Daily news - 23rd August 2018

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UK news

Two-thirds of alcohol sales are to heavy drinkers

Two-thirds of alcohol industry revenue in England comes from consumers drinking at risky levels, according to a new study from the University of Sheffield's Alcohol Research Group | EurekAlert, UK

Alcohol firms would lose £13bn if drinkers in England stuck to limits

Academics say study shows why industry resists measures to tackle harmful consumption | Guardian, UK

How should we set consumption thresholds for low risk drinking guidelines? Achieving objectivity and transparency using evidence, expert judgement and pragmatism

Most high‐income nations issue guidelines on low‐risk drinking to inform individuals’ decisions about alcohol consumption. However, leading scientists have criticized the processes for setting the consumption thresholds within these guidelines for a lack of objectivity and transparency | Addiction debate, UK

Association of longitudinal alcohol consumption trajectories with coronary heart disease: a meta-analysis of six cohort studies using individual participant data

Studies have shown that alcohol intake trajectories differ in their associations with biomarkers of cardiovascular functioning, but it remains unclear if they also differ in their relationship to actual coronary heart disease (CHD) incidence | BMC Medicine, UK

Pentonville prison overcrowded and drug use rife, says watchdog

Conditions at north London jail ‘incompatible with prisoners’ humanity and dignity’ | Guardian, UK

Neptune E-Learning modules

In partnership with the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Project NEPTUNE has developed training modules that are accessible and easy to use for busy front-line clinicians and other practitioners. These e-learning modules are developed based on the principles used by the College to develop Continuous Professional Development (CPD). They include multi-media and interactive elements and are open access (free of charge) | Neptune, UK


International news

Argentina crematorium burns Russian cocaine haul

Russia and Argentina have used a crematorium in Buenos Aires to burn 389kg (858 pounds) of cocaine seized in a drugs bust at the Russian embassy | BBC, UK

Why west Africa has an opioid crisis

Most of the pharmaceutical opioids seized in Africa were manufactured in India | Economist, UK

40% of those taking methadone are on it for 10 years

Four out of ten people on methadone, the legal substitute for heroin addiction, have been on the drug for at least 10 years | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Hammered home

For many, part of the college experience is about going out and enjoying one or two alcoholic beverages with our peers. But, when one drink becomes too many, there can be very serious consequences | Independent, Ireland

So, you enjoy a social smoke?

Smoking the odd cigarette with friends after a few drinks may seem relatively harmless, but research in the US has suggested that it may be as dangerous as an everyday habit | Independent, Ireland

Drug Policy Reform in the Post-American World Order

There was a time when we expected that the end of aggressive American interventionism would open the gates to drug policy reform. We are now at the dawning of a new multipolar world order, but it is not only the spirit of reform that has been released from the bottle | Drug Reporter, Hungary

Opposition Mounts to San Francisco’s Plans to Open Nation’s First Drug Injection Center

The California state Senate passed a measure on Aug. 21 that would authorize San Francisco to open a facility for injecting illegal drugs—the first of its kind in the nation | Epoch Times, USA

Exploring cannabis concentrates on the legal market: User profiles, product strength, and health-related outcomes

Concentrated cannabis products are increasingly available and used, particularly in states with legal cannabis, but little is known about the profiles and characteristics of concentrate users. We aimed to characterize user profiles of cannabis users living in states with legal medical or recreational cannabis who reported using concentrates to those who do not use concentrates | Science Direct, USA

Study calls for more regulation to prevent youth access to e-cigarettes

E-cigarettes may have the potential to reduce smoking, but big tobacco's involvement and a general lack of restriction to youth access are cause for concern, according to a university study | Medical Xpress, USA

Toward an Improved Multi-Criteria Drug Harm Assessment Process and Evidence-Based Drug Policies

Drug scheduling within the international system of drug control and national legislation has been recently criticized as having insufficient footing in scientific evidence| Frontiers in Pharmacology, USA

Patient education urged to prevent opioid OD after sobriety

The American Medical Association (AMA) encourages patient education to raise awareness of the risks associated with opioid use after a prolonged period of sobriety, according to a report in the organization's AMA Wire | Medical Xpress, USA

Forcing Pain Patients Off Their Meds Won't End the Opioid Crisis

It might seem like a good idea to target the small number of people who use the most opioids, but a plan proposed in Oregon won't reduce the number of overdoses or new addictions | VICE, USA

Policy intended to curb opioid prescribing associated with increase in filled opioid prescriptions after surgery

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in 2014 moved to limit prescribing of pain medications containing the opioid hydrocodone from schedule III (a class of controlled substances) to the more restrictive schedule I | EurekAlert, USA

Snaring Doctors and Drug Dealers, Justice Dept. Intensifies Opioid Fight

After the president asked for a crackdown on suppliers, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced cases that spanned from Ohio to China to the “dark web | NYTimes, USA

Illicit Drug Overdose Deaths in BC January 1, 2008 – July 31, 2018 (PDF)

This report summarizes all unintentional illicit drug overdose deaths in British Columbia (accidental and undetermined) that occurred between January 1, 2008, and July 31, 2018, inclusive. It includes confirmed and suspected illicit overdose deaths | BCCS, Canada

Northern Territory brings in $1.30 per standard drink floor price on alcohol

The Northern Territory has become the first Australian jurisdiction to put a floor price on alcohol, in a bid to curtail its worrying rate of alcohol-related harm | abc.net.au, Australia

Drop in Aussies seeking hepatitis C cure

More than 170,000 Australians are able to access subsidised medication to cure Hepatitis C but the number of people choosing to do so is declining | SBS, Australia

Australian opioid deaths increase but no sign of US-style epidemic, say researchers - audio

A new study from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre has found the number of opioid deaths in Australia has increased from the late 1990s to 2016 | abc.net.au, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Sobriety tags: how alcohol monitoring could become the new norm

In a bid to crack down on alcohol-related violence, the British government is preparing a new strategy to reduce the risks associated with excessive drinking | Conversation, UK

We’re on the brink of a sea change when it comes to UK drug policy

Illegal drug-related deaths have now been at or near record levels for five years in a row. Thankfully, policy is shifting | Transform blog, UK

The problems for babies born to opioid-addicted mothers

The number of babies born to opioid-addicted mothers in the US more than quadrupled during 1999-2014, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The health impact on these children is huge and lifelong | Conversation, USA