Daily news - 27th March 2019

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UK news

National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Waiting Times (PDF)

The quarterly trend over the past three years shows little change in performance. Of the 10,550 people who started their first treatment in the most recent quarter, 93.9% waited three weeks or less. Summary (PDF) | ISD Scotland, UK

HM Government Public Appointments

The role is unremunerated, but travel expenses incurred on committee business in the UK will be reimbursed. Closing date for Applications, 16/04/2019 | Cabinet Office, UK

NHS price concessions cost charities and local authorities an additional £5.6 million last year

In the last year we estimate that price concessions have cost an additional £165 million in unplanned expenditure for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) | University of Oxford, UK

Drug rehabilitation charities spent millions on generics price concessions in 2018

Data analysts from the University of Oxford have found that drug charities and other non-NHS organisations spent £5.6m on generic drug price concessions in 2018 | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

Drug safety testing, disposals and dealing in an English field: Exploring the operational and behavioural outcomes of the UK’s first onsite ‘drug checking’ service (PDF)

In a year when UK drug-related deaths and festival drug-related deaths reached their highest on record, a pilot festival drug safety testing service was introduced with the aim of reducing drug-related harm. This paper describes the operational and behavioural outcomes of this pilot and explores the relationship between drug use, supply and policing within festival grounds | IJDP, UK

Child and adolescent anxiety could be linked to later alcohol problems

New research led by the University of Bristol has found some evidence that children and adolescents with higher levels of anxiety may be at greater risk of developing alcohol problems. However, the link between anxiety and later binge drinking and later frequency and quantity of drinking was more inconclusive | University of Bristol, UK [Paper here]

Alcohol Industry CSR Organisations: What Can Their Twitter Activity Tell Us about Their Independence and Their Priorities? A Comparative Analysis

[Open access] There are concerns about the accuracy of the health information provided by alcohol industry (AI)-funded organisations and about their independence. We conducted a content analysis of the health information disseminated by AI-funded organisations through Twitter, compared with non-AI-funded charities, to assess whether their messages align with industry and/or public health objectives | MDPI, UK

Addicts waiting longer for help to tackle drugs and alcohol

Hundreds of Scots with drug and alcohol problems are waiting too long for treatment, new figures have revealed today | Scotsman, UK

Drive to trace Hepatitis C patients

Public Health Wales is working to find thousands of people in Wales living with hepatitis C, to offer them new treatments that it says cure nearly all cases of the illness | ITV, UK

CannaPro Seizes the Initiative in the CBD and Novel Foods Debacle

TLT Solicitors, acting on behalf of CannaPro, has sent a formal letter to the FSA warning it of the consequences of taking any enforcement action against CannaPro Certified Businesses.  An industry-wide claim for such compensation could amount to many hundreds of millions of pounds/euros.  A copy of the letter can be seen here. This offers some degree of protection to all businesses that are CannaPro Certified.

Support Jersey's GPs to prescribe medical cannabis, deputy says

The Jersey government should support doctors on the island to prescribe medical cannabis, a member of the States Assembly of Jersey has said | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

Who Wants to Sell Drugs Forever?

"I do have other aspirations but when people see you a certain way, it’s hard to shake that reputation." | VICE, UK

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

Five members of a gang who tried to smuggle cocaine worth about £112m into the UK have been jailed | BBC, UK



International news

Oxycontin maker settles with Oklahoma in major lawsuit over its role in America's opioid crisis

The maker of the powerful prescription painkiller OxyContin has reached a settlement of $270 million (£204m) with the state of Oklahoma, as the Sackler family behind the company faces mounting criticism over their role in the nation's deadly opioid crisis | Telegraph, UK

Acid test: how psychedelic virtual reality can help end society's mass bad trip

Cyberdelic VR is being used to treat trauma and even simulate near-death experiences | Guardian, UK

El Chapo news: Convicted drug lord Joaquin Guzman seeks new trial because of his bad public image

Lawyers claim his constitutional right to fair trial was abused | Independent, UK

WHO recommends rescheduling of cannabis

On 24 January 2019, the Director General of the World Health Organization sent a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations recommending, among other things, that cannabis and associated substances be rescheduled in the international drug control framework. The changes are reported to facilitate the trade of these substances for medicinal and scientific purposes | EMCDDA, Portugal

Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Save Lives

Medications for opioid use disorder (OUD) save lives. Yet most people with OUD in the United States receive no treatment at all, and only a fraction of those who do receive medications for OUD | National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, USA

Mixed Outcomes and Ethical Questions at New York’s “Opioid Courts”

Early one morning in January 2018, Bruce Gramiack Jr. awoke to find his cellmate’s “lifeless body on the floor” at their county jail cell in Pennsylvania | Filter Magazine, USA

New lockbox helping curb opioid addiction

Addiction treatment centers have long had trouble retaining patients in medication assisted treatment. However, medication-assisted treatment is an approach used for addiction recovery that utilizes medications like Suboxone, Vivitral, and Methadone to reduce opioid cravings, withdrawals and illicit drug use | Medical Xpress, USA

Impact of legalizing cannabis on the opioid crisis

Although opioids exhibit impressive analgesic effects against both chronic and acute pain, the increased prescription rate of this class of drugs has been accompanied by an increase in opioid-related mortality | News Medical, USA

Here’s What a Legal Market for Cocaine Could Look Like

It is abundantly clear, given decades of trial and error and escalating scientific evidence, that prohibition only makes risky drug use even riskier | Filter Magazine, USA

Next FDA chief must continue fight against teen vaping, local health officials urge

In an almost uniform response to the impending exit of Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, city and county public health officials are urging the Trump administration to go bigger in its response to adolescents' growing use of e-cigarettes | CNN, USA

Are e-cigarettes as detrimental as traditional cigarettes in wound healing?

The science looking at potential harmful effects of e-cigarettes is lagging, as e-cigarette popularity soars and consumer marketing takes hold convincing consumers that e-cigarettes are the safer of the two | Dermatology Times, USA

From cringeworthy to scary: a history of anti-drug PSAs

For decades, we've been trying to convince teens that drugs are dangerous, definitely not fun and totally deadly | Marketplace, USA

43 overdoses in a single night in Vancouver: firefighters

There were 43 overdoses in a single night in the city, Deputy Fire Chief Tyler Moore said. The overdose calls all came in overnight Friday, he said | CTV News, Canada

ACT minister who brought in cannabis notices says they should be axed

A former politician who helped to decriminalise cannabis in the ACT says the fine scheme he helped to introduce should go, and he would have legalised the drug nearly 30 years ago if he could have | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

Exclusive: NSW police nets almost $13 million in seven months for hiring out off-duty officers

Weeks after multiple NSW music festivals were cancelled, citing the prohibitive costs of additional police services, SBS News can reveal the revenue received by NSW Police Force for “user pays” policing has increased significantly over the past decade | SBS, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Choose life - Dr Roy Robertson, the front line of harm reduction

GP Dr Roy Robertson speaks to Holyrood on the Trainspotting generation he first met over 30 years ago in Edinburgh’s Muirhouse | Holyrood, UK

Want to Reduce Opioid Deaths? Get People the Medications They Need

Drugs like buprenorphine could sharply curb the nation’s opioid overdose crisis. But federal laws make it difficult for people who need such medications to get them | NYTimes opinion, USA