Daily news - 22nd February 2018

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UK news

Minimum alcohol price help call for 'hazardous' drinkers

"Hazardous" drinkers must get the help they need - if minimum prices for buying booze are introduced, a charity has said | BBC, UK

Vaping at the wheel? You can be prosecuted for that, police warn

Senior police officers today warned drivers using e-cigarettes who obscure their vision with huge clouds of vapour that they face prosecution and losing their licence | Telegraph, UK

Alcohol and dementia: What's the truth?

There are lots of reasons why drinking too much alcohol on a regular basis is not a good idea | BBC, UK

Should people with heart failure avoid alcohol? An evidence review

It is widely thought that drinking alcohol is harmful to people living with heart failure. This article reviews the evidence on whether these patients should be advised to abstain from alcohol | Nursing Times, UK

Red wine compound 'could help tooth decay and gum disease fight'

Red wine has previously been linked to a range of supposed health benefits, from helping the heart to lowering the risk of diabetes | BBC, UK


To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what strategy the Government has put in place to (a) support people affected by Fentanyl and (b) reduce the harm associated with that drug | They work for you, UK


To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he is taking steps to ensure that evidence of the absolute and relative health risks of heat-not-burn tobacco products is independently reviewed | They work for you, UK

Cannabis licence considered for Alfie Dingley, 6

A licence to allow a boy to legally take cannabis to treat his epilepsy is being considered by the government | BBC, UK

Medical Cannabis

To ask the Home Secretary if she will make a statement on the case of Alfie Dingley, whose parents and doctors are seeking access to medical cannabis to treat his epilepsy | They work for you, UK

What Does Rescheduling Cannabis Mean?

Most people will know that controlled drugs fall under difference Classes (A, B or C) in the UK, but what far fewer people are aware of is that drugs are also classified under different Schedules, which restrict their availability, how they are used and whether they can be researched or prescribed | Volteface, UK

Should the UK Legalise Cannabis?

Free event. March 9th 6pm, Leeds. The drug policy think-tank Volteface are going ‘on the road’ to debate cannabis legalisation at UK universities. Their next stop is the University of Leeds, in collaboration with Leeds Debating Union | Volteface, UK

Behind the Scenes | Opioid Substitution Therapy

Free event. 22nd March, 2018 at 9:30am, Bristol. Join us for an introductory session aimed at professionals and students who would like to find out more about the work we do and the shape of drugs and alcohol in Bristol | BDP, UK

Chris Cornell’s wife says doctors should never have give musician prescribed drugs

Chris Cornell’s wife has insisted her husband’s doctors should have never prescribed the drugs she believes eventually led to his suicide | Metro, UK

Anti-depressants: Major study finds they work

Scientists say they have settled one of medicine's biggest debates after a huge study found that anti-depressants work | BBC, UK


International news

Gold Coast schoolboys critically ill after suspected mass drug overdose

Authorities suspect substance was powdered form of GHB, also known as fantasy | Guardian, UK

Humans ‘evolving gene’ that may stop us drinking alcohol

Humans may be developing a gene that results in an “adverse physical response” to drinking alcohol, according to new research | Independent, UK

Colombia’s two anti-coca strategies are at war with each other

Forced eradication is proceeding faster than voluntary crop substitution | Economist, UK

Icelandic approach to teen substance abuse may be tested in west of Ireland

Pilot scheme would involve 7,000 young people in Galway, Roscommon and Mayo | Irish Times, Ireland

EMCDDA releases report on European environmental prevention measures to limit unhealthy and risky substance use behaviours

There is a growing recognition of the important role environmental factors play in health-related behaviour. Traditional substance use prevention approaches in Europe have predominantly focused on warning or informing about the risks of use or on skills-based interventions | EMCDDA, Portugal

E-cigs for quitting smoking? A cautious thumbs-up from American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is recommending — with caution — to health care clinicians that they add electronic cigarettes and vaporizers as a smoking-cessation option | Winston-Salem Journal, USA

Scientists find significant amounts of toxic metals in e-cigarette vapors

Significant amounts of toxic metals, including lead, leak from some e-cigarette heating coils and are present in the aerosols inhaled by users, according to a study from scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health | News Medical, USA

More awareness, research needed on abuse risk of non-opioid painkiller

Gabapentin, a nerve pain medication and anticonvulsant sold under the brand name Neurontin and others, increasingly is being misused, necessitating prescribers to understand its abuse potential and risk profile, said Rachel Vickers Smith, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor in the University of Louisville School of Nursing | Medical Xpress, USA

Herbal drug kratom linked to salmonella illnesses, CDC says

The popular botanical drug kratom is already under fire from U.S. health officials as an addictive opioid, and now new reports are linking its use with salmonella poisoning | Medical Xpress, USA

An improved anti-addiction medication

Drug addiction continues to plague vast numbers of people across the world, destroying and ending lives, while attempts to develop more effective pharmaceutical addiction treatments continue | EurekAlert, USA

Securing a child's future needs to start during parents' teen years

A child's growth and development is affected by the health and lifestyles of their parents before pregnancy -- even going back to adolescence -- according to a new paper | Science Daily, Australia

Police seize mobile phones in investigation into school overdose

A Russian drug with “peculiar effects” has been linked to a student overdose that’s put seven teenagers in hospital | news.com.au, Australia

ACT's opioid guidelines review complete, more than five years after due date

Health minister Meegan Fitzharris has finally updated the ACT's opioid treatment guidelines, more than five years after a review of the guidelines was due to begin | The Age, Australia

Coming off coffee can be harder than you think

Some of us can't get moving without our morning brew and during a busy day you might have as many as three or four cups of coffee. Throw in an energy drink, some chocolate and the occasional expresso martini after work and there is no doubt caffeine is a popular and accessible stimulant drug | abc.net.au, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

More and more young people are using social media to buy Xanax – and the tech giants can’t stop it

Xanax is arguably the biggest new drug on the scene in 2018 | i news opinion, UK

Prohibition Has Failed – We Need A Radical New Drug Policy

This issue however goes far beyond medicinal marijuana. Our whole approach to drugs is flawed | Huffington Post blog, UK

Police extend use of drones

Typically, when I mention drones on this site; I’m talking about criminals using drones to deliver drugs to prisons | Russell Webster, UK

Antidepressants can help adults with major depression

It’s been a rough few months for people taking antidepressants. We’ve been bombarded with information that insists our medication is ineffective and harmful, that any benefit we gain from taking these pills is simply a placebo effect, and that by accepting a prescription of antidepressants we are joining an ever-growing zombified mass of morons | Mental Elf Blog, UK

We should treat heroin like other prescription drugs

Every morning, Kevin Thompson takes a short stroll from his apartment to the Crosstown Clinic, where he signs in, gets his prescription medicine, then sits in a small room and injects it before heading off to work | Globe and Mail opinion, Canada

Punishing the poor isn’t just bad policy, it’s wasting taxpayer money

President Reagan labeled poor people as “welfare queens” back in the 1970s, but our nation’s stigma against the poor is as strong as ever. And as a result, misguided welfare policies — like drug testing recipients of public assistance — are making a comeback | The Hill opinion, USA