Daily news - 16th March 2017

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UK news

Hepatitis C in the UK

The most recent national estimates suggest that around 214,000 individuals are chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the UK; 160,000 of these are in England | PHE, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to support the children of alcoholics | They work for you, UK

Oxford University to launch medical marijuana research programme

Oxford University is to launch a £10m research programme into the effects of medical marijuana, following calls for its legalisation | Telegraph, UK

Tripping up addiction: the use of psychedelic drugs in the treatment of problematic drug and alcohol use

Psychedelic drugs have been used as treatments in indigenous cultures for thousands of years. Yet, due to their legal status, there has been limited scientific research into the therapeutic potential of these compounds for psychiatric disorders | Science Direct, UK

Sir Patrick Stewart reveals he uses marijuana every day to help deal with debilitating arthritis symptoms 

Patrick Stewart has revealed that he uses medical marijuana daily to help him deal with the symptoms of his arthritis | Mail Online, UK

There's more to a 24-hour city than pubs and clubs

After years of unregulated growth, it looks like the good times may be over for those in the UK who make their living from people going out at night-time | Guardian, UK

CGL will pilot Intelligent Fingerprinting system to support drug recovery programmes

Change, grow, live (CGL) is to pilot the world’s first portable fingerprint-based drug screening system as part of its support and rehabilitation initiatives for service users and families affected by drug misuse | CGL, UK

Drug and alcohol recovery service is praised

People in Wiltshire with drug and alcohol issues are getting committed support from proactive staff who work well with partners, according to a leading regulator | Wiltshire Council, UK

Drug use amongst Men who have sex with Men in Greater Manchester

Men who have sex with men (MSM) in Greater Manchester have distinct patterns of drug use, including significantly higher rates of using drugs typically associated with chemsex. However, MSM are also more likely to use drugs such as opiates, crack cocaine and cannabis which reflects higher rates of drug use on the whole. The drugs which are most disproportionately used by MSM are not the same as those most commonly used which highlights the diversity of drug use amongst these communities | LGBT Foundation, UK

Many young men feel hopeless – is it a surprise they turn to gambling?

With such poor prospects in jobs, housing and savings, it’s little wonder young men turn to a heavily advertised, supposedly masculine form of escape | Guardian, UK

How British Weed Growers Are Avoiding Prosecution

The United Kingdom Social Cannabis Clubs have come up with a system they hope will allow them to grow without hassle from the police | VICE, UK

How Does Contraband Get into Britain’s Prisons?

A recent BBC File on 4 radio episode, The Prison Contraband Crisisinvestigates how staff corruption contributes to the amount of contraband being brought into prisons | Volte Face, UK

Prison smuggler: 'I brought mobile phones in for criminals'

Drones are seen as an increasingly popular method for smuggling drugs and mobile phones into prisons, but having prison staff bring in contraband is also an effective route for prisoners | BBC, UK

Drug seizures and arrests in Northern Ireland, period ending 28 February 2017

Monthly update of class A, B and C drug seizure incidents and arrests by PSNI | PSNI, UK

Police carry out roadside tests after launch of new drug-driving test kit

Officers carried out 88 roadside drug-driving tests in the first full year since the new devices were introduced in the Nottinghamshire Police area | Ganisborough Standard, UK

'There will be more deaths on the streets': warning as Dorset's only wet house set to close

Social housing project Hannah House, run by BCHA, caters for vulnerable residents offering care and support, eventually enabling them to live independently | Bournemouth Echo, UK

Emergency calls related to Newmarket drug overdoses surge amid fears of 'public health crisis'

There were more than a hundred calls related to overdoses to the East of England Ambulance Service last year | Cambridge News, UK

Five off-licences to close for a number of hours on St Patrick's Day

Five off-licences in Belfast's Holyland area are to close "voluntarily" for a number of hours on St Patrick's Day | BBC, UK

Cannabis farm may have caused Sunderland house blaze

Cannabis-growing equipment may have caused a fire that gutted a terraced house, police believe | BBC, UK


