Daily news - 9th February 2018

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UK news

DrugWatch Information Sheet Alprazolam (Xanax)

Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine with an intermediate onset of action. It is best known by the brand name Xanax (pronounced zan~ax). It was introduced as a treatment for anxiety and panic disorders in the US in 1981 and became a popular recreational drug | DrugWatch, UK

Concern as anxiety drug sales rise

The number of young people buying tranquillisers and other drugs online to deal with anxiety and stress has increased, a study has revealed | BBC, UK

Xanax and teenagers: the facts

[Registration necessary] What every parent needs to know about the drug and how to recognise the warning signs | The Times, UK

'It reduces people to zombies': UK readers on Xanax misuse

After warnings of an ‘emerging crisis’ in the drug’s use by young Britons, you shared your stories | Guardian, UK

Over HALF of UK councils cut budgets for alcohol and drug treatment

NINE out of 10 councils in England have cut their budgets for alcohol and drug treatment services, despite referrals continuing to rise | Sunday Express, UK

NHS: Alcohol-related hospital admissions hit record high after addiction support services slashed

Video. Surge in alcohol-related admissions over last decade prompt warnings public health cuts have ‘failed’ thousands and mounted pressures on A&E departments | Independent, UK

Parental Alcohol Misuse and Children

Parental Alcohol Misuse (PAM) can negatively affect children’s physical and mental health, and other outcomes including educational attainment and behaviour. Effects can be acute when experienced in conjunction with other adverse experiences such as domestic abuse, marital conflict, and deprivation. PAM is a common feature in child protection and care proceedings, and places a considerable burden on social services. Download full report | Parliament.uk, UK

More than a third of child deaths linked to parental drinking, finds report

Yet more than half of local authorities have no strategy to help children of alcoholics and almost all councils are cutting budgets for alcohol and drug treatment services, figures show | Independent, UK

Vape shops may help smokers quit, study finds

The increasing number of vape shops on British high streets may help reduce the number of smokers, new research suggests | Mail Online, UK

Vaping could increase risk of pneumonia, study finds

Other aids to quitting, such as patches or gum, do not result in airway cells being exposed to high concentrations of potentially toxic compounds | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

Deaths from drug driving rise after alcohol limit cut

Drug use among drivers who die in road accidents has increased since the Scottish Government reduced the drink driving limit, a new study suggests | Scotsman, UK

Drugs on the move: Children exploited on 'county lines'

Drug dealers in major cities have been branching out into other areas using a system known as 'county lines' | BBC, UK

Cannabis: Screening

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 31 January (HL5018), what is their estimate of the length of time after ingesting cannabis that a person continues to test positive | They work for you, UK

NHS: Smoking

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ban smoking on all NHS premises | They work for you, UK


To ask Her Majesty's Government which countries are in receipt of UK Government funding for tobacco control work, including implementation of the provisions of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control | They work for you, UK

Homeless adults with complex needs: evidence review

Overview of the homeless situation across England with insights into the current evidence base to support action to prevent and reduce homelessness | PHE, UK

Helping the homeless: 'I used to have cocaine on my cornflakes'

Video. Adie Smith went from having cocaine on his breakfast cereal to homelessness. His situation is now improving thanks to help he received from Access Community Trust | BBC, UK

Making a Film for My Heroin Addict Mum

Austrian director Adrian Goiginger has made a film about a boy growing up with a heroin-addicted mother who used fantasy stories to protect him from the frightening world around him | BBC, UK

New evidence for a central role of music in psychedelic therapy

A new paper from our Beckley/Imperial study, on psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression,  reveals the ways in which subjective response to music is intensified under psychedelics, and demonstrates the influence of this  synergistic effect on the therapeutic experience and clinical outcome | Beckley Foundation, UK

Teenage parents 'not allowed to care for two-year-old boy'

A teenager who fathered a boy at the age of 13 and is an "habitual" cannabis user cannot be allowed to care for the youngster, a family court judge has decided | ITV, UK

Victoria Atkins MP, The UK Drugs Minister, Opposes Drugs Regulation While Her Husband Grows 45 Acres Of Cannabis Under Government Licence

There are many examples of wilful ignorance, blind prejudice and bare faced dishonesty on drugs policy from many former and current MPs.  There is no one though who plumbs the depths of deception and hypocrisy as the new drugs minister Victoria Atkins | Clear, UK

