Daily news - 2nd November 2018

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UK news

National Statistics: Substance misuse treatment for adults: statistics 2017 to 2018

Statistics on alcohol and drug misuse treatment for adults from PHE’s national drug treatment monitoring system (NDTMS) | PHE, UK

Research and analysis: Alcohol dependence prevalence in England

Estimates of the number of alcohol dependent adults in each local authority in England | PHE, UK

Research and analysis - Alcohol treatment inquiry: summary of findings

Report on the findings and recommendations of Public Health England’s inquiry into the fall in numbers of people in treatment for alcohol dependence | PHE, UK

'Desperate crisis' as addiction services reach fewer people

Labour blames budget cuts as numbers treated for substance misuse falls by 4% in England | Guardian, UK

Number of people treated for crack cocaine problems rises 44% in two years

Public Health England says treatment rise likely to be related to drug being more prevalent | Guardian, UK

Open consultation: Airside alcohol licensing at international airports in England and Wales: call for evidence

We are seeking evidence on alcohol-related disruptive behaviour at our airports and the impact airside alcohol licensing could have on reducing this problem | Home Office, UK

Circular 018/2018: rescheduling of cannabis-based products for medicinal use in humans

This circular draws attention to the contents of the Statutory Instrument (SI) – SI 2018/1055 | Home Office, UK

Medical cannabis (and cannabis oils)

"Medical cannabis" is a broad term for any sort of cannabis-based medicine used to relieve symptoms. This article presents an FAQ on medicinal cannabis | NHS, UK

'Very few people' likely to get prescription for medical cannabis as it becomes legal in the UK

NHS guidance for patients explains that medical cannabis will only be prescribed for a limited number of conditions and only if all other treatment options have already been explored | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

Mother says cannabis oil has been saviour for epileptic son Alfie

Hannah Deacon says she ‘won’t rest’ until all families in need can access medical cannabis | Guardian, UK

MS charity urges Home Office to rethink medicinal cannabis laws

Allowing cannabis prescriptions for a minority of patients will change “nothing” for many Scots who could benefit, a leading charity has said | National, UK

Alcohol and Violent Crime (PDF)

Reducing alcohol consumption is key to violence prevention, due to the strong association between alcohol consumption and an individual’s risk of becoming a perpetrator or victim of violence | Alcohol Focus Scotland, UK


To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to limit the prescription of Tramadol | They work for you, UK

‘Making Spice Class A won’t protect vulnerable users from its devastating effects’

Making Spice a Class A drug is likely to make its already devastating effects on vulnerable communities worse not better, politicians have been warned | Volte Face, UK

Trick or treat children 'given ecstasy pills,' mum says

Amy Dixon said her children, aged two and five, came home with an envelope containing about 10 suspicious pills after collecting sweets in Shiremoor, North Tyneside, on Wednesday | BBC, UK

Neil Lennon: 'Edinburgh derby scenes proved folly of booze ban repeal'

Let's see. In the space of a month we have had an assistant referee being hit by a coin thrown by a Rangers fan in their Scottish Premiership game against Livingston. We had an elderly woman being hit by a bottle thrown by a fan - believed to be a Hearts supporter | BBC, UK

Homelessness: applying All Our Health

Updated to include references to the Homeless Reduction Act and the Government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy | PHE, UK

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch resigns over 'delay' to betting crackdown

Sports minister Tracey Crouch has resigned over "delays" to a crackdown on maximum stakes for fixed-odds betting machines | BBC, UK

"No new approach" from Government on fixed odds betting terminals

Tom Watson, Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, asked an urgent question in the House of Commons on fixed odds betting terminals | Parliament.uk, UK

Jonathan Donne jailed for John 'Jack' Williams murder

A convicted killer who murdered a 67-year-old after robbing him in his own home has been jailed for life | BBC, UK

PSNI officer who drank vodka in homeless hostel cautioned

A PSNI officer has been disciplined after climbing in the window of a County Antrim homeless hostel and spending several hours drinking with residents | BBC, UK

Japanese pilot Katsutoshi Jitsukawa admits being drunk shortly before Heathrow flight

A Japanese pilot has admitted being almost 10 times over the alcohol limit shortly before a flight from Heathrow Airport, police said | ITV, UK


International news

The global burden of disease attributable to alcohol and drug use in 195 countries and territories, 1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016

We aimed to use data from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2016 to calculate global and regional estimates of the prevalence of alcohol, amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, and opioid dependence, and to estimate global disease burden attributable to alcohol and drug use between 1990 and 2016, and for 195 countries and territories within 21 regions, and within seven super-regions. We also aimed to examine the association between disease burden and Socio-demographic Index (SDI) quintiles | Lancet, UK

Mexico's highest court rules adults have ‘fundamental right’ to use cannabis, setting legal precedent

