Daily news - 3rd May 2019

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UK news

Smoking: Health Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding his Department spent on campaigns to promote the cessation of smoking in 2018-19; and what funding has been allocated to such campaigns in 2019-20 | They work for you, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Consumption

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of the public information campaign in Scotland on increasing awareness of the Chief Medical Officers’ low risk-drinking guidelines of 14 units a week | They work for you, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Breast Cancer

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the oral Answer of 14 March 2019 to Question 909822, Official Report, column 521, whether his Department is planning a public information campaign to raise awareness of the links between alcohol and breast cancer | They work for you, UK

Skunk Cannabis Disrupts Brain Networks – But Effects Are Blocked In Other Strains

Over the past decade, neuroimaging studies have provided new insights into how psychoactive drugs alter the brain’s activity. Psilocybin – the active ingredient in magic mushrooms – has been found to reduce activity in brain regions involved in depression, for example, while MDMA seems to augment brain activity for positive memories | BPS, UK

We Asked People Who've Never Smoked Weed What They Think It'd Feel Like

"I think it’d be a 'go with the flow' type feeling. I'd be sitting against a wall, my eyes half closed, I'd feel numb and soft like a cloud—maybe I'd be wearing a beanie?" | VICE, UK

Drug deaths could rise if Bristol Mayor's Office forces people off methadone

Bristol City Council is consulting on a proposal to cut up to 10% of the budget for GPs and pharmacists to prescribe methadone or buprenorphine (Opiate Substitution Treatment – OST) to people dependent on heroin | Transform, UK

Living sober before sobriety? Alcohol researchers seek your input…

Prehabilitation is the process of optimizing physical functionality preoperatively to enable the individual to maintain a normal level of function during and after surgery. The same principles may be applied to the lived experience of alcohol detoxification. Addiction professionals are invited to complete a short survey about this developing concept | Surrey and Borders NHS Foundation Trust, UK

Survey- Picking up the pieces: caring as a result of somebody else's substance use

The purpose of this survey is to paint a better picture of what it is like to support someone with drug or alcohol problems. A clearer understanding of the issue will help the charity and social sector to effectively support you | Adfam, UK

Free Exhibition: Brilliant Visions: Mescaline, Art, Psychiatry

1st May - 31 August. Bethlem Museum of the Mind, Bethlem Royal Hospital, Monks Orchard Road, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3BX. Brilliant Visions presents drawings and paintings by Surrealist artists who took part in the Guttman- Maclay mescaline experiments of the 1930s. Co-curated by Mike Jay, author of ‘Mescaline: A Global History of the First Psychedelic’, this exhibition provides an insight into the first era of research into psychedelics and mental states | Bethlem Museum of the Mind, UK

Coca-Cola is launching a range of new posh beverages meant to be mixed with whisky, rum, and bourbon

The mixers will be available in smoky, spicy, herbal, and woody flavours | Indy, UK

County lines drugs raids result in 24 arrests

Dawn raids carried out by police investigating a suspected "county lines" drug dealing operation resulted in 24 arrests | BBC, UK

Keighley stone firm boss grew skunk cannabis in tunnels

A stone firm boss set up a cannabis operation in World War Two air raid shelters when his legitimate business got into trouble, a court heard | BBC, UK


International news

Billionaire founder of opioid firm guilty of bribing doctors to prescribe drug

The head of a leading drug manufacturer has been found guilty of bribing doctors to prescribe a dangerous painkiller to patients who did not need it, in the first criminal conviction of a pharma chief over the opioid epidemic | Guardian, UK

News attorneys: Opioid distribution data should be public

Attorneys for news organizations argued Thursday that the U.S. public should be allowed to see federal data about how prescription opioids were distributed as the nation's overdose crisis was worsening | Medical Xpress, USA

Research on Reddit identifies opioid addiction self-treatment risks

Using advanced machine-learning techniques, Georgia Tech researchers have examined nearly 1.5 million Reddit posts to identify risks associated with several of the most common alternative—and unproven—treatments" for opioid addiction | Medical Xpress, USA

Researchers study connection of adolescent caffeine consumption and substance abuse

It's not uncommon for teenagers to grab an energy drink for an after-school pick-me-up or pop through the drive-through at Starbucks for a morning Frappuccino | Medical Xpress, USA

Deprogramming From AA—When a Fellowship Resembles a Cult

Katherine was on the subway home from a meeting with her Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor when it hit. They had just gone over the worksheet she was supposed to complete for her Fourth Step: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” | Filter Magazine, USA

Philip Morris needs to kill smoking to survive

Philip Morris International, the company that sells Marlboro, Chesterfield, Parliaments and other brands internationally, thinks smoke-free products may be the solution to the company's longstanding cigarette problem | CNN, USA

Canada’s plain-packaging rules for tobacco products the toughest in the world, health experts say

Tobacco products in Canada must be sold in packages that are brown, devoid of all colours and logos and feature large, graphic health warnings, according to new federal rules that health experts say are the toughest in the world | Globe and Mail, Canada

Greens float pill testing pairing with CBR NightCrew

Pill testing could run regularly alongside the CBR NightCrew, Greens leader Shane Rattenbury has suggested, as the government mulls future funding for the service | Canberra Times, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

When the law fails patients

In November last year, when UK law changed to permit some doctors to prescribe full extract medical cannabis, many patients for whom cannabis relieves symptoms assumed that they would benefit. Almost all have been disappointed. The limited relaxation of the law and its interpretation mean that only a tiny number of prescriptions have been issued—and almost all of these to private patients | BMJ, UK

It's time to decriminalise drugs in Scotland for personal use and to treat problem as a health issue

The chief executive of the Scottish Drugs Forum David Liddell believes there is now a political consensus in Scotland for decriminalisation | Daily Record, UK

Yes, drug use is a class issue – and its the middle class who have the most to answer for

Sajid Javid is wrong to blame ‘middle class cocaine users’ for violent knife crime. But we must also get away from the harmful stereotype that drug users are all working class | Independent voices, UK

Alcohol misuse is more common in the armed forces than post-traumatic stress disorder

Alcohol misuse in the UK armed forces is more than double than that of the general population, yet many of those who drink at harmful levels do not seek help. Preliminary research has shown how effective digital technologies can be used as a health intervention | University of Liverpool Addiction Research Group, UK

Increasing uptake of naloxone in East Sussex

Peter Hawley, one of Change Grow Live’s naloxone champions, describes how he doubled the uptake of the overdose reversal drug naloxone, in his East Sussex service | CGL blog, UK

How might Alcohol Brief Interventions be affecting health inequalities in England?

Alcohol Brief Interventions are a key aspect of attempts to reduce the harms of alcohol in England, yet until now we had almost no idea whether they are currently narrowing or widening the gap in alcohol harms between the most and least deprived groups in society | Alcohol Change UK blog, UK

Recovery Cascades (Bill White and David Best)

Addiction recovery is best viewed as a process rather than an event, but the transition into recovery can sometimes be more a cataclysm than a product of incremental steps—more a lightning strike than a process of maturational learning—and the factors that sustain recovery over time may be quite different than those that trigger recovery initiation | William L White Papers, USA



And finally...

Smokers shocked by bird in ashtray

A blue tit has chosen a very warm, if slightly unusual place to hatch her chicks - a wall-mounted ashtray | BBC, UK