Daily news - 27th August 2019

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UK news

National intelligence network on drug health harms briefing: August 2019

This briefing is based on a meeting of the national intelligence network (NIN) on the health harms associated with drug use. The NIN is made up of representatives from drug treatment services, local authority public health and commissioning teams and national professional and membership bodies | PHE, UK

10 Prisons Project sees drops in violence and drugs

Statistics show drug use halved and a 16% reduction in assaults | MoJ, UK

Deaths jump fivefold as doctors dole out opioids ‘like Smarties’

[Free registration maybe required] GPs are prescribing 8,000 packs a day of oxycodone and fentanyl. Experts fear a US-style epidemic is taking hold. [Harry Shapiro of DrugWise quoted] | Sunday Times, UK

Cannabidiol for adjuvant treatment of seizures associated with Dravet syndrome [ID1211]

You can now comment on this draft guidance | NICE, UK

PHE update CLeaR alcohol self-assessment tool to support local strategy

Public Health England (PHE) have updated its alcohol CLeaR self-assessment tool which aims to help local alcohol partnerships think about how effective their local system and services are at preventing and reducing alcohol-related harm | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

'Deeply saddening': Leeds Festival issues statement after 17-year-old girl's death in suspected drug overdose

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said: "West Yorkshire Police were called to the Bramham Park site following a report that the girl, who is from the Oldham area, had died shortly after 3.40am this morning (Saturday, 24 August) | Yorkshire Evening Post, UK

Funding to support work around foetal alcohol spectrum disorder

Information on how organisations can apply for project funding to support work around foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) | DHSC, UK

Health chiefs' hot weather alcohol advice 'patronising' and 'banal'

Government agencies should stop giving out “patronising” and “banal” advice in the event of sunny weather, critics have said, after health chiefs issued a bank holiday alcohol warning | Telegraph, UK

'Heroin assisted treatment scheme a chance to finally turn the tide against drugs'

As official figures reveal drugs deaths have soared to record levels, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, outlines a scheme being piloted in Middlesbrough | Northern Echo, UK

Could a Non-Opioid Nasal Spray Reduce Heroin Cravings? [Campaign]

What if cravings could be reduced the same way asthmatics use an inhaler to stop an asthma attack? This proof-of-concept trial thinks it may be possible – but needs help to get off the ground | The ORC Study, UK

Sterns nightclub: The raves in the house on the hill

At the height of its popularity, ravers blocked the roads of rural Sussex trying to get to a 19th Century mansion whose floors pounded with the sounds of the so-called Second Summer of Love. But the success of Sterns nightclub would partially lead to its downfall. Just three years after it began, the party was over | BBC, UK

Why are retro sweets tasting success?

Edinburgh-based e-cigarette retailer VPZ, which has more than 125 stores across the UK, says its retro sweet ranges, such as sherbet lemon and pear drops, are outperforming "modern" flavours such as fruit mango or watermelon. Its Black Jack-flavoured e-liquid - which it launched six years ago - is now among its top five best sellers out of more than 500 products, according to the company | BBC, UK

The woman who brought weed drinks to Waitrose

When entrepreneur Rebekah Hall is asked about her line of work, she's become used to a few raised eyebrows | Telegraph, UK

Harry Styles says he took magic mushrooms while recording his new album

Harry Styles said he experimented with magic mushrooms during the recording of his upcoming album | ITV, UK

'Donkey Kong' ecstasy drug dealer from Barry is locked up

A drug dealer sold eight "Donkey Kong" ecstasy tablets to a "vulnerable" 16-year-old girl, who was hospitalised after taking them, a court heard | BBC, UK

Nottingham payphone removed over drug deal fears

Police asked BT to remove equipment from the kiosk at Wilford Toll Bridge in The Meadows, Nottingham | BBC, UK

Inverness police officer drove to work at five times drink limit

Allison Heap arrived in her car at the Old Perth Road complex in Inverness at 08:00 on 1 October last year | BBC, UK

The machine always wins: what drives our addiction to social media

Social media was supposed to liberate us, but for many people it has proved addictive, punishing and toxic. What keeps us hooked? | Guardian, UK


International news

'First vape death in the US' recorded in Illinois

A patient has died after developing a severe respiratory disease due to vaping in the first such death in the US, say health officials. The US state of Illinois' health agency said the unnamed patient was between 17 and 38 years old | BBC, UK

Vaping’s other problem: are e-cigarettes creating a recycling disaster?