Gang jailed for Swansea crack and heroin supply

The 12 defendants, aged between 21 and 43, will serve sentences ranging from 32 months to nine years after admitting conspiracy to sell Class A drugs | BBC, UK

Men charged over discovery of Aberdeen cannabis farm

Three men are due to appear in court following the discovery of a "significant" quantity of cannabis being grown | BBC, UK

Maidstone: Dealer, 17, hid 100 wraps of drugs inside his body

A teenage drug dealer, who hid almost 100 wraps of heroin and crack cocaine inside his body until they had to be retrieved in a hospital procedure, has been locked up | Kent Online, UK


International news

Global Drug Survey 2017: What drugs are likely to hospitalise you - what you need to know about them

The survey found that alcohol has put more people in the emergency room than cocaine | IBTimes, UK

Marijuana sales overtake alcohol in US city for first time

Licensed vendors in Rocky Mountains ski resort Aspen made $11.3m (£8.2m) from selling cannabis in 2017 | Independent, UK

Employers blocked from discriminating against staff using marijuana in Maine

The state voted to legalise recreational marijuana use in 2016 | Independent, UK

Third-hand smoke may linger forever: Study shows casinos are still toxic to customers after cigarette ban - and replacing material could be the only solution

Months after the smoke has cleared, toxic residues still coat surfaces in indoor areas where it was once allowed, new research reveals | Mail Online, UK

U.S. budget deal grants $1.5 billion for drug-affected babies, families

A U.S. budget deal adopted by Congress on Friday includes what advocates call a landmark compromise to provide an estimated $1.5 billion (£1.08 billion) over 10 years to try to keep struggling families together, including those with babies born dependent on opioids | Reuters, UK

MDMA-assisted psychotherapy being used to treat eating disorders

It helps patients open up to therapists | Independent, UK

Doctors told to watch for codeine dependence after over-the-counter ban

Study warns addiction is often a hidden problem and can lead to serious health complications, including death | Guardian, UK

B.C. Bud Rules

Other Canadian provinces have already announced how they intend to regulate the sale of non-medical cannabis, but the industry has been holding out for British Columbia – the home of B.C. Bud – with high hopes that the province would adopt a progressive model that would galvanise the sector and cement its cultural dominance of this nascent industry | Volte Face, UK

Russia: Has drinking fallen by 80% in five years? - BBC radio iPlayer

There’s a stereotype of Russia as a nation of vodka-swilling hard drinkers – but is that idea out of date? The Russian health minister told a conference recently that the country’s alcohol consumptionthere has dropped by 80% in just five years. Can that be true? The BBC Russian Service’s Georgy Neyaskin has been trying to track down the source of the figures | BBC, UK

Ukraine Expands Opioid Substitution Therapy to Reduce HIV

The Ukrainian government is increasing the scope of the country’s state-funded opioid substitution therapy (OST) programme – a harm reduction tool which reduces the risk of overdose and disease transmission | Talking Drugs, UK

Mexico: Zetas drugs cartel leader caught

A leader of the notorious Zetas drug cartel has been caught in Mexico City, according to Mexican authorities | BBC, UK

Even legal alcohol levels can impair driving, new series reveals

A new driving series on RTÉ reveals how even legal limits of alcohol can have potentially fatal consequences when motorists get behind the wheel | Irish Examiner, Ireland

FG TD claims Irish teenagers ‘second most sober in EU’

WHO lists alcohol as most serious carcinogen - ’similar to tobacco, arsenic, asbestos’ | Irish Times, Ireland

Feuding gangsters using 12-year-olds to transport drugs

Children as young as 12 are being recruited by criminals linked to the Hutch-Kinahan feud to transport drugs | Independent, Ireland

WHO condemns misleading use of its name in marketing of heated tobacco products

According to published statements, British American Tobacco (BAT) is launching a new heated tobacco product, “glo”. In materials promoting the launch of the product, including websites and point-of-sale advertising, BAT has made statements that could be incorrectly perceived as implying that the World Health Organization (WHO) is endorsing this product as a less harmful alternative to cigarettes | WHO, Switzerland

