Daily news - 13th March 2017

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UK news

Hospital drug admissions for over-50s up 50%, report shows

The number of over-50s admitted to hospitals in Wales after taking drugs has increased by about 50% since 2011, a report has shown. Drug and alcohol abuse among older adults is "increasing rapidly", authors warned. The Welsh Government advisory panel on substance misuse report said there was a "hidden problem" of medication addiction | BBC, UK

From synthetic 'zombie' drugs to 'codeine housewives' – the changing face of the modern drugs scene

It is is the latest drug to spark alarm, with images of users being turned into ‘living dead’ by a powerful new strain of a synthetic alternative to cannabis hitting the streets [Harry Shapiro of DrugWise quoted] | Herald, UK

DDN February issue

In this issue, Natalie Davies examines the argument for consumption rooms in detail; Catherine Larkin and Danny Hames take stock of the value of a naloxone strategy; Tony Margetts evaluates the progress of prison reform; Lizzie McCulloch looks at a new approach to cannabis policy and treatment; and two of the major treatment charities explain how they are tuned to the challenges ahead | DDN, UK

Government considering plans to house addicts who sleep rough

A project pioneered in Finland offers homes to troubled people before they begin treatment for addiction and mental illness | Observer, UK

Further advice on U-47,700, etizolam and other designer benzodiazepines

Further letter from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs about U-47,700 and designer benzodiazepines | Home Office and ACMD, UK

Ring fence on public health grants retained

Public Health Minister Nicola Blackwood has announced that the ring fence on public health grants will be retained until 2019 | FPH, UK

Smoking cessation in secondary care: acute and maternity settings

Self-assessment framework for NHS acute trusts to develop local action to reduce smoking prevalence and the use of tobacco | PHE, UK

Number of people quitting smoking hits record high

More people in the UK are quitting smoking than ever before, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics | PharmaTimes Journal, UK

Smoking related fire deaths double, warns Brigade on No Smoking Day

Twenty-one Londoners died in fires relating to smoking last year, which is more than double the year before | Fire Magazine, UK

Drug-driving linked to hundreds of accidents on Scotland's roads

The number of drug-affected crashes in one year reached the highest level over that same period with 65 cases in 2015 | Herald, UK

Government funds Mentor UK’s online resource to expand drug and alcohol prevention in schools (PDF)

Public Health England has today announced new funding for an alcohol and drugs education and prevention programme, that will expand Mentor UK’s ADEPIS resource into more schools and community settings. The programme helps equip young people with the life skills and resilience to deal with the challenges they face with alcohol and drugs | Mentor, UK

Submissions open for fourth Recovery Street Film Festival

The Recovery Street Film Festival, which encourages people to submit three-minute films conveying their experience of drug and alcohol addiction, has officially launched for the fourth consecutive year. This year’s competition theme ‘Making up for lost time’ is encouraging people to give an honest and personal account in an innovative way. More details on the website | Recovery Street Film Festival, UK

Drugs: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the effect of the abstinence based approach for the treatment of drug addiction on levels of deaths from drug misuse | They work for you, UK

Five studies that help explain why social drinking is so rewarding

For millennia, humans have enjoyed using alcohol as a social lubricant. The reasons seem obvious at first. Most of us have had a drink or two that’s put us at ease, helped us lose our inhibitions, lifted our mood | BPS, UK

Women and alcohol factsheet (PDF)

In recent decades, the gender gap between men and women’s alcohol consumption has closed; a 2016 analysis of 68 international studies showed that for those born in the late 1990s, men were only 1.1 times more likely to drink alcohol than women, 1.2 times more likely to drink in a way that suggested problematic use and 1.3 times more likely to experience alcohol-related harms | IAS, UK

- video

Nick Ferrari says plans to give addicts free heroin are ridiculous | Sky News, UK

Lib Dems seek 'de facto decriminalisation' of possessing drugs for personal use

Users of heroin, cocaine, crystal meth and other illegal drugs would no longer face prosecution under plans agreed by the Scottish Liberal Democrats on Friday | Herald, UK

Parent to be fined for supplying alcohol to child as police seize booze from youths

Police in a County Durham town have released a photo of the alcohol they seized from underage drinkers during an operation on Friday night | Northern Echo, UK

Bikers call for jail for fatal crash drug drivers

More than 500 bikers have joined a rally calling for tougher sentences for drivers who crash while on drugs | BBC, UK

Rapists are preying on drunk women like burglars on unlocked doors, says senior female judge

