Daily news - 30th May 2018

Weekly subscribe button

UK news

Buprenorphine used in the treatment of opioid dependence: availability and price. Letter (PDF)

Some drug treatment services, and the pharmacists who dispense the medicines they prescribe, have raised concerns about the availability of generic 2mg buprenorphine tablets, and about the price that pharmacists are paid for them when they dispense NHS prescriptions. PHE has been working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to understand the issues and what can be done to mitigate any resulting problems. Please share the information that follows with your drug treatment commissioner and providers | PHE, UK

Inside the UK's First City Centre Drug Testing Facility

After successfully reducing drug-related harms at UK festivals, The Loop are now taking their testing facilities to city centres – starting with Bristol | VICE, UK

Drug-testing facilities should be used at all UK festivals after Mutiny deaths, urge experts

'We find that about half of the people we see then go on to throw away their drugs or take less – if you identify adulterated drugs people don’t take them' | Independent, UK

Hidden contents of pills sold at start of festival season revealed amid warnings of ecstasy FOUR times normal strength

Up to one in five tablets are different to what buyers think they are purchasing - and researchers warn that the number of people dying after taking drugs at music events is rising | Mirror, UK

Alcohol treatment 'in crisis': hope for a new national strategy?

Earlier this month Alcohol Concern/Alcohol Research UK released a new report “The hardest hit: addressing the crisis in alcohol treatment services”, calling for action to address the many issues arising from funding cuts and other challenges facing the sector | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

CLAHRC resources helping hospitals to tackle burden of alcohol-admissions

CLAHRC South London’s alcohol research team has produced resources to support hospitals across the NHS to ask patients about their drinking habits. The resources will help hospitals to meet the new NHS England commitment to screen all patients for alcohol-related problems | CLAHRC, UK

Baclofen: its effectiveness in reducing harmful drinking, craving and negative mood. A meta-analysis

May update. Baclofen: what does the evidence really say? Summary of a meta-analysis with comment by Thomas Jones, Senior Addictions Liaison Nurse, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust | SMMGP, UK

Contrasting staff and student views on alcohol education provision in a UK university

[Open access] Alcohol education and awareness aims to teach individuals the risks of excess consumption. It is common in UK universities, despite limited evidence of success with student cohorts | DEPP, UK

“Why Am I the Way I Am?” Narrative Work in the Context of Stigmatized Identities

This month’s article by Rance et al. provides an excellent example of how qualitative interview data can be analysed in different ways. While there are many diverse approaches which can be used to analyse qualitative interview data, most often we see techniques such as thematic analysis employed | SSA, UK

Scottish retailers upbeat about Minimum Unit Pricing

Scottish retailers remain positive about the impact of minimum unit pricing, nearly a month after the legislation was introduced in Scotland on May 1 | Convenience Store, UK

Binge-drink Britain: how one weekend bender can ruin your life

Just one big night out drinking can lead to pancreatitis – a painful and potentially fatal illness. Young people describe how their lives changed dramatically overnight | Guardian, UK

Precursor chemical licensing

It is necessary to recognise and protect the legal trade in these substances, while at the same time discouraging their diversion for illicit purposes. The objective therefore is to strike a balance between avoiding the restriction of legitimate trade and actions taken to prevent the illicit manufacture of drugs | Home Office, UK

Claim that Glasgow drug death rate is over 1000% higher than EU is Mostly True

Labour MP Paul Sweeney claimed that drug addiction should be treated as a matter of public health rather than a criminal matter and claimed that in Glasgow drug-related deaths had reached “epidemic levels” | The Ferret, UK

Welcoming EDP Drug & Alcohol Services

EDP Drug & Alcohol Services has become a new member of Collective Voice. Based in Exeter, EDP is a significant provider of services in the South West of England, delivering substance misuse services in communities and prisons | Collective Voice, UK

SMMGP May newsletter (PDF)

Latest news from SMMGP and FDAP | SMMGP, UK

Government seeks tech firm to trace every packet of cigarettes sold in the UK

HMRC seeks to appoint ‘ID issuer’ to comply with EU legislation and tackle £2bn annual tax gap caused by illicit tobacco trade | Public Technology, UK

West Yorkshire gang admit selling drugs on the dark web

Jake Levene, 22, Lee Childs, 45, and Mandy Christopher Lowther, 21, all from West Yorkshire, supplied Fentanyl via a site on the dark web | BBC, UK

Drug arrests after Bridgend boy, 11, left 'zombie-like'

A man and a 13-year-old boy have been arrested after a schoolboy was left critically ill when he allegedly smoked the synthetic drug Spice | BBC, UK

Koy Bentley death: Boy, 16, sentenced for drugs offence

A 16-year-old boy who was cleared of murdering a friend but admitted conspiracy to supply Class A drugs has been sentenced | BBC, UK

Birmingham death crash driver 'had cannabis in system'

A driver who died along with five others when he lost control of his Audi at 100mph had cannabis in his system, an inquest has heard | BBC, UK


