Daily news - 26th March 2019

Weekly subscribe button

UK news

PHE publish investigative report on increasing crack use

Public Health England and the Home Office have published an investigative report on the rise in crack cocaine use in 6 areas of England | PHE, UK

Crack cocaine increase: inquiry findings

Report on the findings of a Public Health England and Home Office investigation into the increase in crack cocaine use in England | PHE, UK

Opiate and crack cocaine use: prevalence estimates by local area

Estimates of the number of opiate and crack cocaine users in local areas | PHE, UK

'Special offers' on crack cocaine fuelling big rise in use in England

Aggressive marketing and fewer police behind 8.5% increase, says official report | Guardian, UK

Crack use up in England after 'aggressive marketing'

"Aggressive marketing" by drug dealers who send out targeted text messages and give free samples is contributing to a rise in crack cocaine users in England | BBC, UK

Buprenorphine prescribing in Criminal Justice settings: the real picture - webinar

In this webinar our expert panel will discuss buprenorphine prescribing in criminal justice (secure environment) settings as well as in the community | SMMGP, UK

Alcohol, are we kidding ourselves?

[From February 25th] Are we kidding ourselves when it comes to alcohol? That’s the question being raised as a new report released today highlights the North East’s drinking habits | Balance North East, UK

Major report by Balance shows what the North-East thinks about drink

550,000 North-East adults are drinking more than the recommended alcohol limit, according to a report | Northern Echo, UK

Dying for wine o'clock: binge drinking at home is becoming a serious health problem for women

[Subscription maybe required] Roisin Sheridan attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in the 1980s when she was recovering from addiction. “Back then it was mostly men,” she recalls. “I would say there seems to be a larger number of women alcoholics now than there used to be.”| The Times, UK

An innocent drink: could ‘alcosynth’ provide all the joy of booze – without the dangers?

Scientist David Nutt memorably said alcohol is more dangerous than crack. Now, he is trying to invent a healthy synthetic alternative, and the race is on to get it to market | Guardian, UK

Leaving cannabis in the hands of criminals is no longer an option

A landmark study published this week – which found that cannabis users who smoke stronger strains of the drug on a daily basis are five times more likely to be diagnosed with psychosis – has worrying implications for public health | Volte Face, UK

Sativa Investments completes 1000th cannabinoid and terpenes test at PhytoVista Laboratories

Sativa Investments PLCthe UK’s first medicinal cannabis investment vehicle, has completed its 1000th cannabinoid and terpenes test at its on-site testing facility, PhytoVista Laboratories | News Medical, UK

Drug dealer caught near primary school in Carlisle

Sergej Aleksandrvicius had 142 wraps of heroin and crack cocaine when he was stopped by police in Woodsghyll Drive, Carlisle, Harraby | BBC, UK

Lee Sparkes 'could have swallowed cocaine' before custody death

A man who died in police custody could have swallowed cocaine after being arrested for shoplifting, an inquest has heard | BBC, UK

County lines: Boy detained over Great Yarmouth stabbing

A 16-year-old boy has been detained for four and a half years over a "brutal" stabbing that left a man bleeding heavily in a street | BBC, UK


International news

‘Stronger, purer and lots of them’: UN chief tells ITV News illegal drugs are spreading as 2020 targets scrapped

ITV News has been given exclusive access to the United Nations’ library for narcotics in Austria | ITV, UK

Sackler Trust suspends all new donations following opioid scandal

Atrust that has donated millions to medical science, healthcare, education and the arts in the UK has announced it is suspending all new giving as it faces legal cases amid the opioid drug crisis in the US | Telegraph, UK

How it Feels to Discover Your Son Was the Secret Founder of Silk Road

Ross Ulbricht is serving a life sentence for creating the world's first online drug marketplace. We spoke to his mum Lyn about their journey | VICE, UK

Edible marijuana sends outsize number of people to hospital, Colorado study finds

University researchers say effects of edibles can be longer lasting than people realize after study reveals ‘striking results’ | Guardian, UK

Intoxication and psychiatric issues common in teen emergencies

Hospital emergencies involving children aged 14-15 show a “high frequency” of intoxication and psychiatric issues, including intentional overdoses and deliberate self-harm, a new study shows | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Public health activists say eradicating tobacco must be a human right

“The tobacco industry floods countries with an addictive and lethal product, cigarettes, which kill over seven million people per year,” said Laurent Huber, director of the US Action on Smoking & Health (ASH) organisation | Euractiv, Belgium

European drugs summer school 2019: bursaries for participants from ENP countries

Professionals, academics or experts from European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) countries will gain the chance to participate in the European drugs summer school (EDSS) this year, thanks to four bursaries being offered through the EU4Monitoring Drugs (EU4MD) project | EMCDDA, Portugal

Study shows that patients with or without cancer use different forms of marijuana

