Daily news - 22nd May 2019

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UK news

Scotland drug death rate highest in Europe and still on rise

The rate of drug deaths in Scotland is the highest in Europe and numbers are still on the rise, a report has said. Drug-related deaths in Scotland have almost doubled in eight years, with 934 recorded in 2017 - up from 545 in 2009 | BBC, UK

Report: Drug and alcohol services: an update

This paper provides an overview of the current position of drug and alcohol services in Scotland and summarises the progress against recommendations made in our 2009 report | Audit Scotland, UK

Scotland Stories: Finding A Fix - video

A documentary examining the drugs death toll in Dundee and efforts to halt the number of lives being lost, in a place now known as the drug deaths capital of Europe | STV, UK

Medical Cannabis Under Prescription

I beg to move, That this House reaffirms its welcome for the change in the law that allows access to medical cannabis under prescription, but notes that only a handful of prescriptions for whole-plant-extract medical cannabis have been issued on the NHS, which has left a significant number of patients, many of whom are children with intractable epilepsy, with no access to medical cannabis and experiencing severe distress... | They work for you, UK

House of Commons backs call for easier access to medical cannabis

The House of Commons has backed a motion calling on the government to ensure medical cannabis is made available to “appropriate patients” | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

Virtual clinical trial: Improving methadone dosage for drug users with TB to prevent withdrawal symptoms

Drug users on methadone programs who contract tuberculosis (TB) should receive effective treatment while maintaining the correct level of methadone in their bodies, following a virtual clinical trial by pharmacy researchers at Aston University in partnership with drugs charity Addaction | News Medical, UK

A day in the life of a pharmacist at a drug and alcohol service

Chief pharmacist Graham Parsons details a typical day working for the leading social enterprise, Turning Point, which supports clients with learning disabilities, mental health, drug and alcohol problems | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

Intro to Drinks Meter - video

Guide to the drinks meter app which provides you with instant feedback on your drinking. It compares your drinking against the Drinks Meter community to give unbiased, anonymous feedback | Global Drug Survey, UK

CAPE • Working with children affected by parental alcohol misuse - video

Animation based on the work of three young people who live with alcohol dependent parents | Children's Society, UK

Drug Policy Activist Training Day - free event

London, Fri, 7 June 2019 11:00 – 16:00 BST. Come and join our activist training day and become an effective campaigner for drug laws based on human rights, public health and global justice | Adfam, UK

Young people in Shropshire benefit from new joined up support

Young Addaction Shropshire has become one of the region’s first services to agree on a way for young people to get support for their mental health and drug or alcohol use at the same time | Shropshire Live, UK

Serial thief jumped the queue for drug treatment by committing theft to get arrested

Thief hatched a "fast-track" plan to avoid seven-month wait | Grimsby Live, UK

On the front line in the fight against the county lines drug trade - video

Police in Sussex say London drug gangs are increasingly using guest houses and Airbnb rentals to target provincial towns | BBC, UK

Gloucester's biggest drug dealing gang jailed

One of Gloucester's "biggest drug dealers" was among 11 men jailed for bringing hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of cocaine into the city | BBC, UK

International news

First task: save lives, reduce harm

Throughout the month of May we are releasing weekly bulletins on the topic of harm reduction. This week we draw from the first five cells of the drug treatment matrix (our online course), introducing research on reducing harm to the user as a result of their drug use. How does the core dilemma of whether to ‘meet people where they are at’ versus focus on prompting health-promoting and addiction-ending change affect service delivery and impact? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

EU introduces revolutionary new tracking system for cigarette packs today

From 20th May all cigarette packs manufactured in, or imported into, the EU (including the UK) must be marked with unique codes enabling identification and tracing of any cigarettes which are being sold illegally | ASH, UK

TFBoys: Wang Yuan sorry over illegal smoking

Wang Yuan, who also uses the English name Roy Wang, is considered to be one of the country's most "socially responsible" public figures, so this transgression has caused Chinese social media to fall into meltdown | BBC, UK

Bond film extra killed with fatal dose of chemsex drug, jury told

Gerald Matovu accused of murdering Eric Michels in London after Grindr meet-up | Guardian, UK

DrinkAware Index report: analysing hazardous drinking in Ireland (PDF)

The negative impact of alcohol in Irish society is widely known, and both national data and international statistical comparisons are well cited and acknowledged. What however is less comprehensive, is published analysis on the motivational drivers, the behaviours and attitudes of Irish society towards alcohol across different demographics and ages | DrinkAware, Ireland

