Daily news - 29th March 2017

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UK news

MPs and peers present case for national prescribed drug helpline to Public Health England

Members of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence (APPG for PDD) met at Westminster on 15 March in order to lobby Public Health England for a national 24 hour helpline to help patients withdraw from opioid painkillers, tranquilisers and antidepressants | APPG, UK

APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence publishes proposal for national helpline

The APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence has today published its proposal for a national helpline to help patients affected by prescribed drug dependence | APPG, UK

Healthcare professionals can report adverse effects of legal highs through new website

UK regulators have launched a pilot of a Yellow Card-type scheme for reporting adverse effects associated with legal highs and other illicit drugs | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

DoH advise alcohol labelling messages: will producers respond?

The Department of Health (DoH) have released a document outlining how it would like to see the revised recommended drinking guidelines communicated on alcohol packaging and containers | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

A Stop Smoking in Schools Trial: A process evaluation of the implementation of ASSIST in Scotland

This study has demonstrated that it is feasible and acceptable to deliver the ASSIST programme in Scottish schools | UKTAS, UK

Northumbria University researchers warn of 'ticking time bomb' over alcohol misuse in veterans

Researchers from Northumbria University, who have been commissioned by the Royal British Legion to look at why veterans are reluctant to seek or don't receive adequate support for alcohol misuse, warn there is a potential "ticking time bomb" that will see veterans from recent conflicts like Afghanistan and Iraq hit "crisis point" in the coming years over drinking | ITV, UK

BrewDog threatened lawsuit against plan for bar with 'punk' in name

News emerges the day after the brewer blamed ‘trigger-happy’ lawyers for sending legal threats to a family-run pub | Guardian, UK

'Instagrammability': Most important factor for millennials on choosing holiday destination

Instagram is more important than alcohol for today's young Brits | Independent, UK

Second year of drop in methadone use in Tayside

The number of methadone prescriptions dished out in Tayside has dropped for the second year running, according to new figures | Evening Telegraph, UK

Charity set to close

A local charity which helps families and friends of people with drug and alcohol problems will close at the end of May | Barnsley Chronicle, UK

Brighton cocaine-selling gang jailed

A gang of men who conspired to supply cocaine across a city have been jailed | BBC, UK

Stephen Port's dealer admits supplying killer with drugs

A man has admitted supplying drugs to serial killer Stephen Port | BBC, UK

Analysis: The NHS spends millions prescribing common painkillers, sunscreen and gluten-free food

The NHS spent more than £100m prescribing common painkillers last year as well as £14m on gluten-free bread and nearly £4m on sunscreen | Telegraph, UK


International news

Implementation of key demand-reduction measures of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and change in smoking prevalence in 126 countries: an association study

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) has mobilised efforts among 180 parties to combat the global tobacco epidemic. This study examined the association between highest-level implementation of key tobacco control demand-reduction measures of the WHO FCTC and smoking prevalence over the treaty's first decade | Lancet, UK

Twitter U-Turns on Censoring Searches For ‘Cannabis’

Popular social media platform Twitter is now censoring searches for topics deemed ‘sensitive’. This means that searches containing words like ‘sexual health’ and even ‘balls’ will yield zero results under all search tabs, except the ‘top’ search option | Volte Face, UK

The Hidden Cannabis Crackdown: Part One

For the software entrepreneur from Hong Kong, the business trip to the US to meet with Silicon Valley investors was also a homecoming. He had lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for years while studying computer science at San Jose State University | Volte Face, UK

Is the US facing an epidemic of 'deaths of despair'? These researchers say yes

Anne Case and Angus Deaton’s findings on mortality rates have made waves. A new paper looks deeper at a divided America – and its crisis of suicide, overdoses, and drug- and alcohol-fueled diseases | Guardian, UK

Has Nepal Become a Major Drug Transit Country?