International news

The framing of alcohol in (non-)sponsored movies: A comparative content analysis of alcohol advertising and portrayals in sponsored and non-sponsored Dutch movies

Alcohol advertising, in the form of product placement, has been shown to influence the viewer’s alcohol consumption. However, it is not just the portrayal itself that affects behavioural outcomes; the particular message that is conveyed in an alcohol portrayal may actually influence consumer behaviour in a manner known as “framing” | DEPP, UK

The Implementation of Medical Ganja in Jamaica

Farmers in Jamaica are struggling to engage with the nation’s new medical marijuana (or ‘ganja’) scheme, according to a new study | Volte face, UK

Bolivia sees coca as a way to perk up its economy – but all everyone else sees is cocaine

Farmers can now grow more of the ‘star product’, but officials underestimated international resistance because coca is so widely accepted as harmless in Bolivia | Guardian, UK

Mindfulness could be the cure for chocolate addiction, study claims

Easter egg? Nahh, I'm alright thanks | Independent, UK

Warning re purchase of alcohol from unrecognised vendors

The HSE have issued a public health alert about the danger of consumption of fake or counterfeit alcohol.  This follows the hospitalisation of a patient with methanol poisoning.  It is understood that the patient, who is seriously ill in a Dublin hospital, drank liquid from a vodka bottle which was bought from an unrecognised vendor in the Ballymun area. It is thought that the vodka bottle had been re-filled with methanol, which is highly toxic | HSE, Ireland

How the game is well and truly up for 'drug drivers' on our highways

Our Road Safety Authority expert outlines how new test will work to curb the risk to road users | Independent, Ireland

Neurologists to draw up guidelines for safe use of medicinal cannabis

Expert group to look at use of a cannabadiol product to treat patients with epilepsy | Irish Times, Ireland

Tobacco Free Ireland annual report 2015 (PDF)

A high level action plan for Tobacco Free Ireland was published in March 2015. One of the actions committed the Department of Health’s Tobacco and Alcohol Control Unit (DOH TACU) to publish an annual report on the implementation of the actions outlined. An update on the status of each action to the end of 2014 is outlined in the table below, along with a 2015 update | DoH, Ireland

Commission proposes a new EU Action Plan on Drugs to enhance action against drug use and trafficking

Building on the findings of the evaluation of the EU Drugs Strategy for 2013-2020 and the Action Plan for 2013-2016, the new Action Plan on Drugs provides a strengthened response to the newly-emerging health and security challenges in the area of illicit drug use and trafficking | European Commission, France

Communities That Care (CTC): a comprehensive prevention approach for communities

Community coalitions are a strategy to coordinate activities and resources to prevent adolescent substance use and delinquent behaviour. They can help mobilise communities in prevention and health promotion initiatives | EMCDDA, Portugal

Report on the risk assessment of methyl 2-[[1-(cyclohexylmethyl)-1H-indole-3-carbonyl]amino]-3,3-dimethylbutanoate (MDMB-CHMICA) in the framework of the Council Decision on new psychoactive substances

This publication presents the data and findings of the risk assessment on methyl 2-[[1-(cyclohexylmethyl)-1H-indole-3-carbonyl]amino]-3,3-dimethylbutanoate (MDMB-CHMICA), carried out by the extended Scientific Committee of the EMCDDA on 22 July 2016. MDMB-CHMICA is the first synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist to be risk-assessed by the EMCDDA. On the basis of the Risk Assessment Report — and on the initiative of the European Commission — on 27 February 2017, the Council decided that MDMB-CHMICA should be subject to control measures across the Member States | EMCDDA, Portugal

Education sector responses to the use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs (PDF)

This booklet provides the context and rationale for improved education sector responses to the use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs among children and young people, with a focus on primary and secondary education sectors. It presents evidence-based and promising policies and practice, including practical examples from different regions that have been shown to be effective by scientific research. It also suggests issues for the education sector to consider in sustaining and scaling up effective approaches and programmes to tackle substance use | WHO, Switzerland

