Daily news -27th March 2018

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UK news

Deaths related to volatile substances and helium in Great Britain: 2001 to 2016 registrations

Deaths related to volatile substances and helium in England, Wales and Scotland from 2001 to 2016, by region, sex, age, substances involved and cause of death | ONS, UK

PHE remit letter: 2018 to 2019

Letter from Health Minister Steve Brine confirming Public Health England’s role and priorities for the financial year 2018 to 2019 | PHE, UK

Hepatitis C in England 2018 report (PDF)

In this report, we summarise the impact of action plans in England to drive down mortality from HCV, reduce the number of new infections, and outline the actions required to make further progress | PHE, UK

Hepatitis C in the North West: annual review

Hepatitis C in the North West is still a major public health concern, however, rates since 2014 have remained stable. Estimates suggest at least 40,000 people across the North West acquired hepatitis C infection, and of those 27,000 have developed chronic infection | PHE, UK

Xanax drug sold on social media found to be fake

Drug dealers offering teenagers the drug Xanax have been selling fakes that contain a substance linked to several deaths, BBC South East has found | BBC, UK

Men will live as long as women by 2032 because far fewer men are now smoking

Men will live as long as women by 2032 - for the first time since records began | Mail Online, UK

Tobacco industry strategies undermine government tax policy: evidence from commercial data

[Open access] Taxation equitably reduces smoking, the leading cause of health inequalities. The tobacco industry (TI) can, however, undermine the public health gains realised from tobacco taxation through its pricing strategies | BMJ, UK

Mum shares video of son’s fit in bid to legalise cannabis oil

Karen Gray said she has “hit a brick wall” in terms of easing her son’s condition, which can see him have up to 12 seizures per day | Scotsman, UK

Anger over lack of detox and rehab centres in drugs death capital Dundee

Dundee must get its own detox and rehab centres to save the city from further drugs tragedy, says a community activist | Courier, UK

How to Help Homeless People in Hospital- video

Being homeless is extremely bad for your health. Homeless people end up in hospital far more often, and when they get there their condition is often serious | BBC, UK

What are your experiences of 'county lines' drug trading?

The issue of children being forced to sell drugs in rural areas has been linked to a rise in the number of slavery victims in the UK. We want to hear from youth workers, police and young people about this topic | Guardian, UK

Pubs in danger: Six charts on how the British drink

Across the UK, people are spending more money on gin and craft beer, and there are more breweries open today than there were in the 1930s | BBC, UK

Dan Evans targeting Glasgow Challenger for start of comeback from drugs ban

Dan Evans, the former British No 2, is targeting the new $100,000 Challenger event in Glasgow, which starts on April 28, as the venue for his comeback from a 12-month doping ban | Telegraph, UK

GMC is given time to respond to allegations it failed doctor who stole fentanyl

An inquest into the death of a junior doctor who died after injecting himself with the opioid fentanyl has been adjourned so that the General Medical Council can obtain legal representation to respond to allegations made against it | BMJ, UK

Five sentenced for £10m Leicester drugs haul

Five men who smuggled Class A drugs inside furniture, children's clothes and industrial bolts have been sentenced | BBC, UK

Smuggler jailed after 3.4m cigarettes found in lorry

A lorry driver caught smuggling 3.4 million cigarettes has been jailed for evading nearly £1m in customs duty | BBC, UK

Video - 'People are drinking less, but better quality'

Ten years ago, William Chase was wondering what to do with the potato crop from his Herefordshire farm. He hit on the idea of making potato-based gin and vodka. But the challenge was how to break into a market dominated by huge brands like Smirnoff, while selling at double their prices | BBC, UK


International news

Don't leave us this way: ethnography and injecting drug use in the age of AIDS

This month’s article provides a fascinating insight into a social anthropologist’s engagement with people who inject drugs ‘in the age of AIDS’ | SSA, UK

Smokers who vape are half as likely to ditch tobacco as those who never use e-cigarettes, study finds

Smokers who vape are half as likely to ditch tobacco as those who never use e-cigarettes, new research suggests | Mail Online, UK

Prince had ‘exceedingly high’ level of fentanyl in body when he died

Lead prosecutor will make decision ‘in the near future’ on whether to charge anyone over Prince’s death | Guardian, UK

Deported US Army veteran blames PTSD for drug conviction

A US Army veteran has been deported to Mexico after serving time in jail for drug charges, authorities say | BBC, UK