Report shows one in five Irish adults classed as hazardous drinkers

21% of Irish adults are classified as hazardous drinkers, according to the 2019 Drinkaware Index | Irish Examiner, Ireland

No plans to legalise cannabis, Harris insists

The health minister has rejected claims by senior doctors that Ireland is recklessly sliding towards the general legalisation of cannabis | Iris Examiner, Ireland

Possible sites for Cork drug centre identified as study details locations of 105 overdoses in the city

A study has identified Cork’s quays and nearby streets as blackspots for drug injecting and as possible sites for a supervised injecting centre | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Drug could be got from €35 cactus, court told

A 42-year-old man was put on trial for possession of mescaline for sale or supply but the defence claimed that the material could be derived from a cactus bought legally at any plant shop in Cork for €35 | Irish EXaminer, Ireland

CBD reduces craving and anxiety in people with heroin use disorder

Cannabidiol (CBD) reduced cue-induced craving and anxiety in individuals with a history of heroin abuse, suggesting a potential role for it in helping to break the cycle of addiction, according to research conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published May 21 in the American Journal of Psychiatry | Medical Xpress, USA

Non-Rx fentanyl up in urine tests positive for other drugs

An increasing number of urine drug test (UDT) results positive for cocaine or methamphetamine are also positive for nonprescribed fentanyl, according to a study recently published in JAMA Network Open | Medical Xpress, USA

Geneticists continue to unravel how genes impact drug use and addiction

Research is revealing new insights into how genes impact drug use and addiction through a novel study of susceptibility to the effects of cocaine and methamphetamine in fruit flies | Science Daily, USA

Most e-cigarette users want to quit, Rutgers study finds

The findings highlight the need for more emphasis on treatment for e-cigarette cessation | EurekAlert, USA

Three Takeaways From Filter’s Tobacco Harm Reduction and Health Justice Event

On May 17, Filter hosted a panel entitled “Tobacco Harm Reduction, Vulnerable Populations & Health Justice” at New York University, attended by students, harm reduction advocates and Filter readers | Filter Magazine, USA

Women Who Use Drugs: Challenges Demand Self-Led Harm Reduction

Bree Cassell first injected heroin when she was 15 years old. Despite wanting to do so, she was so scared of the needle that it took two men to hold her thrashing body down, and a third to inject the drug into her vein | Filter Magazine, USA

Recent use of ‘capsules contents unknown’ among a sample of people who frequently use ecstasy and other illicit stimulants in Australia

This bulletin examines trends in the national and jurisdictional use of capsules with unknown contents (e.g. lifetime and recent use), alongside trends in patterns of use (amounts being used, frequency of use, route of administration) and sociodemographic profile of people who use capsules with unknown contents among a sample who regularly use ecstasy and other illicit stimulants | NDARC, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Helen Salisbury: Alcohol excess—time for new measures?

In a recent issue of The BMJ I was struck by two articles on the same theme. When industries make money from selling products that cause harm, can we expect them to contribute meaningfully to improving public health? | BMJ views, UK

MUP where we belong: MPs discuss minimum unit pricing

On Tuesday 14 May I attended the Alcohol Health Alliance UK (AHA) reception in Westminster. It was a highly successful evening with a room packed with MPs, Peers, members of the AHA and other stakeholders. We all heard from a great range of speakers about alcohol harm, what we can do about it, and how we can approach the necessary legislative changes | AHA UK blog, UK

Ignorant Doctors Bring Shame On Their Profession With Foolish Words On Cannabis

What is it in these British Isles that has resulted in a medical establishment that uses prejudice, scaremongering and specious argument to object to the medical use of cannabis? | Clear, UK

The CBD Market Can Help Drive Cannabis Law Reform But Selling So-Called ‘CBD Flowers’ Could Take Us Backwards

The crackdown on the open sale of cannabis flowers online and in high street stores is here. Some people are facing potential charges of supplying a class B drug and a possible jail sentence. The people selling cannabis flowers and claiming they are legal are not heroes, campaigners or warriors in the war on prohibition. They are confidence tricksters... | Clear, UK

Stag dos, love and sadness: the challenges men face going alcohol-free

Marcus shares some of the challenges of going alcohol-free as a man: "The only times in my entire life when male friends have uttered those three magic words, 'I love you,' have been under the influence" | Alcohol Change UK, UK