Opioid epidemic linked to childhood emotional abuse, study shows

A link between adult opioid misuse and childhood emotional abuse has been discovered by researchers, a new finding that suggests a rethinking of treatment approaches for opioid abusers | Science Daily, USA

Four-year study finds group meditation reduces drug-related deaths in general population

Large groups practicing the advanced Transcendental Meditation program were associated with significant reductions in rates of drug-related death and infant mortality during the period 2007-2010 | EurekAlert, USA

Warning: You May Feel Empathy For Donald Trump After Reading This

How the death of his brother—and the role of addiction—contributed to the president we have today | Good, USA

Former Drug Czar Says GOP Health Bill Would Cut Access To Addiction Treatment

Michael Botticelli served as President Obama's director of National Drug Control Policy, and pushed Congress to pass a funding measure last year making more money available for the treatment of opioid addiction | npr, USA

Jeff Sessions: Using Marijuana Is "Only Slightly Less Awful" Than Heroin

Conceding that it might "unfashionable," Attorney General Jeff Sessions reiterated his belief today that expanding access to recreational marijuana is a disaster for Americans | Reason, USA

Heat-Not-Burn Tobacco: The Next Wave Of A Harm-Reduction Revolution

A little-known tobacco technology, Heat-not-Burn (HNB), has the potential to slash smoking-related death and disease by appealing to the millions of smokers who've failed to quit using e-cigarettes and traditional nicotine-replacement therapies | Forbes, USA

A problematic escape: The interaction between smoking and gambling

Gambling disorder (GD) and nicotine dependence are both considerable public health challenges, and they tend to co-occur. Previous research found that 60% of people with GD also experience nicotine dependence, and people with nicotine dependence experience more severe gambling disorder symptoms than those without | Basis, USA

Saving lives with heroin

Canada is prescribing heroin to severe addicts. But barriers are still in the way of expanding this controversial treatment | VICE, Canada

ACT Greens launch petition to lobby Labor for pill testing at festivals

The ACT Greens will petition Labor to trial a pill-testing service at festivals to stop accidental overdoses, Shane Rattenbury has announced | The Age, Australia

Meth, marijuana, alcohol abused by children as young as 10, say Youth Projects Northern Outreach Team

The Youth Projects Northern Outreach Team statistics paint a bleak picture of drug use, with 736 people aged under 24 turning to the Glenroy service for help in the past four years | Herald Sun, Australia

The Poster Children For Medical Cannabis Can’t Access Medical Cannabis

It’s been two years since the battle for medicinal cannabis legalisation really kicked off in Australia, and many patients are still exactly where they started | BuzzFeed, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Health Matters - Your questions on preventing drug misuse deaths

We hope our latest edition of Health Matters – on the subject of “Preventing drug misuse deaths– will help you and other health professionals by compiling key facts, figures and evidence of effective interventions | PHE Blog, UK

We angry middle-aged people don’t get tattoos or vodka – or ‘youth’

When I was young we used to sit in pubs enjoying warm beer. Now it’s all dodgy body art and ‘pre-drinking’ petrol-tasting spirits | Guardian, UK

CND Blog

Live reporting from the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs. March 13th updates | IDPC, UK

The ony way is bottom up

The UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs is meeting in Vienna this week, an annual  gathering of governments, experts and civil society that will attempt to pick up the pieces after last year’s UN General Assembly Special Session on drug policy failed to usher the era of drug reforms that so many of us had hoped for | Richard Branson, UK

It's Time to Adopt Electronic Prescriptions for Opioids

We are running out of ways to emphasize how dire the opioid overdose crisis has become. In 2015, United States drug overdose deaths exceeded 50,000; 30,000 involved opioids. There were more deaths from opioid overdose than not only from motor vehicle accidents, but also than from HIV/AIDS at the peak of the epidemic in 1995 | Annals of Surgery, USA

Can we trust Big Tobacco to promote public health?

There’s a new catchcry in public health: people working in tobacco control should join with Big Tobacco to promote “safer” tobacco products | Conversation, Australia