'Girls are perfectly entitled to drink themselves into the ground but should be aware people who are potential defendants to rape," says Judge Lindsey Kushner in her last case before retirement | Independent, UK

Spice should be made a Class A drug, says Westminster council boss

The leader of Westminster council today called for the former legal high Spice to be reclassified as a Class A drug | Evening Standard, UK

Shift in drinking habits presents ‘significant’ opportunity for manufacturers

Brits are “actively moderating” their drinking habits, with more than half of the nation’s beer, wine and cider drinkers claiming they drink less than a few years ago, according to research from Mintel | Morning Advertiser, UK

On Young Women and Skunk

Yesterday morning, The Times released a piece entitled ‘Middle-class, female, and smokes skunk‘, which attempts the commendable task of highlighting problematic cannabis use by a group — young women and girls — which is often overlooked in discussions about cannabis | Volte Face, UK

Is Cannabidiol a Useful Drug for Treating Addictions?

Anecdotal evidence suggests that people are using Cannabidiol (CBD), the non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis, to help them quit smoking cigarettes as well as other drugs | Volte Face, UK

The carbon cost of your cocaine

If you’ve found your way to the Do the Green Thing website today, there’s a few things you probably do. For example, you probably have a bicycle - or you really really want one | Do the green thing, UK

Homeless blighted by 'legal high' £5-a-gram 'Spice'

Since the ban on 'legal highs' came into force last year, the emergency services in Manchester have recorded a drop in calls related to the drugs | STV, UK

Teacher banned for taking drugs with teen student

A science teacher who took legal highs with a student and watched as another one took Viagra has been banned from teaching for life | BBC, UK

Landlord accepted £40,000 stolen whisky as rent payment

A landlord accepted almost £40,000 of rare stolen whisky from a tenant in lieu of £1,400 unpaid rent, a court was told | BBC, UK

Manchester drugs dealer deliberately led police to his £100k cocaine stash

A helpful drug dealer who led police to his £100,000 cocaine stash has been rewarded with a reduction in his eight-year prison sentence | BBC, UK

Home Secretary Amber Rudd visits Grace House

Phoenix welcomed the Home Secretary Amber Rudd to Grace House on International Women's Day 8th March 2017 | Phoenix House, UK

Officer jailed for smuggling drugs into Inverness prison

A former prison officer has been jailed after admitting to smuggling drugs and mobile phones into Inverness prison | BBC, UK

Hospital coffee shop closes for revamp

Aspire Service Manager Stuart Green added: “We have a thriving network of peer mentors and volunteers in Doncaster and the WellBean Coffee Lounge has the opportunity to provide a platform to support people to recover and thrive in the wider community. We hope it will help break down stigma about services and volunteering as well as offer a place for people to connect learn and relax.” | ASPIRE, UK


International news

Download the CND App!

The CND App will help you to track live what is happening at CND 60th session, receive notifications on key events, resolutions and speakers, and access UN agreed language on specific drug policy issues | GPDPD, UK

Marijuana could hold the key to treating Alzheimer's but drug laws stand in the way, say scientists

Cannabinoids can help remove dangerous dementia proteins from brain cells, researchers say | Independent, UK

Jeff Sessions urges US prosecutors to target drugs in push against violent crime

Pivoting away from Obama-era priorities, attorney general sends memo to US attorneys as experts warn that ‘focusing on drugs does not make us safer’ | Guardian, UK

Florida lawyer's trousers catch fire in court arson trial

A Florida defence lawyer's trousers have reportedly caught fire in court during an arson trial | BBC, UK

Varnish, cologne and insecticide: how to drink like a Russian

In an extract from Alcohol: Soviet Anti-Alcohol Posters, Alexei Plutser-Sarno recalls a Soviet era when cologne replaced vodka as the people’s tipple of choice​ | Telegraph, UK

Airline pilot jailed for being drunk

A pilot has been jailed for 10 months for attempting to board a flight from Glasgow to America while drunk | BBC, UK

Expert group wants nightclub drug tests

New initiative aims to reduce deaths from taking 'adulterated' substances | Independent, Ireland

Ireland targeted in 200-courier cocaine trafficking operation

Ireland was one of eight EU countries targeted in a sophisticated cocaine-trafficking operation from Brazil which involved 200 couriers | Iris Examiner, Ireland

Should parents give their children alcohol?

