Daily news - 9th January 2018

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UK news

Academics questioned on E-cigarettes

A report from Public Health England states that E-cigarettes are 95% less harmful compared to conventional cigarettes and NHS England’s recent "stop-tober" campaign highlights e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool. The Science and Technology Committee hears from two panels of academics on their assessment of the current research into e-cigarettes and their effect on human health | Parliament.uk, UK

Could 'safer' new smoking device that heats up tobacco instead of burning it replace traditional cigarettes?

Millions of people worldwide are trying the heat device IQOS - I Quit Ordinary Smoking - which produces no smoke or ash | Mirror, UK

Public involvement in alcohol research: avoiding the black hole?

Only a limited amount of alcohol research taking place formally involves people experiencing alcohol-related harms as potentially highly valuable contributors to research processes and outputs. Of the research that does, there are often many challenges involved and the ‘black hole of public involvement’ includes cases of public involvement in which the research remains unchanged | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

The Brain Under Construction [2] – The effects of alcohol on the brain

This briefing paper is part of a mini-series on the ‘Brain Under Construction’ aimed at helping professionals better understand the young people they support. It is well established that substance use has negative consequences for the brain | Mentor - ADEPIS, UK

Magic Mushrooms Could Treat Depression Without The Emotional Numbing Caused By Traditional Antidepressants

Magic mushrooms could hold the key to alleviating symptoms of depression, particularly in those who have not benefited from more traditional treatments, new research finds | IFLS Science, UK

Research Innovation Grants

This programme provides up to £75,000 for projects that address emerging issues in alcohol research, employ novel theoretical or methodological approaches, or pilot new work in treatment or service delivery. Closing date - 16th January | Alcohol Research UK, UK

'Only time you can play the Army card': former soldier spared jail for drugs offences

A judge said a former soldier was "playing the Army card" as he spared him jail for drug offences | Telegraph, UK

Vaping vouchers from Hampshire’s Quit4Life service

Quit4Life, the NHS stop smoking service in Gosport, Havant and Fareham, will be offering support to people looking to quit the habit by taking up e-cigarettes | Portsmouth News, UK

Nigel Brunsdon Photography of Harm Reduction

Working for almost two decades in the field of harm reduction has given me a privileged level of access that many photographers will never get to this wonderfully diverse set of communities | Nigel Brunsdon, UK

Alcohol issues prompt Llandudno theatre security boost

Boozy theatregoers have been spoiling performances, prompting a council to beef up security at a seaside venue | BBC, UK

Apple investors urge action on 'smartphone addiction'

Big investors have called on Apple to develop software that limits how long children can use its smartphones | BBC, UK


International news

Nasal spray aimed at tackling gambling addiction to be trialled in Finland

Researchers to test fast-working spray containing naloxone, a treatment usually given to opiate addicts that blocks production of dopamine | Guardian, UK

How the heroin trade explains the US-UK failure in Afghanistan

After 16 years and $1tn spent, there is no end to the fighting – but western intervention has resulted in Afghanistan becoming the world’s first true narco-state | Guardian, UK

Young drug dealers should be able to have records wiped for second chance, minister says

Drugs Minister Catherine Byrne said many were being caught in a cycle and 'have a monkey on their back' | Irish Mirror, Ireland

You're twice as likely to develop mental health problems if you smoke, HSE says

A new study showed the benefits | Journal, Ireland

Why some people swear by Alcoholics Anonymous — and others despise it

The research offers some insights, but it’s complicated | Vox, USA

Could Prescription Heroin And Safe Injection Sites Slow The Opioid Crisis?

Vox.com drug policy reporter German Lopez details the scope of the opioid epidemic, and Bobby Allyn, a reporter at WHYY in Philadelphia, discusses the idea of safe injection sites | npr, USA

Recreational marijuana legalization: Do more youth use or do youth use more?

What impact may legalization of recreational marijuana in Oregon have on teen marijuana use? | Science Daily, USA

Growing opioid epidemic forcing more children into foster care

The opioid crisis is causing serious consequences across the country. One of the biggest, illicit opioid abusers are neglecting their children, resulting in more kids being removed from their homes. A new study finds a direct correlation between the epidemic and growing number of children placed in foster care | Science Daily, USA

Kansas lawmaker ‘regrets’ saying African-Americans ‘respond the worst’ to marijuana due to genetics

State Representative Steve Alford (R-Kansas) has admitted he “was wrong” when he said African-Americans are more susceptible to using marijuana because of their “character makeup” and “genetics.” | RT, Russia

Cracks in the Ice smartphone app provides more Australians with information about crystal methamphetamine (ice)

A smartphone app developed by researchers from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at UNSW and National Drug Research Institute (NDRI) at Curtin University will allow more Australians to access trusted, evidence-based information and resources about crystal methamphetamine (ice) | NDARC, Australia

Secrecy, security paramount as Queensland's first licensed medicinal cannabis farm nears completion

Secrecy has surrounded a media visit to Queensland's first licensed cannabis farm, which is nearing completion on the Sunshine Coast | abc.net.au, Australia

Drugs tested at festivals found to be 'much more potent'

About one in five drugs tested at festivals this summer was not what the buyer thought it was, a group which performs the tests says | RNZ, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Awareness of drinking guidelines remains low, 2 years after their release

Government and the alcohol industry are failing to provide drinkers with the information they need to make the right choices about alcohol – both for themselves and for their children | Alcohol Health Alliance UK blog, UK

25,000 Hepatitis C patients receive new treatments

The Professor of Hepatology at Queen Mary University of London, and NHS England’s National Commercial Director of Specialised Commissioning, update on the progress of the Hepatitis C (HCV) programme | NHS England blog, UK

Buy a lady a drink

'Water is the unsung hero of beer ingredients. It doesn’t get the recognition that the barley malt and hops get, but on average, beer consists of approximately 90% water. And just like any other ingredient, it affects the taste of the beer. That’s why it’s always filtered, tested and tasted before entering the brewing process.' | IAS blog, UK

I quit drinking two years ago – here’s what I’ve learned about Britain and alcohol

“I don’t trust non-drinkers.” | New Statesman, UK

Cannabis reform: Legalisation in California could spell the end for prohibition

January 1st was a momentous day for the cannabis industry and drug policy reform globally. A week ago, when the clock struck midnight, California began legal sales of cannabis for adult use | Politics.co.uk, UK

Austria’s new government: a victory for the tobacco industry and public health disaster?

In Austria the conservative Austrian People’s Party (Oesterreiche Volkpartei, OeVP) won the 2017 elections, and negotiated with the third-largest party, the right-wing nationalist Freedom Party of Austria (Freiheitliche Partei Oesterreichs, FPOe) to form a new government. In its election campaign, the FPOe had promised to attack the tobacco law | BMJ blog, UK