Daily news - 9th March 2017

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UK news

Budget 2017: Treasury to open consultation on new tax band for white cider

Today’s Spring Budget sees the government announcing that it will launch a consultation looking into introducing a new tax band for still cider just below 7.5% abv, to target white ciders | IAS, UK

Budget 2017: Smokers to be hit by new 'floor price' tax on cigarette packs

This will be set at £268.63 per 1,000 cigarettes. Based on a retail price of £7.35 for a pack of 20, the minimum duty will be £5.37. As previously announced by the Government, duty on wine, beer, spirits and cider (which is charged at a flat rate per litre or hectolitre) will rise by 3.9% from Monday 13 March | Money Saving Expert, UK

Alcohol licensing: information databases

This guidance provides information about a number of information databases that hold useful data about mortality, drug use and other relevant topics for public health teams who are involved in licensing decisions | PHE, UK

Bereaved through Alcohol and Drugs (BEAD) - New website is launched

Adfam and Cruse are delighted to announce the launch of the Bereaved through Alcohol and Drugs (BEAD) website which will serve as a vital source of information for anyone who has been bereaved in this way | Adfam, UK

Why the Government Is Directly Responsible for the Rise of Drug-Related Mental Health Issues

Over the past decade, there's been a huge jump in admissions to hospital psychiatric units for drug-related mental health or behavioural disorders | VICE, UK

Drinks: Labelling

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have for public consultation on the labelling of low alcohol, alcohol-free, non-alcoholic and de-alcoholised drinks as part of the Food Information Regulations 2014 | They work for you, UK

Spice drug making users 'like zombies' in Manchester

There has been a surge in calls to people taking the former legal high Spice, North West Ambulance Service says | BBC, UK

Healthier central England or North–South divide? Analysis of national survey data on smoking and high-risk drinking

This paper compares patterns of smoking and high-risk alcohol use across regions in England, and assesses the impact on these of adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics | BMJ Open, UK


Latest podcast | Suzi Cage, UK

Be Bold For Change: Women Changing Drug Policy

A culture of violence is a consequence of prohibition and women who use drugs often don’t speak out when they are violently abused for fear of persecution by the law | Beckley Foundation, UK

Menthol cigarettes will be banned by 2020 - and the phasing out starts soon

Changes are being made which will eventually result in a complete ban on the product | Wales Online, UK

Substance found in red wine 'helps fight ageing'

"Red wine can 'help fight the ageing process' – but how much would you have to drink?," is the question posed by The Sun, after a US study suggested resveratrol, a substance found in the skin of red grapes, may help keep our muscles and nerves healthy as we get older | NHS Choices: Behind the Headlines, UK


To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will make it his policy that future grants awarded for work previously conducted by Action on Smoking and Health will be awarded on a competitive basis | They work for you, UK

'Accrington Stanley' vodka parody ad banned

Three adverts for a Dorset farm's vodka, including a parody of the celebrated "Accrington Stanley" milk ad from the 80s, have been banned | BBC, UK

LGBT Community and Substance Use

Survey | ADA

Drug gang infiltrator: I had Samurai sword held to my throat

"I've had a samurai sword to my throat, a knife in my groin, stripped naked at gun point." For 14 years, Neil Woods infiltrated UK drug gangs for the police, at great personal risk | BBC, UK


International news

Painkiller prescription limits dramatically reduce drug dependence among surgery outpatients, study finds

The head of general surgery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center had a remarkably simple idea not long ago: What if the department suggested that surgeons limit prescriptions of narcotic pain pills to a specific number for different kinds of operations? | Independent, UK

Republican governors argue Donald Trump replacing Obamacare will leave millions without health insurance

'Phasing out Medicaid coverage without a viable alternative is counterproductive and unnecessarily puts at risk our ability to treat the drug-addicted, mentally ill and working poor' | Independent, UK

Make drugs dull: legalising cannabis the Canadian way

A former Toronto police chief on controlling drugs by ending their criminalisation | Spectator, UK

BBC apologises for misleading documentary on 'drunken' Aboriginal community

Wilcannia residents accuse presenter of unethical behaviour, including filming people drinking heavily at a wake, but presenting it as a drunken party | Guardian, UK

Smoke-free spaces on the island of Ireland (PDF)

Reducing second-hand smoke (SHS) exposure has become a central component of tobacco control policies across the island of Ireland |  Institute of Public Health, Ireland

