Daily news -20th March 2018

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UK news

Prescribed medicines that may cause dependence or withdrawal: a review of the evidence (PDF)

Presentation slides from the meeting of the APPG held on the 24 January 2018 | PHE, UK

Class A drugs 'brought in for patients' at Essex mental health trust

A BBC investigation has uncovered allegations of staff at a mental health trust in Essex bringing in drugs for vulnerable patients | BBC, UK

Revealed: Cocaine Hospitalisations Are Up 90 Percent in the UK

A Freedom of Information request also showed that incidents where cocaine is mentioned have more than doubled over the past four years | VICE, UK

Memory-Focused Cognitive Therapy for Cocaine Use Disorder: Theory, Procedures and Preliminary Evidence From an External Pilot Randomised Controlled Trial (PDF)

Cocaine use disorder (CUD) is a debilitating condition with no NICE-recommended medication or specific psychosocial interventions. In the United Kingdom (UK), general counselling (treatment-as-usual; TAU) is widely delivered, but has limited effectiveness | ebiomedicine, UK

The UK's radical club drug safety experiment is working – and now it's going high-tech

In the last two years, UK festivals have started to offer people the chance to check out what's really in their drugs. Now, advances in this emerging field could save even more lives | WIRED, UK

Cannabis oil: Meet the woman taking it for breast cancer recovery

Video.A breast cancer survivor says she is taking cannabis oil to help her recover from illness | BBC, UK

Alfie Dingley's medical cannabis petition to be handed to government

A six-year-old boy with epilepsy is to present a petition to No 10 on Tuesday calling for him to be granted a special licence to use medical cannabis | BBC, UK

'Cannabis smokers are far less of a threat to society than drunks'

...and more of your opinions after Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones called for certain drugs to be sold in off-licenses | Daily Post, UK

Call for drug-testing station in Glasgow city centre 'to save lives'

Drug-related deaths are at an all-time high – and #TimeToTest campaigners say the night-time economy has "failed to keep pace" | Glasgow Live, UK

University of Manchester students 'ran drugs factory from dark web'

Four students ran a "drug dealing factory" from "the dark web" and lived a lavish lifestyle, a court has heard | BBC, UK

Ant McPartlin steps down from TV shows and seeks treatment

His publicist said McPartlin, who spent time in rehab last year, was taking time off "for the foreseeable future" and would have further treatment | BBC, UK

Betting machine wagers 'should be cut to £30 or less'

The maximum stake for fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT) should be cut to £30 or less, the UK's Gambling Commission has recommended | BBC, UK


International news

On location: Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco Conference - podcast

In February 2018, the best of all Tobacco, Nicotine and E-cigarette researchers gathered in Baltimore, U.S. for the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) conference. This episode, Elle talks with a crew from Australia, Germany, UK, and Canada to discuss thoughts and findings at this informative conference | KCL, UK

Dutch drug ring creates 3D printed Nintendo cartridges to hide substances

The dark web operation was busted following a year long investigation | MixMag, UK

LSD blurs line between ourselves and others, study finds

Drugs targeting similar brain networks as LSD could help with a variety of mental disorders | Guardian, UK

Trump calls for death penalties for drug dealers as focus of opioids plan

Trump’s policy rollout focuses on punishment for dealers and traffickers but doesn’t propose new legislation to combat the crisis | Guardian, UK

What are opioids and what are the risks?

US President Donald Trump has announced measures to combat the country's opioid crisis. But what are these drugs and why are they such a problem? | BBC, UK

The drug addict who became a judge

Video. A pioneering court in Buffalo, New York, is trying to keep drug addicts alive. It's presided by a judge who knows well the perils of abuse | BBC, UK

E-cigarettes could do "more harm than good" study finds

A study conducted by researchers in the United States has concluded that use of e-cigarettes may do more harm than good | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

Promoting evidence-based health decision-making

Facilitating evidence-based health decision-making among professionals, patients and policymakers will be just one of the issues discussed today by EMCDDA Director Alexis Goosdeel and Chief Executive Officer of the Cochrane Collaboration Mark Wilson. Mr Wilson is visiting the agency in the context of the organisations’ on-going collaboration in the area of best practice | EMCDDA, Portugal

