Daily news - 5th February 2019

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UK news

DDN February 2019

The rising rate of homelessness in this country is a scandal that shames our society. Furthermore, we are passive to the theory that through wrong choices, drugs and alcohol, those on the streets nominate their fate as they become consigned to an invisible underclass that will die a third of a lifetime sooner than they should | DDN, UK

Drugs policy inquiry launched

Government's stated intention in its 2017 drug strategy is to reduce all illicit and other harmful drug use, and increase the rate of individuals recovering from their dependence.  The Health and Social Care Committee is seeking written submissions on the health consequences of illicit drugs policy | Parliament.uk, UK

Get an up-to-date overview of new and emerging drug-related health harms in just three pages

Read Public Health England’s summary of the latest intelligence and clinical messaging on new and emerging drug-related health harms. The information included in the ‘dashboard’ summary comes from a range of intelligence sources (including the Report Illicit Drug Reactions national pilot) and aims to support frontline practitioners, service providers and other stakeholders in responding to new and emerging drug-related health harms.  Practitioners can also report adverse reactions to illicit drugs via RIDR | PHE, UK

ADPH Press Release: Public health should be a priority in the Spending Review

On Monday 4 February 2019 The Times published an open letterorganised by the Association of Directors of Public Health, and co-signed by 54 health leaders, calling for public health to be a priority in the Spending Review | ADPH, UK

Member: cannabis-derived products for medicinal use guideline committee

We are looking for members to join the cannabis-derived products for medicinal use guideline committee. Closing date: 5pm, Sunday 10 February 2019 | NICE, UK

2019 surveillance of alcohol-use disorders: diagnosis and management of physical complications (NICE guideline CG100)

We will update the guideline on alcohol-use disorders: diagnosis and management of physical complications (NICE guideline CG100). The update will focus on treatment for acute alcohol withdrawal | NICE, UK

A change in the air: Results of a study of smokefree policy and practice in mental health trusts in England (PDF)

The aim of this study was to describe the progress made by mental health trusts in England in implementing NICE guidance | Smoke Free Action, UK

The role of stopping smoking in money advice – putting health and economic benefits together (PDF)

A pilot project carried out between 2014-2016 working with money advice services in Glasgow (see below) found that staff were keen to help clients to save money by stopping smoking, but were concerned about how they could raise this issue in the most sensitive and empathic manner | NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Smokefree Services and ASH Scotland, UK

Fake Xanax: Anxiety drug deaths an 'escalating crisis'

The coroner for Northern Ireland has called the rising number of deaths linked to fake versions of the anti-anxiety drug, Xanax, "an escalating crisis" | BBC, UK

'Xanax' linked to more than 200 deaths

At least 204 deaths have been linked to the misuse of anxiety drug Xanax in the UK since 2015, figures seen by the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme reveal | BBC, UK

A safe fix for Bristol’s drug users and the city

Saving lives and clearing needles off the streets: Bristol has the power to become the first UK city to set up a safe consumption room | The Bristol Cable, UK

The Scottish Borders - community experiences survey

Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs is working with the Scottish Borders Alcohol and Drug Partnership to understand more about the experiences of individuals, families and the wider community in relation to drug & alcohol use | SFAD, UK

'County lines' drug gangs tracking children via social media

Warnings on coercion and blackmailing over smartphones went unheeded, say experts, as child exploitation spirals | Guardian, UK

'The x-ray of one man in custody shows 22 drug packages in his colon'

My job as a police doctor also involves seeing a man accused of rape and a suspected drink-driver | Guardian, UK

Peterborough cannabis raids net crop valued at £500,000

Five people have been arrested and cannabis valued at £500,000 has been seized in a series of raids | BBC, UK


International news

Teenagers who copy each other’s risk-taking have more friends

From binge-drinking to reckless driving, our teenage years are known to be a time of risk-taking. Now we are starting to understand why such behaviours spread between friends | New Scientist, UK

Punishing Poverty: How the failed 'war on drugs' harms vulnerable communities

The failed ‘war on drugs’ causes a vicious cycle of poverty around the world, which targets the most marginalised and vulnerable in society. The people most affected are not those in charge of the drugs trade – instead, it’s those caught up at the lowest levels of the trade – a trade that is destroying their lives and communities, particularly in the global south | Health Poverty Action, UK

Volteface TV: Are We Entering a New Age of Cannabis Legalisation Around the World?

