term effects of announcing revised lower risk national drinking guidelines on related awareness and knowledge: a trend analysis of monthly survey data in England

To evaluate short-term effects of publishing revised lower risk national drinking guidelines on related awareness and knowledge. To examine where drinkers heard about guidelines over the same period | BMJ Open, UK

This Game Claims To Be Able To Help You Quit Smoking

‘People think games are frivolous, but we learn a lot through play.’ | Huffington Post, UK

2016: A Year in the World of Drugs

It’s probably fair to say that 2016 will not go down in history as one of our finest years | Volte Face, UK

People power stopped early attempts to ruin fun of the pub

Interfering politicians once tried to restrict drinkers to spending just an hour in the pub and to close locals at just 9pm, new research shows | University of Exeter, UK

Is sugar the world’s most popular drug?

It eases pain, seems to be addictive and shows every sign of causing long-term health problems. Is it time to quit sugar for good? | Guardian, UK

Hepatitis C and Families

The experiences of family members are largely undocumented; this piece of research aims to rectify this. There are two surveys: | Adfam, UK

CGL to launch new Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service in St Helens

Change, grow, live (CGL) has been awarded a new contract for a community based drug and alcohol treatment service in St Helens, Merseyside | CGL, UK

New service for drug and alcohol addicts opens in Gloucestershire

Among the services it offers are health and wellbeing interventions, assessment and recovery planning, clinical services, housing advice, links into employment, training and education, recovery support and substance misuse training for local organisations | Glocestershire Live, UK

Aspire reaches out to homeless in Doncaster

Aspire Drug and Alcohol Service has launched its Homeless Longreach project to work in partnership with agencies across Doncaster to support vulnerable people identified as homeless, or at risk of homelessness, who are experiencing problems with drug or alcohol addiction or dependency, and want to make changes | Aspire, UK

Newcastle firm fined £7,000 for selling laughing gas

Catering firm Out of the Kitchen Ltd set up a spin-off named Toon Whip, which marketed itself as a "whipped cream delivery service, operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week." | ITV, UK

Two men jailed over cannabis factory hidden by bales of hay

Two men have been jailed after a £1m cannabis factory was found concealed inside a barn behind tonnes of hay | BBC, UK

Three face jail for £2.5m light aircraft cocaine drop in Faversham field

Three men are facing jail after admitting using a light aircraft to drop a large quantity of cocaine over the Kent countryside | BBC, UK



International news

Circumstances surrounding non-fatal opioid overdoses attended by ambulance services

Opioid overdose fatalities are a significant concern globally. Non-fatal overdoses have been described as a strong predictor for future overdoses, and are often attended by the ambulance services. This paper explores characteristics associated with non-fatal overdoses and aims to identify possible trends among these events in an urban area in Norway | Drug and Alcohol Review, UK

Foraged beer: The brewers making craft ale using wild ingredients from nettles to mushrooms

People want beer that is imaginative, created locally, and high-quality – or so the huge rise in microbreweries across the globe suggests. And if 2016 was the year of craft beer, 2017 might just be the time for foraged beers to take centre stage in the world of artisan brewing | Independent, UK

Duterte's drug war in the Philippines is out of control, he needs to be stopped

Foreign governments are keeping noticeably quiet as the Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte is leading one of the world’s bloodiest anti-drug campaigns | Guardian, UK

HIQA announces public consultation on first EU HTA to include e-cigarettes as an intervention for quitting smoking

This independent analysis by HIQA identifies what improvements could be made in the mix of interventions offered by the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland to increase overall quit rates at an acceptable cost. The findings will inform the development of a national clinical guideline to guide healthcare professionals and smokers on how best to quit smoking successfully | HIQA, Ireland

Increased use of e-cigarettes would assist smokers to quit, study finds

The Health Information and Quality Authority has said that an increased use of e-cigarettes by smokers trying to quit "would increase the number of people who successfully quit compared with the existing situation in Ireland" | RTe, Ireland

The 2016 Hep-CORE Report (PDF)

Monitoring the implementation of hepatitis B and C policy recommendations in Europe | European Liver Patients Association, Belgium

Ketamine trial could help free patient from alcoholism

Just two months ago, Marcus was drinking up to seven bottles of wine a night and regularly blacking out, sometimes finding himself in police custody | EurekAlert, USA

Researchers identify factors associated with stopping treatment for opioid dependence

Individuals with opioid use disorder who are treated with buprenorphine, a commonly prescribed drug to treat addiction, are more likely to disengage from treatment programs if they are black or Hispanic, unemployed, or have hepatitis C according to a study | Science Daily, USA

'European model' of introducing alcohol to teens a double-edged sword for parents

The 'European model' of introducing children and teenagers to alcohol in the home may decrease the rate of binge drinking, but it is not without its risks, a study has found | ABC.net, Australia

Revealed: Electronic cigarettes could damage sperm

Electronic cigarettes could damage men's fertility through toxic chemicals in the flavourings, a study suggests | NZHerald, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

New NICE guidance on dual diagnosis: sterile or infectious?

Mental health and substance use dominate the top ten global causes of non-communicable diseases (Delgadillo et al, 2016). In combination they can have a hugely debilitating effect on individuals, but unlike many other areas of healthcare we still don’t know how many people have a combined mental health and substance use problem; frequently referred to as dual diagnosis | Mental Elf Blog, UK

Cannabis confusion: the legality of medicinal CBD in the UK

Products used for medical purposes that contain cannabidiol (CBD) must now be licensed before they can legally be supplied in the UK, thanks to last year’s decision by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) | Release Blog, UK

Tim Cross: Should we screen heavy drinkers for liver disease?

The festive season is behind us and many people’s thoughts are now turning to the new year and New Year’s resolutions, which for many may include an aim to cut back on the amount of alcohol they drink | BMJ Blogs, UK

The acceptable poison: drinking alcohol will remain a personal choice despite links to cancer

Alcohol is everywhere in modern Western society, but with growing evidence of a link to cancer, ICR PhD student Kevin Litchfield asks how long the status quo will last | ICR Blog, UK

2017 Is The Year Of Mindful Drinking

Drinking is rarely out of the headlines. Government talks about unit recommendations. Millions are about to start a Dry January. Young people now drink less than their parents. Red wine cures cancer but also gives you cancer. And more and more people of all ages are cutting down their drinking in some way | Huffington Post Blog, UK

Leader comment: Vaping the lesser evil in the battle against smoking

They appear to provide a panacea for both smokers and non-smokers alike, being far less harmful and without the unpleasant by-products of traditional cigarettes | Scotsman, UK

Stewed to the gills, tanked to the uvula

Reflecting on the “varieties” of “religious experience”, William James wrote philosophically about intoxication. We must, he argues, look again at “the power of alcohol to stimulate the mystical faculties” | TLS, UK

The ‘Rising Epidemic’ Of Teen Steroid Abuse

The prevalence of anabolic steroid use among teens has attracted mainstream media attention since the mid 1980s, when reports began to surface that high school students were using the drugs | Huffington Post Blog, USA