Daily news - 31st August 2018

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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, Australia. UK events here



UK news

Quarter of students know someone at university who they believe is an alcoholic, survey finds

Despite concerns that their classmates are dependent on alcohol, the majority (52 per cent) of students said they did not get drunk on a typical week, according to the YouGov research | Indepenedent, 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 | KCL, UK

Smoking and alcohol affect teenagers' artery health

Stiffening of the arteries doesn't usually cause any noticeable symptoms, but is a possible indicator of future vascular problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease | NHS: Behind the headlines, UK

Blenheim launches Drug and Alcohol Related Deaths Strategy

Recent data released from the Office of National Statistics shows that drug related deaths are continuing to rise. There were 3,756 deaths relating to drug poisoning in England and Wales in 2017 for both legal and illegal drugs. At Blenheim we are obviously very concerned by these figures and are today launching our Drug and Alcohol Related Deaths Strategy to ensure that we are doing everything we can to reduce these unnecessary deaths | Blenheim, UK

New e-learning course on how to prevent and reverse an opiate overdose launched to mark International Overdose Awareness Day

This free short e-learning course covers the key aspects of drug-related deaths in Scotland, opiate overdose prevention, intervention and naloxone basics | SDF, UK

Extra police to boost town centre patrols

More police officers are being brought in to Doncaster town centre to tackle anti-social behaviour, crime, aggressive begging and to deter drug dealing and use. This includes a focus on the impacts of Spice which is affecting towns and cities across the country | Doncaster Council, UK

Significant quantity of cocaine seized from yacht off Cornwall

Catamaran searched at Newlyn after being intercepted at sea by Border Force vessel | Guardian, UK

'Well-organised' gang flew drones carrying drugs into prisons

A "well-organised" gang used drones to fly drugs and mobile phones into jails, delivering contraband straight to inmates' windows, a court has heard | BBC, UK

BT figures show 3,000 calls a year from 'drug phone'

Drug deals are thought to have made a payphone in Nottingham the most heavily used in the county, with more than 3,000 calls a year | BBC, UK

London drug dealers jailed for 'cuckooing' Ipswich flat

Three drug dealers who used a vulnerable woman's home to base their heroin and crack cocaine selling operation have been jailed | BBC, UK


International news

Baclofen for alcohol dependence: too useful to ignore, or too dangerous to prescribe?

Increasingly but controversially being prescribed in France, this review finds that the medication baclofen has helped dependent drinkers become abstinent, though for other outcomes its effectiveness is unproven. With patchy evidence, is it merely premature to back baclofen, or do serious safety oncerns instead mean baclofen use must stop? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Report: India Must Decriminalise Drug Use to Address Punjab Crisis

A new report  - From Addict to Convict: The Working of the NDPS Act in Punjab –  has called on the Indian government to decriminalise drug use, primarily as a response to an ongoing health crisis among people who use drugs in the state of Punjab | Talking Drugs, UK

'It saved our business': Italy's farmers turn low into high with cannabis

Hemp cultivation for non-pharmaceutical could help revert desiccation of farm land | Guardian, UK

National Drug Treatment Reporting System 2010 to 2016 data – Alcohol Treatment

This is the updated bulletin from the National Drug Treatment Reporting System (NDTRS) on cases of treated problem alcohol use in Ireland from 2010 to 2016. In this seven-year period 53,763 cases were treated for alcohol as a main problem | HRB, Ireland

Alcohol treatment in Ireland: HRB publishes latest figures for 2016

Latest alcohol treatment figures from the Health Research Board (HRB) show 53,763 cases were treated for problem alcohol use in Ireland between 2010 and 2016. There were 7,643 treated cases during 2016 | HRB, Ireland

Complaint upheld over Ryanair ad that 'promoted excessive drinking'

The advertisement in question appeared on the airline’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts | Journal, Ireland

HSE hosting free training events for treatment that can reverse drug overdoses

The HSE wants to educate drug-users and their families about a treatment called Naloxone, that can reverse the effects of overdose | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Media library

Searchable database of EMCDDA videos | EMCDDA, Portugal

Drugnet Europe

Monthly roundup | EMCDDA, Portugal

New program boosts use of HIV medications in injection-drug users

A relatively simple effort to provide counseling and connect injection-drug users with resources could prove powerful against the spread of HIV in a notoriously hard-to-reach population, new research suggests | Medical Xpress, USA

Mom's use of opioids in pregnancy may stunt kids' learning

Learning disabilities and other special education needs are common in children born with opioid-related symptoms from their mother's drug use while pregnant, according to the first big U.S. study to examine potential long-term problems in these infants | Medical Xpress, USA

The use of psychoactive substances and illegal drugs in the Albanian society

The article of Matua et al, published recently in Current Drug Abuse Reviews, focuses on an issue of major interest to public health sector and social care workers: the increasing number of drug users in Albania during recent years | EurekAlert, USA

Two-thirds of alcohol sales are to heavy drinkers

The alcohol industry has always relied on people drinking at harmful levels to achieve the high profits they desire | DrinkTank, Australia

Did the Lancet study show all drinking is bad? Not quite

Last week a paper was published in The Lancet that claimed to be the definitive study on the benefits and dangers of drinking. The news was apparently not good for those who enjoy alcoholic beverages. It was covered in the news media with headlines like "There's No Safe Amount of Alcohol | Age, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Chief Exec Blog - Scottish Residential Service finds a new home

Phoenix Chief Exec Karen Biggs describes how we have created our latest Therapeutic Community environment | Phoenix Futures blog, UK

Joining efforts to improve prevention research

This month, Laura Castillo talks about her participation at the 2018 World Meeting of the International Society for Research on Aggression (ISRA) and shares her reflections on how collaboration across different fields of prevention research could lead to better strategies to tackle behavioural problems | EUSPR blog, UK

Time to Change Our Drug Policies

Decriminalizing drug use raises understandable fears, but these fears are not supported by evidence, readers say | NYTimes letters, USA