On this edition of Volteface TV Director of External Affairs, Paul North, chats with Mike Trace of the International Drugs Policy Consortium & Joe Tibbetts of CLGdotTV about the prospects for legislation in the UK | Volte Face, UK

Cannabis in Small Commonwealth States: Turning a New Leaf?

From the Caribbean to Europe to Africa, more and more Commonwealth countries are moving away from punitive policies towards cannabis use, and introducing evidence-based reform | Talking Drugs, UK

El Chapo trial: jury set for deliberations of infamous Mexican drug lord

The jury has heard months of testimony about Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán who faces life in prison | Guardian, UK

An open letter the Director General and Executive Board of the World Health Organization

We write to you, as members of the global public health community, to express our grave concern at the attempt by the Philip Morris International-funded entity, Foundation for a Smoke Free World (FSFW), to pave the road for partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) | GGTC, Thailand

What drives patients to use medical marijuana: mostly chronic pain

Slowly but surely, the stigma surrounding marijuana use is losing its grip in the U.S. Since the 1990s, advocates have pushed for a re-evaluation of cannabis (the plant species name often used interchangeably with marijuana) as a viable treatment for a host of ailments | Medical Xpress, USA

Traffic fatalities on a high after cannabis legalisation: Study

Monash University research examined the effect of recreational cannabis sales (RCS) on traffic fatalities in three US states where it was legalised - Colorado (legalised 2014), Washington (2014), and Oregon (2015), and nine neighbouring jurisdictions from 2009-2016 | EurekAlert, USA

Marijuana, cocaine may play role in young americans' rising stroke rate

The vast majority of strokes occur in people over 65, but the number of younger adults having strokes is rising. New research suggests growth in illegal drug use could be playing a role | Medical Xpress, USA

School suspension, expulsion more likely to predict youth drug use than police arrest

Research has told us that school disciplinary practices lead to juvenile justice interventions, and that both school exclusion and juvenile justice intervention lead to adversities like drug use in adolescence and adulthood | EurekAlert, USA

Study finds rise in overdoses from opioids in diarrhea drug

A Rutgers study has uncovered a new threat in the opiate epidemic: Overdoses of loperamide, an over-the-counter diarrhea medication, have been steadily increasing in number and severity nationwide over five years | Medical Xpress, USA

OxyContin reformulation to curb opioid abuse led to hepatitis C surge, study finds

Reformulation of the pain medicine OxyContin in 2010 to make it more difficult to abuse directly led to a large rise in hepatitis C infections as drug abusers switched from the prescription medication to injectable heroin, according to a new RAND Corporation study | Medical Xpress, USA

Struggling to Compete with Fentanyl, Mexico’s Poppy Farmers Ask for Legalization

Gonzalo Hernandez* first heard the word “fentanyl” about two years ago | Filter Magazine, USA

Fentanyl Overdoses Spike on Mexico’s Northern Border But Remain Invisible

When it landed three years ago, some six guys died here in one week,” says 51-year-old Roberto Prado, a homeless man who uses drugs and lives in a community of a few dozen beneath one of Tijuana’s canal bridges | Filter Magazine, USA

India may revise plans to restrict the online promotion of vaping and e-cigarettes

India’s ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) is likely to walk back the stance on vaping laid out as part of its proposed rules for policing internet content | Quartz, USA


Blogs, comment and opinion

Are young people under the influence of alcohol content on TV?

Ofcom's 9pm watershed might not be fit for purpose, argues Alex Barke | IAS blog, UK