Daily news - 25th January 2018

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UK news

PAINKILLER ADDICTION FEARS: Probe into prescription drug addiction will be launched amid fears millions of Brits are hooked

Harry Shapiro, from addiction charity DrugWise, said: “We are in the midst of a great public health disaster, happening in plain sight and ruining the lives of millions. “Addiction to prescription drugs has far eclipsed addiction to illegal drugs, such as heroin and crack cocaine, and it’s time something was done.” | The Sun, UK

Middle aged women fuelling rise in addictions to painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressants

Ministers have ordered a landmark review of prescription drug addiction, amid concern over the rising number of women becoming hooked on painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressants | Guardian, UK

Top video games depict unrealistic drugs use says study

A study of real and made-up drugs in best-selling video games has highlighted how harmful narcotics often give unlikely strength and health boosts to characters | BBC, UK

One cigarette a day 'increases heart disease and stroke risk'

Smokers need to quit cigarettes rather than cut back on them to significantly lower their risk of heart disease and stroke, a large BMJ study suggests | BBC, UK


To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 22 December 2017 to Question 120096, on Tobacco, what informal or other communication his Department has had with those groups; and if he will make a statement | They work for you, UK

Tipsy-Turvy: Does Dry January Do You Any Good?

The health benefits of a month without alcohol are unclear, and the British and Canadian medical authorities recommend several drink-free days per week | Inside Science, UK

NHS Health Check: stocktake and action plan

This report provides a stocktake of the NHS Health Check programme as PHE approaches the end of the first 5-year cycle of the programme. [Includes a small number of references on alcohol] | PHE, UK

'First' pharmacy-based needle exchange vending machine in UK

A pharmacy in Lincolnshire has become the first in the UK to offer a needle exchange service using a vending machine, according to a charity | Chemist and Druggist, UK

‘Shooting gallery’ for addicts plan moves on

Plans to create a heroin “shooting gallery” in Glasgow city centre are progressing, health chiefs insist | Herald, UK

DISC CEO warns lives could be at risk because of budget cuts in drug and alcohol services

DISC Chief Executive Officer, Paul Townsley, has warned lives could be put at risk because of reductions to funding in drug and alcohol recovery services | DISC, UK

Young people who experience racism more likely to take up smoking, study suggests

Young people who experience racial abuse are around 80 per cent more likely to take up smoking before the age of 16, new research suggests | Independent, UK

The truth about drunk pilots – does the profession have an alcohol problem?

If you were to compile a list of the Top Ten Things to Unnerve Plane Passengers, having armed police enter the cockpit moments before take-off, handcuff the pilot and lead them away on suspicion of being drunk would have to rank pretty high | Telegraph, UK

HMP Chelmsford inmate died after smoking morphine patch

A convicted robber died after smoking a morphine patch in his cell, an inquest has heard | BBC, UK

In Conversation… Psychosis – Professor Stephen Scott with Sir Robin Murray – Free webcast

ACAMH Chair, Professor Stephen Scott talks to Professor Sir Robin Murray about his research into the causes of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and developing better treatments for these disorders. There will be a particular focus on the topic of adolescent drug use and its link to psychosis | ACAMH, UK

Top stakes on 'crack cocaine betting machines' will be cut, says PM but she refuses to say what the new maximum will be

Theresa May has confirmed for the first time that the maximum stake for ‘crack cocaine’ gambling machines will be cut | Mail Online, UK

Fred Yates prize

The prize will be awarded at the annual SSA Conference to a researcher who is in the early or mid part of her or his career who has made a significant and specific contribution to the addictions field in recent years | SSA, UK

Untaxed car catches out cannabis couriers

Two men were caught with almost £30,000 worth of cannabis after using an untaxed car to transport the drug, a court heard | BBC, UK

Three arrested after police seize £450,000 of cannabis

Three people have been arrested after police seized more than 700 cannabis plants with street value of £450,000 | BBC, UK

Air steward smuggled heroin on Dubai to Manchester plane

An airline steward who smuggled heroin on a plane while working in business class has been jailed for eight years | BBC, UK

This man's bond with his dog helped him off the streets - video

The loving bond this man has with his dog helped take him off the streets – and even saved his life | Channel 4 News, UK


International news

Facebook and other addictive tech products should be regulated like tobacco, says Salesforce CEO

Government regulation is coming to the tech industry, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff predicted | Independent, UK

'Someone needs to take the first step': Philadelphia looks to fight opioid crisis by becoming first US city to open supervised injection centres

The US is searching for new ways to fight a deadly epidemic | Independent, UK

Pharmaceutical cannabis could reduce sudden falls for treatment-resistant epileptics

People with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a severe and lifelong form of childhood-onset epilepsy, were found to have benefitted from the treatment | Journal, Ireland

EMCDDA chairs EU Agencies’ Network on Scientific Advice (EU-ANSA) in 2018

This month, the EMCDDA has assumed the chairmanship of the EU Agencies’ Network on Scientific Advice (EU-ANSA), one of the sub-networks operating under the tutelage of the Heads of EU agencies network | EMCDDA, Portugal

Tackling NCDs (PDF)

This document provides policymakers with a list of ‘best buys’ and other recommended interventions to address noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) based on an update of Appendix 3 of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013–2020. A list of options is presented for each of the four key risk factors for NCDs (tobacco, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity) and for four disease areas (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory disease) | WHO, Switzerland

4 big takeaways from the most comprehensive report on e-cigarettes yet

E-cigarettes may help adult smokers quit tobacco. But they also entice young people to start smoking | VOX, USA

Philadelphia Just Became The Second US City To Allow "Safe Injection Sites"

The facilities provide clean needles and space for people to inject illicit drugs under medical supervision, an effort by the city to reduce an epidemic of fatal opioid overdoses | Buzzfeed, USA

Weather patterns, farm income, other factors, may be influencing opioid crisis

The overprescribing of opioid-based painkillers may be the main driver of the increased abuse of opioids in rural America, but economists say that other factors, including declining farm income, extreme weather and other natural disasters, may affect a crisis that is killing thousands of citizens and costing the country billions of dollars | Medical Xpress, USA

New York Detective Guilty of Lying About Drug Arrest

The conviction of Detective Kevin Desormeau by a jury in Queens raised questions about the prevalence of false police testimony in court cases | NYTimes, USA


Blogs, comment and opinion

The prescription drug addiction crisis shows how cautious we should be about antidepressants

The new review promised by the Government to investigate misuse of prescription drugs is desperately needed | I news comment, UK

Adults only brands served up to children at the Australian Open

Just as match fixing presents moral and ethical hazards, so too does taking money from alcohol brands to sponsor the game, says Michael Thorn | IAS blog, UK

What is drinking culture and how do we change it?

The development of the Alcohol Cultures Framework to inform health promotion practice and social change in drinking cultures | Drinking Studies blog, UK

Opioid Hysteria Comes to Massachusetts Courts

A new policy based on a delusion will worsen what is already a dire public health crisis | NYTimes opinion, USA