Daily news - 31st January 2018

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UK news

Prescribed medicines that may cause dependence or withdrawal

A review of the evidence on the scale and nature of problems with some prescription medicines and how they can be prevented and treated | PHE, UK

Number of alcohol-specific deaths by sex and country of place of birth, deaths registered in England and Wales, 2007 to 2016

Number of deaths where the underlying cause was alcohol-specific; broken down by sex, year of registration and country of place of birth. For deaths registered in England and Wales between 2007 and 2016 | ONS, UK

Over 3,700 deaths linked to alcohol

Alcohol was a factor in more than 3,700 deaths in a single year in Scotland, according to new research | BBC, UK

The highs and lows of Dry January and Veganuary

Pledging to go without alcohol and animal-derived products in January has increased as the Dry January and Veganuary campaigns have seen thousands of people signing up to take part | BBC, UK

Statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services in England April 2017 to September 2017

This quarterly report presents results from the monitoring of the NHS Stop Smoking Services in England during the period April 2017 to September 2017 | NHS Digital, UK

Natural painkiller nasal spray could replace addictive opioids, trial indicates

Risk of overdose could be far lower, say researchers, as fundraising for human clinical trials begins | Guardian, UK

What you were reading in 2017…

We’ve gone through the nearly 4 million downloads
last year to highlight the most popular entries – the ones which grabbed your attention most often - plus a ‘hidden treasure’ that you might be interested in reading | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Panorama: Addicted - last chance mums - BBC iPlayer

In this film, Panorama has been given exclusive access to one of the only residential units in the country trying to break this cycle, Trevi House in Plymouth. We follow mothers and their babies undergoing intensive treatment as they try to prove they're fit to be a parent. The stakes couldn't be higher - if they fail they will lose their baby forever | BBC, UK

Vaping damages DNA in mice, which 'may increase cancer risk'

Researchers in the US found that cells of mice exposed to e-cigarette vapour for 3 hours a day showed signs of DNA damage, and impaired ability to repair that damage, in comparison with mice that weren't exposed to the vapour. Human cells bathed in a nicotine solution showed similar results | NHS Choices: Behind the headlines, UK

British gangs 'using violence to groom children as drug mules'

MP says gangs rely on fear to force young people to take class A drugs into rural areas | Guardian, UK

Trafficked, beaten, enslaved: the life of a Vietnamese cannabis farmer

At 10, ‘Stephen’ was taken from Hanoi to London and then spent four years tending plants for a brutal drug gang. Now awaiting news of an appeal against deportation, he recalls his horrific experience – and his lucky escape | Guardian, UK

Wigan recruits Alcohol Health Champions

Wigan residents are giving up their time to become ‘alcohol health champions’, as part of a community support project | Addaction, UK

Your Voice Everyday Hero

Sigma towards people with drug and alcohol problems is far reaching and embedded in many aspects of society, it can create barriers to recovery and inhibit access to routine opportunities stopping people from getting the help that they need and moving forwards with their lives | Phoenix Futures, UK

This Changed My Life

This week Bristol Learning City are running their #ThisChanged MyLife campaign, encouraging people in Bristol to share a learning experience that has changed their life. They hope that by sharing stories they can encourage someone else to learn a new skill – and make a resolution that could transform lives, local communities and our city | BDP blog, UK

Chandos House Fundraiser and Auction with Will Self

Join us on Wednesday 28th March, at Boston Tea Party on Park Street, for an evening that will make a difference to the lives of real men, right here in Bristol | Chandos House, UK

Man accused of London allotment murder smoked opium in shed

Rahim Mohammadi denies strangling Lea Adri-Soejoko, 80, with lawnmower cord | Guardian, UK

Portsmouth head teacher faces drink and drugs charges

A head teacher has been charged with possessing class A drugs and drink-driving | BBC, UK


International news

Which city in the world has the cheapest cannabis – and the most expensive?

A new survey of the cost of buying marijuana in 120 cities around the world suggests it is most expensive in Asia – but not necessarily cheaper in those cities where it is legal | Guardian, UK

Changes in cannabis potency and first-time admissions to drug treatment: a 16-year study in the Netherlands

Open access article | Cambridge Core, UK

Are we missing the real opioid drug crisis?

