Daily news - 29th January 2018

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UK news

Clinic opens to help teens hooked on illegal pills bought online

Inside the UK’s first clinic dedicated to tackling the consequences of the spiralling use for medicines bought illegally on the internet, Dr Owen Bowden-Jones is outlining his plans | Guardian, UK

RSPH proposes new labelling scheme to tackle alcohol health awareness vacuum

Alcohol industry urged to reverse recent changes that put British drinkers even more in the dark | RSPH, UK

Minimum Alcohol Pricing Committee - BBC iPlayer

The Health select committee session on minimum alcohol pricing with evidence from the Alcohol Health Alliance, Public Health England, the National Police Chiefs Council, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the Wine and Spirits Trade Association and the British Beer and Pub Association, from Monday 22 January | BBC, UK

Study of 3,000 drinkers’ attempts to cut down produces sobering results

January is a popular month for people trying to reduce their alcohol intake but how successful are they in doing so? A new study by the University of Bristol that assessed data on the drinking patterns of nearly 3,000 drinkers who reported that they were planning to reduce their alcohol consumption found that very few managed it when followed up six months later | University of Bristol, UK

Trauma of Grenfell Tower fire exacerbating drug problems among survivors, health experts warn

Distress caused by tragedy 'aggravates existing substance misuse problems' | Independent, UK

Newcastle to become first English city to introduce 50p ‘booze tax’

Newcastle could become the first English city to introduce a 50p ‘booze tax’ in a bid to reduce alcohol-related problems.  The policy will mean that all pubs, clubs and shops will have to charge a minimum of 50p per unit of alcohol | Independent, UK

Birmingham man says chemsex addiction nearly killed him

Drug-fuelled sex parties cost Tom Jenkins his house, job, and almost his life | BBC, UK

Eliminating Hepatitis C in Scotland: A Call to Action (PDF)

This report brings together the views of leading clinicians, services, charities and patients who participated in our inquiry. Their contributions have told us how we can begin to realise this extraordinary opportunity. We are united in our belief that a hepatitis C-free Scotland is achievable, and in our commitment to working together to make it a reality | Hepatitis C Trust, UK

Smoking Cessation Quality Improvement Tool

In January 2018, BTS launched a new Quality Improvement Tool for Smoking Cessation to help hospitals undertake local quality improvement (QI) projects. The Tool contains background on QI methodology and includes a number of resources for smoking cessation, together with examples of how to tackle three main improvement objectives: referral for stop smoking support; prescription of nicotine replacement therapy and staff training | British Thoracic Society, UK

Prisons: Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to treat and support prisoners who are addicted to psychoactive substances | They work for you, UK

Prisons: Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the levels of (a) availability and (b) use of psychoactive substances in prisons in each of the last three years | They work for you, UK

Former painkiller addict urges action to stop US-style drug crisis

A woman who almost died after becoming addicted to prescription painkillers has told ITV News that more needs to done to prevent a potential opioid epidemic in the UK | ITV, UK

Alcohol and older people: A systematic review of barriers, facilitators and context of drinking in older people and implications for intervention design

Harmful alcohol consumption in older people has increased and effective approaches to understanding and addressing this societal concern are needed | PLOS One, UK

Oxford College bans bar from serving pint-size cocktails following complaints about extreme drunkenness

An Oxford College has banned its bar from serving pint-size cocktails at big events, following complaints about extreme drunkenness among students | Telegraph, UK

Study hints magic mushrooms can alter how you feel about nature (and politics)

Long-held beliefs can become entrenched over time, making them hard to change. But psychedelics might provide a way to alter them, a study suggests | Medical Xpress, UK

One of my friends called and said he had something new for me: cocaine — the life and times of ‘Freeway’ Rick Ross

Growing up in Los Angeles in the 1970s, Rick Ross didn’t intend on becoming a major drug dealer. He wanted to be a professional tennis player | BBC, UK

We want your recommendations

The SSA is supporting the SALIS Collection (see this article), and we need your help. We would like to know your 'top 5' books or reports in the addiction field, the ones that have influenced practice, policy or research but are perhaps no longer easy to find | SSA, UK

Cheers? No thanks! Low- and no-alcohol lifestyle booms

Sales of beer and cider with under 1.2% alcohol soar by nearly 30% | Guardian, UK


International news

Ex-heroin addict says Dublin’s Supervised Injecting Centre will help save lives ahead of its opening later this year

Laura Wildes, 37, was speaking as Ireland's leading addiction charity Ana Liffey Drug Project launched its three-year Safer From Harm strategic plan | Sun, UK

IOC ‘worried’ by new Aiba president’s heroin trade and organised crime link

Amateur boxing’s governing body, Aiba, has been plunged into a fresh crisis after the International Olympic Committee admitted it was “extremely worried” that a man linked to organised crime had become the organisation’s interim president | Guardian, UK

Laura Plummer latest: British woman jailed in Egypt over painkillers set to be freed

'We can't believe it's over,' says sister | Independent, UK

Philip Morris' claim smokeless cigarettes reduce harm rejected by US regulators

Company has spent more than $3bn to develop products that can counteract the decline in traditional cigarette sales | Independent, UK

UK accused of hypocrisy on overseas tobacco control

Embassy relationships with companies such as BAT undermine anti-smoking policies | Guardian, UK

How my ‘dead body’ ended up on millions of cigarette packets across Europe

Tom Fraine did a couple of photo shoots in Berlin in 2012 – then four years later discovered he had become the face of EU health warnings about the dangers of smoking | Guardian, UK

Dennis Peron, father of medical marijuana in California, dies at 72

Dennis Peron, the activist who fired up the movement to legalize medical marijuana in California, died on Saturday in a San Francisco hospital. He was 72 | Guardian, UK

Reality Check: Has Russian alcohol consumption fallen 80%?

