Daily news - 21st February 2018

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No Smoking Day (14 March 2018)

For this year's national No Smoking Day we're asking you to pick your way, #TellUsYourWay and Quit Your Way! | NHS Scotland, UK


UK news

Chronic heavy drinking leads to serious risk of dementia, study warns

Heavy drinkers are putting themselves at risk of dementia, according to the largest study of its kind ever conducted | Guardian, UK

Contribution of alcohol use disorders to the burden of dementia in France 2008–13: a nationwide retrospective cohort study

Dementia is a prevalent condition, affecting 5–7% of people aged 60 years and older, and a leading cause of disability in people aged 60 years and older globally. We aimed to examine the association between alcohol use disorders and dementia risk, with an emphasis on early-onset dementia (<65 years) | Lancet, UK [Lancet editorial in comment section below]

Review finds no evidence for blanket supervised consumption of methadone or buprenorphine

Trials challenge the need for the making opioid-dependent patients take their methadone or other opioid substitutes at the clinic or pharmacy, but ‘no difference’ findings may be due to limitations of the research. Also analysed for this entry is the largest and most informative randomised trial of supervised consumption. Conducted in England, it offered no support for routine supervision for three months, then recommended practice | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Alfie Dingley: 'Break the law' call on medical cannabis

An MP has urged medical cannabis users to "break the law" to use the treatment | BBC, UK

Urgent Question on Medicinal Cannabis

Video. The urgent question in the House of Commons tabled by Conservative MP Crispin Blunt on the case of Alfie Dingley and his family's campaign for access to medicinal cannabis oil to treat him, from Tuesday 20 February | BBC, UK

Scottish Conservative health spokesman Miles Briggs calls for medicinal cannabis review

Miles Briggs calls for UK-wide medicinal cannabis review in the wake of Alfie Dingley case | Holyrood Magazine, UK

Declining alcohol-related violence - an effect of consumption falls? Crime Survey 2017

The latest figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) indicate a fall in the number of violent offences where the victim believed the perpetrator to be under the influence of alcohol | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Strategic Policing and Crime Board - 20th February 2018

Discussion of DCRs | West Midlands Police and Crime Commission, UK

New pathway for older drinkers shows impressive results

Blenheim has trialled a successful new pathway, designed for older individuals and those with restricted mobility to access alcohol services, a group that previously had low engagement with services | Blenheim CDP, UK

Chair of the Board of Scottish Drugs Forum retires after long service to the drugs field in Scotland

The Chair of the Board of Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF), George Allan, has retired after long service to SDF and to the drugs field in Scotland | SDF, UK

Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot festive spirits advert banned for appealing to children

An advert for discount retailer Aldi’s selection of alcoholic drinks has been banned by the regulator after one viewer complained that it might appeal to children, because it features a walking, talking carrot named Kevin | Independent, UK

Cannabis worth £10k found in South Shields park

Four blocks of cannabis estimated to be worth about £10,000 have been found in a park | BBC, UK

Glasgow man jailed for supplying kilo of cocaine

A man who became involved in drug dealing after borrowing money from loan sharks to pay for a family funeral has been jailed for three years | BBC, UK

Vladimir Madle: Wakefield drug-dealing bomb maker jailed

A drug dealer who built a home-made bomb in his flat causing an evacuation of the nearby area has been jailed for 13 years | BBC, UK


International news

A multi-criterion decision analysis applied to alcohol and cannabis regulation

In collaboration with drug experts in Norway and the UK, multi-criteria decision analysis has been applied to evaluating drug policies for the first time | Drug Science, UK

Winter Olympics: Is non-alcoholic beer behind Germany's medal success?