Lethal labels: Alcohol makers fight to avoid the tobacco taboo

Booze carries none of the gory images and dire cancer warnings found on cigarette packets | Politico, Belgium

Frequent, public drug users may be good candidates for overdose-treatment training

In response to America's opioid crisis, public health departments and community organizations across the country have started to train opioid users to reverse overdoses in other users with the opioid-blocker naloxone. The most frequent and public opioid users may be the best available candidates for naloxone training, according to a new study from scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health | Medical Xpress, USA

Study tracks impact of neonatal abstinence syndrome on state Medicaid programs

In the United States, one infant is born every 15 minutes with withdrawal symptoms after being exposed to opioids before birth, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics | EurekAlert, USA

Study suggests uncertainty in e-cigarettes' usefulness for quitting smoking

An analysis of data from a previous study of more than 1,350 smokers intending to quit after a hospitalization found that those who reported using electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) during the study period were less likely to have successfully quit smoking 6 months after entering the study | Medical Xpress, USA

Smoking in patients with heart attack reduced with varenicline

In patients who have had a heart attack, the drug varenicline significantly reduced smoking during the following year, found a randomized controlled trial published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) | Medical Xpress, USA

The People Trump's War on Drugs Will Actually Punish

His campaign, backed by the Justice Department, only reinforces a law-enforcement paradigm that puts people of color in prison | The Atlantic, USA

Feds ease restrictions on prescription heroin to address opioid epidemic

The government is making it easier for patients to access prescription heroin and methadone in its fight against the opioid crisis | Vancouver Sun, Canada

Inquiry into drug law reform (PDF)

While the title of the inquiry relates specifically to law reform, the Committee’s investigations were largely informed by the evidence received in submissions and public hearings, which called for a broader examination of drug-related laws, policies, procedures, programs and initiatives. The result is a report that comprehensively explored the key areas of prevention, law enforcement, treatment and harm reduction, and acknowledges the need for a more effective drug response framework, one that prioritises health and community safety | Victorian Government, Australia

Global review of drug checking services operating in 2017

Drug checking (or 'pill testing') services invite members of the public to anonymously submit psychoactive drug samples for forensic analysis and then provide individualised feedback of results and counselling as appropriate | NDARC, Australia

Sydney's most vulnerable mothers keep their newborns thanks to program

For months, Kaitlyn was in denial about her pregnancy and using drugs. Then she wanted a termination. Thanks to an unconventional program, that all changed | The Age, Australia

Drug treatment orders for minors needed as part of new approach: Labor

Drug-addicted minors could be ordered into rehabilitation programs under a radical plan, backed by the NSW opposition, to intervene early in the lives of people with substance abuse problems | Age, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Harry’s blog 55: Will somebody please stop thinking about the children?

Public health is essentially concerned with prevention and when it comes to tackling global communicable diseases like smallpox, TB and other diseases, there are many public health success stories | NSP blog, UK

Denmark: leading the way in harm reduction practice

Dr Prun Bijral, Medical Director at Change Grow Live, writes about his recent visit to Copenhagen - a city pro-actively tackling the challenge of engaging those outside of treatment services, as well as having a union of people who are active in their drug use | CGL blog, UK

My dad used performance-enhancing drugs – it nearly killed him

For athletes, winning is everything, no matter what the cost. That is why it will be so hard to rout drug abuse out of sport | Guardian opinion, UK

‘I had everything a human being could ever ask for, but I felt utterly alone’: I was a physician dying of alcoholism and this is my story

I was finally dying of alcoholism | Metro, UK

Congressional Investigation Needed into Scientific and Ethical Corruption at NIAAA

The personal view of one professor close to the controversy | IAS blog, UK

The NIH can’t be trusted to probe its own alcohol study

National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins’s plan for an internal NIH investigation into allegations of serious misconduct by senior agency officials is deeply flawed and not credible | Washington Post letter, USA

The War on Drugs Breeds Crafty Traffickers

The people in prison are the ones who are dumb enough to get caught. The ones we miss are the most cunning | NYTimes opinion, USA

What Does It Mean When We Call Addiction a Brain Disorder?

The term acknowledges that addiction is a chronic but treatable medical condition involving changes to circuits involved in reward, stress and self-control | Scientific American blog, USA