International news

HRI Executive Director announces his departure

After eleven years at Harm Reduction International, eight of them as Executive Director, I will be stepping down at the end of August | HRI, UK

College football player who uses cannabis oil to prevent seizures barred from playing

'It's hard because you don't know if this is your last breath your child is taking. You just don't know,' says his father | Independent, UK

HRB publishes latest drug treatment figures for Ireland 2010 – 2016

Numbers treated for cocaine use rises for third year in a row. Opiates are still the main problem drug reported. Benzodiazepines increase both as the main and as an additional problem drug | HRB, Ireland

Drug Treatment in Ireland NDTRS 2010 to 2016

In this seven-year period, 63,187 cases were treated. The number of cases rose from 8,806 in 2010 to 9,892 in 2015. In 2016 the number of cases fell to 9,227 | HRB, Ireland

Cannabis now the most used substance in new cases of problem drug use

There has also been an increase in the number of people who are homeless seeking treatment | Journal, Ireland

Crime on the dark web: law enforcement coordination is th eonly cure

Today, May 29 2018, law enforcement from 28 countries across the globe met at Europol headquarters in The Hague to share knowledge and expertise and discuss a coordinated approach to tackling crime on the dark web | Europol, The Netherlands

Drug-related homicide in Europe: a first review of the data and literature

Homicide is a violent act that generates high social costs. In particular, drug-related homicide (DRH) has the potential to act as an indicator of wider drug-related crime. Comparing DRH levels between countries with data on this topic can be a valuable tool for identifying trends and new threats | EMCDDA, Portugal

Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center

This new Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center aims to provide communities, clinicians, policy-makers and others in the field with the information and tools they need to incorporate evidence-based practices into their communities or clinical settings. The Resource Center contains a collection of scientifically-based resources for a broad range of audiences, including Treatment Improvement Protocols, toolkits, resource guides, clinical practice guidelines, and other science-based resources | SAMHSA, USA

Treating anger in alcohol use disorder

Imagine someone bumps into you on the street. There are at least two ways to interpret this behavior: the person was simply being careless, or the person was being hostile toward you | BASIS, USA

Afghan Narcotics: 2000-2018: From Control and Elimination Efforts to a Drug Economy and Bombings Labs

If the Afghan government is going to defeat the Taliban and other insurgent and extremist elements, it must win at both the military and civil levels. At present, it at best faces a military stalemate and the situation may well be worse at the civil level | CSIS, USA

Marijuana: Big Tobacco 2.0

This is a predatory industry at war with America’s general welfare | National Review, USA

How Anti-Drug Campaigns Like 'This Is Your Brain On Drugs' Have And Haven't Worked

President Trump has said he wants to launch a new anti-drug ad campaign to fight opioid use. But how have these public service announcements worked in the past? | WBUR, USA

Government of Canada launches call for proposals under its Harm Reduction Fund

The open call for proposals will allow applicants to apply for up to three years of funding for time-limited projects | Government of Canada, Canada

Man arrested over frozen fish cocaine importation found dead in cell

A 48-year-old man charged over the importation of 59 kilograms of cocaine in a shipment of frozen fish last week was found dead in his jail cell within 48 hours of his arrest | SMH, Australia

Top scientist explains how we got meth testing so wrong

The regime has seen people needlessly evicted from homes, and millions of taxpayer and private dollars wasted, a report yesterday concluded | Newshub, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Re: Illicit drug use should not be a crime, says Royal College of Physicians. Drugs policy will not change or progress as long as Government refuses to acknowledge the need for change

Perhaps emblematic of current Westminster drugs policy is the recent response from the Home Office to the Government’s own advisory committee bluntly refusing to contemplate the introduction of safe injecting environments for the most damaging drug use | BMJ response, UK

Minimum Unit Pricing – a silver bullet against alcohol-related harm?

In May 2018, the Scottish Government introduced a Minimum Unit Price (MUP) on alcohol of 50p. Change Grow Live welcomed this bold move and have been calling upon the UK Government to consider something similar for several years | CGL blog, UK

Blair Gibbs: Legalising cannabis for medical reasons doesn’t have to lead to recreational use

Voters have shifted on medical cannabis – but British politicians will not move without more assurances about the path ahead | Conservative Home, UK

Middle-class cocaine users are guilty of causing harm – as are most people

David Gauke is right to say drug users fuel street violence. But many modern comforts also involve exploiting others | Guardian, UK

Is the US opioid crisis contagious and could Australia be next?

Americans consume around four times more opioids than Australians. That’s a big jump and it needs certain conditions | Guardian opinion, UK

We’re All Addicts Here

In 2009, my husband had an emergency spinal-fusion operation to prevent permanent nerve damage caused by a ruptured disk. I was rolling the I.V. pole while he pushed a walker around the hospital corridor when I got an urgent call from a friend: “Don’t let them give him pain pills,” she said | NYTimes opinion, USA

The cannabis experience from the U.S. tells us the kids will be all right

In 2012, Washington State voted to legalize marijuana. By 2014, the world’s first system for legally growing, processing and retailing cannabis was operating | Globe and Mail opinion, Canada