The surprising geography of opioid use around the world

The pattern of opioids use varies widely around the world. In the United States, one daily dose of opioids was prescribed for every 20 people from 2013-15. In similarly wealthy Japan, one daily dose was prescribed for every 800 people over the same period | Quartz, USA

John Kelly deputy Jim Carroll picked to be Trump's drug czar

President Trump announced Friday that he intends to nominate former White House lawyer Jim Carroll to serve as the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy | Washington Examiner, USA

OxyContin maker will stop promoting opioids to doctors

The maker of the powerful painkiller OxyContin said it will stop marketing opioid drugs to doctors, a surprise reversal following lawsuits that blamed the company for helping trigger the current drug abuse epidemic | News Medical, USA

To Cut Drug Deaths, City Considers Sanctioned Places to Shoot Up

New York is debating safe injection facilities, where addicts, under supervision to prevent overdose fatalities, can use opioids without fear of arrest | NYTimes, USA

Scientists warn Trump administration that banning kratom will result in more opioid deaths

A group of scientists who have studied kratom are warning the Trump administration that banning the drug would worsen the opioid epidemic, following a declaration from the Food and Drug Administration that kratom has "opioid properties" and is associated with 44 deaths | Washington Examiner, USA

Switching to vaping not always easy

Smokers attempting to quit the habit by vaping or using e-cigarettes do not always find the process plain sailing, according to new University of Otago research published in the international journal, Tobacco Control | Medical Xpress, USA

Judge suggests drug-addicted woman get sterilized before sentencing, and she does

In her 34 years, Summer Thyme Creel has passed a lot of bad checks, taken a lot of drugs and borne a lot of children (seven). After her sentencing today in federal court in Oklahoma, her involvement with checks and drugs will stop at least temporarily, but she will never have another baby | Washington Post, USA

Eight years without new funding for drug and alcohol detox, rehabilitation beds in Canberra

But there has been a 36 per cent rise in demand for residential detoxification or rehabilitation beds | Age, Australia

Doctors warned following codeine overhaul

Doctors have been urged to identify codeine-dependent patients after the drug became prescription-only earlier this month | Perth Now, Australia

Drivers targeted in Queensland ice action plan

Queensland motorists will face thousands more roadside drug tests a year as the state government moves to tackle methamphetamine use | Age, Australia

Hepatitis C drugs not being accessed by thousands of Australians with the disease

Hundreds of thousands of Australians with hepatitis C are failing to access new curative drugs, despite the Government subsidising them at huge cost to the taxpayer | abc.net.au, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Duncan Selbie's Friday message - 9 February 2018

E-cigarettes are controversial but with nearly three million people using them, sitting on the fence on this was never an option. The key thing is to compare the harm of an e-cigarette with smoking tobacco rather than comparing an e-cigarette with fresh air | PHE blog, UK

Why is the NHS listening to the siren voices of the vape manufacturers?

The calls to make e-cigarettes free on prescription are outrageous when an actual cure for smoking is available | Observer CIF, UK

The latest drug trends in England

Last week (7 February 2018), NHS Digital published the latest statistics on drugs misuse for England. Some of these statistics are new, some had already been published | Russell Webster, UK

Scientific advice on drugs is ignored – here’s why

David Nutt, along with many other leading scientists, published a study a few years ago that showed how the overall harms associated with some legal drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco, dramatically exceed the harms of some illegal drugs | Conversation, UK

The inequalities of homelessness – how can we stop homeless people dying young?

You don’t have to dig too deep into the statistics to see how homelessness affects public health, but it can be difficult to work out what to do about it.  A new review from Public Health England South East shares information and support to help local authorities prevent and reduce homelessness | PHE blog, UK

Attending the Imperial Brands AGM

On Wednesday 7 February, long-time activist Cecilia Farren attended the Imperial Brands AGM. Below is her report | Medium, UK

Why the Disease Definition of Addiction Does Far More Harm Than Good

Among other problems, it has obstructed other channels of investigation, including the social, psychological and societal roots of addiction | Scientific American, USA

Media beat-up of Byron Bay as an ice-devastated wasteland!

Stigma and discrimination towards people struggling with mental health issues and/or substance use issues is a national problem. The dramatic language used by the media in pursuit of sensational stories does nothing to address the problem | AOD Media Watch, Australia

Losing Paul: ACT government has learned from Paul Fennessy's death

The government is trying to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again | Age opinion, Australia