Daily news - 25th April 2018

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UK news

Minister questioned on Government’s policy on e-cigarettes

The Science and Technology Committee holds its final evidence session for its inquiry into e-cigarettes | Parliament.uk, UK

E-cigarettes in danger of becoming 'lifestyle choice' before safety is proven, warns health prof

E-cigarettes are being marketed as ‘edgy lifestyle devices’ which could encourage people to use them for too long, the deputy chief executive of the NHS health watchdog has warned | Telegraph, UK

Medical care in drug treatment systems

Key studies relating to the roles of medical interventions in drug treatment systems. Highlights a simple innovation which transformed detoxification recyclers into typical patients, asks if you agree with an expert group’s vision of what a good service looks like, and questions whether Britain is making progress on care for mentally ill problem drug users | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Additions to the Effectiveness Bank 24 April 2018

Two papers dedicated to alcohol-related harm - at the micro level, whether alcohol policies and interventions can specifically reduce domestic abuse, and at the macro level, the most effective and cost-effective approaches to take to mitigate harm in the English context. A further two papers ask key questions about methadone maintenance – whether primary care is a safe and effective entry point to treatment, and whether adhering to clinical guidelines really does make things better for the patients | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Minimum Prices

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the ban on below-cost sales of alcohol on alcohol-related hospital admissions since the introduction of that ban | They work for you, UK

Uptake of Tailored Text Message Smoking Cessation Support in Pregnancy When Advertised on the Internet (MiQuit): Observational Study

Smoking in pregnancy is a major public health concern. Pregnant smokers are particularly difficult to reach, with low uptake of support options and few effective interventions. Text message–based self-help is a promising, low-cost intervention for this population, but its real-world uptake is largely unknown | JMIR, UK

Funding for children of alcohol dependent parents: tackling the stigma of 'alcoholism'?

The Department of Health and Social Care has announced further details on Government support for the children of alcohol-dependent parents | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Call You and Yours: How has your life been changed by other people's drinking? - BBC radio iPlayer

An estimated 200,000 children in England alone, live with alcohol-dependent parents | BBC, UK

How City Drug Gangs First Used Teens to Take Over British Towns

The "going country" phenomenon isn't as new as many like to make out. Here is the inside story of the first "county lines" gangs, nearly 20 years ago | VICE, UK

Why there are more gym supplements in a London fatberg than cocaine and MDMA

Substances used to aid muscle-building and weight loss made up more than half of the pharmaceuticals found in the capital’s sewers. What does this tell us about modern life? | Guardian, UK

Homeless mortality data from East London

The rate of homeless mortality is known to be significantly below the national average, with mortality rates varying geographically. This study aims to look at the rates and causes of homeless mortality within East London | London Journal of Primary Care, UK

Charity urges children of people with alcohol problems to Speak Out

Addaction’s Speak Out project urges young people to come forward if they are struggling with a family member’s alcohol use. The drug, alcohol and mental health charity says young people are often reluctant to seek support because of shame and stigma about their home life | Addaction, UK

Hepatitis C storyline to feature in Holby City

Tomorrow's episode of Holby City, the long-running hospital-based TV series, will introduce a new storyline based around hepatitis C | Hep C Trust, UK

Frank Skinner: 'Johnny Cash started me on the rocky road to alcoholism'

In 1971, a boy named Frank saw Johnny Cash live. It changed his life. The comedian reveals why he has written – and starred in – a drama about the hellraising singer’s infamous fight with an ostrich | Guardian, UK

Medicinal Cannabis Will Never Be Legalised In The UK

In the summer of 2016, while everyone was out and about enjoying the sun I was sitting in a hospital bed, hooked up to an IV receiving chemotherapy | UNILAD, UK

Men who ran 'legal high' shops jailed

Two men who ran shops as fronts for selling so-called legal highs have each been jailed for four and a half years | BBC, UK

Jailed police inspector ordered to repay drugs proceeds

A former police inspector who stole confiscated drugs to supply back to criminal gangs has been ordered to repay more than £135,000 | BBC, UK

Killer becomes first released after changes to joint enterprise law

Aformer drug addict who was jailed for murder, has become the first person to be released from prison following a change in the way joint enterprise killings are interpreted | Telegraph, UK

Alcoholic mother's children left home alone in Bradford

Two barefoot children were found wandering the streets in their pyjamas while their alcoholic mother was out drinking, a court has heard | BBC, UK


International news

Cannabis users can now test how high they are with a new app designed by scientists

Researchers developed a prototype called Am I Stoned which helps cannabis users understand how the drug is affecting them through a series of tasks | Mail Online, UK

