Daily news -7th June 2017

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UK news

Almost one in three drugs overdoses in Europe occur in the UK

Britain has Europe’s highest proportion of heroin addicts and problematic use of novel psychoactive substances, say reports by the European drugs agency | Guardian, UK [See European Drug Report in International section below]

Even moderate drinking can damage the brain, claim researchers

Moderate alcohol consumption can impair cognitive function, says study, countering suggestions that low levels of drinking can help protect the brain | Guardian, UK

Expert reaction to study looking at drinking alcohol and the structure and function of the brain

In a new study published in the BMJ researchers report brain changes associated with chronic alcohol consumption, even at moderate levels. A Before the Headlines analysis accompanied these comments | Science Media Centre, UK

Responding to cannabis use in primary care

Given the increasing significance of cannabis in UK treatment caseloads,
we return to this 2010 clinical review to see what can be gleaned about
how to assess and manage problem cannabis use in primary care | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

A systematic review of alcohol screening and assessment measures for young people: a study protocol

Alcohol consumption creates a significant public health burden, and young people who drink alcohol place themselves at risk of harm. Expert guidance and reviews have highlighted the pressing need for reliable and valid, age-appropriate alcohol screening and assessment measures for young people. The proposed systematic review will evaluate existing alcohol screening and assessment measures for young people aged 24 and under | BMJ Open, UK

UK General Election 2017: Where do the parties stand on drug policy? (PDF)

On the 8th June, the United Kingdom goes to the polls for a second general election in under two years. Following the EU referendum last June, the issue of Brexit continues to dominate the campaign discourse, with security also front and centre since the recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester. Important - yet less eye-catching - issues have taken a back seat in the campaign, including the issue of drugs policy | GDPO, UK

New packaging laws see slump in cigarette sales

Cigarette retailers have seen a dip in sales since laws enforcing plain packaging were introduced, according to a recent report | Scotsman, UK

How to measure the black market for cigarettes

Popular methods include surveys, statistical analysis and rooting through rubbish | Economist, UK

Smoking while pregnant 'can cause dental problems for children'

Women who continue to smoke while pregnant may be increasing the likelihood of their children experiencing dental problems | Zenopa, UK

IAS Alert May 2017: licensing, treatment sector, inequalities, MUP 5 years on & more

The latest Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) Alcohol Alert: May 2017 is now available | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Vaping 101: What are cloud competitions and are they safe?

Vaping is becoming increasingly popular, with the concept of blowing out massive vapours of flavoured smoke seen as either a way to give up traditional cigarettes or a hobby for those who inhale liquids that don’t contain nicotine | Metro, UK

Police say nearly 40 left unwell in Newcastle after spike in lethal highs

At the height of the spike on Sunday, officers say they were called out to 12 incidents in less than four hours of users found slumped on pavements and park benches across the city and received a total of 17 reports during the course of the day | Northern Echo, UK

'Get a grip' junkie's lawyer tells Wrexham authorities over homeless drug addicts problem

Mark Davies spoke on behalf of Craig Nikolic, 32, of no fixed abode, who ended up in the dock at Flintshire Magistrates’ Court | Daily Post, UK


International news

Alcohol is issue for most at addiction centre

More than 60% of the clients who attended an addiction treatment centre last year are holding down full-time jobs | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Ireland's drug problem: Rise of killer synthetic opioids

Lethal synthetic alternatives to heroin are posing a growing threat across Europe, with rising reports of overdoses and deaths, including in Ireland, according to the EU drugs agency | Irish Examiner, Ireland

European Drug Report 2017

What do the latest data tell us about the European drug market? What are the new trends in drug use among European adults and school students? What are the harms associated with drug use and what is being done to counter them? These and other questions are explored in the 2017 European Drug Report, our annual overview of the drug situation in Europe | EMCDDA, Portugal

European Drug Report 2017: trends and developments in Europe's drug situation - video

What do the latest data tell us about the European drug market? What are the new trends in drug use among European adults and school students? What are the harms associated with drug use and what is being done to counter them? These and other questions will be explored by the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) on 6 June in its annual overview of the European drug situation | EMCDDA, Portugal

Perspectives on drugs: Drug consumption rooms: an overview of provision and evidence

Supervised drug consumption facilities, where illicit drugs can be used under the supervision of trained staff, have been operating in Europe for the last three decades. These facilities primarily aim to reduce the acute risks of disease transmission through unhygienic injecting, prevent drug-related overdose deaths and connect high-risk drug users with addiction treatment and other health and social services | EMCDDA, Portugal

Changes in Europe’s cannabis resin market (Perspectives on drugs)

The European market for hashish is currently one of the world’s largest and most profitable. About 647 tonnes of cannabis herb and 641 tonnes of hashish were consumed in the Euroean Union in 2013 and the retail market has an overall value estimated conservatively to be about EUR 9.3 billion in 2013. This analysis describes how the supply of cannabis resin in Europe is changing in response to competition and other market developments | EMCDDA, Portugal

Wastewater analysis and drugs — a European multi-city study (Perspectives on drugs)

The findings of the largest European project to date in the emerging science of wastewater analysis are taken up in this ‘Perspective on drugs’. The project in question analysed wastewater in over 60 European cities and towns (hereinafter referred to as ‘cities’) to explore the drug-taking habits of those who live in them | EMCDDA, Portugal

Preventing overdose deaths in Europe (Perspectives on drugs)

It is estimated that over 70 000 lives were lost to drug overdoses in Europe in the first decade of the twenty-first century. Reducing drug-related deaths therefore remains a major challenge for public health policy. This analysis describes some of the factors that increase the risk of fatal and non-fatal overdoses and a number of interventions developed to prevent these events | EMCDDA, Portugal

Synthetic cannabinoids in Europe (Perspectives on drugs)

Synthetic cannabinoids represent the largest group of substances currently monitored in Europe by the EMCCDA through the EU Early Warning System. Current knowledge on these substances and trends in production, availability, use and harms are presented in this analysis | EMCDDA, Portugal

THE TIME IS NOW To Eliminate Hepatitis C!

