Daily news - 30th August 2018

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UK news

Brain scans show how cannabis extract may help people with psychosis

Cannabidiol reduces the brain activity linked to hallucinations, delusions and other forms of psychosis, research has found | Guardian, UK

Cannabis extract helps reset brain function in psychosis

Research from King's College London has found that a single dose of the cannabis extract cannabidiol can help reduce brain function abnormalities seen in people with psychosis. Results from a new MRC-funded trial, published in JAMA Psychiatry, provide the first evidence of how cannabidiol acts in the brain to reduce psychotic symptoms | Medical Xpress, USA

NHS smoking cessation services

Information showing Welsh resident smokers who were carbon monoxide (CO) validated as successfully quitting at 4 weeks | Welsh Government, UK

Welsh Government's stop smoking service falls short of 5% goal

The Welsh Government has fallen short of its annual goal to treat 5% of smokers through NHS stop smoking services, according to new figures | BBC, UK

The devastating effect smoking while pregnant has on unborn babies

An estimated 11,864 unborn babies are exposed to harm from tobacco each year in Wales | Wales Online, UK

Drink drive figures for 2018: will a new national alcohol strategy respond?

The latest figures for alcohol-related road accidents and causalities were released earlier this month, indicating a 7% rise on the previous year and the highest level since 2012 | Alcohol Policy UK, UK


For each of the last three years, Scotland has suffered record numbers of drugs overdose deaths. Each of these tragic deaths impacts on individuals, families, communities and the nation. This cannot be accepted or allowed to become a ‘new normal’ | SDF, UK

Scotland’s drug death toll could exceed 1,000 in 2018, group warns

Drug deaths in Scotland will “almost certainly” top 1,000 in 2018 without a step change in strategy, a group calling for addicts to be prescribed heroin has warned | ITV, UK

Alcohol licensing: data for public health teams

Updated spreadsheet to include additional data items | PHE, UK

Spice 'most severe public health issue in decades'

The so-called zombie drug Spice is the "most severe public health issue we have faced in decades", Lincolnshire's Police and Crime Commissioner has said | BBC, UK

Spice should be upgraded to Class A drug, say police and crime commissioners

Home Office warned synthetic substance poses 'most severe threat to public health in decades' | Independent, UK

Tesco installs three bins for disposal of illegal drugs in Northern Ireland

Three drugs disposal bins have been installed in the Tesco stores in Cookstown, Dungannon and Magherafelt as part of an initiative to remove illegal and prescription drugs from our streets | Belfast Telegraph, UK

Government to ban energy drink sales to children in England

Move follows health concerns about heavily caffeinated and sugared drinks | Guardian, UK


International news

Henry Miller died in gap year Colombian tribal ritual

Henry Miller, 19, from Bristol, died in the rainforest after reacting to ayahuasca, or yage, which he drank during a shamanic ceremony | BBC, UK

Opioid crisis: breakthrough in hunt for non-addictive painkiller

Scientists have made a major step towards developing a non-addictive alternative to prescription painkillers | Guardian, UK

Ketamine antidepressant could bring opioid-like addiction risks, study warns

'Breakthrough' antidepressants work in same way as painkiller drugs and similarly reinforce addiction | Independent, UK

Last chance to buy cheap cigarettes! Tobacco price hike to push the cost of a pack to $40

The price of cigarettes in Australia is set to soar from Saturday after costs were pushed up to nearly $40 a packet in this year's Federal Budget | Mail Online, UK

International Overdose Day - 31st August

International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on 31 August each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose| Penington Institute, USA

Mortality in the United States from self-injury surpasses diabetes: a prevention imperative

[ Open access] This report uses an enhanced conceptualisation of self-injury mortality (SIM), which comprised registered or known suicides by any method and estimated non-suicide deaths from opioid and other drug self-intoxication | BMJ, USA

Legal Weed Is a Reality in America, but Congress Refuses to Admit It

As New York moves toward legal recreational cannabis, the failure to enact nationwide reforms is becoming more glaring | VICE, USA

Everything We Know About the Health Risks of Vaping CBD

The problem many CBD vapers have faced recently seems to stem mainly from poor regulation over the vaping market in general, and the subsequent unreliable quality of any vape or vape oil | VICE, USA

India's health ministry calls for halting sales of e-cigarettes, smoking devices

India’s federal health ministry called on Tuesday for stopping the sale or import of electronic cigarettes and heat-not-burn tobacco devices that companies like Philip Morris International Inc were planning to launch in the country | Reuters, USA

Contributions of prescribed and non-prescribed opioids to opioid related deaths: population based cohort study in Ontario, Canada

[Open access]  Prescribed, diverted, and illicit opioids all play an important role in opioid related deaths. Although more than half of all opioid related deaths still involved prescription drugs (either dispensed or diverted) in 2016, the increased rate of deaths involving fentanyl between 2015 and 2016 is concerning and suggests the need for a multifactorial approach to this problem that considers both the prescribed and illicit opioid environments | BMJ, Canada

Cannabis Economic Account, second quarter 2018

Canadian household expenditures on cannabis (for medical and non-medical use) increased 1.2% in the second quarter, following a 1.4% increase in the first quarter. Consumption has risen 72% since the first quarter of 2001, when the Canadian government first passed legislation legalizing the consumption of cannabis for medical purposes | Statistics of Canada, Canada

What Tom Elliott learned during his visit to the Drug Court

Tom Elliott was invited to visit the Drug Court on Wednesday to see how it functioned. He was joined in studio later in the day by magistrate Tony Parsons | 3AW, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

An interview with Bianca, Change Grow Live Recovery Coordinator and The Loop volunteer

We spoke to Bianca Alexander, a non-opiate Recovery Coordinator at Change Grow Live Manchester, who in her spare time works as a harm reduction volunteer with The Loop | CGL blog, UK

Communication of the CMO drinking guidelines in antenatal care – as simple as it sounds?

More work is needed to explore midwives' efforts work in implementing the guidelines | IAS blog, UK

Risking the credibility of safe drinking messages

It must be August. Last week the mainstream media was drunk with anti-alcohol headlines after chugging back countless units of public health research. It felt like a concerted assault. Perhaps it was | Phil Mellows blog, UK

Don’t let fearmongering guide vaping debate

The number of teens who reported using tobacco products declined from 4.5 million to 3.6 million from 2011 to 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | USA Today opinion, USA

E-cigarette tariffs are a threat to public health

Fifteen years ago, a Chinese pharmacist sparked a global innovation race to end smoking by inventing a safer, more appealing way for smokers to get the nicotine they desire without the smoke that may kill them–the modern day e-cigarette | The Hill opinion, USA

Opioid deaths in Ontario, Canada

Curbs to prescribing must be part of a broader package of measures | BMJ editorial, Canada