Trump Says He Wants Spend Money On “Great Commercials” To Scare Kids Off Drugs. But Ads Haven’t Worked In The Past

“In general there hasn’t been much evidence for the effectiveness of trying to scare the pants off kids,” one expert said | BuzzFeed, USA

FDA chief worries about a new generation of kids getting hooked on nicotine through vaping

The Food and Drug Administration will soon take steps aimed at curbing e-cigarette use among young people | CNBC, USA

Are There Risks From Secondhand Marijuana Smoke? Early Science Says Yes

The inspiration arrived in a haze at a Paul McCartney concert a few years ago in San Francisco | npr, USA

Smoking every day can increase psychosis risk, study finds

Two new studies report an increased risk of psychosis among smokers of not only marijuana, but tobacco, too | MNT, USA

The Pain Refugees: The forgotten victims of America’s opioid crisis

It began with a loud pop. Though Austin Sell had suffered from severe back pain since childhood, on a clear autumn morning in 2011, not long after his twenty-first birthday, the pain became something much more frightening | Harpers, USA

Identifying 'designer' drugs taken by overdose patients

Medical professionals are scrambling to meet growing demand for emergency room treatment of drug overdoses, but they're hampered by the lack of a quick and easy test to screen patients for synthetic 'designer' drugs. Chemists are developing such a test with the hope that hospitals could eventually use it to choose the appropriate treatment | Science Daily, USA

Students who think their parents approve of drinking may drink more

Teens may act like they're not listening, but students who think their parents are more accepting of drinking tend to drink more in college, according to researchers | Medical Xpress, USA

LSD: A wonder drug once again?

So-called "Magic Mushrooms" have played their part in America's long, strange trip toward an understanding of mind-altering drugs. Illegal though most of these drugs may be, Faith Salie tells us recent research suggests some of them could have legitimate uses | CBS News, USA

SFU researchers: Methadone treatment helps reduce crime rates by one-third

Giving prisoners diagnosed with opioid dependence methadone treatment reduces both violent and non-violent crime rates by a third, a new study from Simon Fraser University has found | Vancouver Sun, Canada

Canada looks to restrict sweet alcoholic drinks after teen dies

Canada's food and drug officials were directed on Monday to look at ways of restricting the sale of highly sweetened alcoholic beverages following the death of a Quebec teen who consumed a few cans | Medical Xpress, Canada


Blogs, comment and opinion

Harry’s blog 54: Lies, damn lies and public health misinformation

A disturbing proportion of the US population believe it’s the nicotine in cigarettes that causes cancer. This was the result of an analysis of FDA 2017 Health Information Trend Survey data conducted by Pinney Associates and presented at the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco’s 24th annual meeting in February | NSP blog, UK

Urgent challenges for drug and alcohol treatment

Last week (12 March 2018), Collective Voice published an infographic setting out six key challenges facing the substance misuse treatment sector | Russell Webster, UK

We have a drug that’s effective against depression – now the government needs to let us use it

The case of young Alfie Dingley, who has to live in Holland to obtain cannabis medicine for his severe epilepsy, has brought the absurdity of the UK drug laws to the front pages | Spectator, UK

The International Cannabis Survey 2018 – Kings College London

For the second year running, Kings College London (KCL) is running a survey on cannabis use | UKCIA blog, UK

Here comes Sober Spring

One of the reasons Dry January is such a runaway success with millions of Brits is that it gives us a go-to reason for not drinking | Alcohol Concern blog, UK

A Highly Publicised Research Paper on Naloxone is Spreading Dangerous Misinformation

A new research paper on the life-saving medication naloxone, which reverses opioid overdoses, is spreading dangerous misinformation that could cost lives | Talking Drugs, UK

Trump take note – why Singapore’s claim that the death penalty works for drug offences is fake news

Speaking before the country’s parliament, Singapore’s minister for home affairs, K Shanmugam, extolled the country’s success in fighting drugs. He attributed these results to Singapore’s harsh drug laws, which include the use of capital punishment | Conversation, Australia