The number of people being arrested for drug trafficking has reached an unprecedented level in Nepal, suggesting the country may be becoming a regional drug transit hub | Talking Drugs, UK

Chicago man 'hid gun and drugs in baby's pram'

A man who allegedly hid a handgun and marijuana in his one-year-old child's pram has been charged with child endangerment, Chicago police say | BBC, UK

Ireland still among the highest smokers in the world

The Irish are still among the highest smokers in the world with 27pc of us still lighting up in 2015, according to a global study | Independent, Ireland

'I hope my son's drug death serves as a warning to others'

The heartbroken mother of a west Belfast teenager who died weeks after he began to experiment with prescription drugs said she hopes his death can "serve as a warning" to others | Irish Times, Ireland

Implementation of drug-, alcohol- and tobacco-related brief interventions in the European Union Member States, Norway and Turkey

This report provides an overview of the various types of brief interventions (BIs) currently used in European countries in the field of substance use, particularly illicit drugs. Targeted at policymakers and practitioners alike, it covers more than 30 BIs carried out in the EU and serves as a starting point for preparing concrete proposals to improve the evidence base on this topic | EMCDDA, Portugal

Early use of marijuana can increase its negative health impacts

The need for age guidelines for marijuana use is the focus of a new study. The findings show that young users report the most impact to their physical and mental health | Science Daily, USA

Researchers warn of hazards of smoking and need for wider use of varenicline to quit

More than 35 million Americans are trying to quit smoking. Researchers reassure clinicians and their patients that varenicline, whose brand name is Chantix, is a safe and effective way to achieve smoking cessation and that failure to use this drug has caused preventable heart attacks and deaths from cardiovascular disease. Just a few months ago, the FDA removed the black box warning from varenicline | Science Daily, USA

Lesbian and bisexual girls more likely than other teens to smoke

Lesbian, gay and bisexual adolescents report higher rates of tobacco use than heterosexual teens, according to a U.S. study that also highlights gender differences in smoking habits | Reuters, USA

What Does the Trump Era Mean for Drug Policy in Latin America?

Other than a wall at the border with Mexico, Donald Trump promised little to address drug trafficking in the Americas during last year’s U.S. presidential campaign | World Politics Review, USA

Disease or bad behavior: Does addiction call for compassion or punishment?

Drugs with the power to disorient a user's moral compass create a fundamental split in how addicts are perceived, and the difference trickles into the public policy and resources meant to combat the crisis. Meanwhile, as the societal response wavers, people are dying | Portland Press Herald, USA

ACLU asks Ohio city to stop charging drug overdose survivors

An Ohio community is endangering drug addicts by criminally charging people revived by an overdose antidote, which could discourage calls for help, the American Civil Liberties Union said Tuesday | FOX8, USA

Senator to investigate opioid makers’ role in drug crisis

Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri demanded information Tuesday from five top opioid manufacturers, saying she would investigate their alleged role in the drug epidemic responsible for more than 200,000 overdose deaths since 2000 | Washington Post, USA

Legalized Marijuana Could Help Curb the Opioid Epidemic, Study Finds

In states that legalized medical marijuana, U.S. hospitals failed to see a predicted influx of pot smokers, but in an unexpected twist, they treated far fewer opioid users, a new study shows | NBC News, USA

Pot legalization: Canada doesn’t need another profit-seeking drug industry

When Canadians have expressed concerns about upcoming cannabis legalization, the government has assured them that the legal cannabis industry will be strictly regulated to protect public health | Globe and Mail, Canada

Regional Australia faces more drug problems than meth alone

A high use of methylamphetamine and prescription medications is a problem for regional Australia, according to an Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) report designed to combat illicit drugs | Medical Xpress, USA

First-ever 'MDMA Census' shows need for pill testing, drug expert says

A team of reporters armed with $20 lab kits have conducted the most thorough pill testing survey in Australia since 2005, highlighting the lack of anything better, according to drug expert Dr David Caldicott | abc.net.au, Australia

Nicotine e-cigarettes to become legal

Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner today announced the sale of nicotine e-cigarettes and e-liquid will be made legal with appropriate controls | Beehive.govt.nz, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

I was vulnerable and wanted a home. What I got was a workhouse

A homeless charity offered me food and board. But I had to work a tough 40-hour week for a meagre allowance – and others like me are being treated the same way | Guardian, UK

Cricket Australia has dropped the ball on alcohol sponsorship

Study after study shows the danger of exposure to alcohol promotion on children. If sports won’t stop it, the government must | Guardian CIF, UK

Accountability for Duterte

The slaughter of thousands in his antidrug campaign have led domestic and foreign critics to demand real justice | NYTimes opinion, USA

Drug related deaths have seen a 'significant jump' since 2014

In 2015, the number of overdose deaths rose by 17 per cent, from 387 to 453 deaths | Age comment, Australia