Daily news - 24th March 2017

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UK news

Methylphenidate-based novel psychoactive substances: temporary class drug order recommendations

Recommendations for a temporary class drug order on a number of methylphenidate-based novel psychoactive substances | ACMD, UK

Association between clinically recorded alcohol consumption and initial presentation of 12 cardiovascular diseases: population based cohort study using linked health records

 To investigate the association between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease at higher resolution by examining the initial lifetime presentation of 12 cardiac, cerebrovascular, abdominal, or peripheral vascular diseases among five categories of consumption | BMJ, UK

Moderate drinking may reduce heart disease risk

Researchers found that people who drank alcohol within moderate drinking guidelines were less likely to have a first episode of a range of heart and vascular diseases than those who never drank alcohol | NHS Choices, UK

Mixing alcohol and energy drinks 'may be a risky cocktail'

A review of evidence found a number of potential risks, but the picture was not as clear-cut as reported | NHS Choices, UK

Global smoking rates have fallen since introduction of international tobacco control strategy

Smoking rates have fallen globally since the World Health Organisation (WHO) introduced a treaty aimed at reducing tobacco demand, according to a new study | Cancer Research UK, UK

School-based alcohol and drug education and prevention – what works?

This briefing paper intends to equip and guide those working in educational settings when considering which alcohol and drug education and prevention programme they should run. It outlines some approaches that evidence shows work and cautions on some that don’t | Mentor - ADEPIS, UK

Moderate drinking may be ‘heart healthy’ but exercise is safer

Once again, a study has confirmed that moderate drinking might be good for the heart – but this benefit vanishes if you drink more than seven pints of lager or equivalent a week | New Scientist, UK

Personalised letters and a “taster session” help double attendance at NHS stop smoking services

Attendance at NHS stop smoking services (SSS) almost doubled after smokers were sent letters showing their personalised risk of serious illness if they continued to smoke alongside invitations to try the service | NIHR, UK

Official Statistics: HIV: annual data tables

HIV surveillance data in the UK by demographic characteristics and geographical region | PHE, UK

The Secret Diary of a Drug Treatment Worker

This is the first in a series of anonymous articles exploring what it is like to work on the frontline of drug treatment in the UK and deal with the issues which face both those who walk through the door for help, and those who are tasked with providing it | Volte face, UK

Splitting The Kratom

“People who use drugs are as different to one another as coffee drinkers are.” (Dr James Rowe, specialist in the sociology of drug use) | Volte Face, UK

The Police Officers Who Sell the Drugs They Seize

Police stealing drugs from the lock-up, or even directly from other dealers, is more common than you'd think | VICE, UK

Sixth Stockton death linked to heroin

Heroin users in Stockton are being told to be "mindful" of particularly harmful drugs being sold in the area after a sixth death, suspected to be linked to the drug | ITV, UK

State of Sport: Fifa's former doctor says painkiller use risks footballers' health

Elite footballers' "abuse" of legal painkillers risks their health and could "potentially" have life-threatening implications, says Fifa's former chief medical officer | BBC, UK

Cumbrian prison cell drug dealer fails to reduce sentence

A man who ran an operation to sell drugs from his prison cell has failed in a bid to get his jail term reduced | BBC, UK

Spice dealer spared jail because he has five children

A Spice dealer who was caught dealing in Piccadilly Gardens was spared jail after a judge heard he has five children to look after | ITV, UK


International news

US Set to Allow Drug Testing for Unemployment Benefits

The US is set to remove restrictions on state-mandated drug testing for people who seek unemployment benefits, despite evidence suggesting this may worsen the country’s opioid epidemic | Talking Drugs, UK

Coca-growing in Colombia is at an all-time high

The hills surrounding Sinaí, a village in south-west Colombia, are blanketed in a green patchwork, ranging from the bright chartreuse of coca-plant seedlings to a darker clover colour that indicates the leaves are ripe for picking and processing into cocaine | Economist, UK

Pilots deny being over alcohol limit

Two Canadian pilots have denied being under the influence of alcohol as they prepared to fly a passenger jet from Scotland | BBC, UK

Minister Catherine Byrne presses on with injecting facilities bill

Drugs minister Catherine Byrne is pressing ahead with legislation to set up injecting facilities, despite concerns raised at an Oireachtas health committee yesterday | Irish Examiner, Ireland

How the opioid epidemic became America’s worst drug crisis ever, in 15 maps and charts

Drug overdoses now kill more Americans than HIV/AIDS did at its peak. These maps and charts tell the story | VOX, USA

Pharmacies should proactively offer naloxone to all patients who meet evidence-based criteria

Pharmacies should proactively offer naloxone, a drug that blocks or reverses the effects of overdose, to patients taking opioid medications through universal opt-out strategies in an effort to get the life-saving drug into the hands of more people who need it, according to a new study out of Boston Medical Center (BMC) | Medical Xpress, USA

