Daily news - 2nd May 2017

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UK news

Fentanyl, the Drug Deadlier Than Heroin, Has Reached the UK

Everything you need to know about the drug that has already caused a spate of fatal overdoses | VICE, UK

UK Fentanyl Fears

For years now, an epidemic of opioid overdoses has been sweeping across North America. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, on an average day in the USA, more than 650,000 opioid prescriptions are dispensed, 3,900 people initiate non-medical use of prescription opioids, 580 people initiate heroin use, and 78 people die from an opioid-related overdose | Volte Face, UK

Legal highs: Calls about spice to addiction helpline ‘increased by 25%’ since Government ban

Founder of Addiction Helper treatment helpline reveals 25 per cent rise in calls about spice since the Government ban: ‘It hasn’t made a blind bit of difference. More and more people are using this stuff’ | Independent, UK

Would You Drink ‘Fake Booze’? Distribution and Consumption Patterns of Counterfeit Alcohol

On Tuesday 2 May, Jon Spencer, Reader in Criminal Justice, is convening an Expert Group Meeting with stakeholders from the UK and Ireland to engage in dialogue on the distribution and consumption of counterfeit alcohol in the UK | University of Manchester, UK

New laws on cigarettes and tobacco coming into effect this month 

Small cigarette packs of 10 and tobacco rolling packs of 10g and 20g will be axed completely. Menthols and a variety of fruit, candy, spice, herbs, alcohol and vanilla flavoured tobacco will also be included in the ban | Independent, UK

Standardised tobacco packaging: will banning branding cut down smoking?

Cochrane UK’s Sarah Chapman looks at what new Cochrane evidence can tell us about the health impacts of standardised tobacco packaging (or ‘plain’ packaging), ahead of its full enforcement in the UK next month | Cochrane, UK

Research reveals the addictive potential of a drug legally available in the UK and other countries

New research into a widely available anti-inflammatory drug by psychopharmacologists at the University of Sussex has discovered the first neurological evidence of its rewarding properties, sparking warnings around it being used as a recreational substance especially in rehab clinics and detention facilities | Medical Xpress, USA

Weak link between grandmums' smoking and autistic grandkids

"Smoking in pregnancy hurts your grandkids by 'increasing their risk of autism'," The Sun brashly reports. Researchers looked at data spanning multiple generations and reported a link between girls with autism symptoms and having a maternal grandmother who smoked | NHS Choices: Behind the Headlines, UK

Two pints of beer are better for pain relief than paracetamol

Over the course of 18 studies, researchers from the University of Greenwich found that consuming two pints of beer can cut discomfort by a quarter | Independent, UK

Obesity ‘causes more deaths than smoking’

Obesity now causes more premature deaths than smoking, suggests new research | Scotsman, UK

Only one Scottish driver referred over smoking in car with child

Only one driver in Scotland has been referred to prosecutors since smoking in a car with a child became illegal in December 2016 | Scotsman, UK

Smoking cessation interventions and services

Consultation | NICE, UK

Grandmothers’ smoking linked to autism traits in granddaughters, study finds

Girls whose grandmothers smoked are more likely to display behavioural traits linked to autism, a new large-scale study suggests | Independent, UK

Health Services

Data on costs is not available in the format requested. However the health costs associated with alcohol misuse are estimated to cost the National Health Service in England around £3.5 billion each year and the latest estimate of the cost to the NHS in England of overweight or obesity related ill-health is £5.1 billion each year | They work for you, UK

High spirits: Is alcohol still key to employee morale?

The perfect London pub was described in a 1946 piece by George Orwell for the Evening Standard. Orwell named one pub, The Moon Under the Water, as the quintessential boozer. There was one catch, it didn’t exist |The London Economic, UK

There is legal marijuanna in the UK so why is it so hard to get hold of?

Seven years after the first cannabis-based pharmaceutical was made available in the UK - which helps Multiple Sclerosis suffers - it still costs more than £375 for around 270 doses | Independent, UK

'My husband was a secret heroin addict'

Video. Poorna Bell explains how her husband took his own life after a secret battle with heroin addiction | BBC, UK

Families Living with Addiction and Recovery

Survey. While much is known about the many costs of addiction and problematic drug use, we know very little about what happens to family members of those using or in recovery. The purpose of this study is to gather information about the experiences of family members | Alcohol Research UK et al, UK

3rd Annual Public Health PhD Symposium

Free event. The 3rd annual Public Health PhD symposium will take place on Friday 14th July 2017 with pre-conference workshops on Thursday 13th July | PHI, UK

