Daily news - 12th May 2017

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UK news

Family recovery from alcohol and drug addiction

A ground-breaking national survey looking at what addiction and recovery from addiction means for families of people with drug and alcohol problems has been launched | Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Families Living with Addiction and Recovery survey

In partnership with Sheffield Hallam University and funded by Alcohol Research UK, we are excited to launch the Families Living with Addiction and Recovery survey | Adfam, UK

Drug and alcohol treatment in England: numbers and trends

Analysed textually and pictorially through 20 charts, the performance of England’s drug and alcohol treatment system up to 2015/16 - the ageing caseload, the puzzle of waning success with opiate users but increasing with drinkers, the dramatic fall in new young opiate use patients, and how deeply treatment has penetrated the population of dependent opiate users and drinkers | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

An Abstinent Manifesto

From reading the leaked Labour manifesto this morning it is safe to say that the message is one of total abstinence. By that I don’t mean the Labour party have thought long and hard on drug policy and decided to provide an abstinence based message on drugs, I mean there is absolutely no plan, no intention to reference or address the many issues surrounding drugs policy in the UK | Volte Face, UK

Combining heroin and commonly prescribed non-opioid pain killers leads to a significant rise in overdose

A multi-disciplinary study has shown that the recent substantial increase in prescriptions for two drugs, pregabalin and gabapentin, used widely for a range of neurological disorders is closely correlated with a rise in the number of overdose deaths in England and Wales | EurekAlert, USA

Smoking ban should include all public areas, health experts say

Smoking should be banned in all public areas, health experts have said | Independent, UK

Poverty found to raise health risks of excessive drinking

Heavy drinkers from middle class backgrounds are less likely to suffer ill-health due to excessive alcohol intake than the poorest in society, according to new research | Herald, Scotland

What you need to know about Xanax

These pills are Xanax, a drug widely prescribed in the US to treat anxiety | BBC Newsbeat, UK

Smoking charity backs calls for smokefree social housing in Wales

The smoking charity ASH Wales has backed calls from a leading health organisation for smokefree social housing in Wales | ITV, UK

Smokefree universities

University campuses across the country are a hub for young people to learn and socialise as well as providing jobs for thousands of staff. Through our smokefreeuniversities initiative we are encouraging universities across Wales to make their campuses smokefree. This will improve the health of staff and students and reduce smoking-related litter | ASH Wales, UK

Local retailers reminded of new e-cigarette rules

Local e-cigarettes and e-liquids retailers are being reminded of new rules coming into place from the 20th of May | ITV, UK

Deaths of two men in Annan 'may be drugs-related'

Two men have been found dead at separate addresses in a Dumfries in Galloway town following what may have been drugs-related incidents | BBC, UK

New stop-and-search rules for police come into effect

Non-statutory or 'consensual' stop and searches are now banned entirely | STV, UK

Why an ex-cop who posed as an undercover heroin addict wants drugs decriminalised

Neil Woods infiltrated some of the most violent drug gangs in the UK. Now, he is committed to ending the war on drugs that he fought in for over a decade | Independent, UK

Yoga sessions support people in recovery

Grimsby people who are on the road to recovery from drug and alcohol problems are being given a mental health and wellbeing boost thanks to the support of a local yoga teacher | RDASH, UK

Gardening, art, sport – 'prescriptions' for mental health that don't involve pills

Social prescribing, where patients are referred to non-clinical activities, is producing positive outcomes. But can the voluntary sector keep up with demand? | Guardian, UK

Ground breaking programme to stop overdose deaths

In an innovative new policy Forward Leeds, the drug and alcohol service for Leeds has been distributing potentially lifesaving kits to clients. The kits contain Naloxone an opiate receptor blocker along with instructions for use | Forward Leeds, UK

Has Soho Become London’s Version of ‘Hamsterdam’?

Local business owners and staff working in Soho, Central London, are reporting a dramatic increase in public drug dealing and consumption, with dealers and users of heroin, crack cocaine and spice starting to create cause for concern | Volte Face, UK

No Smoking in the Booth: What Happens When Skunk, Music and Psychosis Meet

As part of this year's Mental Health Awareness Week, we followed grime legend and Boy Better Know member Jammer on his personal journey to understand how skunk may be affecting the mental health of musicians in his scene | VICE, UK

Facebook removes abortion charity's page for 'encouraging drug use'

'Women on Web provides life-saving information to thousands of women worldwide,' according to its sister organisation Women on Waves | Independent, UK

Drug users 'getting Winstoned' by new £5 note as they complain of cut noses when snorting cocaine

By snorting cocaine through banknotes, drug users are also increasing the risk of, and facilitating the transfer of, infection | Independent, UK

Xanax drug taking: More arrests made in Salisbury

A further two teenagers have been arrested as part of an investigation into the supply of the prescription drug Xanax, in part of Wiltshire | BBC, UK

Man charged with drone drug-drop into Birmingham prison

A man has been charged with using drones to smuggle cannabis, steroids and mobile phones into prison | BBC, UK

Man jailed for £450,000 Dundee drugs stash

A man who stored £450,000 worth of heroin, cannabis and amphetamines at his house to pay off a debt has been jailed for 40 months | BBC, UK


International news

Designers on acid: the tripping Californians who paved the way to our touchscreen world

Ever wondered why email, trash cans, Google Docs and desktops look the way they do? The answer lies in 1960s hippie culture and LSD-taking creatives | Guardian, UK