Some of the youngest opioid victims are curious toddlers

No matter how it happens, if a 35-pound toddler grabs just one opioid pill, chews it and releases the full concentration of a time-released adult drug into their small bodies, death can come swiftly | Medical Xpress, USA

Boosting natural brain opioids may be a better way to treat anxiety

Boosting natural brain opioids may be a better way to treat disabling emotions, says new research revealing their role in regulating critical brain circuits affecting fear and anxiety | Medical Xpress, USA

Doctors Consider Ethics Of Costly Heart Surgery For People Addicted To Opioids

In his late 20s, Christopher Milford of East Boston, Mass., got high on some OxyContin his friend gave him | Maine Public, US

In the Bronx, heroin woes never went away

The opioid crisis is often seen as a scourge of white rural areas and the Rust Belt, but among blacks and Latinos in the Bronx it has been a constant presence | NYTimes, USA

Double whammy? Problem gambling, substance use disorders, and illegal drug use

The perils of gambling-related problems and mental health/substance use disorders are diverse. By now, researchers have also come to understand that the two are frequent companions, and often unleash their destructive forces in tandem | BASIS, USA

Transgender college freshmen drink more, experience more blackouts, study shows

Transgender students had more physical, social, academic problems due to alcohol | Science Daily, USA

Synthetic Cannabinoid Use in a Transitional Housing Shelter: A Survey to Characterize Awareness of Risks and Reasons for Use

Synthetic cannabinoids are man-made compounds that act through the brain's cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) to induce mind-altering effects. The CB1 receptor affects the dopamine system, which is thought to modulate psychotic symptoms | American Journal of Psychiatry, USA

The Messi drug: Peruvian police seize cocaine worth $90 million with Lionel Messi’s image on it

The seized cocaine packages were reportedly going to be shipped to Belgium | News X, USA

National HIV plan scraps calls to decriminalise drug use

South Africa is expected to release its new national HIV strategy later this month. In a country that continues to battle the world's largest HIV epidemic, the document will guide the next six years in the fight against new infections | BHEKISISA, South Africa

How much cigarettes cost in the 10 most expensive cities in the world

The Economist Intelligence Unit recently released a report on the most expensive cities in the world | Business Insider, Australia

Examination of AOD Treatment Service Utilisation at the Statistical Area Levels

As part of our program of work with the Adelaide and Country SA Primary Health Networks (PHN), NCETA is examining AOD treatment service utilisation at Statistical Area Levels 3 and 4 in South Australia to inform the development, provision and funding of needs- and evidence-based AOD services within each respective PHN geographical region | Connection.edu.au, Australia

South Australian Government Establishes Ice Task Force

Professor Ann Roche has been invited by the South Australian Government to assist the work of the newly established South Australian Ice Taskforce | Connection.edu.au, Australia

Police blitz nabs 'alarming' number of truck drivers under influence of drugs

One in 37 Victorian truck drivers tested positive to drug-driving, almost double the national figure, in a Victoria Police blitz this week | Age, Australia

Philippines’ complains drug war reports are hurting tourism

Philippines tourism secretary has urged the media to “tone down” coverage of President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly drug war, complaining that reports on extrajudicial killings were scaring away foreigners | News.com.au, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Let’s Drop the Term ‘Zombie’ Please

Last year, we published a blog piece challenging the term ‘hippy crack’. This was a media invented phrase, which had the effect of considerably exaggerating the effects of ‘laughing gas’. The scale of harms between crack and laughing gas could hardly be more pronounced | Angelus (now merged with Mentor), UK

Side event: How can we make the International drug control system better protect our youth?

These are the real people who are being impacted by our policies. I think there is a lot of evidence that drug policy isn’t working, but we need to change hearts and minds on this | CND Blog, UK

Why I lie to my GP about my drinking

While it is accepted that the regular output of research into drinking can add to our understanding of the problem, the credibility of using GP records must be questioned | Guardian letters, UK

A big thing marijuana opponents warned you about is definitely not happening

A state-run survey of 37,000 middle and high school students in Washington state finds that marijuana legalization there has had no effect on youngsters' propensity to use the drug | Washington Post Blog, USA

Harm reduction means fighting for health care

The opioid and heroin crisis has dominated my work and that of many of my colleagues—many of you—for the past several years | Medium, Canada

How to reduce dependency on drugs like Valium with alternative therapies

Benzodiazepines (such as Valium and Xanax) are depressant prescription drugs used most commonly for anxiety. But evidence suggests dependence on these medications is increasing and side effects are common, so we increasingly need to look to alternative therapies | Conversation, Australia



And finally...

Wild Parrots Raid India Poppy Fields To Get High On Opium

Farmers say even firecrackers won’t keep the birds from their fix | Huffington Post, USA