Daily news - 2nd May 2018

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UK news

Statistics on Alcohol

This statistical report presents a range of information on alcohol use and misuse by adults and children drawn together from a variety of sources for England unless otherwise stated | NHS Digital, UK

Statistical bulletin: Adult drinking habits in Great Britain: 2017

Teetotalism, drinking in the week before interview, frequent drinking and units drunk, including changes in drinking patterns in recent years | ONS, UK

High earners more likely to drink alcohol, new statistics show

The findings of a survey of drinking habits in England published today shows  79 per cent of adults earning £40,000 or more a year drank alcohol in the previous week in 2017, compared to 58 per cent of all adults | NHS Digital, UK

Wealthy professionals most likely to drink regularly, figures show

British manual workers drink the least and middle-aged have most harmful habits, reports say | Guardian, UK

Evaluation of minimum unit pricing

MUP for all alcoholic drinks has not been put in place anywhere before. With this in mind, the legislation contains a sunset clause. This means that it will expire after the sixth year of implementation unless the Scottish Parliament votes for it to continue. To inform this decision there is a review clause. This requires Scottish Ministers to present a report to the Scottish Parliament on the impact of MUP after five years of operation. The evaluation we are undertaking will inform this report | NHS Health Scotland, UK

How much do your favourite alcoholic drinks now cost in Scpotland?

The move, which is expected to hit high-strength ciders and cheap own-brand spirits the worst, has been welcomed by medical professionals as the biggest breakthrough in public health since the ban on smoking in public | Independent, UK

Alcohol services reaching 'crisis point', report warns

Only 12 per cent of health professionals linked to the sector 'felt resources were sufficient', the study found | Independent, UK

Budgets for weight loss, stopping smoking and sexual health services being cut by 90 per cent of councils

Half of GPs report the loss of services in their areas because of 'scandalous' government cuts | Independent, UK

'I was in hospital for 11 weeks because of my alcoholism'

David Richardson from Glasgow had a good job and a good life before his drink problem took hold | BBC, UK

Public health outcomes framework: May 2018 data update

The Public Health Outcomes Framework examines indicators that help us understand trends in public health | PHE, UK

Sleeping at the margins qualitative study of homeless drug users who stay in emergency hostels and shelters

This month’s article by Nettleton et al. provides novel insight into a seemingly unremarkable daily phenomenon among homeless people who use drugs: sleep | SSA, UK

Girl died after taking cocaine, Teddy Bear ecstasy and laughing gas

Lauren Atkinson, whose parents said ‘lived life to the full’ had taken cocaine, Teddy Bear ecstasy pills and laughing gas before her death at the City Warehouse ApartHotel in Manchester | Metro, UK

Site for heroin treatment drugs centre in Glasgow identified

A heroin assisted Treatment Centre will be built in Calton if approved by councillors | Evening Times, UK

Drugs: Crime

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of people susceptible to drug (a) use, (b) selling and (c) running as a result of (i) homelessness, (ii) exclusion from school and (iii) living in care | They work for you, UK

Sadly the government has said there’s no plan to legalise cannabis

Gareth Lendrum started the petition, which asked the Conservative government to ‘let the public decide’ if cannabis should be legalised | Metro, UK

How to have a sober stag do (plus five alcohol-free activities)

The statistics are emphatic: the younger generation get no kick from champagne. Mere alcohol doesn’t thrill them at all | Telegraph, UK


International news

Opioids: More US Deaths from Synthetics Than Prescription Drugs - BBC audio

New figures reveal over 45 per cent of opioid-related overdose deaths in 2016 involved synthetics. Dr Thomas Andrew, Chief Medical Examiner for the state of New Hampshire tells us what is behind this. Plus, wespeak to Dr Roger Crystal, CEO of Opiant, which manufactures a nasal spray that can reverse an overdose of opioids | BBC, UK

Ecstasy ingredient could help ease PTSD symptoms, study finds

Research suggests MDMA could reduce symptoms when combined with talking therapies | Guardian, UK

The FDA is warning vaping companies to stop making packages that look like candy after thousands of kids are poisoned

In a press release issued on Tuesday, the FDA confirmed it had sent warning letters to 13 companies, requesting a response within two weeks and threatening "seizure or injunction" if they did not take action. Some of these companies were also cited as illegally selling products to minors | Business Insider, UK

Nearly 60 white supremacists charged in connection with alleged Texas drug trafficking ring

Some members also charged with kidnapping and illegal firearm possession | Independent, UK

Colombian vet accused of 'cruel' surgery to turn puppies into drug mules

Andres Lopez Elorez faces US court for implanting dogs with heroin after being extradited from Spain | Guardian, UK

Thailand Authorises Country’s First Medical Cannabis Programme

Thailand has authorised a private company to cultivate medical cannabis for export, but possession of the drug remains prohibited domestically for now | Talking Drugs, UK

Art you can smoke: the strange and exquisite bongs worth $50,000

Expensive glass-blown pipes have evolved as an American folk art in the illegal market. Will legalization bring it into the light? | Guardian, UK

Fentanyl now drives drug overdose deaths in U.S.

