Daily news -29th March 2018

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Happy holidays. See you again next Tuesday.


UK news

Opiate and crack cocaine use: prevalence estimates for local populations

Estimates of the number of opiate and crack cocaine users in local areas from 2014 to 2015 | PHE, UK

Estimates of the number of children who live with opiate users, England 2014/15 (PDF)

Information from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) has been combined with estimates of the number of opiate users in England (in 2014/15)2 to provide estimates of the number of children who may be considered as ‘affected by parental opiate use’ | PHI, UK

ACMD work programme for 2017 to 2019

Letter to the Home Secretary from the chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, outlining their work programme for 2017 to 2019 | ACMD, UK

Stop smoking interventions and services

This guideline covers stop smoking interventions and services delivered in primary care and community settings for everyone over the age of 12. It aims to ensure that everyone who smokes is advised and encouraged to stop and given the support they need. It emphasises the importance of targeting vulnerable groups who find smoking cessation hard or who smoke a lot. News article here | NICE, UK

Minimum unit pricing for alcohol in Scotland

A minimum unit price for alcohol will start on 1 May 2018. The Scottish Government has proposed a price per unit of 50p to the Scottish Parliament | My Gove.Scot, UK

Getting the balance right in medication-based treatment

Commentary on key studies considers how medication-based treatment for drug dependence can be (re)oriented to long-term recovery, the importance of the right dose, and whether we can we dispense with all but minimal counselling/therapy and supervised consumption of medications like methadone | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Councils cut spending on alcohol misuse - despite more people ending up in hospital after booze

An exclusive analysis of the budget by Birmingham Live reveals that most councils in the West Midlands met area are planning to cut their expenditure on treating, preventing and reducing harm from alcohol misuse in adults for 2017/18 | Birmingham Live, UK

LibDem MSP says Scotland should ‘open regulated drugs market’

Scotland should have its own “regulated cannabis market” to control the pricing and potency of the drug, a LibDem MSP had claimed | Herald, UK

London criminal gangs 'target Thanet children under 11'

London criminals are grooming Thanet children with the aim of setting up criminal drug networks with local markets, BBC South East has found | BBC, UK

Electronic Cigarettes

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the potential savings to the public purse from the health service encouraging the uptake of e-cigarettes among smokers | They work for you, UK

Discarded Needles (Offences)

I beg to move, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to make it an offence to discard needles in public places in specified circumstances;  and for connected purposes | They work for you, UK

Addictions: West Midlands

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding has been allocated from the public purse to addiction services in the West Midlands in each of the last five years | they work for you, UK

Bargain Booze owner Conviviality heads for administration after failing to raise funds

Conviviality is set to become the latest retailer to collapse into administration, putting more than 2,500 jobs at risk, after failing to secure emergency funds from investors | Telegraph, UK

Hayes triple teen death crash driver jailed for 13 years

A drink-driver who hit and killed three teenage boys as they walked to a birthday party in west London, has been jailed for 13 years | BBC, UK

Drug dealing serial hot tub thief jailed

A Dundee man who broke into sheds and stole inflatable jacuzzis has been jailed for three-and-a-half years | BBC, UK


International news

E-cigarettes still banned in Australia despite support from some MPs

Year-long parliamentary inquiry ends with split opinions, and no change to current laws on vaping | Guardian, UK

In the murky world of DC marijuana law, 'pop-up' markets thrive

Vendors believe they have found a workaround to the law, but the police call it illegal drug dealing | Independent, UK

25-year-old man died after taking little known synthetic drug in Clare pub

The man’s friend also took the drug, which he told an inquest looked like “crushed glass” | Journal, Ireland

Call to better screen problem drinking

A new survey of patients linked to 40 different GP clinics found that just 1.5% were identified as having problem alcohol use in the previous two years, prompting calls for better screening levels | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Opioid Treatment Program Helps Keep Families Together

Velva Poole has spent about 20 years as a social worker, mostly in Louisville, Ky. She's seen people ravaged by methamphetamines and cocaine; now it's mostly opioids | npr, USA

Nearly 1 million people out of workforce due to opioid addiction: study

The study from the American Action Forum, a right-leaning think tank, highlights the economic costs of the opioid epidemic, in addition to the direct toll of deaths and addiction | The Hill, USA

Officials asking DEA to lift ban on mobile methadone vans

Since the 1980s, mobile methadone vans have been used to treat opioid addicts in under-served rural areas and inner city neighborhoods | The influence, USA

FDA Panel Backs Approval of Lofexidine for Opioid Withdrawal

A US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee has recommended approval of lofexidine hydrochloride, a nonopioid, for the mitigation of symptoms in the setting of abrupt opioid withdrawal | MedScape, USA

A Mysterious Cluster of Amnesia Cases May Be Linked To Fentanyl

Five new cases of a mysterious amnesia syndrome have been linked to the potent opioid fentanyl | BuzzFeed, USA

Marijuana may lead non-smokers to cigarettes

Former smokers who use cannabis are also more likely to relapse, and current smokers who use cannabis are less likely to quit | EurekAlert, USA

What Makes an E-Cig Taste Good May Also Make It Toxic

With names like "Banana Pudding," "Blueberry Cinnamon-Streusel Muffin" and "Butter Crunch," the flavoring ingredients in electronic cigarettes sound not only harmless but immensely appealing | Live Science, USA

Liver cancer caused by alcohol consumption may have worse prognosis than other forms

A new study indicates that patients with alcohol-related liver cancer often do not live as long as patients with liver cancer that is not associated with alcohol consumption, mainly due to diagnoses at later stages | EurekAlert, USA

Impact of alcohol and illicit drug use on the burden of disease and injury in Australia: Australian Burden of Disease Study 2011

This report quantifies the health impact that alcohol and illicit drug use place on Australia, including as risk factors for other diseases and injuries. It estimates that alcohol and illicit drugs were collectively responsible for 6.7% of Australia’s disease burden in 2011. The report highlights that health inequalities exist, with lower socioeconomic groups and more remote areas generally experiencing higher rates of disease burden due to alcohol and illicit drug use | AIHW, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Talking Cannabis With the MHRA

In November 2016 I organised a meeting with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and a number of key players in the CBD market | Peter Reynolds, UK