Daily news - 21st August 2018

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UK news

Stop smoking options: guidance for conversations with patients

Guidance to support conversations between clinicians and people who want to quit smoking on what method to choose | PHE, UK

Support for children of alcohol dependent parents: guidance and application forms

How non-governmental organisations can apply for funding under section 64 of the Health Services and Public Health Act. Deadline 7th September | DHSC, UK

Alcohol outlet density and alcohol related hospital admissions in England: a national small‐area level ecological study

[Open access] Excessive alcohol consumption has a substantial impact on public health services. A key element determining alcohol availability is alcohol outlet density. This study investigated the relationship between on‐trade and off‐trade outlets and hospital admission rates in local neighbourhoods | Addiction, UK

Addiction September 2018 - podcast

Podcast presenting the contents of the September 2018 issue of Addiction journal | Addiction, UK

Cocaine deaths quadruple in seven years prompting call for urgent investigation to tackle the 'scandalous' rise

The government has come under increased pressure to investigate the spike in deaths from cocaine use, which has almost quadrupled in seven years | Mail Online, UK

Brazen drug dealers use Instagram to flog chocolate bars and cakes that look like children's treats but are actually laced with cannabis

A Mail on Sunday investigation has exposed the trade in illegal marijuana edibles, or ‘medibles’ | Mail Online, UK

Jo's story - video

In this CGL story, Jo talks about drinking to oblivion after the tragic death of her partner. She then describes the positive experience of getting help from her local alcohol service and attending the women's group there | CGL, UK

Connections: strengthening the relationships of offenders and people in recovery from addiction with family, friends and wider social networks - Number 4 (PDF)

This edition of Pulse presents ‘Connections’, Forward’s new range of services that supports service users’ relationships both in prison and in the community | Forward Trust, UK

Life-saving Leeds service helping recovering drug and alcohol addicts to savour life again

People recovering from alcohol and drug addictions in Leeds are transforming their lives - and those of others - through guitar lessons, yoga and pizza-making | Yorkshire Evening Post, UK

Weymouth beggars and drinkers to be fined £100

People caught begging, drinking alcohol or feeding gulls in parts of Weymouth face fines of £100 under new rules | BBC, UK


International news

The global health and equity imperative for safe consumption facilities

The first safe consumption facility (SCF) opened its doors in 1986, in Bern, Switzerland, intending to curb drug overdose-related deaths and prevent other drug-related harm in people who inject drugs (PWID) | The Lancet, UK

Norway to be 7th European Country to Offer Heroin Assisted-Treatment

Norway will offer free heroin prescriptions through a heroin-assisted treatment (HAT) programme by 2020 in an attempt to improve the living conditions of people dependent on the drug | Talking Drugs, UK

Harm reduction in Indonesia failing women who use drugs

The state of tailored harm reduction services for women globally is notoriously poor, with the situation in Indonesia providing a snapshot of the barriers many women who use drugs face around the world | Talking Drugs, UK

Reality Check: Who still smokes?

Despite a decline in smoking rates worldwide, tobacco consumption leads to more than seven million deaths around the world each year, according to the World Health Organization | BBC, UK

More U.S. stores likely sell cigarettes to minors than reported

More retailers may be selling cigarettes to minors than government estimates have suggested, a new study finds | Reuters, UK

Quit-smoking helpline number on India cigarette packs

India says tobacco firms must print a helpline number to combat smoking on all cigarette packs from 1 September | BBC, UK

Six held over 'drugs bus' which crashed in Ecuador

Police in Colombia have arrested six men in connection with a scheme to smuggle large quantities of marijuana and cocaine in passenger buses | BBC, UK

E-cigarettes can damage DNA

The popularity of electronic cigarettes continues to grow worldwide, as many people view them as a safer alternative to smoking. But the long-term effects of e-cigarette usage, commonly called "vaping," are unknown. Today, researchers report that vaping may modify the genetic material, or DNA, in the oral cells of users, which could increase their cancer risk | EurekAlert, USA