Decision follows Uruguay and Canada's legalisation of the drug | Independent, UK

Medical cannabis products can now be prescribed in Northern Ireland

The move has been welcomed by some, while others say the new rules are still too restrictive | Journal, Ireland

As Opioid Crisis Deepens, The Methadone Business Is Booming

The nation’s hardest hit communities are turning to the long-stigmatized opioid treatment | Huffington Post, USA

Cluster of cocaine-fentanyl overdoses in Philadelphia underscores need for more 'test strips' and rapid response

Emergency department physicians are calling for more readily available testing strips to identify the presence of fentanyl in patients experiencing a drug overdose, and a rapid, coordinated response among health care providers and city agencies to help curb overdoses and identify high potency high risk drugs | Science Daily, USA

Forms of tobacco that give you cancer

Nicotine is the primary substance in cigarettes that causes addiction, but most experts agree that it does not directly cause cancer | Medical News Today, USA

Cutting societal alcohol use may prevent alcohol disorders developing

Society must take collective responsibility to reduce the harm caused by alcohol use disorders, a University of Otago academic says | Science Daily, USA

Interactive Graphics: The Power and Prejudice of DAs on Drugs

District attorneys are the most powerful players in the criminal justice system. But most people still don’t know who they are or what they do. Filter has conducted a first-of-its-kind investigation into where DAs representing the 50 most populous counties in the US stand on drug policy | Filter Magazine, USA

First U.S. drug containing marijuana-derived ingredient goes on sale

Epidiolex is a twice-daily oral solution—a cannabidiol, or CBD liquid—made by Britain-based GW Pharmaceuticals. It is approved for use in patients 2 years old and older with two types of epileptic syndromes, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome | Medical Xpress, USA

Grass state: Almost half a million Queenslanders used cannabis last year

Women are less likely to tell their friends about their drug use, which in turn limits their access to controlled substances | Age, Australia

Global Drug Survey 2019: Kiwis urged to get frank about their drug use

Kiwis are being encouraged to get honest about their drug use, from the dangerous aspects through to pleasurable, to help inform better drug policy worldwide | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

What we’ve learned from the latest alcohol and drug treatment statistics

PHE has published the latest alcohol and drug treatment statistics, which are for April 2017 to March 2018. They are taken from data collected by the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) from alcohol and drug services across England | PHE blog, UK

How do middle-aged social drinkers perceive their alcohol consumption?

Research recently published in BMC Public Health found that rather than having health concerns, middle-aged drinkers who consume low-levels of alcohol, place more importance on their drinking behaviors conforming to socially acceptable narratives of their age, gender and identity | BMC Series blog, UK

'Are nurses ready to manage patient expectations of cannabis-based products?'

Rarely does policy change so quickly. The home secretary Sajid Javid announced a review into the potential health benefits of cannabis in June and then, true to his word, he acted on the findings opening up access to cannabis products from the beginning of November 2018 | Nursing Times, UK

NICE Rejects UK’s Most Eminent Medicinal Cannabis Clinician From Advisory Committee

If the UK was setting up an expert committee on fertility and Professor Robert Winston applied to join, he’d be welcomed with open arms. If we were setting up a committee on the origin of the universe and Professor Brian Cox applied, there’s no question he’d be appointed. But NICE, the National Institute for Healh and Care Excellence, yesterday rejected Professor Mike Barnes’ application to join its committee on cannabis-based products for medicinal use | Clear, UK

Kate Osamor's son Ishmael has a disappointing drug history – but let's not pretend other MPs are the pinnacle of virtue either

The idea that John Bercow, who could face investigation for historical claims of bullying within the Commons itself retains the capacity to pass judgement on Osamor, leaves a pretty rank taste in the mouth | Independent voices, UK

Are airport alcohol licensing laws a good idea?

To booze or not to booze? Two journalists go head to head over the government's latest review of whether licensing laws should apply to UK airports | Indpendent, UK

DMT Is the Drug for Our Collective Crisis of Meaning

It’s increasingly popular and there’s a good reason why | Medium blog, UK

Mexican Supreme Court Ruling Means Recreational Cannabis is Now Legal for Adults

Yesterday (31 Oct) the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that the prohibition of cannabis was unconstitutional - as it violated the ‘fundamental right to the free development of the personality’. As the fifth such judgement, under Mexican law, this now means that it is binding on all judges nationally - effectively (de facto) legalising the personal use, possession, private cultivation, and sharing of cannabis amongst adults | Transform blog, UK

Dr John Collins: 'Drug courts have served as 'window dressing' - and it's time we moved on'

Ireland is undergoing a serious shift in how it approaches drug-demand issues. Instead of relying on the criminal justice system to deal with people who use drugs, the national drugs strategy now rightly highlights drugs as a public health issue first and foremost | Independent, Ireland

Marijuana is on the ballot in four states, but legalization may soon stall, researchers say

The midterm elections could loosen marijuana restrictions in the United States, as four states put ballot initiatives on legalization to a vote | Conversation, USA