Filmed at the Hepatitis-C Community Summit by the Rights Reporter Foundation | Drug Reporter, Hungary

Drug Deaths in America Are Rising Faster Than Ever

New data compiled from hundreds of health agencies reveals the extent of the drug overdose epidemic last year | NYTimes, USA

US drug overdose deaths soar in 2016: report

US drug overdose deaths surged 19 percent to at least 59,000 last year as deadly manufactured drugs like fentanyl intensified a national opioid addiction crisis, New York Times data showed Tuesday | Medical Xpress, USA

America's hidden HIV epidemic

Why do America’s black gay and bisexual men have a higher H.I.V. rate than any country in the world? | NYTimes, USA

Powerful new opioids, overdose deaths worry EU drug agency

Potent new synthetic opioids that mimic the effects of heroin and morphine are a growing health threat in the European Union, the bloc's drug agency said Tuesday | Medical Xpress, USA

Philip Morris International Asks for a Human Rights Evaluation, the Conclusion: Stop Producing and Marketing Your Products

Tobacco continues to kill over 7 million people per year and costs the global economy almost 2% of its GDP, more than 1.4 trillion dollars per year | Huffington Post, USA

Just 10 cigarettes during pregnancy can harm kids

Babies born to women who smoked as few as 10 cigarettes are more apt to have thinking and learning problems later, a new study suggests | Medical Xpress, USA

How supervised injecting sites can save cities money

Researchers have released two of the first cost-benefit analyses of supervised injection facilities in U.S. cities | PSMag, USA

Survey Data Published on Community Use of NARCAN® (naloxone HCI) Nasal Spray 4 mg to Help Reverse Opioid-Related Overdose - Current Medical Research and Opinion Journal

Adapt Pharma announces recent publication of survey data analyzing community use of NARCAN® Nasal Spray 4 mg. The manuscript, Use of Naloxone Nasal Spray in the Community Setting: a Survey of Use by Community Organizations, was published in the medical journal, Current Medical Research and Opinion | PRNewswire, USA

Toronto's Medical Officer of Health calls for immediate decriminalization of recreational pot

Dr. Eileen de Villa estimates there will be an additional 22,000 convictions if cannabis is not decriminalized | CBC News, Canada

Heroin vaccine comes a step closer to human use

While it may not be possible to cure actual heroin addiction via a simple injection, scientists at The Scripps Research Institute are developing what is perhaps the next-best thing – a vaccine that keeps addicts from experiencing the heroin high | New Atlas, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Nicotine in the news

As I’m writing this, more news is emerging about the terrorist attack in London Bridge, an area I know well having worked round there for many years, often shopped in Borough Market and frequented the cafes and restaurants in the area. So my mood is not what you would call bright, but even so I thought I’d start this week’s missive with an amusing slot about the vagaries (or should that be vaparies?) of Australia’s e-cig laws | NSP Blog, UK

Drug and Alcohol Worker should be a regulated title

Drug and alcohol workers provide support to some of the most vulnerable people in our society, yet we still do not have a legally enforceable minimum level of competence or regulation for those working in the sector.  It is extraordinary that professional drug and alcohol workers are still not regulated and recognised like social workers, counsellors, hearing aid dispensers or art therapists are | Blenheim Blog, UK

UK drug report 2017

The UK drug problem at a glance | Russell Webster, UK

Why I’m More than My Addiction Story - By Joanne Chu

As addicts, our perception and persecution of ourselves is far worse than anyone else can lay on us. We think that how we see ourselves and our addiction past is surely how everyone else must see us and we try to minimize that perceived negativity with excuses and explanations | Prison Widow, UK

The Lib Dems would introduce a regulated market for cannabis

Guardian experts give their view on the main parties’ public service manifesto pledges. Here, our home affairs editor looks at criminal justice and immigration | Guardian, UK

The Points Interview: Claire Clark

Claire Clark teaches at the University of Kentucky, where she is an assistant professor of Behavioral Science, secondarily appointed in the Department of History, and associated with the Program for Bioethics. The Recovery Revolution: The Battle Over Addiction Treatment in the United States (Columbia University Press, 2017) is a history of therapeutic community treatment for drug addiction | Points blog, USA

Is Mexico actually the world’s second most murderous nation?

This year Mexico celebrates the centennial of Juan Rulfo, one of the 20th century’s greatest Mexican writers | Conversation, Australia

ReGen rejects ACL views on helping drug users

UnitingCare ReGen, the lead alcohol and other drug treatment and education agency of UnitingCare Victoria & Tasmania, has  responded to claims made in last Friday’s Herald Sun that a change in the Victorian government’s opposition to the establishment of a pilot Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) in Richmond, “would enrage Christian groups” (‘Services back injecting room’, 02/06/17) | Crosslight, Australia