Daily news - 22nd March 2019

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UK news

Medical Cannabis Clinicians' Society publishes guidance for prescribers

New guidance has identified conditions for which it says there is strong or weak evidence of efficacy of medical cannabis treatment | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

Pharma industry should fund trials for medical cannabis, chief medical officer tells MPs

Dame Sally Davies told MPs that randomised controlled trials are the only way to get medical cannabis products licensed, and the process should start as soon as possible | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK


To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the findings of the February 2019 National Aids Trust report, Drug-related Deaths in England, what steps his Department is taking to ensure adequate provision of naloxone for people at risk of overdose | They work for you, UK

Drugs: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of drug consumption rooms on (a) providing people with harm reduction information and advice and (b) supporting people to engage with a structured drug treatment | They work for you, UK

The Hepatitis C Awareness Through to Treatment(HepCATT) study: improving the cascade of carefor hepatitis C virus-infected people who inject drugsin England

Previous studies have shown low rates of diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in-fection in people who inject drugs (PWID). Our aims were to test the effect of a complex intervention [Hepatitis C Aware-ness Through to Treatment (HepCATT)] in drug and alcohol clinics—primarily, on engagement of HCV-positive PWIDwith therapy and, secondaril y, on testing for HCV, referral to hepatology services and start of HCV treatment | Addiction, UK

Integrated Monitoring System. Annual Report. Cheshire and Merseyside 2017/18 (PDF)

The annual report for the Integrated Monitoring System (IMS) details activity delivered during the 2017-18 financial year by 50 drug and alcohol services and 95 pharmacies across Merseyside and Cheshire. The report provides information on presentations to needle and syringe programmes (NSPs) and other low threshold interventions delivered to individuals using drugs and/or alcohol, focussing on areas such as wellbeing, demographics and substances used. The data is presented in three distinct cohort groups | IMS, UK

'The risk of developing psychosis once you've used cannabis remains very small' - audio

In the largest study of its kind, researchers have suggested that frequent cannabis use and high strength strains are likely to increase the chances mental health problems amongst users. Looking at this study and what effect it will have on future research, Sputnik spoke to Ian Hamilton; Lecturer and Researcher at the University of York | Sputnik, UK

Drug smugglers should target Lyme Regis, police and crime commissioner says

A Police and Crime Commissioner has apologised to a harbour master after she suggested drug smugglers should target his port because of a lack of security | Telegraph, UK

Cocaine smuggling: Five guilty over £112m UK trafficking bid

A gang of "specialist marine drug traffickers" is facing jail after being convicted of trying to smuggle cocaine worth up to £122m into the UK | BBC, UK

Video: Five gang members jailed over drugs feud in Bedford

Five members of two rival gangs have been jailed after a kidnapping, a stabbing and a drive-by shooting in a row over drug dealing | BBC, UK


International news

The African Cannabis Report

While cannabis remains illegal in most African countries, many nations are keen to embrace cultivation as a way to boost their economies. Cannabis is already widely grown and consumed across the continent with production currently standing at around 38,000 tonnes and consumption rates at 13.2% | Prohibition Partners, UK

China’s strong-arm approach to drug addiction does not work

Rising numbers of drug users suggest a need for a more subtle policy | Economist, UK

Adelaide United midfielder Ken Ilsø banned after positive cocaine test

FFA confirmed the player returned a positive A-sample for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, in January this year and is now under investigation by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority | Guardian, UK

What enhances the formation of social bonds & facilitates better engagement & retention in an addiction service? (PDF)

The purpose of the research was to explore if there are key skills that staff members at the STAR Project Ballymun use or particular ways that they relate to service users which help with the formation of social bonds, which in turn leads to increased levels of service user engagement and retention. This summary presents the main findings and recommendations | DCU, Ireland

Drug Overdose Deaths Involving Fentanyl, 2011–2016 (PDF)

The number of deaths from overdoses involving fentanyl was more than 11 times higher in 2016 than in 2011, and is believed to be more than 18 times higher as of August 2017-2018 according to provisional data | CDC, USA

Many recovering from addiction have chronic health problems, diminished quality of life

A study shows that more than a third of individuals who consider themselves in recovery from an alcohol or other substance use disorder continue to suffer from chronic physical disease | Science Daily, USA

Naltrexone implant helps HIV patients with opioid dependence adhere to medications, prevent relapse

When patients with HIV who are also battling opioid dependence go without addiction treatment, they are more likely to stop taking their HIV medications than drug-free patients | Medical Xpress, USA

Methadone Helped Her Quit Heroin. Now She’s Suing U.S. Prisons to Allow the Treatment

About to enter a federal prison, a Massachusetts woman is not permitted to continue taking the opioid as a treatment to block cravings and withdrawal from heroin addiction | NYTimes, USA

Drug Laws Undermine Ethics for Social Workers in Child Welfare

As a 20-year-old undergraduate student who had limited familiarity with substance use beyond alcohol, the most formative aspect of my education was an internship at a harm reduction program for people in my college city who injected drugs | Filter Magazine, USA

Three factors predict psych events with drugs for smoking cessation

Three factors predict clinically significant neuropsychiatric adverse events (NPSAEs) in smokers with or without mental health conditions who use cessation pharmacotherapy... | Medical Xpress, USA


Blogs, comment and opinion

Health Matters: Identifying and offering brief advice to tobacco and alcohol users

Smoking and harmful use of alcohol are amongst the most significant risk factors in the global burden of disease in England | PHE blog, UK

Why patients are still being denied legalised medical cannabis

Hospital trust bureaucracy and doctors’ ignorance are to blame for the lack of prescriptions for medical cannabis being issued on the NHS, despite its reclassification for medical use in November 2018 | Pharmaceutical Journal comment, UK

Stella’s story: "It’s hard when everyone you know drinks and no one thinks you have a problem."

Stella was introduced to alcohol at a young age, and her relationship with it became darker ask she got older - but six months ago, she decided to make a change | Alcohol Change UK, UK

Don't pin the opioid crisis just on Purdue. The guilt runs wide

Purdue Pharma is rightly reviled for pushing ‘heroin in a pill’ to those who didn’t need it – but the problem is industry-wide | Guardian opinion, UK