Proposal seeks to improve assessment of drug risks

A drug policy researcher is proposing a suite of changes to overhaul the Multi-Criteria Drug Harm Scale, which informs drug policies across Europe. The changes focus on addressing use and abuse separately, collecting input from a broader range of stakeholders, and targeting substance-specific experts for drug review panels | Science Daily, USA

Illicit drug use could be higher than previously thought; soars during special events

America's drug problem may be even worse than officials realize. And illicit drugs are consumed at a higher rate during celebratory events. Those are just two of the conclusions scientists have drawn from recent studies of drug residues in sewage | Science Daily, USA

Drug and alcohol use by pregnant women: the evolution of state policies

Policymakers and public health experts have long recognized the harm that can come to fetuses if women use drugs during pregnancy. As U.S. states legalize marijuana and as governmental attention focuses on the "opioid crisis," state policies pertaining to drug use during pregnancy are increasingly important | Medical Xpress, USA

America’s Invisible Pot Addicts

More and more Americans are reporting near-constant cannabis use, as legalization forges ahead | The Atlantic, USA

Why you shouldn’t dismiss the risk of marijuana addiction

There are real concerns with marijuana addiction. That doesn’t mean legalization is a bad idea | Vox, USA

These Drug Users Don't Want Their Dealer Prosecuted if They OD

"I love my friends and I love the people I hang out with and I don't want anybody going to jail because of my behavior." | VICE, USA

Inside the Bizarre Subreddit Where Connoisseurs Talk 'Craft Cocaine'

A community of dark net drug users view themselves as cocaine connoisseurs, looking for "organic" coke over "petrol," and batches with good "legs" and "bag-appeal." | VICE, USA

Despite 'Good Samaritan' law, many drug users too scared of arrest to report overdoses

Police involvement deterring people from calling 911 during an overdose, despite legislation | CBC News, Canada

Unsanctioned overdose prevention site opens in Parkdale as province freezes funding

Site is housed in tents in a neighbourhood park, staffed by healthcare workers | CBC News, Canada

Alcohol packaging needs warning for pregnant women - experts

Experts working with sufferers of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder want explicit warnings on packaging stating the dangers of drinking while pregnant | RadioNZ, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Cannabis debate leaves GPs facing a prescribing conundrum

Not long ago, I was interviewed on the radio about the use of cannabis and whether or not this would be something I would be prescribing. I explained, as I often do when talking about new treatments, that it was unlikely until we had the solid evidence base that it works as we do with other drugs, old or new | Pulse blog, UK

We must legalise, regulate and educate on drugs to help kids trapped in the system

Inverclyde MP Ronnie Cowan argues for a rethink on drugs laws that prosecute young people who might otherwise be helped out a life of crime | Daily Record opinion, UK

Flawed EU regulations on e-cigarettes have set the market back

I ordered 200 millilitres of e-cigarette fluid from my online retailer this week. Not a large quantity – it is barely a third of a pint – and yet it came in twenty separate bottles, as it always does | IEA blog, UK

Opioid epidemic – the global spread explained

The US has been in the grips of an “opioid epidemic” since the 1990s, with massive rises in the use – and misuse – of opioids such as morphine and codeine. There has also been a parallel rise in the number of opioid-related deaths, from 8,048 in 1999 to 42,249 in 2016 | Conversation, UK

Remission/Recovery from Cannabis Use Disorders: Update

In my blog of January 29, 2016, I reviewed recent research on remission and recovery from cannabis use disorders in the United States | William L White papers, USA

From Abraham to the Aztecs, ancient cultures exacted human sacrifices to appease the gods – that is, to soothe their own anxieties and to placate false beliefs. Today, we have our own version of this, as evidenced by the overdose crisis sweeping North America | Globe and Mail opinion, Canada

Health Check: why do I get a headache when I haven’t had my coffee?

Caffeine is our favourite drug. But if we miss out on our fix, it can be a real headache, in more ways than one | Conversation, Australia