Tackling alcohol misuse: effective tools for prevention and treatment

Free event. Tue 16 May 2017. 09:00 – 16:30 BST. The Health Innovation Network (HIN) and CLAHRC South London are pleased to invite you to a one-day conference: ‘Tackling alcohol misuse – effective tools for prevention and treatment’ on Tuesday 16 May 2017 at the Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre |  Health Innovation Network (HIN) and CLAHRC South London, UK

Talented musician who helps Glasgow people with addiction issues writes song for charity's 50th anniversary

Shaun Kenny hopes his song about the founder of the charity Addaction will raise awareness of the vital work that the organisation does to support adults, young people and families to make positive behavioural changes | Evening Times, UK

Mentor UK - video

Professor Susan Greenfield makes the Radio 4 Appeal on behalf of Mentor UK | BBC, UK

RAPt awarded new contract to deliver community drug and alcohol services in East Kent

The service will provide comprehensive substance misuse services for anyone in East Kent and will include clinical and psychological support; mental health advice; and assistance with employment, housing, education and benefits | RAPt, UK

Open letter teenager Chelsea Cameron wins Young Scot award

A Dundee teenager who wrote an open letter to her drug addict parents has been named the overall winner at the 2017 Sunday Mail Young Scot Awards | BBC, UK

Basildon schoolgirl Sherie-Lea James died of drug overdose

A girl who survived liver cancer as a toddler died after taking a lethal cocktail of ecstasy and cocaine, an inquest has heard | BBC, UK

Little Haven beach smoking ban to last indefinitely

A ban on smoking on a Pembrokeshire beach will be extended indefinitely | BBC, UK

Harlow pharmacy worker jailed for sending Penrith addict drugs

A pharmacy assistant who illegally sent medication to an addict who then died from "drugs toxicity" has been jailed | BBC, UK


International news

Doping in sport: International Tennis Federation increases budget for drug testing

There is to be a significant increase in the amount of drug testing in tennis, and more samples will be stored for future analysis | BBC, UK

Mexico approves legalising medical marijuana

Bill received broad support from politicians | Independent, UK

Australian woman in Colombia cocaine arrest, family says

An Australian woman has been arrested in Colombia after being found with 5.8kg (12lb 13oz) of cocaine in her luggage, her family says | BBC, UK

'A gift to keep drunks in check': 700 Indian brides given wooden paddles to beat their husbands 

It is a wedding present that would not be available on a John Lewis giftlist | Independent, UK

We want his death to be a lesson to others on the dangers of anabolic steroids: Family’s appeal

The family of a man who developed heart disease from anabolic steroids he used for bodybuilding say they hope his death will serve as a warning to others | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Prison staff fears over passive inhalation of drugs

Prison officers have raised concerns that they could fail new roadside drug drive tests by passively inhaling drugs being smoked by inmates in jails | Independent, Ireland

Half of all drink-driving cases struck out as Garda summonses not served

Only 8% of motorists bring licences to courts to have penalty points attached | Irish Times, Ireland

Survey: Eight out of 10 motorists 'very supportive' of roadside drug testing

A survey has found that 97% of motorists would support new roadside drug testing measures | Irish Examiner, Ireland

On May 7th, International Harm Reduction Day will be an opportunity to promote evidence-based drug policies based on public health and human rights

To promote the 4th International Harm Reduction Day, we throw an online video project that aims to give the voice to the Harm-reductionist Heroes | IHRD, Romania and France

Monitoring quality and coverage of harm reduction services for people who use drugs: a consensus study

Despite advances in our knowledge of effective services for people who use drugs over the last decades globally, coverage remains poor in most countries, while quality is often unknown. This paper aims to discuss the historical development of successful epidemiological indicators and to present a framework for extending them with additional indicators of coverage and quality of harm reduction services, for monitoring and evaluation at international, national or subnational levels | Harm Red J, USA

Overdose prevention and naloxone rescue among family members of people who use opioids

Family members are often the ones who administer naloxone during an opioid overdose and should be considered as part of the larger response to help curb fatal overdoses | EurekAlert, USA

Opioid abuse drops when doctors check patients' drug history

There's a simple way to reduce the opioid epidemic gripping the country, according to new Cornell University research: Make doctors check their patients' previous prescriptions | EurekAlert, USA

States with medical marijuana laws see drop in prescriptions

The researchers found that the use of prescription drugs in fee-for-service Medicaid was lower in states with medical marijuana laws than in states without such laws in five of the nine broad clinical areas examined | Medical Xpress, USA

Legal marijuana stores lead to increases in property crime

Legal marijuana shops are linked to higher levels of property crime in nearby areas, according to a nearly three-year study in Denver | EurekAlert, USA

