Daily news - 18th October 2018

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UK news

Advice on the anticonvulsant drugs Pregabalin and Gabapentin

Addendum to section 6 of the advice published | ACMD, UK

Public Health England: Drinkaware Trust

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what consultation took place between Public Health England and its independent expert advisors on the Alcohol Leadership Board prior to its decision to enter into a partnership with Drinkaware | They work for you, UK

Public Health England: Drinkaware Trust

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the press release, Public Health England and Drinkaware launch Drink Free Days, published on 10 September 2018, for what reason the decision was taken by Public Health England not to state clearly that Drinkaware is funded by the alcohol industry | They work for you, UK

Collective Voice endorses the new Alcohol Charter

Last night saw the launch of the Alcohol Charter published by the Drugs, Alcohol & Justice Cross-Party Parliamentary Group and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm.  It calls on the Government to introduce evidence-based measures to reduce the damage caused by alcohol to both individuals and communities | Collective Voice, UK

Strong support for higher alcohol taxes to help fund public services

New figures released today show that nearly half (49%) of North Easterners support increasing alcohol taxes if the money raised went into funding public services impacted by alcohol use, such as the NHS and police | Balance North East, UK

Review finds that brief alcohol advice in relatively normal primary care practice reduces drinking

Update of a key document forming the basis of claims that brief interventions work in ‘real-world’ settings. Combined findings from randomised trials confirm that brief advice in primary care can reduce drinking; now the issue is whether in normal practice those benefits will be realised on a grand enough scale to create public health gains | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Minibus driver admits drug-driving over A34 death crash

A minibus driver who caused a fatal crash has admitted he was under the influence of drugs at the time | BBC, UK

Carlisle drug dealer 'used boy as foot soldier'

A drug dealer used a teenage "foot soldier" to move drugs and money in a "county lines" operation | BBC, UK


International news

Spanish drug baron Francisco Tejón surrenders after video clip

A fortnight after one of Spain's most wanted drug traffickers appeared in a raunchy music video, he has turned himself in at a police station close to the Gibraltar border | BBC, UK

Canada to pardon convictions for cannabis as country becomes second in the world to legalise drug

The Canadian government is ready to pardon those with a pot possession record of 30 grams or less as Canada became the second and largest country with a legal national marijuana marketplace on Wednesday | Telegraph, UK

On a high: Canada celebrates cannabis being legalised

Trudeau completes election pledge with an end to a century of prohibition | Guardian, UK

Irish Alcohol Bill welcomed as a ground-breaking measure by European health community

The Irish Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, signed into law today (Wed 17 Oct) by Ireland’s President, Michael D Higgins, presents a set of measures to prevent alcohol related harm, which follow latest evidence base in the field of alcohol policy and recommendations of the World Health Organization | Alcohol Action Ireland, Ireland

Preventing overdose deaths in Europe (Perspectives on drugs)

More than 9 000 lives were reported to be lost to drug overdoses in Europe (28 EU Member States, Turkey and Norway) in 2016, the latest reporting year, and this is an underestimate. Reducing drug-related deaths therefore remains a major challenge for public health policy | EMCDDA, Portugal

Cannabis and cannabinoids for the treatment of people with chronic noncancer pain conditions: a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled and observational studies

This review examines evidence for the effectiveness of cannabinoids in chronic noncancer pain (CNCP) and addresses gaps in the literature by: considering differences in outcomes based on cannabinoid type and specific CNCP condition; including all study designs; and following IMMPACT guidelines. MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, CENTRAL, and clinicaltrials.gov were searched in July 2017 | PAIN, USA

Adolescent THC exposure alters neurons/gene networks associated with psychosis risk

Corresponding Author: Yasmin Hurd, PhD, Director of The Addiction Institute of Mount Sinai, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, and other coauthors | EurekAlert, USA

AHA: why it's so hard to quit smoking

The science behind why it's so difficult to quit smoking is crystal clear: Nicotine is addictive—reportedly as addictive as cocaine or heroin | Medical Xpress, USA

Fresh from completing his medical residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital in 1964, Dr. Herbert Kleber fulfilled his military obligation by volunteering for the United States Public Health Service. He expected to do research at the National Institutes of Health. But to his dismay he was assigned instead to the Public Health Service Prison Hospital at Lexington, Ky | NYTimes, USA

Trudeau moves to expedite pardons for Canadians convicted of marijuana possession

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's administration announced legislation that would expedite the pardon process for individuals with previous convictions on marijuana possession after the drug was legalized in the country Wednesday | The Hill, USA

Here’s What Happens to the Black Market Now That Weed Is Legal

We spoke to dealers, cannabis farmers and edible bakers about their plans post-legalization | VICE, Canada


Blogs, comment and opinion

Liverpool led the way on water fountains

Philanthropist Charles Melly saw a free supply of water as an antidote to drunkenness | Guardian letters, UK

Canada shows how we can save ourselves from the drug war

My 29-year-old son Daniel was an occasional user of recreational drugs. He died of an overdose two years ago.  Like many thousands of others, the drugs he took were illegally produced and supplied and his usage was entirely unsupervised and without any medical advice | Politics.co.uk, UK

Canada's legalisation of cannabis will help the world to understand what the alternative to the current situation is

With similar moves towards liberalisation in some US states, Uruguay, Portugal and the Netherlands, there is a sense that momentum is moving away from treating cannabis as law enforcement issue, and towards its control and regulation for adult use in a sensible way | Independent editorial, UK

The UK should emulate Canada and legalise cannabis – it makes sense from an economic and moral perspective

In one developed country, the government has found a way to legislate for recreational use of cannabis. In another an extremely sick child must be made to produce evidence of life-threatening symptoms before it can be prescribed for medicinal purposes | Independent voices, UK

Boomers, remember the real – and perceived – harms of cannabis use

Cannabis is not the devil’s weed. Nor is it a magic elixir. Come Wednesday, the country will not go mad as stoners take over the streets, nor will we achieve doobie-inspired world peace and universal love | Globe and Mail opinion, Canada