Daily news - 26th January 2017

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UK news

Offering a ‘stop smoking’ taster session and personalised letter doubles likelihood smokers will seek help to quit

Smokers underestimate their personal risk of illness, and an NIHR-funded study aimed to try and persuade them that these risks are personally relevant | NIHR, UK

Drugs: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what the timetable is for the Government's response to the report by the Advisory Council on the misuse of drugs, reducing opioid-related deaths in the UK, published in December 2016 | They work for you, UK

Is the 'legal highs' ban working? - video

It is eight months since the British government banned the drugs that were known as "legal highs" | BBC, UK

High impact service users & assertive outreach: improving outcomes?

In 2014 Alcohol Concern released the Blue Light Manual as part of a project to develop alternative approaches and care pathways for treatment resistant drinkers who place a burden on public services. Since then, a number of local areas have developed initiatives focusing on 'high impact' drinkers and new research on an assertive outreach trial has been released | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Medical care in alcohol treatment systems

Online alcohol treatment research course moves on to commissioning whole treatment systems. Highlights the US trial which transformed detoxification recyclers into typical patients, asks if you agree with an expert group's vision of what constitutes a good quality alcohol service, and questions whether Britain is making progress on care for mentally ill problem drinkers | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Typology and Dynamics of Heavier Drinking Styles in Great Britain: 1978–2010

To identify a typology of heavier drinking styles in Great Britain and to identify socio-demographic trends in the typology over the period 1978–2010 | Alcohol and Alcoholism, UK

Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy

A selection of open access articles | DEPP, UK

Drug Addiction

What steps the Government are taking to (a) treat drug addiction in prison and (b) provide education and skills training to prisoners formerly addicted to drugs to help them to find work on release | They work for you, UK

Students left fighting for lives after taking enough caffeine for 300 cups of coffee in botched university experiment

Two students were left fighting for their lives after they were each given enough caffeine for 300 cups of coffee in a botched university science experiment | Telegraph, UK

'Contaminated' drugs may have caused three deaths

Three people are suspected to have died after taking contaminated heroin and crack cocaine in Oxfordshire | BBC, UK

Smoking claims a life every 21 hours in Gateshead

Gateshead Council has released figures which suggest that one person dies as a result of smoking every 21 hours in Gateshead | ITV, UK

Dorset pupils hospitalised over cocaine scare

Four schoolchildren were taken to hospital over fears they had taken cocaine at school, believing it to be sweets | BBC, UK

Reducing harm from alcohol consumption: developing a long-term strategy

All-Party Parliamentary Health Group. Tuesday, 31 January 2017 from 09:00 to 10:30 (GMT). London, United Kingdom | APPHG, UK

Breaking Free Group launches new eLearning platform

Following the recent launch of the Breaking Free Companion app, leading digital health company Breaking Free Group has further enhanced the delivery of evidence-based digital treatment and recovery support by introducing a new eLearning platform | Breaking Free, UK

750,000 illegal cigarettes gang caught in Newport

About 750,000 illegal cigarettes and 300kg of tobacco worth more than £425,000 was seized in "one of the most significant" trading standards investigations of its type in Wales | BBC, UK

Number of rough sleepers in England rises for sixth successive year

Latest official figures show an estimated 4,134 people were forced to sleep outside in 2016, up 16% on the previous year | Guardian, UK


International news

The WeedTubers: these people make a living getting stoned on YouTube

Josh Young smokes weed before he eats breakfast. He gets high before lunch, too, again before dinner, and usually one or two more times on top of that. Most days, on at least a few of those occasions, he’s filming it for his YouTube channel, StrainCentral, which has more than 373,000 subscribers. Millions watch him every month | Guardian, UK

Australia: Has it Cracked the Solution to Curb Smoking? - BBC radio iPlayer

Today, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. It leads to around six million deaths per year, and trends show that will rise to more than eight million by 2030 | BBC, UK

Bolivian Government Proposes Increasing Land for Legal Coca Cultivation

The Bolivian government plans to expand the legal production of coca leaves, the raw material from which cocaine is produced, in a bid to reduce illegal cultivation of the plants | Talking Drugs, UK

Delaying pot smoking to age 17 is better for teens' brains, a new study suggests

The more teenagers delay smoking marijuana until they're older, the better it is for their brains, but there may be little ill effect if they start after age 17, says a new Université de Montréal study | Medical Xpress, USA

Good outcomes with 'telepsychiatry' in medical treatment of opioid use disorder

For people with opioid use disorder receiving medication treatment with buprenorphine, a telepsychiatry approach—using videoconferencing as an alternative to in-person group sessions—provides similar clinical outcomes, reports a study in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, the official journal of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) | Medical Xpress, USA

New Yorkers Want To Know More About Canada's Marijuana Industry

Americans continue to watch Canada's approach to legalizing marijuana with great interest. Even in New York where only medical marijuana is legal in a very restrictive program, many people turned out to hear Michael Gorenstein, Chief Executive Officer of Canada's Cronos Group speak | Forbes, USA

Injection site could house machine to test for tainted drugs

Ottawa’s first supervised injection site could include a machine that instantly checks street drugs for deadly hidden substances, such as fentanyl | Ottawa Sun, Canada

British Columbia's social-housing providers have joined the provincial government in offering safer spaces for drug users to inject, not waiting for the federal approval needed to open official supervised consumption sites such as Vancouver's Insite | Globe and Mail, Canada

Toronto Cops Worried About Uptick in Weed Dispensary Robberies

Recent stickups highlight why the current system is broken | VICE, Canada

Australia Day honours 2017: Marion McConnell recognised for drug law reform push

It was the many small injustices Marion McConnell felt around the time her son died from a heroin overdose which sparked her mighty two-decade battle for drug law reform | Canberra Times, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

5 things you need to know about drug policy

Variations of this line have without fail been the Home Office’s go to statement in recent years when questioned on the efficacy of its drug policies. More often than not, it is defiantly accompanied with quotes that suggest to the general public: “Because drug use is falling, our drug policy is working.” | Release, UK

Seen ‘T2 Trainspotting’? Now try these other awesome movies about drugs and debauchery

There is nothing – like nothing – like Trainspotting. Except maybe the upcoming sequel, T2 Trainspotting, which is out on January 27 and has us all horribly excited | NME Blog, UK

Pill testing is still a great idea, if we use the right equipment

Andrew Leibie (Pill testing sounds like a great idea, but there’s a catch, Sydney Morning Herald, 20/1) argues that pill testing is flawed. The technology is not accurate or reliable | Drugs, internet, society blog, Australia

Pill testing isn’t a silver bullet but it will save lives

The recent article by Andrew Leibie appears to be the latest installment of his views about drug use and drug policy. However, his use of a straw man argument is both disappointing and disingenuous | AOD Media Watch, Australia