Daily news - 2nd March 2018

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UK news

Collection: Alcohol and drug misuse prevention and treatment guidance

Information and other resources to support commissioners, service providers and others providing alcohol and drug interventions. Now all brought together in one place for ease of use | PHE, UK

A matter of justice: Local government’s role in tackling health inequalities

Deprived communities experience poorer mental health, higher rates of smoking and greater levels of obesity than the more affluent. They spend more years in ill health and die sooner. Reducing health inequalities is an economic and social challenge as well as a moral one | LGA, UK

New Scottish care standards to come into force in April 2018

The Health and Social Care Standards set out what people should expect when using health, social care or social work services in Scotland | SDF, UK

Five things everyone needs to know about Xanax

Particular drugs go in and out of fashion for all kinds of reasons, but it’s the speed at which Xanax has made an appearance that’s been surprising | Metro, UK

Home Office considers cannabis oil trial to help boy with epilepsy

Minister meets family of Alfie Dingley to discuss possible treatments after request for licence to use drug in UK was denied | Guardian, UK

2,500 caught drug-driving in three years in Wales

More than 2,500 motorists in Wales have been caught driving under the influence of drugs since new police powers were introduced three years ago | BBC, UK

How police are catching drug-drivers at the roadside - video

Sgt Huw O'Connell, of South Wales Police's roads policing unit, shows how "drugalysers" work to catch drug drivers | BBC, UK

Diane Abbott declares war on drugs a failure – but rules out Labour legalising cannabis

A Jeremy Corbyn government would crack down on the 'gigantic Ponzi scheme' that is Bitcoin | Independent, UK

Involving the *right people* to spot the barriers to delivering brief

The DrinkThink screening and brief intervention for risky drinking was
developed with young people (the intended beneficiaries), but not with professionals. Despite the potential of the intervention, delivery was impaired by obstacles spanning training, working cultures, and attitudes about young people’s drinking | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Reported Theory Use by Digital Interventions for Hazardous and Harmful Alcohol Consumption, and Association With Effectiveness: Meta-Regression

[Open access] Applying theory to the design and evaluation of interventions is likely to increase effectiveness and improve the evidence base from which future interventions are developed, though few interventions report this | JMIR, UK

Vaping may help pneumonia-causing bacteria invade airways

People who smoke e-cigarettes might have an increased risk of developing pneumonia because the vapor could help bacteria stick to cells lining the airways, a small experiment suggests | Reuters, UK

Alcohol: Minimum Unit Pricing - Question

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the cost benefits to the National Health Service and police of introducing minimum unit pricing for alcohol in England | They work for you, UK

WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps are required before the Government will ratify the World Health Organisation Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products | They work for you, UK

Treasury: Tobacco

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many times (a) Ministers and (b) officials of his Department met with representatives from the tobacco industry in (i) 2016 and (ii) 2017; and what the topics of discussion were in each of those meetings | They work for you, UK

‘Gender and Alcohol: Tackling Stereotypes’ 

Free event. Scottish Parliament on Wednesday, 21st March 2018  from 6-8pm | IAS and SHAAP, UK

My Time as a Trainee

In the run up to recruiting our new BDP trainees, we catch up with a current trainee to find out about his past year learning and working in frontline services - providing support to people around their problematic alcohol and drug use | BDP, UK

Charges after Essex drugs police find caiman during house search

A man has been charged after a 4ft-long spectacled caiman was found by police during a drugs investigation | BBC, UK


International news

Donald Trump hints he wants death penalty for drug dealers 

The US president said some other countries use the "ultimate penalty" for such people and it appeared to be effective in reducing the scourge of drugs | Telegraph, UK

Colombia, U.S. seek to halve cocaine output in five years

Colombia and the United States agreed on Thursday to work together to reduce by half the production of cocaine, and cultivation of its raw material coca in the South American nation within five years | Reuters, UK

Austria mulls pro-smoking bill despite protests

Austrian government MPs presented a bill on Wednesday which would continue to allow smoking in bars and restaurants, despite a huge groundswell of opposition | Medical Xpress, USA