Children and teens who are given alcohol by their parents are twice as likely to be drinking full serves of alcohol by age 15 or 16, but are much less likely to binge drink, a UNSW study shows | Medical Xpress, USA

Alcoholism may be caused by dynamical dopamine imbalance

An international research collaborative has identified potential alcoholism mechanisms associated with altered dopaminergic neuron response to complex dynamics of prefrontal cortex neurones affecting dopamine release | Medical Xpress, USA

Depression, alcohol, and marijuana linked to later use of synthetic marijuana among teens

 In the first prospective study of synthetic cannabinoids or SCs - the group of chemicals that mimic the effects of marijuana - researchers have found that symptoms of depression, drinking alcohol, or using marijuana was linked to an increased risk of SC use one year later | EurekAlert, USA

Drug war “reparations”

The plan to make legal weed lucrative for more than just 
white people | VICE, USA

Few teens receive effective treatment for opioid addiction

Just a small fraction of adolescents with opioid addiction will receive medications that can help them quit, new research shows | Reuters, UK

7 in 10 U.S. workplaces hit by opioid abuse: survey

Prescription drug abuse has seeped into the American workplace, with 70 percent of businesses saying it affects their workers, a new survey reveals | Medical Xpress, USA

Drug use drops after ER visits used as 'teachable moments'

Biggest effect came from brief talk with a counselor, but 'virtual therapist' on tablet also shows promise in reducing use of illegal drugs and misuse of prescription drugs | EurekAlert, USA

As opioid overdoses rise, police officers become counselors, doctors and social workers

The nation’s opioid epidemic is changing the way law enforcement does its job, with police officers acting as drug counselors and medical workers and shifting from law-and-order tactics to approaches more akin to social work | Washington Post, USA

Most doctors recommend FDA-approved drugs before E-cigs

Andrew S. Nickels, M.D., from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues presented the results of primary care physicians and pulmonary medicine specialists in response to a clinical vignette describing a patient with asthma and ongoing combustible cigarette use who inquired about use of electronic cigarettes as a cessation tool | Medical Xpress, USA

Citric acid has the potential to produce respiratory sensitisers in e-cigarette vapor

The use of citric acid in e-liquids needs to be investigated to further understand its potential to form potentially harmful anhydrides in the vapour | Medical Xpress, USA

150 festival-goers caught with drugs in Sydney over the weekend

One in 50 festival-goers were found with drugs at a music event in Sydney's eastern suburbs in a weekend that saw nearly 150 people caught with illicit substances | abc.net.au, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Nicotine in the news

It strikes me there is a marked difference between the way US and UK governments and their agencies handle information about controversial subjects. In the US, there is an obvious moral underpinning to much of what is published about drugs, alcohol and tobacco | NSP Blog, UK

Duncan Selbie's Friday message – 10 March

We warmly welcome the Chancellor’s confirmation on Wednesday of how the levy on sugary drinks will operate in practice from 2018 | PHE Blog, UK

Prison-based prescriptions aid Scotland's National Naloxone Programme

Opioid overdose is a major cause of premature mortality and life-years lost not only in eastern Europe but in Scotland, as confirmed by the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015 | Lancet corresspondence, UK

Drug addiction isn't going away so why are treatment centres being slashed?

Our most desperate clients lead chaotic lives and this hurts our performance targets - they now have to jump through hoops before getting any help | Guardian, UK

How Addiction Changed My Life

Alcohol and drug addiction affects more than just user. It also affects family and friends, who are usually the ones to pick up the pieces time and time again, and who (in the worst case scenario) are left dealing with the grief of losing a loved one due to their addiction | Huffington Post Blog, UK

A letter to … My wonderful mother, who drank herself to death

The letter you always wanted to write | Guardian letters, UK

Bad Behaviour On Both Sides Of The Cannabis Debate

Cannabis evangelists, with their conspiracy theories and religious ‘belief’ that cannabis is totally harmless and cures everything, are every bit as delusional as those who subscribe to ‘reefer madness’ | CLEAR, UK

Our study suggests alcohol may actually protect eyewitness memory – here’s how

Ever witnessed a punch up during a boozy night out? Did you assume that you probably wouldn’t be a reliable witness because you’d been drinking? You may have been right, but our latest research indicates that in some circumstances this is not the case | Conversation, UK

GOP health-care bill would drop addiction treatment mandate covering 1.3 million Americans

The Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act would strip away what advocates say is essential coverage for drug addiction treatment as the number of people dying from opiate overdoses is skyrocketing nationwide | Washington Post Blog, USA