Daily news - 11th January 2018

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UK news

Alcohol minimum unit pricing inquiry

Inquiry announced. Oral evidence session:  Monday 22 January 2018 at 2.15pm | Parliament.uk, UK

Many smokers overestimate e-cigarette risks, MPs hear

Paul Aveyard, coordinating editor of the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group, told the House of Commons science and technology committee that he was concerned because half of smokers believed e-cigarettes to be as harmful as conventional cigarettes | BMJ, UK

This is what happens to your body just eight hours after quitting smoking

The average smoker, according to the NHS, has 13 cigarettes a day. That's a £141 a month habit - £1,696 a year | Independent, UK

Drug takers 'are stigmatised by being called addicts', report warns

Drug users should not be called addicts or junkies, a report has warned, amid complaints that people are being stigmatised by insensitive language | Telegraph, UK

Public health budget to be slashed by 5% over next two years

Government plans to cut public health funding by £170m over two years, with local authorities losing out on £85m in 2018/19 and another £85m in 2019/20 | PULSE, UK

Alcohol Brief Interventions (ABIs) for male remand prisoners: protocol for development of a complex intervention and feasibility study (PRISM-A)

In the UK, a significant proportion of male remand prisoners have alcohol problems. Alcohol Brief Interventions (ABIs) are an effective component of a population-level approach to harmful and hazardous drinking. ABIs have been shown to reduce the aggregate level of alcohol consumed and therefore reduce harm to the individual and to others | BMJ open, UK

In Search of Wine's 'Holy Grail' - BBC radio iPlayer

Wine has been getting more and more alcoholic in recent decades, driven by consumer tastes and climate change. This has big implications not only for public health, but also the quality of the bottle | BBC, UK

MP calls for ban on high-caffeine energy drinks

An MP has called for a ban on high-caffeine energy drinks for under-16s, following the suicide of a 25-year-old constituent | BBC, UK

Survey on the experiences of families affected by problem gambling in UK

Adfam is looking at the impact of problem gambling on families. We are consulting with families that have been affected by problem gambling to assess the overall situation in the UK and understand the scale of the issue | Adfam, UK

Prisons: Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to protect prison officers from exposure to new psychoactive substances | They work for you, UK


International news

Groundbreaking prevention trial; ‘robust’ findings?

Evaluated prevention programmes are typically implemented by research teams, raising questions over real-world applicability, but a groundbreaking US trial is said to have produced a ‘robust’ demonstration of the potential of a system in which communities take the lead. Our detailed analysis suggests ‘robust’ is an adjective too far, and explains methodological concerns common to many such trials | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Laura Plummer case: Police investigating drugs source

Police are investigating how a British woman convicted of drug smuggling in Egypt obtained the banned painkillers | BBC, UK

Iran's easing of drug laws could halt execution of 5,000 prisoners

Lifting of capital punishment for some drug-trafficking offences set to be applied retrospectively to convicts on death row | Guardian, UK

The Vermont Senate just passed a bill legalizing cannabis — a rebuke to Jeff Sessions' crackdown on marijuana

The Vermont Senate just approved a measure allowing the possession and recreational consumption of marijuana for adults over the age of 21 | IBTimes, UK

Sri Lanka removes ban on sale of alcohol to women

Sri Lanka is to allow women over the age of 18 to buy alcohol legally for the first time in more than 60 years | BBC, UK

Factsheet – Opiates: the Irish situation (PDF)

New briefing | HRB, Ireland

Intentional drug overdose involving pregabalin and gabapentin: findings from the National Self-Harm Registry Ireland, 2007-2015

Intentional drug overdose (IDO) is a significant public health problem. Concerns about the misuse of gabapentinoids, i.e. pregabalin and gabapentin, including their consumption in IDO have grown in recent years. This paper examines the trends in the prevalence of gabapentinoids taken in IDO, the profile of individuals taking them, and associated overdose characteristics | via HRB, Ireland

'No smoking': German Drugs Commissioner calls for fewer cigarettes on screen

Despite a decline in the number of smokers in Germany, nearly 85 percent of films show the use of cigarettes, and usually in a too positive light — a dangerous trend, according to Drugs Commissioner Marlene Mortler | DW, Germany

House Opioid Task Force has Big Plans for 2018

Members support multiple bills to fight abuse of prescription and illicit narcotics | Medpage Today, USA