Vaping has been declared a serious health epidemic, but it could also create a massive recycling disaster, according to researchers.And top companies in the sector are piloting recycling programs to address the millions of devices improperly disposed of each year | Guardian, UK

India proposes ban on e-cigarettes and three-year jail term for repeat offenders

India is considering introducing a ban on e-cigarettes saying it fears an "epidemic", potentially jeapordising plans laid by vaping companies to access the lucrative market.  India's health ministry proposed the ban on the production and import of electronic cigarettes, in documents seen by the Reuters news agency | Independent, UK

The fall of Prague: ‘Drunk tourists are acting like they’ve conquered our city’

As the Czech Republic capital launches a crackdown, the Observer joins one of the organised pub crawls that are blighting residents’ lives | Guardian, UK

Drug overdoses kill one Australian every five hours

Unintentional deaths increased 38% between 2001 and 2017, annual report reveals | Guardian, UK

ACT pill-testing trial found seven tablets containing drug associated with deaths

Pills containing highly toxic chemical implicated in mass casualty events overseas were found at Groovin’ the Moo music festival | Guardian, UK

Gay and bisexual teens ‘more likely’ to use drink and drugs

Bisexual and gay teenagers are more likely to use drugs and alcohol than their heterosexual counterparts, an Irish-led study has found | Irish Times, Ireland

'There's no such thing as a 'bad batch', it's all bad' - father of Jack (19) who died after suspected drugs tragedy at Indiependence festival

The father of a teen who died after a suspected drug tragedy at Indiependance festival earlier this month has said that when it comes to illegal drugs, there is no such thing as a bad batch as it's "all bad" | Independent, Ireland

'I'm sober two years now and I want to play again' - former Ireland international Keith Treacy

A terrible mixture of alcohol and depression put out the fire in the belly, and dulled the talent, which had made Dubliner Keith Treacy a Premier League player and an Ireland international at the age of 21 | Independent, Ireland

Hepatitis C interventions by organisations providing harm reduction services in Europe – analysis and examples (PDF)

[From July] The aim of this project was to identify and select good practice examples in the field of HCV awareness, testing, access to treatment and care for PWUD in harm reduction and community settings in Europe20 and to offer service providers, social and health professionals and policy makers relevant information with which to encourage the development of new HCV interventions for PWUD, or to improve existing ones | Correlation – European Harm Reduction Network, Netherlands

CDC Director’s Statement on the first death related to the outbreak of severe lung disease in people who use e-cigarette or “vaping” devices

We are saddened to hear of the first death related to the outbreak of severe lung disease in those who use e-cigarette or “vaping” devices. CDC’s investigation is ongoing. We are working with state and local health departments and FDA to learn the cause or causes of this ongoing outbreak | CDC, USA

In-store marketing helps get kids vaping

E-cigarettes are enticing enough to young people with their fruit flavors and slick smoking devices, but new research suggests that marketing in retail stores may also encourage some teenagers to take up vaping | Medical Xpress, USA

Millions of children exposed to opioid misuse at home, new study reveals

More than 3.8 million U.S. children live with an adult who is inappropriately using opioids, according to a new estimate from the Georgia Institute of Technology's School of Public Policy | Medical Xpress, USA

Study finds that teens are using a highly potent form of marijuana

Nearly one in four Arizona teens have used a highly potent form of marijuana known as marijuana concentrate, according to a new study by Arizona State University researchers | Medical Xpress, USA

How common is cannabis use among young adult cancer patients?

