Daily news - 6th April 2018

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UK news

Tax sugar, alcohol and tobacco to help the poor, say experts

On the eve of the UK introduction of a sugary drinks levy, experts urge global adoption of ‘sin taxes’ to deter unhealthy habits and check the spread of disease | Guardian, UK

Solvents: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what funding the Government has committed to reduce deaths associated with solvent abuse via each (a) Department, (b) Agency, (c) Local authorities, and (d) voluntary organisation? | They work for you, UK

Nitrous Oxide: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government is taking to tackle the misuse of nitrous oxide | They work for you, UK

'McMafia gangs' behind London crime wave - David Lammy

Drug gangs controlled by Eastern European criminals are fuelling the rising tide of violent crime in London, a Labour MP has claimed | BBC, UK

Reality Check: Is UK the drugs capital of Europe?

There have been 52 murders in the capital so far this year - and MP David Lammy says the drugs trade is driving a rise in violence | BBC, UK

March 2018

Latest alcohol policy/research newsletter | IAS, UK

Bristol drug addiction contract receives no bids

Bristol City Council has pledged an extra £284,000 a year towards addiction services after it failed to attract any bids for a contract to run services | BBC, UK

Blenheim:HAGA merger

Blenheim and HAGA are delighted to announce that the organisations have merged from 1st April 2018. The merger is an exciting opportunity for both Blenheim and HAGA: two successful charities that share similar objectives and values, putting service-users at the heart of everything that we do. Working together will mean that we will be able to share resources, make cost savings, share knowledge, offer a wider range of innovative services and make even more positive impacts in people’s lives | Blenheim, UK

Boss of new drug and alcohol treatment services to tackle drug-related deaths

The boss of the new drug and alcohol treatment provision in Norfolk has vowed to tackle drug-related deaths in the county as her charity launched its services | Eastern Daily Press, USA

Glasgow drug addicts 'condemned to death' if no 'shooting gallery' allowed to open

The facility that would allow addicts to bring drugs to a supervised facility got the backing of all parties as the council voted to invite the Home Secretary to Glasgow to see the need for urgent action | Evening Times, UK

Third man in court over Dromore cannabis seizure

A third man has appeared in court charged in relation to the NI's largest ever cannabis seizure | BBC, UK

A pina colada at the touch of a button: the 'Vocktail' (or virtual reality cocktail) put to the test

I've always been terrified of virtual reality. When Armageddon comes, I'm convinced it'll be wrought by a sinister army of robots rather than some over-excitable world leader whose finger wanders too close to the big red button | Telegraph, UK


International news

I Tested the Weed You Can 'Buy Legally' in the UK

Over 200 companies sell cannabis they claim is legal throughout Europe, so I ordered a bag | VICE, UK

Tobacco and cigars are being sold on Facebook through an advertising loophole

Brands are side-stepping Facebook‘s anti-tobacco policies with ‘organic’ unpaid marketing tactics in a bid to sell products including cigars and e-cigarettes, a study has found | i news, UK

Stark truth of why female drugs mules are filling Mexico’s prisons

“What did you come to buy? Love or fear?” That’s what Carmela Rodríguez Reyes used to ask people who approached her on the street she worked on | Herald, UK

Parents call for ‘life-saving’ medicinal cannabis payment refunds

Minister urged to address refunding issue so 8-year-old girl can continue treatment | Irish Times, Ireland

YAP Ireland national profile and outcomes summary 2011 - 2017 (PDF)

Youth Advocate Programmes Ireland is a registered charity providing a range of services to Young People and Families with complex needs across 22 counties | YAP, Ireland

Europe's silent opioid epidemic

Strong opiates are tightly controlled in Europe but several EU countries allow over-the-counter sales of a milder pain medication: codeine. While less dangerous than heroin or fentanyl, codeine is turned into morphine in the liver and can still be toxic in high doses | Horizon Magazine, Belgium

Increasing Naloxone Awareness and UseThe Role of Health Care Practitioners

The Office of the Surgeon General has released a public health advisory for the first time in more than a decade in response to the alarming escalation of opioid overdose deaths across the country | JAMA, USA

A Radical Reversal

San Francisco has one of the lowest fatal-overdose rates in the U.S. Here's why | SF Weekly, USA

The Mystery of the Terrifying Xanax Resurgence in America

Pharmaceutical marketing is often said to be a key cause of the opioid crisis. That doesn't explain the deadly rise of benzos | VICE, USA

More Americans aware of growing problem of opioid addiction

A new survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research reveals the number of Americans who see opioid addiction as a significant issue for their community today is up significantly over just two years ago. Forty-three percent of Americans now say the misuse of prescription drugs is a serious problem, compared with 33 percent in 2016 | Medical Xpress, USA

New guidance for safe opioid prescribing for hospitalized patients with acute pain

For hospitalized patients, pain is an all-too-common part of the experience. Even among U.S. patients who have not undergone surgery, more than half receive at least one dose of an opioid for acute pain during their stay | Medical Xpress, USA

Marijuana Use Tied to Fatal Car Crashes

An analysis of the popular 4/20 weed celebration found an increase in auto accidents after 4:20 p.m | NYTimes, USA

The next big thing in marijuana won't get you high

Recently, at the end of a surf trip with several friends, my pal Tim passed me a pipe packed with sticky green buds. I’m not much of a social smoker (more of a one-hitter-before-chores type) so politely declined | Quartzy, USA

Here’s How The Tobacco Industry Gets Around Facebook’s Ban On Tobacco Ads

As Facebook comes under fire for its advertising and data-sharing practices, researchers have discovered that e-cigarettes and other tobacco products are being hawked on the platform to teens | BuzzFeed, USA

Free Radical Formation in Electronic Cigarette Aerosols

Your presentation at Pittcon focused on free radical formation in electronic cigarette (EC) aerosols. What have been the main challenges associated with characterizing the harmful by-products EC can produce? | News Medical, USA

Fentanyl overdose survivors require little if any hospital treatment

Most fentanyl overdose survivors, if given the antidote promptly, don't need prolonged hospital treatment, according to a study by University of British Columbia physicians | Medical Xpress, USA

Impact of alcohol and illicit drug use on the burden of disease and injury in Australia: Australian Burden of Disease Study 2011

This report quantifies the health impact that alcohol and illicit drug use place on Australia, including as risk factors for other diseases and injuries. It estimates that alcohol and illicit drugs were collectively responsible for 6.7% of Australia’s disease burden in 2011 | Australian Government, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

How to engage BME populations into drug and alcohol services

The issue of the under-representation of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) populations in drug and alcohol services was raised at the Birmingham event. In this vlog, Ricky Bhandal, who runs the National Substance Misuse Conference, shares his thoughts with us on how to engage these groups of people | Collective Voice blog, UK

Don’t believe the propaganda – sin taxes are designed to punish the poor

With the sugar tax taking effect in Britain on Friday, the Lancet has dedicated a whole issue to the wonders of taxation | Spectator, UK

Harsher Drug Policing Will Not Stop Knife Crime

David Lammy MP is one of many who has suggested that a tougher approach to drug law would reduce knife crime | VICE, UK

Partnering Under the Influence: How to Fix the Global Fund’s Brewing Scandal with Heineken

The new head of the Global Fund to Fight HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Peter Sands recently argued that “the global health community needs to engage with the private sector more rather than less.” | Oxfam blog, UK

The Formaldehyde in Your E-Cigs

Recently, there has been a shift away from calling e-cigarettes “e-cigs.” In public health circles, people now tend to call them by what they do: deliver nicotine to the inhaler | NYTimes opinion, USA