Daily news - 6th November 2018

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UK news

November issue of DDN magazine out now

Never under-estimate the power of kindness and a safe space. The SWOP project featured in our cover story showcases the best kind of outreach – meeting people at the stage they’re at, offering comfort and safety first and foremost, and then providing the first links to a network of support. It’s a way of working, and a set of values, that we shouldn’t forget in this results-driven age. Outreach work can be so very undervalued as budget cuts bite, but without projects such as this many people would stay under the radar, scarred by trauma and unable to move on | DDN, UK

Prevention is better than cure: our vision to help you live well for longer

This document sets out the government's vision for putting prevention at the heart of the nation's health | Department of Health and Social Care, UK

Reality Check: Are public health campaigns working?

Health Secretary Matt Hancock wants to encourage people in England to make "better choices" around their alcohol, sugar, salt and fat intake, while getting more exercise | BBC, UK

Key role of specialist nurses highlighted by alcohol addiction inquiry

Free registration may be required. The loss of alcoholic specialist roles, such as wellbeing nurses, in local services struggling with cash shortages is preventing alcoholics from getting the help they need, according to a national inquiry | Nursing Times, UK

Doctors and nurses reluctant to recommend e-cigarettes to cancer patients

Twenty-nine per cent of health professionals would not recommend e-cigarettes to cancer patients who already smoke, according to research presented at the 2018 NCRI Cancer Conference | Medical Xpress, UK

Doctors don't know whether they should encourage smokers to switch to e-cigarettes 

One in three medics would not recommend e-cigarettes to smokers, with quarter unsure if they are any safer than smoking, polling suggests | Telegraph, UK

The Problems with the UK's Legalisation of Medical Cannabis

Since last Thursday, medical cannabis has been legal in the UK. This means specialist doctors are now able to prescribe cannabis products for conditions where there is a proven medical benefit... | VICE, UK

Shyness, alcohol use disorders and ‘hangxiety’: A naturalistic study of social drinkers

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) has been related to alcohol use disorder (AUD). Shyness can be considered a subclinical analogue of SAD, yet there is little research into the effect of alcohol on anxiety levels in highly-shy individuals | Science Direct, UK

Precursor chemical licensing

Licence and registration application information for companies that deal in precursor chemicals | Home Office, UK

UK Drug Policy - Discussion platform

MyPOV is a new discussion platform. We seek to explore the big issues in UK society. This week we are focused on UK Drug Policy and why reform is needed. We have many great contributors (Beckley Foundation, Drug Science, Transform, Mike Barton, Norman Lamb, Peter Reynolds, The BMJ, Leap UK…) and many others. We seek active engagement with other drug and policy experts and the UK population. If you have an opinion on UK Drug Policy, we would love you to engage! For or against change, your opinion really does matter | MyPOV, UK

The Cochrane Drugs & Alcohol Group needs your help

Help the Cochrane Drugs & Alcohol group with a topic prioritisation exercise. By completing this survey you can help the group determine which areas to target in future systematic reviews | SSA, UK

Webinar (free) - How to deliver OST in prisons

The webinar provides one hour CPD and certificates will be issued | SMMGP, UK

The Challenge of Drugs

Free event. Tues 15th November. Manchester. The Challenge of Drugs is a MetroPolis event, designed to look in detail at the difficulties of formulating a coherent policy on drugs. Is it a public health issue, a crime fighting problem, does Britain even have a drugs policy? | MetroPolis, UK

Kate Osamor referred to watchdog over son's drugs conviction

A Labour frontbencher has been reported to Parliament's standards watchdog over her son's drugs conviction | BBC, UK

Police warning after man killed by 'laced' heroin

Police said a 34-year-old man from Hartlepool died on Sunday after taking the drug which may have been laced with fentanyl or carfentanyl | BBC, UK

Belfast hostel deaths linked with heroin and Pregabalin mixing

A number of Belfast hostel deaths were linked with the drug last year - with alerts sent out to health and addiction workers - to make them aware | Belfast Live, UK

Spaniels help Highland Council uncover illicit cigarettes

David MacKenzie, Highland Council's trading standards manager said: "This operation shows that Trading Standards will continue to take the necessary action to reduce the trade of illegal tobacco products in the Highlands | BBC, UK


International news

European project to give people in recovery from substance use in Scotland the opportunity to learn abroad

A new European funded project is set to give people who have experienced drug or alcohol problems the opportunity to develop their career prospects by taking part in a work and learning experience in another European country | SDF, UK

America's marijuana map: How it might change after the midterms

Four states across American are on the eve of introducing new cannabis legislation | Guardian, UK

Cannabis convictions: the push to clear the records that ruin lives

Criminal histories can stand in the way of a job or housing. But with legalization, activists are helping to erase them | Guardian, UK

FDA approves opioid painkiller up to 10 times stronger than fentanyl

Drug has been available intravenously for decades, but soon will be available in hospitals as under-the-tongue tablet | Independent, UK

Mac Miller died from drug overdose, coroner's report finds

The rapper, who died aged 26 last month, passed away due to a drug overdose, according to a coroner's report published on Monday | Independent, UK