90% of all the morphine on the planet is consumed by the world's richest 10%, according to a commission set up by medical journal The Lancet – so what's behind the global pain divide? | BBC, UK

Deadly fentanyl behind America's dramatic doubling of synthetic opioid death rates

President Donald Trump took a few minutes in his State of the Union address to acknowledge what he called the "terrible crisis of opioid and drug addiction - never been has it been like it is now" | Telegraph, UK

Californians to have marijuana offences wiped from records after drug is legalised

Voters backed move to decriminalise recreational use in 2016 | Independent, UK

Marijuana drug use increasing during pregnancy

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug during pregnancy, and its use is rising. In 2002, it was estimated that 2.4 percent of pregnant women aged 18 to 44 used marijuana whereas almost 4 percent used in 2014 | NIDA, USA

FDA faces new lawsuits over e-cigarette rule

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is facing a new wave of legal challenges over its rules for electronic cigarettes | The Hill, USA

Should CBD Be Legal? The United Nations Wants Your Input

The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the agency that oversees the major international treaties on drug control, is considering how to properly categorize cannabidiol (CBD), a medically promising and non-intoxicating cannabinoid. And the UN wants to hear from you about it | Leafly, USA

Cambridge is teaching the world's first business case study on weed

The ever-expanding cannabis industry has reached new heights—so to speak—as it is now being used as a financial case study for some of the world’s most elite business school students | Quartz, USA

San Francisco dismisses thousands of old marijuana cases

The misdemeanor and felony marijuana convictions of thousands of people will be dismissed or reviewed after San Francisco decided Wednesday to retroactively apply California's legalization laws to decades-old criminal cases, the district attorney said | UPI, USA

Withdrawal warning as pharmacy codeine ban takes effect

A hidden group of Australians are about to discover they have a serious drug dependency as the national ban on over-the-counter codeine takes effect on Thursday | Age, Australia

Chronic pain discussion must follow from debate about codeine

If codeine were a newly discovered medication, it would not be registrable in Australia today, given what it is known about its poor profile of benefit and harm | Age, Australia

Calls for use of medicinal cannabis as codeine restrictions come into force

Doctors are concerned access to codeine has been cut off with no viable alternative | Canberra Times, Australia

Renewed push for pill-testing after Melbourne mass overdose

The Victorian government is facing a renewed push to support illicit pill-testing after a mass drug overdose at Melbourne's Festival Hall | New Daily, Australia

Multiple Sclerosis NZ Review of medicinal cannabis research

Review of Current Research Regarding the Use of Medicinal Cannabis for MS And MND Symptom Management | SCOOP, New Zealand

Political Roundup: Why Parliament is conservative on cannabis - when the rest of us aren't

New Zealand's politicians are not very liberal on the issue of medical cannabis. That's the main conclusion to be drawn from the heavy defeat last night of Green MP Chloe Swarbrick's private member's bill which would have produced a significant change to cannabis laws | NZ Herald, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

What we learned about alcohol and drug treatment in prisons from the 2016-17 statistics

The 2016-17 statistics report for people receiving drug and alcohol treatment in prisons and other secure settings in England shows similar patterns to what we have recently seen in community treatment | PHE blog, UK

Dry January is getting the message across loud and clear

Congratulations to all those who have participated in Dry January, the annual initiative from Alcohol Concern in which millions of people give up alcohol for the month. Giving up will not have been without its challenges | The Times opinion, UK

How academics and service providers are working together to inform drug policy in Ireland

Since 2015, the LSE’s International Drug Policy Unit has been working with local partners the Ana Liffey Drug Project to help foster a new era of progressive drug policies in Ireland. Tony Duffin outlines the scale of Ireland’s drug problem and how the project aims to help inform drug policy in the country from a solid evidence base | LSE blog, UK

Changing Drinking Cultures? Young Women’s Drinking in Post-War and Contemporary Britain

Drinking cultures change in tandem with wider social, cultural and economic transformations. In what follows, I draw on research conducted for my PhD thesis to explore this idea through the example of changes in young women’s experiences with alcohol and pub culture in post-war and contemporary Britain | Drinking Studies blog, UK

ES Views: Don’t smear all of London’s Albanians as drug dealers

I would imagine many readers were disgusted to see Albanian drug dealer  Tristen Asllani, who is serving a  25-year sentence, bragging from his Wandsworth jail cell [“Laughing at the law”, January 29]. To me it just shows the decades-old “war on drugs” has utterly failed | Evening Standard opinion, UK

A future of better pain management without codeine awaits Australia

Codeine is old hat yet still widely used in the community. We need better informed consumers with better educated and supported GPs and pharmacists | Guardian, UK

Over-the-counter codeine’s a thing of the past. What’s next in preventing opioid harm?

From today, you’ll need a prescription to buy any compound containing codeine in Australia. This probably won’t be news if you’ve been awake recently | Croakey blog, Australia