Russians are consuming 80% less alcohol than five years ago, according to the Minister of Health, Veronika Skvortsova | BBC, UK

Baby on board: Is there any safe alcohol limit during pregnancy?

Research reveals that almost eight in 10 Irish mums drank alcohol while they were pregnant | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Group calls for decriminalisation of minor drugs possession by 2022

Ana Liffey chief executive says ‘nimbyism’ remains a factor around placement of drug injecting facility | Irish Times, Ireland

My friend said: ‘Heroin will get rid of the pain.’ And it did

Anne Buckley spent 17 years on heroin and methadone: ‘an addict, a thief, a zombie’ | Irish Times, Ireland

Pilot online survey reaches 50 000 participant milestone

As of mid-January, more than 50 000 people had already participated in the European Web Survey on Drugs, a pilot project designed to improve understanding of patterns of drug use at European level | EMCDDA, Portugal

Judge may force FDA to speed up graphic tobacco warnings

A federal judge on Wednesday questioned why the Food and Drug Administration was delaying putting out a congressionally-mandated final rule requiring graphic health warnings on cigarette packs and advertising and said she may need to order it to do something | Reuters, USA

Research traces primary cause of opioid epidemic—it's not despair

Ruhm, a professor of public policy and economics in UVA's Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, tracked fatal overdoses at the county level across the country and compared those rates with economic factors like labor market conditions, income levels, housing prices and international trade exposure in each county | Medical Xpress, USA

Marijuana at school—loss of concentration, risk of psychosis

One of the enduring myths about marijuana is that it is "harmless" and can be safely used by teens | Medical Xpress, USA

Why Are American Indians Dying Young?

A 2017 report funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) painted a grim picture of early deaths among American Indians | JAMA, USA

F.D.A. Shuts Down Study After Monkey Subjects Die

The agency said on Friday it was evaluating other animal studies and would retire the remaining monkeys to a sanctuary | NYTimes, USA

Study shows a potential new approach to opioid crisis

Managing tobacco smoking among Ottawa's most vulnerable residents led to reductions in opioid use | EurekAlert, Canada

Hooked for 30 years: the changing faces of Australia's drug misuse

Lisa Maher was sitting at the bottom of a stairwell of a block of flats in Cabramatta on a Friday evening in 1999. She was filming three people as they injected heroin. | SMH, Australia

Pill testing examined in Victoria

Nine people have been taken to hospital in a serious condition after suspected drug overdoses at a dance party in West Melbourne last night | abc.net.au, Australia

No pill testing: Daniel Andrews stays firm on state policy

Premier Daniel Andrews says he will not reconsider his opposition to recreational drug testing despite a mass overdose on Friday night at a Festival Hall rave | The Age, Australia

More than 150 people charged with drug offences at Electric Gardens and HTID

A 20-year-old chased down and found with 50 capsules believed to be MDMA, a 25-year-old man found with 31 pills, and a 19-year-old found with 65 tablets | Age, Australia

Codeine removal from counters fails to address high rural opioid prescription rates, doctors say

Over-the-counter codeine will be stripped from pharmacy shelves this week in an effort to regulate public access to the drug | abc.net.au, Australia

$274m drug bust: Australian, NZ crews seize almost one tonne of heroin

A joint operation between the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has conducted one of its largest drug seizures in the Middle East region | The Age, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Duncan Selbie's Friday message - 26 January 2018

For treating problems such as pain, anxiety and depression, prescription drugs are vital and benefit many people | PHE blog, UK

Knowing when to quit

A research article in The BMJ this week contains a useful message to readers helping patients who are making new year attempts to stop smoking. The risk of developing cardiovascular disease even if patients smoke just one cigarette a day is higher than expected—as much as half the risk of smoking 20 a day—the paper finds | BMJ editors choice, UK

War on drugs is unwinnable, but locking up Mr Bigs is still worth it

Nine serious criminals were sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow, Scotland on January 22 for offences relating to the wholesale supply of cocaine. David Sell and the rest of the gang were reportedly handling up to a ton of the drug every year, with a final street value in the region of £150m to £160m. They received a total of 87 years in prison for their trouble | Conversation, UK

Scottish Drug Policy Reform: Keeping vulnerable people safer by putting health first

The UK Government has made it clear it will not change its drugs policy – regardless of the evidence. Regardless of the record numbers of people dying as a result | Transform blog, UK

Options for the legal sale of cannabis

An interesting paper was published recently in the International Journal of Drug Policy with the snappy title of ‘A “not for profit” regulatory model for legal recreational cannabis: Insights from the regulation of gaming machine gambling in New Zealand’ | UKCIA blog, UK

My "Ten Commandments" of Safer Drug Use

Dominic Milton Trott' is the author of The Honest Drug Book, which documents safety information for 140 different substances, and includes detailed trip reports to illustrate real-life experiences and potential risks. It includes data, general information, legal briefings, relative harm tables, overdose advice, reference material, and a drug dictionary | Talking Drugs, 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

Pill testing is proven. I Am Hardstyle shows how much we need it

Pill testing alerts consumers to dangerous substances and provides an opportunity for education | Guardian, UK

Real-time prescription monitoring might have unintended ill effects

Commendably, the Victorian government has committed to establish a real-time prescription monitoring system (to be referred to as Safescript) in Victoria by 2018 | SMH comment, Australia