Desperate Cities Consider 'Safe Injection' Sites For Opioid Users

Top Philadelphia officials are advocating that the city become the first in the U.S. to open a supervised injection site, where people suffering from heroin or opioid addiction could use the drugs under medical supervision | npr, USA

Stigma continues to hamper response to opioid epidemic

Efforts to reverse the nation's opioid epidemic remain beset by the stigma associated with drug use, a group of OHSU researchers write in a year-end review | Medical Xpress, USA

A new treatment program for recently incarcerated homeless women

For recently incarcerated women experiencing homelessness, substance use and recidivism are often barriers to successful re-entry to society, and there are only a few gender-sensitive programs to help them address problems. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a treatment that helps people to develop skills to manage emotions, navigate relationships, and become more mindful | BASIS, USA

Young adults report differing sexual effects from alcohol, marijuana, and ecstasy

Alcohol, marijuana, and ecstasy each have very different sexual effects, from attraction and desire to sensitivity to sexual dysfunction, finds a study by the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research (CDUHR) at NYU Meyers College of Nursing | Medical Xpress, USA

Legalizing marijuana nationwide would create at least $132 billion in tax revenue 

New Frontier Data, a data analytics firm focused on the cannabis industry, forecasts that if legalized on the federal level, the marijuana industry could create an entirely new tax revenue stream for the government, generating millions of dollars in sales tax and payroll deductions | Washington Post, USA

The Lancet Psychiatry: Tamper-resistant oxycodone tablets have no impact on overall opioid use or harm

The introduction of tamper-resistant opioid tablets does not have an effect on rates of opioid use or harms at a population level, according to a new study in The Lancet Psychiatry journal | NDARC, Australia

Synthetic drugs being produced in liquid form for e-cigarettes, decreasing chance of detection

Synthetic drugs are being produced in liquid form and smoked through e-cigarettes and vaporisers, a new report shows | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand

Mother Aubert, NZ's first cannabis grower headed for sainthood

Suzanne Aubert is a name that may not be immediately recognised, but as Sister Mary Joseph or Mother Aubert she championed the rights of the poor and under-privileged in a life dedicated to her church | NZHerald, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Harry’s blog 45: A CRUCial campaign from CRUK

First off, if it’s not too late, a happy new year to all and for those who have seen the new Star Wars movie, let the Resistance to public misinformation about tobacco harm reduction intensify with the growing Force of evidence. (OK that’s enough). And to see in the new year with a bang, is a very welcome development | NSP blog, UK

Phoenix Futures statement with reference to the Sunday Times investigation (Jan 7 1018) into rehab brokers

We were alarmed to see the Sunday Times report (Jan 7 2018) that people seeking help for addiction were being driven by online advertising to call rehab brokers who generate income through referral fees to private rehabs | Phoenix Futures blog, UK

Scotland's policy on minimum unit pricing for alcohol: the legal barriers are gone, so what are the implications for implementation and evaluation?

On 12 June 2012, the Scottish Parliament passed legislation to introduce minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol. This triggered a 5-year legal battle involving the Scottish Outer Court of Session (2012–13), appeals to the Scottish Inner Court of Session (2013–16), an advisory judgement from the European Court of Justice (ECJ, 2014–15) and a final appeal to the UK Supreme Court (2016–17) | Addiction editorial, UK

Sir Nick Clegg: Why attitudes to drug use must change

The Member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy urges Governments and opinion leaders to treat drugs seriously and provide the public with reliable information | Mirror, UK

Dry January: Kate Garraway suggests Brits have a problem with alcohol after giving up drinking for month

Video. Good Morning Britain host says she has regularly been accused of being 'boring' since abstaining from beer and wine and addresses hostile attitude decision provokes | Independent, UK

Can labelled glasses influence drinking behaviour?

Imagine you went up to a bar, ordered a large glass of wine and it was served to you in a pint glass. People would look at you funny. The wine might not taste the same | Alcohol Labelling blog, UK

Analysis | The irrationality of modern drug laws, in one chart

Most of our drug laws were written a half-century ago. Things have changed a lot since then | Washington Post Blog, USA

There’s some strong ecstasy going around, so we need to make pill testing easy

A surprisingly strong batch of MDMA has arrived on our fair shores. We know people are going to take it, so Wendy Allison, founder of pill testing organisation KnowYourStuffNZ, says we need to make harm reduction easier | The Spinoff, New Zealand