Sri Lanka to Open Asia’s First Medical Cannabis Plantation

Sri Lanka will begin cultivating cannabis for medical purposes later this year, the health minister has announced | Talking Drugs, UK

Former DEA agent: 'The moment I caught drug lord El Chapo'

Video. A former DEA Special Agent has told BBC Radio 5 live about the dramatic moment he came face to face with notorious Mexican drug lord "El Chapo" in 2014 | BBC, UK

A War Worth Ending

In today’s ever-increasing, transitory society, change happens rapidly. The last decade alone has brought us the advent of smartphones, online streaming, a robust social media, the rise of artificial intelligence, and even altered the way we date | Volte Face, UK

These people took LSD and tried to build Ikea furniture

Now, imagine trying to assemble an Ikea cupboard while under the influence of drugs | indy 100, UK

Garda PULSE system to record drug and alcohol test kit numbers and readings

Gardai are to amend the PULSE computer system to allow for Drager drug and alcohol test kit numbers and their readings to be included after use at checkpoints and collisions | Independent, Ireland

Bulletin on Narcotics: Alternative development: practices and reflections (PDF)

We are pleased to introduce this special issue of the Bulletin on Narcotics, which is devoted to the theme of alternative development. In addition to this introduction, it consists of five academic articles that provide important insights and experiences regarding the current state and future directions of this development-driven strategy | UNODC, Austria

New app could improve safety of cannabis use

Although cannabis, also known as marijuana, has been shown to impair memory, reaction time and attention, it is difficult to assess this impairment in a natural setting | News Medical, USA

Opioid treatment gap in Medicare: methadone clinics

One in three older Americans with Medicare drug coverage is prescribed opioid painkillers, but for those who develop a dangerous addiction there is one treatment Medicare won't cover: methadone | abc news, USA

Doctors prescribe opioids at high rates to those at increased overdose risk

The number of first-time prescriptions for opioid drugs has not risen since about 2010, according to UCLA researchers. However, patients taking a class of drug known to increase the risk for overdoses were likelier to receive a first-time opioid prescription—a combination that could be linked to the current surge in opioid-related deaths | Medical Xpress, USA

Overdose risk factors in youth with substance use disorders

More than a quarter of young people seeking treatment had history of at least one overdose | Science Daily, USA

The FDA Is Cracking Down On JUUL And Other Popular E-Cigarettes

The US Food and Drug Administration took action this week against sites and stores, including eBay, who are selling e-cigarettes like JUUL to young people | BUzzFeed, USA

Cigarillo packaging can influence product perception, study finds

Text and pictorial warnings about the health effects of little cigars and cigarillos didn't fully curtail the appeal of bright colors and descriptions of flavors on packaging, a study by University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers found | Medical Xpress, USA


Blogs, comment and opinion

Bill should cover drunken sexual assault of emergency workers

Chris Bryant’s private member’s bill does not offer any additional protection against sexual assault on emergency staff, say leading health bodies and members of Alcohol Health Alliance UK | Guardian letters, UK

eCigarettes are safer than smoking tobacco

There has been much scaremongering around the increased uptake of eCigarettes, but the science speaks for itself. This may be a new phenomenon in Europe, but for over 10 years, scientists worldwide have been evaluating electronic cigarettes | Parliament Magazine, UK

Dr. Nick Hopkinson on Polluter Pays and Big Tobacco

Recently we spoke with Dr. Nick Hopkinson about the #MakeThemPay Polluter Pays Campaign and his involvement with the Smokefree Arts campaign | Medium, UK

Africa must reject BAT’s fools’ gold

The latest ‘sustainability’ report published by British American Tobacco (BAT) states: “we are committed to operating to the highest standards of corporate conduct and transparency.” | Medium, UK

Let Cities Open Safe Injection Sites

An overdose is often a lonely way to die. Overdoses happen when a toxic amount of a drug, or a combination of drugs, overwhelms the body’s basic functions, first slowing and eventually stopping the brain’s drive to breathe | NYTimes editorial, USA

Why genetics makes some people more vulnerable to opioid addiction – and protects others

Every day, 91 Americans die from an opioid overdose. Rates of abuse of these drugs have shot up over the past 15 years and continue to climb. Why is this happening? Is there hope for helping individuals with opioid addiction? | Conversation, USA

How much does the FDA really do to promote public health?

According to its mission statement, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for “advancing public health” by providing oversight to the drug development process | The Hill opinion, USA

Med schools need to get with the times on medical marijuana, chronic pain, and more

In bygone days, when social change and the evolution of medical care moved at a more leisurely pace, medical education did the same | STAT opinion, USA

Cannabis and psychosis: what is the link and who is at risk?

There has been a recent global rise in “green fever”, with various jurisdictions either decriminalising or legalising cannabis | Conversation, Australia