President Donald J. Trump is Combatting the Opioid Crisis

Together, we will face this challenge as a national family with conviction, with unity, and with a commitment to love and support our neighbors in times of dire need. Working together, we will defeat this opioid epidemic | The White House, USA

President Trump suggests executing drug dealers at summit on opioid crisis

President Trump suggested that executing drug dealers could help solve the opioid crisis during a White House summit Thursday, an event the administration billed as a way to measure its progress in combating the nation’s drug problem | Washington Post, USA

TIP 63: Medications for Opioid Use Disorders – Full Document (Including Executive Summary and Parts 1-5)

This Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) reviews the use of the three Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medications used to treat opioid use disorder (OUD)—methadone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine—and the other strategies and services needed to support recovery for people with OUD | SAMHSA, USA

Opioid crisis affects children and teens too

Children and adolescents undergoing surgery can be swept up in the ongoing opioid epidemic, according to a review and update in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics, official journal of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) | Medical Xpress, USA

Deaths related to MDMA (ecstasy/molly): Prevalence, root causes, and harm reduction interventions

[Open access] Recent data show that MDMA (3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine) related deaths (MRDs) are on the rise in several countries. This rise in MRDs has caught the attention of public health officials and treatment practitioners | Journal of Substance Use, USA

States with strong tobacco control measures have fewer e-cigarette users

States with robust tobacco control policies and regulations, such as smoke free air laws and taxes on cigarettes, not only have fewer cigarette users but also fewer e-cigarette users, according to research from NYU School of Medicine and the NYU College of Global Public Health | Medical Xpress, USA

Scientists have found the genes that make magic mushrooms magic

Long before magic mushrooms became a way for hippies to turn on, tune in, and drop out, and well before ancient mesoamerican mystics employed them in religious ritual, they had their use as an insect repellant | Quartz, USA

No link between current or previous marijuana use and kidney disease, say researchers

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, with an increasing trend of use among middle-aged and older individuals | Medical Xpress, USA

Easier access to medicinal cannabis in NSW

Patient access to medicinal cannabis will soon become significantly easier with red tape set to be slashed by the NSW government | The Mercury, Australia

WA cancer educator to call on State Government to push alcohol floor price

A WA cancer educator is calling for a minimum $1.50 unit price on packaged alcohol — more than the $1.30 price endorsed by the Northern Territory Government this week | Perth Now, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

West Midlands PCC points the way forward

One of the most significant casualties of the fragmentation of drug treatment that followed the Lansley reforms of 2013 was the relationship between the police and drug treatment commissioning | Collective Voice blog, UK

New lower risk drinking guidelines – did they effect ‘COM-B’ determinants of behaviour change?

In March 2012, the process of reviewing the UK’s drinking guidelines began. Proposed revisions were published in January 2016 and final guidelines in August 2016. The question is, did they have any effect? | IAS blog, UK

Drug legalisation is the only way to tackle skunk

[Free registration required] Our prohibition of cannabis jeopardises children’s safety, encourages gang violence and leaves millions in the dark about what they’re taking | The Times opinion, UK

Skunk is causing misery – criminalisation isn’t working

Drugs reform has been urged by doctors and police chiefs. Yet our politicians have failed to act, and the consequences have been disastrous | Guardian opinion, UK

‘Not in my backyard’: Brexit and the myths of transnational organised crime

Brexit will make for a weaker and more isolated Britain. That translates in more opportunities for profits and investments for transnational criminal networks – and will be a nightmare for national law enforcement agencies | The BSC blog, UK

SSDP celebrates twenty years of student activism

Twenty years ago, a few dozen college students in the United States had an idea to organize a network of students dedicated to ending the War on Drugs. | IDPC blog, UK

Rajani Gudlavalleti, Community Organizer, Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition

Interviewing the Unsung Champions of Harm Reduction | Harm Reduction Coalition blog, USA

Media madness about methadone

On February 27th, A Current Affair launched an extraordinary attackon people who are prescribed methadone. The program deliberately used stigmatising language to describe people utilising a prescribed, evidence-based medical treatment. Methadone use was described as “deadly epidemic” that is “putting everyone at risk”, without presenting the plethora of evidence of the benefits of methadone treatment | AOD MediaWatch, Australia