Alcohol misuse by over-50s on rise in Australia and New Zealand, study finds

It’s ‘critically important’ to identify hazardous drinking in older people, researchers say | Guardian, UK

Alcohol advertising to be banned near schools from November 2019

State’s first health-related alcohol legislation will restrict cinema and outdoor advertising | Irish Times, Ireland

Legal doping: Cannabis in beer experiencing a high in Germany

Beer with cannabis on the label is popular and the substance can be marketed well. It’s totally legal, as long as the THC content doesn’t exceed legal limits | Local, Germany

Dutch emergency rooms see sharp increase in GHB overdoses: report

The number of people who end up in the emergency room after taking too much GHB increased explosively over the past years, doctors at the emergency rooms of hospitals in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Nijmegen and Haarlem, and the Dutch association for emergency medical services NVSHA said to NRC | NLTimes, Netherlands

More Women Are Using Marijuana During Pregnancy, Report Says

Fewer women are smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol during pregnancy, but more are using marijuana, according to new federal data | TIME, USA

'Charging ‘Dealers’ with Homicide: Explained'

In May 2016, 26-year-old Caleb Smith was prepping for medical school entry exams, and ordered what he thought was Adderall off the internet to help him study. After the package arrived at his home in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, his girlfriend, 26-year-old Amanda Leach, asked to try some | The Appeal, USA

Juul Is So Hot It’s Set the Vaping Debate on Fire

The Juul e-cigarette was created to help adult smokers quit, according to the company that makes it. Its developers wanted to make the experience of getting a stimulating hit of nicotine dramatically better than sucking on a stinky, smoking stick of burning tobacco | Bloomberg, USA

Blood vessel function takes harmful hit from hookah tobacco smoking

Smoking hookah tobacco acutely impairs blood vessels' ability to function, according to preliminary research to be presented in Chicago at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2018 | Medical Xpress, USA

Opioid gene variant in adolescents reduces reward, may increase later substance abuse risk

Adolescents with a particular variant of an opioid receptor gene have less response in a part of prefrontal cortex that evaluates rewards, compared to those with the other version of the gene, say researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) | Medical Xpress, USA

Researchers observe cognitive changes in offspring of rats exposed to high cannabis doses

Washington State University researchers have seen cognitive changes in the offspring of rats exposed to heavy amounts of cannabis. Their work is one of the rare studies to look at the effects of cannabis during pregnancy. The drug is the most commonly used illicit substance among pregnant women | News Medical, USA


Blogs, comment and opinion

Matt Hancock: My vision for prevention

When we think about staying healthy, it’s often within the narrow bandwidth of eating well, exercising regularly and avoiding smoking. These are important issues for us all to address of course, but there’s so much more to it than smoothies, park runs and vaping | PHE blog, UK

Current troublesome issues in E-cigarette Policy, October 2018

As I see it, currently the Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) and e-cigarette policy scene continues to evolve in a direction that will result in substantially more tobacco-related addiction, illness and death, than what would likely occur with the skilled addition of a THR component to tobacco control programming | NSP blog, UK

Alcohol Awareness Week 2018: what have you got planned?

With Alcohol Awareness Week starting in just two weeks (19-25 November), we wanted to share a few of the activities local authorities, pharmacies, GP surgeries, charities, workplaces and other local organisations across the country have planned to raise awareness about alcohol and signpost people to more information and support | Alcohol Concern blog, UK

Are UK alcohol guidelines reliable and realistic?

In 1995, a report entitled “Sensible Drinking” was published by the UK Department of Health. In this report, the recommended maximum alcohol intakes were controversially raised to 4 units per day for men and 3 units per day for women | Dr Geoff blog, UK

NHS Guidelines Offer People Who Need Cannabis As Medicine Two Choices. Go Private Or Carry On Being A Criminal

For those that can afford it, going to a private clinic could be the quickest and most efficient way of getting the medicine that they need. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly clear, it may be the only way. For most people, already using cannabis as medicine, this means they will carry on as before, either growing themselves or dealing with the criminal market | Clear, UK

Letter: More needs to be done about Weymouth's drug problem

27.08.18: 'Town had a drug death rate of 12.7 per 100,000 people between 2015-17 in comparison with 6.4 nationally and 4.8 in London.' | Dorset Echo, UK

Partying Habits

Unlucky, mate. Here you go,” the volunteer says as the clubber he’s talking to dutifully deposits a tiny sachet containing white powder, then gives a weary thank you before drifting away into the hazy color and music of the Boomtown Fair music festival in the sunny English countryside | Medium blog, UK

Leslie Jamison picks the best books to understand drinking

From Stephen King’s The Shining to Billy Holiday’s memoir, the novelist picks five books that offer solace, if not salvation | Guardian, UK

Introduction to the Special Series on Self-Directed Recovery

I recently attended a presentation about motivational interviewing.1 A practicing clinician raised his hand and asked the presenter what he should do about "true alcoholics." | BASIS Online, USA

‘Microdosers’ of LSD and magic mushrooms are wiser and more creative

We just ran the first ever pre-registered scientific study on the microdosing of psychedelics and found some very promising results | Conversation, Canada