Cannabis can help alleviate some of the symptoms of cancer and its treatment, and a new study examines the prevalence of its use among young adult cancer patients now that medical cannabis is becoming increasingly available | Medical Xpress, USA

The DEA Says It's Finally Moving Forward on Research Cannabis Applications

The agency takes one small, mostly symbolic step for kind bud | Reason, USA

Hemp Legalization Was "Lucky" Break For Man Facing Marijuana Charges 

A Texas man was let off the hook because the state could not prove whether he had pot or hemp | The Fix, USA

Why Researchers Are Ill-Equipped to Study Surging Meth Harms

In recent months, key government studies from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) have confirmed the rising scale of stimulants’ use and experienced harms | Filter Magazine, USA

Naloxone as a technology of solidarity: history of opioid overdose prevention

T-shirts sport the slogan “Keep Calm and Carry Naloxone.” “HERO” bracelets signal someone carries take-home naloxone. Naloxone Ninjas tweet, tally lives saved and distribute naloxone kits. Silver ribbons mark International Overdose Awareness Day, modelled on the red ribbons worn in solidarity with patients living with HIV/AIDS | CMAJ, Canada

Australia’s annual overdose report 2019

The continued growth in unintentional overdose deaths is linked to highly potent drugs, many of which are available through prescription, such as pharmaceutical opioids and benzodiazepines. Illegal drugs such as heroin and stimulants including crystal methamphetamine (‘ice’) also contribute to a significant number of fatalities | Penington Institute, Australia

Pill testing trial at Canberra Groovin The Moo festival finds deadly drugs

Deadly substances linked to several mass overdoses around the world were detected at a pill-testing trial at this year's Groovin The Moo festival in Canberra | Canberra Times, Australia

Report on the 2nd ACT GTM Pill Testing Pilot: a Harm Reduction Service

No matter how strong our desire for people not to use drugs or our efforts at education and prevention, people will continue to use drugs. This is not to undervalue drug education and prevention programs, but rather to be realistic about their impact and the evidence of their effectiveness, particularly in the long-term | Pill Testing Australia, Australia

Victorian Drug Trends 2018: Patterns of drug use in the Victorian Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) Interviews

This year, we have provided a summary report highlighting the key trends from the IDRS interviews conducted in Victoria | NDARC, Australia

Learn how naloxone saves lives this International Overdose Awareness Day

In recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day on Saturday, 31 August 2019 NDARC’s Dr Amy Peacock and Dr Sarah Larney share some key information about naloxone | NDARC, Australia

High Hopes

Rich-lister Barry Lambert had no interest in medicinal cannabis until it saved his granddaughter from the ravages of a devastating illness. Five years on, he’s become an international cannabis mogul | SMH, Australia

Queensland's first medicinal cannabis farm officially opens

A medicinal cannabis farm has been declared open for business in south-east Queensland, with the race on to supply the product to the Australian market | SMH, Australia

How Kiwis' drugs are being tested before they have the chance to do harm

The summer festival season may be a faint glimmer in the future but for those behind drug testing outfit KnowYourStuffNZ, minimising the potential for drug harm is becoming a year-round job | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand

Ardern continues to defend cutting benefits of parents who fail drug tests

The Prime Minister is continuing to defend cutting the benefits of parents who fail drug tests - saying fewer than 10 families are affected | TVNZ, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Julia Sinclair: Drastic cuts and disconnected services are fuelling a surge in drug related deaths

National decision makers must wake up to the fact that their approach to addictions services is fuelling the rise in drug-related deaths, says Julia Sinclair | BMJ opinion, UK

The science of addiction: a personal struggle to kick cocaine gives a neuroscientist unique insights

Having survived a decade of drink and drugs as a young woman, Professor Judith Grisel focused all her determination on writing a book about addiction | Guardian, UK

Marshall Tisdale: Scotland’s drug statistics are a call to arms for radical reform

Scotland was recently shown to have the highest drug death per capita of any other European country, with the rest of the UK having the fifth-highest | Conservative Home, UK

Alcohol really is no excuse for bad behaviour – research reveals you’re still the same person after a drink

Many of us know that feeling of waking up, headache in tow, struggling to remember what we said and did after that extra drink the night before. And then suddenly, the memories vividly resurface | Conversation, UK

Ending the War on Drugs

While other cities are jailing drug users, Seattle has found another way | NYTimes opinion, USA

Unlawful strip searches are on the rise in NSW and police aren’t being held accountable

Being strip searched by the police can be intrusive, humiliating and harmful. Typically, strip searches involve being required to strip naked in front of police officers, who often give the direction to “squat and cough”, bend over or otherwise contort the body | Conversation, Australia