Daily news - 24th July 2018

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UK news

Prescribed medicines: an evidence review

Information and documents on Public Health England’s review of the evidence for dependence on, and withdrawal from, prescribed medicines | PHE, UK

Hepatitis C: tools for estimating disease burden

This tool provides ODN-level estimates of hepatitis C prevalence, diagnoses, treatment and severe hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related liver disease. This new tool is intended to support prevention, testing and diagnosis, and treatment activities at ODN level | PHE, UK

Warnings issued about Darth Vader pills that contain MDMA, ketamine and cocaine

They're blue and have led to numerous people falling ill | MixMag, UK

Further calls for alcohol advertising regulation review as venue digital marketing examined

New research released by Alcohol Research UK says advertising regulation needs to be strengthened to better regulate alcohol marketing on social media. The new study finds social media presents 'new, and significant, challenges to the current regulatory regime' of alcohol marketing which is not able to keep pace with the changes in modern technology and advertising practices | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

How cannabis and cannabis-based drugs harm your brain

Long-term use of either cannabis or cannabis-based drugs impairs memory say researchers. The study has implications for both recreational users and people who use the drug to combat epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain | Medical Xpress, UK

‘Heroin on Trial’: A summary of the conference

In the early 20th Century there were a few hundred people dependent on prescribed morphine and diamorphine (heroin was the original trade name of the drug) in the UK. Most had developed dependence on prescription medication, and many were members of the medical or nursing profession (it would not be until the 1970s that illicitly-manufactured imported street heroin would become readily available) | SSA, UK

Forward’s alcohol treatment programme proven to reduce re-offending

The Forward Trust is committed to assessing the effectiveness of our services through research and evaluation, and therefore will be working closely with the Justice Data Lab (JDL), a unique service from the Ministry of Justice that helps organisations to assess the impact of their work on reducing re-offending | Forward Trust, UK

Love Island ‘not a sport yet’, ministers told in performance-enhancing drugs debate

Love Island should be made to ensure its contestants’ “honed, buffed young bodies” are down to a healthy lifestyle and not drugs, ministers have been told | ITV, UK

‘I’ll keep growing cannabis to help me’ says sick woman made homeless after her disability benefits were stopped

Lisa Andrews has vowed to continue growing cannabis to help alleviate her long term health problems after she was arrested on suspicion of dealing cannabis | i news, UK

Richard Bacon gives up alcohol after mystery illness

TV host, who was in induced coma, wants to ‘embrace health from here on in’ | Guardian, UK

Illegal drug dealer kits offered for sale together on Amazon

Amazon has been accused of enabling the supply of illicit drugs to Britons after it emerged that the marketplace's algorithms guide users to equipment necessary for packaging and selling substances, and promoted drug paraphernalia across its marketplace | Telegraph, UK

Drug-smoking dealer who set off shopping centre fire alarms jailed

A man caught with £56,000 worth of drugs after smoking heroin in a Dundee shopping centre toilet and setting off fire alarms has been jailed for three years | BBC, UK

Cwmbran drink-driver stole minibus with passengers on

James Powell, 30, jumped into the bus at Cwmbran train station in January while its driver was unloading luggage. He then drove at "dangerous speeds" with three women on board, running a red light and "lurching from side to side" | BBC, UK


International news

The lost decade: Neglect for harm reduction funding and the health crisis among people who use drugs (PDF)

Despite the potential for these interventions to contribute to healthier communities, funding for harm reduction in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) has flat-lined over the past decade. Harm Reduction International's report, found that in 2016, US$188 million was allocated for harm reduction – the same amount as in 2007 and just 13% of the US$1.5 billion that UNAIDS estimates is required annually by 2020 for an effective response in LMICs | HRI, UK

Most in US think cannabis has health benefits, despite lack of data – study

Survey respondents believe drug can alleviate various ailments, even as scientists call out for more research | Guardian, UK

Confessions of an Addict

‘What I Want to Tell You About Heroin’ is a new series from VICE friend and contributor Hannah Brooks. Hannah is a Melbourne based writer and musician, who has spent the past several years battling a heroin addiction. These articles were written while she was a guest of Hope Rehab in Thailand | VICE, UK

Hundreds face being put off road in drink-driving crackdown as new figures show how motorists benefited from old system

Hundreds of motorists face being put off the road under tough new drink-driving rules due to come into force this year | Independent, Ireland

76 hospital discharges of newborns with drug withdrawal symptoms last year

The figure of 76 represents a drop in the comparable figure for 2016, when there were a total of 92 discharges | Journal, Ireland

Campaign highlights alcohol use among teens

There is a call to delay the age at which young people drink alcohol | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Public health guidance on prevention and control of blood-borne viruses in prison settings

This evidence-based guidance aims to support the planning and implementation of effective programmes to prevent and control the transmission of infectious diseases in prison settings in the European region. It focuses on three high-burden blood-borne viruses (BBV) in the prison population, namely hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immunodefciency virus (HIV) | ECDC and EMCDDA, Portugal

Guidance in brief: prevention and control of blood-borne viruses in prison settings

This is a summarised version of the full guidance above | ECDC and EMCDDA, Portugal

The Budgetary Effects of Ending Drug Prohibition

In the past several years, the national movement to end drug prohibition has accelerated. Nine states and Washington, DC, have legalized recreational marijuana, with at least three more states (Connecticut, Michigan, and Ohio) likely to vote on legalization by the end of 2018 | CATO Institute, USA

Who Uses e-Cigarettes More: Current Smokers or Former Smokers?