People with and without cancer are more likely, over time, to use a more potent form of medical marijuana with increasingly higher amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a new study shows | EurekAlert, USA

How new ketamine drug helps with depression

On March 5, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first truly new medication for major depression in decades. The drug is a nasal spray called esketamine, derived from ketamine—an anesthetic that has made waves for its surprising antidepressant effect | Medical Xpress, USA

Hearing loss before 50 may mean higher risk of drug and alcohol issues

People under age 50 with hearing loss misuse prescription opioids at twice the rate of their hearing peers, and are also more likely to misuse alcohol and other drugs, a new national study finds | Medical Xpress, USA

More aging Americans are using pot to soothe what ails them

The group of white-haired folks—some pushing walkers, others using canes—arrive right on time at the gates of Laguna Woods Village, an upscale retirement community in the picturesque hills that frame this Southern California suburb a few miles from Disneyland | Medical Xpress, USA

The Influence of Social Media on Teen Use of E-Cigarettes

E-cigarette use – or “vaping” – among youth is on a dramatic rise. In just one year, from 2017 to 2018, e-cigarette use rose by 78% among high schoolstudents | Psychology Today, USA

Effort to Legalize Marijuana in New Jersey Collapses

Lawmakers were trying to legalize cannabis with a bill that sought to reckon with the racial inequities caused by the war on drugs | NYTimes, USA

San Francisco Vapes Ban the Logical Next Step of a Harmful Campaign

The March 19 announcement by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera of steps to ban the sale of all e-cigarettes in the city is the logical culmination of an unrelenting nationwide campaign—one that hypes a so-called “epidemic” of teen vaping while ignoring the saved lives of adults who stop smoking combustible cigarettes and of teens who never start | Filter Magazine, USA

Surge in cannabis use among youth preceded legalization in Canada

National discussions on cannabis legalization, along with increased access to medical marijuana, may have encouraged more high school students to consume the drug years before it became legal in Canada | Medical Xpress, USA

Methamphetamine use, forms and routes of administration among people who regularly consume drugs in Adelaide, South Australia

This bulletin reports on use of methamphetamine, with a specific focus on crystal methamphetamine and route of administration, amongst two samples of people from Adelaide, South Australia, who regularly consume drugs | NDARC, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

What the latest estimates on opiate and crack use tell us

PHE’s latest prevalence estimates of opiate and crack use (OCU) show that at a national level, the combined numbers of people who take crack cocaine on its own, illicit opiates (mainly heroin) on their own and those who take both drugs, rose by 4.4% between 2014-15 and 2016-17 | PHE blog, UK

How to cut the harm caused by cannabis

Regulation would be better than prohibition, writes Dr Colin Bannon. We need more research on which potential users are at most risk of psychosis, says Professor Ian Hamilton | Guardian letters, UK

The Trip Report 25/03

Through the work of organisations such as WEDINOS, The Loop, and SaferParty, we know a little more about the drugs in circulation. The report provided below is a summary of their findings over the last week | Cameron Scally, UK

Drinking in pregnancy: lasting effects of low-level alcohol use?

In this guest post, Kayleigh Easey, a PhD student and member of the Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group (@BristolTARG) at the School of Psychological Science at the University of Bristol, takes a look at a recent systematic review investigating effects of parental alcohol use and offspring mental health | IAS blog, UK

Debate: should the use of e-cigarettes be encouraged among smokers?

Research looking at the benefits of electronic cigarettes often has conflicting outcomes. Two clinical experts debate the arguments for and against e-cigarettes | Nursing Times, UK

Neil Chanchlani: Britain’s opioid crisis—lessons to be learnt from Canada

The Times has recently launched Britain’s Opioid Crisis, a campaign to highlight the growing problem of opioid use within the UK. Following in North America’s footsteps, UK national headlines now read ‘Britain’s opioid epidemic kills five every day’, ‘Overworked GPs fuel opioid crisis by giving too many painkillers’, and ‘Opioids in the UK: poverty and pain’. Analysis of data from the NHS and Office for National statistics suggest that there has been an increase in opioid prescriptions and opioid-related deaths in the last two decades compared to previous years | BMJ blog, UK

Meet the ‘Hillbilly Lawyer’ Fighting to Take Down Big Pharma

Inside the massive lawsuit that seeks to assign blame — and financial penalties — for the opioid epidemic | Medium blog, USA

Violence against women is overlooked in its role in opioid epidemic

One night, a woman I’ll call Tonya got a compliment from a guy when she was out with her boyfriend. Tonya’s boyfriend cursed her because another man had complimented her. He said: “You give it to everybody, I want it too.” In anticipation of his physical abuse, she reasoned, “I could go off to Wonder World.” She then injected heroin, to be “in her own world,” she later told me | Conversation, USA