Stop Calling Ecstasy-Related Deaths Overdoses

Inaccurate terminology and reporting can actually be dangerous | Thump, USA

Spend a Dollar on Drug Treatment, and Save More on Crime Reduction

Research shows treatment for substance abuse disorders is a great value for society, but many programs have long waiting lists | NYTimes, USA

Utah launches campaign to fight opioid abuse, overdoses

Utah pharmacists will start putting red stickers on bottles of opioids that warn patients about the risk of overdose and addiction as part of a new awareness campaign to combat painkiller abuses and deaths | Medical Xpress, USA

Community Resource Center Working to Become Narcan Training Center

The Executive Director of the Community Resource Center says the organization is working to become a training center for use of Narcan. Georgeann Broughton hopes the training will allow for greater use of the drug to bring back those who have overdosed on heroin | WJBD Radio, USA

Uruguay to sign up users to buy cannabis in pharmacies

Uruguay, which in July will become the first country selling state-produced cannabis in pharmacies for recreational use, will open a user registry on Tuesday, authorities said | Medical Xpress, USA

B.C. responds to suit over fees to welfare recipients for methadone treatment 

The B.C. government says it has done nothing wrong by redirecting money from the income-assistance cheques of recovering heroin addicts to pay private methadone-dispensing clinics for treatment | Province, Canada

A U.S. consultant hired by Ottawa to assess Canada's eventual recreational pot market says jurisdictions that regulate cannabis should expect "unbelievably high" sales growth in the first few years as criminals are driven out of business | Globe and Mail, Canada

$81m for rehab and more as government looks to fix Victoria's raging ice crisis

Thirty extra drug rehabilitation beds will open and land will be acquired to build three new treatment centres in regional Victoria under an Andrews government | Age, Australia

Should tobacco and alcohol companies be allowed to influence Australia’s National Drug Strategy?

Formation of Australia’s National Drug Strategy (NDS) included an extensive consultation process that was open not only to community and public health stakeholders, but also to representatives of the tobacco and alcohol industries | PHRP, Australia

Too friendly? Donald Trump's invitation to strongman Rodrigo Duterte stuns all

The invitation to the White House caught US officials off-guard and they are expected to raise objections internally | Age, Australia

An Australian tea tree farm just received $1.49 million to develop 'medical cannabis honey'

An organic tea tree farm in New South Wales has received a $1.49 million investment to help develop medical cannabis honey | Business Insider, Australia

2017 Alcohol and Other Drug Excellence and Innovation Awards

The 2017 Alcohol and Other Drug Excellence and Innovation Awards encourage, recognise and celebrate the achievements of the incredible people and organisations that do exceptional work to reduce the harm and impact of alcohol and other drugs in Australia | adf, Australia

Call for research participants

Researchers at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre would like to invite people who use ecstasy to participate in a one-hour CONFIDENTIAL and ANONYMOUS interview for the Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS). Participants are reimbursed $40 for their time and expenses | NDARC, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Harm reduction for people who use or may encounter Fentanyl/Carfentanil

There have been rising deaths in the UK, Europe, and North America which have been linked to the use of two opioids - fentanyl and carfentanil. These drugs are reportedly being mixed with heroin, often without the knowledge of the person making the purchase | Release Blog, UK

Spice ruins lives and costs taxpayers a fortune. It doesn’t have to be this way

Antidotes to these dangerous, destructive synthetic drugs are desperately needed. But the government is standing in the way of their development | Guardian Opinion, UK

A moment that changed me: the loss of my brother to alcohol-related illness

For so long, I questioned why drink always won, without realising that for Kev it was never a question of winning or losing, it was just about surviving | Guardian CIF, UK

The environmental harm caused by the tobacco industry

When we consider the environmental harm caused by tobacco, many of us tend to think about smoking-related litter in the streets | Ash, UK 

Mixed messages: Is cocaine consumption in the U.S. going up or down?

The 50 percent decline in U.S. cocaine consumption from 2006 to 2010 was regarded as monumental , but data now suggest that cocaine overdose deaths are increasing in the United States . Meanwhile, the amount of land used to cultivate coca in Colombia nearly doubled from 2013 to 2015 . While it seems plausible to associate these recent changes with a significant increase in U.S. cocaine consumption, that might not be correct | Brooking Blog, USA

ACT's drug-testing trial could help end decades of backward policing

Despite a long career as a professor of history and politics, I am still fascinated by the spread of, and resistance to, evidence-based policies that work to reduce crime | Canberra Times opinion, Australia