Daily news - 4thApril 2019

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UK news

Liver disease profiles: April 2019 update

This update of the liver disease profiles data tool includes new data on persons aged 18 years and over in drug misuse treatment who inject drugs and are receiving a hepatitis C test, for 2017 to 2018 | PHE, UK

National Prison Drugs Strategy

The Prison Drugs Strategy sets out our ambition to tackle drugs by restricting supply, reducing demand and building recovery. This mirrors the 3 strands of the HM Government Drug Strategy and, through a comprehensive approach, offers the best opportunity to reduce the levels of drug misuse in our prisons | MoJ and HMPPS, UK

Efficacy and cost-effectiveness of an adjunctive personalised psychosocial intervention in treatment-resistant maintenance opioid agonist therapy: a pragmatic, open-label, randomised controlled trial

[Open access] Opioid use disorder is a chronic, debilitating, and costly disorder that has increased in prevalence in many countries, with an associated sharp rise in mortality. Maintenance opioid agonist therapy is the first-line treatment, but many patients do not stop using illicit or non-prescribed drugs concomitantly. We aimed to test the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a personalised psychosocial intervention implemented with a toolkit of behaviour-change techniques as an adjunct to opioid agonist therapy | Lancet, UK

Prolonged-release opioid agonist therapy:qualitative study exploring patients’viewsof 1-week, 1-month, and 6-monthbuprenorphine formulations

[Open access] Options for opioid agonist therapy (OAT) are expanding with the development of prolonged-release(also known as extended-release) 1-week, 1-month, and 6-month formulations of buprenorphine. There is anassumption that patients will welcome these new treatments and medication adherence will correspondinglyincrease. However, there has been little research exploring patients’views of prolonged-release buprenorphine. Thispaper aims to understand which durations patients prefer and why, and to consider the findings with reference to thedevelopment of future OAT products | Harm Reduction Journal, UK

GPs told to recommend vaping to smokers as it IS safer than cigarettes

Many GPs and pharmacists are reluctant to recommend vaping to smokers due to confusion about safety, research suggests. For smokers attempting to quit, vaping can be a good alternative to cigarettes as it delivers the nicotine without other toxic substances like tar | Express, UK

Tobacco Harm Reduction - Question

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the levels of smoking and incidence of lung cancer in Sweden as a result of steps taken by that government; and what plans Ministers have to visit that country as part of their forthcoming review of tobacco harm reduction | They work for you, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Northern Ireland

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, whether in the absence of the Northern Ireland Assembly she plans to bring forward legislative proposals on amending the sale and supply of alcoholic drinks at special events in Northern Ireland | They work for you, UK

The pain of losing a loved one to drugs

Video. There’s no denying it’s a crisis: the rate of drug-related deaths in Scotland is the highest in the European Union | Channel 4, UK

Social media 'more addictive than drugs and alcohol', warns Prince Harry

The Duke of Sussex has warned of the dangers of social media, declaring it "more addictive than drugs and alcohol" during a discussion on young people's mental health | ITV, UK

Watchdog uses child avatars to find and ban gambling ads

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) worked with a data and analytics firm to create seven online avatars to reflect the browsing characteristics of children aged six to seven, eight to 12 and 16, an adult, a person of an indeterminate age and a profile reflecting an adult and a child using the same device | ITV, UK


International news

Share with Caution: How Social Media Fuels Moral Panic over Drug Use

Viral posts on social media are spreading false and stigmatising stories about people who use drugs, further marginalising vulnerable groups | Talking Drugs, UK

MDMA may treat PTSD by reopening sociable 'window' which closes after puberty, study suggests

Doctors believe drug's success in treating PTSD could be down to it stimulating 'social reward learning' and increased brain connectivity | Independent, UK

U.S. FDA warns of potential seizure risk in some users of e-cigarettes

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday warned of potential safety risks from the use of e-cigarettes after it found certain users had suffered from seizures | Reuters, UK

Germany cautiously embraces medical cannabis regulation

A new era in medical cannabis regulation has been marked by excited anticipation and idealism in markets, caution and precision from authorities | Health Europa, UK

Uruguay: The world’s marijuana pioneer

Uruguay was the first country in the world to legalise recreational cannabis. Five years after its pioneering law was passed, how's the industry getting on? | BBC, UK

Marian Keyes, Damien Dempsey among host of Irish personalities joining the call to decriminalise people who use drugs

Marian Keyes, Damien Dempsey, Emmet Kirwan, James Kavanagh, Philly McMahon and many others have joined the #SaferFromHarm campaign to decriminalise people who use drugs. In a new campaign video Marian Keyes recognises that “how we currently treat drug users does not work and needs to change” | Ana Liffey Drug Project, Ireland

Private Canadian firm to provide Co Down epileptic girl with medicinal cannabis

The life a three-year-old Co Down girl with severe epilepsy has been "saved" by a private medicinal cannabis company who have given her free access to treatment not provided by the NHS, according to her father | Irish News, Ireland

Hepatitis C - Annual Epidemiological Report for 2017

European surveillance data show a 10 percent decrease in newly reported hepatitis C cases between 2016 and 2017. However, with more than 31,000 recorded cases in 2017, diagnoses remain at a high level in the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA) | ECDC, Sweden

Psychotropic Substances - Technical Report

On an annual basis the Psychotropics Control Section of the INCB Secretariat publishes a technical report that provides an overview of the world wide licit manufacture, export, import, stocks and consumption of substances controlled under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971. In addition to providing specific figures for movements of many scheduled substances the report includes commentary on emerging and ongoing trends in the licit market for psychotropic substances under international control | INCB, USA

Opioid epidemic is increasing rates of some infectious diseases

The United States faces a converging public health crisis as the nation's opioid epidemic fuels growing rates of certain infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS... | Medical Xpress, USA

Let’s Address Four Common Myths About Harm Reduction

The US has historically been resistant to supporting harm reduction programs for people who use drugs. While some object to harm reduction approaches on ideological grounds—i.e., abstinence is the only way, drug use is immoral—most reject interventions like syringe exchange programs and maintenance medications based on commonly held myths | Filter Magazine, USA

Study reveals genes associated with heavy drinking and alcoholism

A large genomic study of nearly 275,000 people has revealed new insights into genetic drivers of heavy drinking and alcohol use disorder (AUD), the uncontrollable pattern of alcohol use commonly referred to as alcoholism. In the largest-ever genome-wide association study (GWAS) of both traits in the same population, a team of researchers found 18 genetic variants of significance associated with either heavy alcohol consumption, AUD, or both | Science Daily, USA

What did you expect? Alcohol outcome expectancies during Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

People often have expectations about what will happen when they drink alcohol. They might expect that having a drink will make them more sociable (a positive expectation), or make them feel irritable and sad (a negative expectation) | BASIS, USA

Mindframe guidelines

The Mindframe for Alcohol and Other Drugs project uses research evidence to reduce stigma associated with AOD use, increase help-seeking behaviour in people who may require treatment or support, and minimise harm | Mindframe, Australia

MP calls for Queenslanders to be allowed to grow cannabis for personal use

Medicinal cannabis will be easier to access in Queensland with new laws passing Parliament but people should be able to grow their own, a Greens MP argues | SMH, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

So Brits have a lot of sex on drugs – why?

It’s more common than you might think, and the reasons may have surprisingly little to do with sex and drugs | Guardian opinion, UK

If e-cigarettes help smokers quit, treat them as any other prescription medicine

The secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar and the outgoing commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Scott Gottlieb, recently declared the “e-cigarette craze” among teenagers an epidemic | The Hill opinion, USA