'Unseen' calories in alcohol give drinkers food for thought

Drinkers can consume more calories in a night out than their entire daily allowance, an obesity expert has warned | Independent, Ireland

Warning of obligation to comply with international drug laws on plan for injecting facilities

Countries such as Ireland that plan to introduce drug consumption rooms are obliged to ensure they comply with international drug laws, the world’s narcotics watchdog has warned | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Alcohol Bill may return to Seanad before summer

HSE AskAboutAlcohol.ie website aims to raise understanding about harmful drinking | Irish Times, Ireland

Time our drink driving laws caught up with the tragic reality

Our Road Safety Authority expert explodes some of the myths around new rules to disqualify drivers | Independent, Ireland

Everything You Need To Know About Hepatitis C

Hepatitis literally means “inflammation (swelling) of the liver.” Loads of things can cause Hepatitis, including viral infections (known as viral hepatitis), excess alcohol and certain prescription/non-prescription drugs | Buzzfeed, USA

The DRAM, Vol. 13(3) – Alcohol use and gambling disorder within a clinical sample

Imagine turning to alcohol or other drugs in a desperate attempt to escape from the strain of a gambling problem. All too often, gambling disorder and substance use disorders co-occur in the general population | BASIS, USA

Rectal Medical Marijuana Is Effective, Safer Than Smoking, But Weed Suppository Won't Be Widely Available

Rectal marijuana? Weed suppositories? Smoking might be the most common way to get high, but apparently it’s not the best —at least for medicinal purposes | Medical daily, USA

Consumption of alcohol and marijuana associated with lower GPA in college

College students who consume medium-to-high levels of alcohol and marijuana have a consistently lower GPA, according to a study published March 8, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Shashwath Meda from Hartford Hospital/Institute of Living, USA, and colleagues | News Medical, USA

Australia grants first cannabis farm licence

Australia's first medical marijuana farm received its growers' licence Wednesday, opening up domestic production of the drug for people seeking relief from serious illnesses | Medical Xpress, USA

Surgeons were told to stop prescribing so many painkillers. The results were remarkable

The head of general surgery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center had a remarkably simple idea not long ago: What if the department suggested that surgeons limit prescriptions of narcotic pain pills to a specific number for different kinds of operations? | Washington Post, USA

Amid contamination concerns, cannabis shops take on testing

Illegal marijuana dispensaries in British Columbia and Ontario say they are developing a system of testing standards amid concerns about contaminants in cannabis – both at unauthorized storefronts and in the federally regulated system | Globe and Mail, Canada

'They are dangerous': Synthetic drug sellers could be jailed under new laws

Sex shops, tobacconists and other shops selling synthetic ecstasy and cannabis will face big fines and up to two years in jail under tough new laws to be introduced to state parliament on Wednesday | Age, Australia

Cannabis prohibition discriminates 'against elderly'

Prohibition of cannabis discriminates against the elderly because it "seems to be freely available" to anyone else who wants it, MPs have been told | RNZ, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and confusion

Raising Duty, Reducing Harm

The Chancellor spring’s Budget presents a chance to call time on the ability to buy a can of cider for cheaper than a bottle of water | Huffington Post Blog, UK

E-Cigarettes: A Blessing Or A Curse?

There have been a number of conflicting reports on the health implications of smoking e-cigarettes. In spite of a Public Health England review finding that they are 95% safer than traditional cigarettes and are an effective quitting aid, the wider health implications for smokers and non-smokers alike, are unknown | Huffington Post Blog, UK

No doubt about it: smokefree laws cut heart attacks in big way

There is strong and consistent evidence that exposure to secondhand smoke causes heart attacks and that smokefree workplace and public place laws cut heart attacks (and other diseases). The most  recent evidence comes from a large study in Sao Paolo, Brazil, where heart attack deaths dropped by 12 percent following implementation of its smokefree law | Conversation, USA

Don’t let Big Marijuana prioritize profits over safety

Patrick Kennedy is a former U.S. representative from Rhode Island and an honorary adviser of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. Kevin Sabet is a former White House drug policy adviser and president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana | Washington Post Blog, USA

Weekly Dose: while the media panic about ice, we should worry about carfentanil

While the media seem embroiled in a moral panic about methamphetamine or “ice”, those of us who actually work with overdose patients are nervously watching out for a far more dangerous drug: carfentanil | Conversation, Australia