Daily news - 30th January 2018

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UK news

Funding cuts threaten ‘dismantling’ of English drug treatment system

Based on research, financial data and stakeholder surveys and testimonies, the UK government’s official drug policy advisers warn that without significant efforts to protect investment and quality, in England “loss of funding will result in the dismantling of a drug misuse treatment system that has brought huge improvement to the lives of people with drug and alcohol problems” | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Local authority public health prescribed activity: call for evidence

The government is seeking evidence in the form of experience, case studies or research on the prescribing in regulations of local authority public health activity. All evidence will be reviewed and used to inform government about whether the system is working well and is fit for the future | Department of Health and Social Care, UK

Tens of millions of prescription drugs on the black market

Criminal gangs have smuggled tens of millions of prescription-only drugs out of the UK's protected supply chain, a BBC File on 4 programme has discovered | BBC, UK

Buying children cigarettes 'not a favour', says charity

Adults who buy children cigarettes could set them up for a life of health and financial problems, the children's health charity Fast Forward has said | BBC, UK

National tobacco control policies linked to improvements in children’s health

National smoke-free legislation in advanced economies is linked to reduced rates of preterm birth, asthma hospitalisations and serious throat and chest infections in children. Comprehensive smoke-free policies appear to be more effective than policies with only partial or selective introduction | NIHR, UK

Drug dealers use celebrity app to target youngsters: Investigation finds cannabis and paraphernalia openly advertised

A trendy selling app popular with teenagers, models and celebrities is peddling bundles of drugs to children as young as 13 | Mail Online, UK

How Xanax Became the British Teenager's Drug of Choice

With counterfeit Xans readily available on the dark web, a generation of teenagers have found out the hard way that the pills aren't as easygoing as they first thought | VICE, UK

NHS England sets out plans to be first in the world to eliminate Hepatitis C

England could be the first country in the world to eliminate Hepatitis C, under ambitious plans announced by the NHS today | NHS England, UK

Minimum pricing back in the spotlight following House of Commons Committe and IFS report

Scotland's green light to implement minimum unit pricing (MUP), due to come into effect in May this year, already appears to be increasing policy attention to the issue south of the border as MPs heard from stakeholders at a session on MUP held by the Health and Home Affairs Committees | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Secondary cannabis use among London drug treatment service clients

Cannabis is the second most commonly used substance after alcohol among people seeking treatment for other drug use, but no statistics are available regarding secondary cannabis use among drug treatment clients | DEPP, UK

Sexualized drug use (‘chemsex’) and high-risk sexual behaviours in HIV-positive men who have sex with men

The incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV infection remains high in gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in the UK, and sexualized drug use (“chemsex”) and injecting drug use (“slamsex”) may play a part in this. We aimed to characterize HIV-positive MSM engaging in chemsex/slamsex and to assess the associations with self-reported STI diagnoses and sexual behaviours | HIV Medicine, UK

The Big Questions - BBC iPlayer

Discussion of drug consumption rooms at 43mins. Speakers include Kirsten Horsburgh and Karen Tyrell | BBC, UK

Do you have to use drugs to enjoy music?

This may be a familiar exchange for anyone who is immersed in clubland and its indulgences. Raves have always been sites to let go and lose yourself, and a great night out can often be a happy blur. Some people hit these heights sober, lifted by the music and spirit of the dancefloor. For others, alcohol and drugs play their part | MixMag, UK

End plastic straw use in pubs now, urges joint campaign

An industry-wide campaign to cut the amount of single-use plastic being used in pubs has been launched in partnership by three major industry bodies and The Morning Advertiser | Morning Advertiser, UK

Welcome to The Life in Recovery (LiR) survey

The Life in Recovery (LiR) survey is designed to document the lives of people who have reduced or stopped problematic use of illicit drugs (not including Alcohol or Prescription Drugs), and how overcoming their problematic use has changed their lives and the lives of those around them | Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Sussex Police Continue 'County Lines' Drug Crackdown

The raids are part of steps being taken to combat drug dealers who operate from London by operating special phone lines and taking homes of vulnerable people locally, in order to use as a supply base - so called 'County Lines' | Juice Brighton, UK


International news

Vaping may raise cancer and heart disease risk, study suggests

Nicotine in e-cigarettes may convert into DNA-damaging chemicals, mouse trial indicates, but critics say results are irrelevant to humans | Guardian, UK

The search for the perfect painkiller

Millions of Americans are hooked on painkillers – thousands die as a result. Scientists are striving to design a new, safer generation of opioids | Observer, UK

Marijuana: is it time to stop using a word with racist roots?

As marijuana arrests disproportionately affect minorities, controversy grows over a term prohibitionists hoped would appeal to xenophobia | Guardian, UK

Antidote action plan to tackle drug more deadly than heroin

Fentanyl overdose victims have just minutes to live ­- and the killer drug is on its way here, writes Niamh Horan | Independent, Ireland

Anna Liffey Project report (PDF)

The Ana Liffey Drug Project is a national provider of psychosocial and health services to people who actively use drugs and to their families. We also have a role to play in broader society, through advocacy. Our strategic plan for 2018-2020 sets out ambitious, but attainable goals across a range of areas | Anna Liffey Project, Ireland

Nicotine in E-cigarettes might cause cancers, mouse study suggests

The damage was seen both to DNA and its ability to repair itself, making cells more likely to mutate and develop into cancer, said lead researcher Moon-shong Tang, a professor of environmental medicine at New York University School of Medicine | Medical Xpress, USA

Study: In heroin addiction, glial cells play key roles in regulating the motivation for the drug

Scientists studying addiction know that heroin and other opioids induce plasticity in brain cells. Now, University at Buffalo researchers have made the novel discovery that in certain types of brain cells, drug-induced plasticity can work to reduce, rather than boost, motivation for heroin | Medical Xpress, USA

After legalization, black people are still arrested at higher rates for marijuana than white people

Both groups saw big drops in marijuana arrests, but large racial disparities remain | Vox, USA

'Dangerous and addictive': Greg Hunt defends codeine ban

Health Minister Greg Hunt has defended the move to take low-dose codeine products off pharmacy shelves, saying it will save lives and bring Australia into lin | Age, 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 | Age, Australia

Maree Teesson recognised for work in treatment of substance use disorders

Video. Professor Teesson has been recognised for her eminent service to medicine, particularly the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders. She has also been recognised as a researcher and author, for her innovative mental health policy development, her services to education, and for her work as a role model for young researchers | abc.net.au, Australia

Philippine police return to war on drugs

Police in the Philippines have resumed President Rodrigo Dutertes war on drugs, visiting the homes of users and dealers to convince them to surrender, but the national police chief has declined to guarantee blood will not be shed | Australian, Australia

Most National MPs to vote against Green's cannabis bill

The National Party will vote against a medicinal cannabis bill which would allow patients to grow their own marijuana | RNZ, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Why we need to legalise cannabis for medical use in the UK

As the Welsh Assembly votes in favour of asking the UK Government to reschedule medical cannabis to allow it to be prescribed and legally supplied, a long-standing member explains why redefining the drug as ‘therapeutic’ would decriminalise patients seeking pain relief | Pharmaceutical Journal opinion, UK

Alarmed about your teen’s drinking? Maybe it’s yours you should worry about

New research on alcohol consumption is less than surprising – kids may not do what you say, but they do follow your lead | Guardian opinion, UK

Why the e-cigarette industry needs global regulations

The e-cigarette industry has been increasingly viewed as one of the most disruptive changes in the tobacco market, with vapes now commonly perceived as an alternative to traditional tobacco products | Conversation, Ireland