Synthetic opioids—primarily fentanyl—were involved in more than 30 percent of fatal overdoses in 2016, up from roughly 8 percent in 2010, the researchers reported | Medical Xpress, USA

Cocaine Deaths Are Rising At An Alarming Rate, And It’s Because Of Fentanyl

Cocaine deaths rose 52% between 2015 and 2016. A BuzzFeed News analysis shows the role of fentanyl in this staggering trend | Buzzfeed, USA

Medical marijuana could reduce opioid use in older adults

A study shows up to 65 percent of older adults who use medical marijuana significantly reduced their chronic pain and dependence on opioid painkillers | Science Daily, USA

Blacks, whites equally as likely to be prescribed opioids for pain

Racial disparities in pain management have been well-documented, with doctors historically more willing to prescribe opiates to whites than to other racial and ethnic groups | Medical Xpress, USA

The Medicare gap: Patients addicted to opioids find methadone treatment isn't covered

One in three older Americans with Medicare drug coverage is prescribed opioid painkillers, but for those who develop a dangerous addiction there is one treatment Medicare won't cover: methadone | Chicago Tribune, USA

Could this common diabetes drug prevent cocaine relapse?

A recent study suggests that drugs already approved to treat obesity and type 2 diabetes might also help to treat cocaine addiction by reducing relapse | MNT, USA

The relationship between marriage and substance use behaviors

People who experience alcohol-related problems might turn to loved ones for help improving these problems or abstaining from alcohol, yet the substance use behaviors (SUB) of spouses might be an obstacle to recovery | BASIS, USA

Discovery of ketamine's effect on depression is tempered with caution

In the early 1990s, Yale researchers noticed that chronically depressed patients experienced almost immediate—if transitory—relief from symptoms after taking the pediatric anesthetic ketamine | Medical Xpress, USA

Disappearances Highlight the Military’s Role in Mexico’s Drug War

The abductions of three people by armed men in uniforms in 2009 have led an international court to examine accusations of human rights violations by government forces | NYTimes, USA

Ban ‘hypocrite’ pre-mixed drinks, advocacy group urges committee

Having adopted Bill S-228 to amend the Food and Drugs Act to prohibit food and beverage marketed at children last week, the House of Commons standing Committee on Health turned its attention yesterday to another beverage affecting Canada’s youth: Pre-mixed drinks combining alcohol, caffeine, and sugar | iPolitics, Canada

Study to assess long-term effectiveness of teen drug and alcohol programs

Researchers from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at UNSW Sydney are reaching out to young people who participated in a landmark 2012 trial to assess the long-term impact of school-based drug and alcohol prevention programs | NDARC, Australia

I Got Some Drugs Tested at Groovin the Moo

Australia’s first ever music festival pill testing service had more than 100 people through its doors | VICE, Australia

Massey High School defends giving students pamphlet on how to use meth

An Auckland school has defended giving its students a pamphlet with instructions on how to use methamphetamine | Newshub, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Britain’s drinking habits revealed – new figures

Britain seems to be slowly changing its relationship with alcohol, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Although alcohol continues to be heavily marketed and advertised, the number of people who are teetotal has risen sharply since 2005 | Conversation, UK

The highs and lows of drinking in Britain

Recently, researchers at Cardiff University announced serious violence had fallen by 12% between 2012 and 2013. In reporting their findings, they suggested a decline in alcohol consumption since the mid-2000s may also have been a factor | History and Policy blog, UK

Drug and alcohol charity calls for minimum unit pricing in England

One of England’s largest treatment charities has called for the introduction of minimum unit pricing on the sale of alcohol in England. MUP came into effect in Scotland | Addaction, UK

With Glasgow facingI an HIV crisis, the media need to stop stigmatising drug users

Sensationalism in some of the tabloid press in the UK is hardly a recent phenomenon ... But, in the face of what has been described as an “uncontained HIV outbreak” in Glasgow, the potentially damaging language used by the media in Scotland to describe so-called ‘junkies’ must be held to account | A Thousand Flowers blog, UK

Demonising Drug Use Is Just Not The Way – a poem by Jake Coe

Today our thoughts go to Jake Coe and his family, as this day marks four years since his death. Jake’s partner, Cara, wants to share this powerful poem written by Jake before he died | Anyone's Child, UK

We Could Learn Something from Italy about Dealing with Opioid Abuse

Every resident and legal immigrant in Italy has full access to a benefits package that includes addiction treatment, regardless of age, income, gender or region | Scientific American blog, UK