Do e-cigarettes help current smokers quit, or do they just become an additional nicotine habit? A new study of more than 30,000 adults in Sweden indicates that traditional smokers use both methods | AJMC, USA

Exhaled e-vapor particles evaporate in seconds -- new study

Study shows exhaled e-vapor product particles are liquid droplets that evaporate within seconds with particle counts returning rapidly to background values, reinforcing evidence that vaping has minimal impact on indoor air quality | EurekAlert, USA

Juul Customers Are Going to Court Over Allegedly Super-Addictive E-Cigarettes

Electronic cigarette company Juul Labs is facing increasing controversy lately, thanks to its huge appeal among teens. The latest batch of bad publicity comes from three recent lawsuits, brought by young Juul users and their families, who allege Juul’s products are more addictive than traditional cigarettes | Gizmodo, USA

Ketamine could help reduce opioid use in the ER

A recent meta-analysis pits the analgesic effect of ketamine against opioids in an emergency room setting. The authors conclude that ketamine could be a useful, safe alternative | MNT, USA

Giving out 6,300 clean needles, Fargo focuses on reducing harm of drug addiction

In Jeremy Kelly's office are several locked cabinets filled with drug paraphernalia, including syringes, spoon-like drug cookers and cotton balls for filtering drugs | WDay, USA

Problematic online behaviours are not all the same: Cyberaddictions are distinct disorders

Analysis of self-report measures from a large community sample of Swiss males indicates that problematic online gaming and cybersex represent distinct disorders. Internet addiction represents an “umbrella concept” or vector mediating various cyberaddictions | BASIS, USA

Duterte Vows More Bloodshed in Philippine ‘Drug War’

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte vowed today to continue his murderous “war on drugs,” saying “it will be as relentless and chilling as on the day it began | HRW, USA

Graphic new warnings on cigarette packaging work, Canadian focus groups tell feds

One image shows a woman’s torso with a cigarette being burned into her bladder through underwear | Global News, Canada

High burden of hepatitis C among people who inject drugs highlights the urgent need for harm reduction and treatment strategies

Globally, more than one in three (39%) people who have injected drugs in the last year are living with hepatitis C infection, according to new research from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre and the Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney | NDARC, Australia

Alcohol industry not a legitimate informant on health policy

The National Alcohol Strategy (NAS) is a document that would guide governments in their efforts to tackle alcohol harm. Australia has been without such a strategy since 2011. But now consultations are being undertaken to remedy that omission and finalise the adoption of the National Alcohol Strategy 2018-2026 before the year is out | Drinktank, Australia

Study finds alcohol and drug treatment may be best served at home

Offering withdrawal services to certain people struggling with alcohol and other drug addictions in their own home may serve as an acceptable and less expensive treatment option, research led by Curtin University has found | Medical Xpress, Australia

Medical cannabis in Australia 'pretty much inaccessible', leaving patients looking to US 

A father who escaped jail time for juicing cannabis to treat his two daughters who suffer Crohn's disease is now considering sending one of them overseas for treatment | abc.net.au, Australia

Ninety per cent of New Zealanders support decriminalisation of medical cannabis, says Drug Foundation

Nearly half of all New Zealanders would support legalising the sale of cannabis, a new poll backed by the Drug Foundation has revealed | TVNZ, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Harry’s blog 64: What if…..?

Over the years, the major companies have faced endless law suits on the basis that they both lied about the dangers of their products while also withholding information they knew would prove the cases against them | NSP Blog, UK

There is little moral basis for cannabis consumption remaining a crime

Recent high-profile media coverage has prompted public recognition that cannabis in particular forms can have beneficial medical effects for some conditions such as epilepsy | Conversation, UK

The launch of the Prisoner Policy Network at HMP Grendon

I recently visited HMP Grendon to attend the launch of the Prisoner Policy Network organised by the Prison Reform Trust. The network aims to bring people with lived expertise of imprisonment together to provide insight into national policy issues that are currently being discussed | CGL blog, UK

The Irish Times view on responding to cocaine use

New drug strategy places greater emphasis on supporting a health-led response to drug and alcohol use | Irish Times comment, Ireland

Does legal weed make police more effective?

Marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington state has “produced some demonstrable and persistent benefit” to police departments' ability to solve other types of crime, according to researchers at Washington State University | Washington Post blog, USA