Marijuana use linked to poorer school performance, major new research reveals

Teenagers who started smoking cannabis regularly were likely to be dissuaded from going on to university, despite previous ambitions | Independent, UK

Scott Morrison's plan to test sewage for drug use 'might misfire', say experts

Trying to identify where welfare recipients are using drugs by testing wastewater is more likely to turn up results from affluent professionals, researchers say | Guardian, UK

Drug treatment in Ireland 2009-2015

In this seven-year period 61,439 cases were treated for problem drug use (excluding alcohol). The number of cases rose from 7,479 in 2009 to 9,892 in 2015 | HRB, Ireland

Half of those treated for problem drug use on heroin

More than half of the 60,000-plus people treated for problem drug use between 2009 and 2015 sought help for addiction to heroin | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Fall in number of drug users seeking first-time help for addiction

There were almost 10,000 cases of drug users seeking help for their addictions in 2015 | Independent, Ireland

Frequently Asked Questions: Supervised Injecting Facilities

A SIF is a clean, safe, healthcare environment where people can inject drugs, obtained elsewhere, under the supervision of trained health professionals. They offer a compassionate, person-centred service which reduces the harms associated with injecting drug use and can help people access appropriate services | HSE, Ireland

Who in Europe drinks the most? The rich

For the first time, researchers have found a way to compare how much alcohol Europeans drink. And Britain, Ireland and Portugal top the list | Science Daily, Norway

March 2017 – UNODC-SMART: Fentanyl and its analogues explored in the Global SMART Update 17

The Global SMART Update (Volume 17, March 2017) “Fentanyl and its analogues - 50 years on” sheds light on the rapidly unfolding public health threat posed by extremely potent synthetic opioids, fentanyl and its analogues. Key research insights delineate a complex market, whereby the sale of illicit opioids is entwined with the legitimate and underground supply of opioid pharmaceuticals | UNODC, Austria

Women in East Germany will be more likely to die from smoking than those in West Germany

Due to a silent but dramatic increase in the number of young East German women smoking after reunification, their death rates are forecasted to exceed those in the West within the next few decades according to forecasts up to the year 2036 by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock. The deadly trend is hidden beneath a currently favorable trend in life expectancy | Medical Xpress, USA

New hepatitis C treatments more effective, tolerable: FDA

Hepatitis C can be cured in about three months, allowing people with the viral disease to live longer, healthier lives, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says | Medical Xpress, USA

Fewer U.S. high school students drink, CDC finds

Binge drinking also declined among high school students, from about 32 percent of all students in 1999 to about 18 percent in 2015, the report found. Binge drinking involves consuming five or more drinks in a row | Medical Xpress, USA

Drug used for alcohol dependence might also treat stuttering, suggest researchers

Baclofen, a drug that has recently been used to treat alcohol dependence despite not officially being licensed for this condition, might also help stop stuttering, suggest researchers in the journal BMJ Case Reports | Medical Xpress, USA

Opioid crisis becomes central issue in debate over Medicaid

The national opioid crisis is becoming a political hurdle for Senate Republicans negotiating an -ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill that could end the healthcare law’s expansion of Medicaid | The Hill, USA

Trump's Health Secretary Says Addiction Meds Are "Substituting One Opioid For Another"

On a listening tour about the opioid epidemic in West Virginia on Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price stressed the urgency of tackling the staggering overdose problem, saying "we're losing people every single day across the nation, so we don't have time to wait." | Mother Jones, USA

Can Psychedelic Drugs Treat Mental Illness? Scientists Need Your Help To Find Out

A new crowdfunding campaign seeks to raise $2 million to advance promising research that the government has largely neglected | Huffington Post, USA

Vape Shops Want to Do Good, but Fear F.D.A. Won’t Let Them Do Well

Owners, often former smokers who see e-cigarettes as a godsend, say new testing rules scheduled for 2018 could put them out of business | NYTimes, USA

The Public Health Benefits of Alcohol Regulation - CARBC leads new international report

With alcohol consumption in BC rising as government liberalizes alcohol policies, and decisions around legal cannabis distribution models falling to provincial governments, a recent collaboration between researchers at the University of Victoria and the Swedish government could contain valuable lessons around the importance of applying evidence-based policy to the regulation of alcohol and other legal drugs | University of Victoria, Canada

Malcolm Turnbull ’happy’ to take a drug test after outrage over testing of welfare recipients

Malcolm Turnbull once famously admitted he had smoked pot, and now the Prime Minister says he would be prepared to take a drug test | News.com.au, Australia

Learning to deal with addiction

Somewhere, in the grey area that separates what we want and what we need, are the psychological and biological components of addiction. Addiction has a detrimental impact not only on the addict but also on those around them | The Australian, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Mice benefit from research into cannabis. Why not us?

Instead of forging ahead with research on the benefits of cannabis, the UK criminalises millions | Guardian opinion, UK

Brits’ drinking levels lowest for a decade

Adult drinking habits in Great Britain: 2005 to 2016 | Russell Webster, UK

Voices of older people affected by a loved one’s alcohol or drug use

The 2011 census showed a 35% surge since 2001 in the number of older carers, to nearly 1.3 million | DrinkWise, AgeWell Blog, UK

I know how alcohol can ruin your mental health. So why is it so rarely discussed?

Despite the links between drinking and mental health problems, therapists are reluctant to discuss it. My wake-up call came at a Daniel Radcliffe shoot | Guardian opinion, UK