German athletes have been drinking non-alcoholic beer to help aid recovery and boost performance in Pyeongchang | BBC, UK

Netherlands becoming a narco-state, warn Dutch police

The Netherlands is starting to resemble a narco-state with the police unable to combat the emergence of a parallel criminal economy, a report from the Dutch police association has warned | Guardian, UK

Study: Prison Drug Treatment Cuts Statewide Opioid Overdose Deaths by 12%

A new study has shown the effectiveness of an opioid treatment programme for prisoners in the US state of Rhode Island, offering profound implications for national policy | Talking Drugs, UK

Britain sold spying gear to Philippines despite Duterte's brutal drugs war

Labour MP says sale of surveillance tools ‘makes UK complicit in deaths of thousands of Filipinos’ | Guardian, UK

Drugnet Ireland (PDF)

New estimates of problem opiate use in Ireland | HRB, Ireland

'If I can't smoke on the bus, I'll walk' - how smoking was banned on Dublin Bus 30 years ago

Old habits die hard: Our reporter recalls what happened in 1988 when smoking was first banned on Dublin Bus | Independent, Ireland

Call for mandatory alcohol interlocks in vans, lorries and buses across the EU

The EU should require alcohol interlocks to be fitted in all new professional vehicles and retrofitted to cars used by repeat drink-driving offenders. These are two of the main recommendations from the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), authors of a new report looking at how to reduce the 5000 deaths still caused by drink-driving in the European Union each year | ETSC, Belgium

Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:- Infections Linked to Kratom

At this time, CDC recommends that people not consume kratom in any form because it could be contaminated with Salmonella | CDC, USA

The Poison We Pick

This nation pioneered modern life. Now epic numbers of Americans are killing themselves with opioids to escape it | NYMag, USA

Stuck in an opioids crisis, officials turn to acupuncture

Marine veteran Jeff Harris was among the first to sign up when the Providence VA hospital started offering acupuncture for chronic pain | Medical Xpress, USA

ER Reduces Opioid Use By More Than Half With Dry Needles, Laughing Gas

One of the places many people are first prescribed opioids is a hospital emergency room. But in one of the busiest ERs in the U.S., doctors are relying less than they used to on oxycodone, Percocet, Vicodin and other opioids to ease patients' pain | NPR, USA

Tobacco kills, no matter how it's smoked: study

Smokers who think cigars or pipes are somehow safer than cigarettes may want to think again, new research indicates | Medical Xpress, USA

Study shows letting kids taste alcohol is a risky behavior

Parents who allow their young children to occasionally sip and taste alcohol may be contributing to an increased risk for alcohol use and related problems when those kids reach late adolescence, according to a new study | Medical Xpress, USA

Prescription drug-induced deaths kill more than illicit drugs as face of Australian addiction is transformed

Paul was a fit and young when his life changed for the worse. The addiction he suffered is Australia’s most prolific silent killer | news.com.au, Australia

Vapers risk hefty fines as WA considers new vaping laws

Thousands of West Australians are risking hefty fines by using nicotine electronic cigarettes as the State Government moves to tighten laws that could outlaw vaping as much as smoking | West Australian, Australia

Positive stories to help develop drug and alcohol prevention program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students

The Australian Government Department of Health has funded the Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use (CREMS) to develop the program based on their successful Climate Schools health education courses, which are proven to reduce harm and improve student well-being | NDARC, Australia

Australian Experts Are Clashing Over A "Scaremongering" Medical Cannabis "Perspective Piece"

Rivaling sides of Australia's medicinal cannabis debate are arguing over an editorial published in the Medical Journal of Australia | BuzzFeed, Australia

Ketamine Saved My Life

The only health board in New Zealand offering ketamine to treat depression is closing the trial down. Jemima Lomax-Sawyers, who was a member of the trial, writes why that news is terrifying for patients | VICE, New Zealand



Blogs, comment and opinion

Alcohol and dementia: a complex relationship with potential for dementia prevention

The relationship between alcohol and dementia prevention has been widely studied, but most studies have focused on the potential for modest alcohol consumption to reduce the risk of dementia | Lancet editorial, UK

Harry’s blog 51: Could the goalposts shift?

This week’s must-read cones from the ever-insightful Carl Phillips who has written a superb demolition of the latest piece of suspect science from the parallel universe of Planet Glantz | NSP blog, UK

Clearing up some myths around e-cigarettes

No doubt you will have seen some of the stories in the media recently following the publication of PHE’s latest update of the evidence on e-cigarettes .  E-cigarettes do seem to be a bit like Marmite, courting controversy among the public and media alike | PHE blog, UK

GPs prescribing cannabis could be just what the doctor ordered

If GPs are entrusted to prescribe opiates and benzodiazepines, why not medicinal cannabis products | Age opinion, Australia