Daily news - 7th October 2019

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UK news

Medicines associated with dependence or withdrawal: a mixed-methods public health review and national database study in England

[Open access] Antidepressants, opioids for non-cancer pain, gabapentinoids (gabapentin and pregabalin), benzodiazepines, and Z-drugs (zopiclone, zaleplon, and zolpidem) are commonly prescribed medicine classes associated with a risk of dependence or withdrawal. We aimed to review the evidence for these harms and estimate the prevalence of dispensed prescriptions, their geographical distribution, and duration of continuous receipt using all patient-linked prescription data in England | Lancet, UK

Last chance to comment on government’s prevention proposals

The consultation on the government’s proposals to prevent – among other things – alcohol and drug use, and smoking, closes on 14 October. Traditional public health interventions have led to significant improvements in the nation’s health but these are beginning to slow. There is also a clear social gradient to healthy life expectancy with people in deprived areas living shorter lives and spending more of those years in poor health. Government is seeking your views on proposals to tackle the causes of preventable ill health in England | DHSC, UK

North Wales police to offer drug users rehab instead of prison

People arrested for possession will no longer be automatically prosecuted under new scheme | Guardian, UK

Expert quits Home Office drug panel over 'political vetting'

Prof Alex Stevens resigns after appointment of Release director vetoed by minister | Guardian, UK

Time for safer injecting facilities in Britain?

Are drug consumption rooms (DCRs) an evidence-based policy for addressing injecting-related harm and drug-related deaths? What ‘counts’ as evidence in favour of DCRs, and who decides? Is evidence alone enough to persuade politicians and policymakers to trial DCRs in the UK? A substantially updated Effectiveness Bank hot topic asks whether it is time for DCRs in Britain, and how the answer ‘no’ has been justified by the UK Government to date | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Pensioners taking anti-depressants doubles in two decades, amid warnings they 'may not need them'

The number of over-65s taking anti-depressants has doubled in two decades, amid warnings the elderly are being given pills they don't need | Telegraph, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people were treated for alcohol-related illnesses in (a) York, (b) North Yorkshire and Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group area and (c) England in each year since 2010 | They work for you, UK

Non-prescribed Benzodiazepines

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the action that it is taking to address the use of non-prescribed benzodiazepines, such as etizolam, in Glasgow | They work for you, UK

Electronic Cigarettes and Tobacco

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what evidence base his Department used for the guidance issued on (a) vaping, (b) heat-not-burn and (c) other non-smoke nicotine products | They work for you, UK

Two rough sleepers died each day last year sparking urgent plea from nurses

The Royal College of Nursing wants to reverse cuts to addiction, mental health and other support services so 726 preventable deaths can be stopped | Mirror, UK

Police oppose naloxone overdose kits: 'not our job to save lives'

Campaigners calling for Police Scotland officers to carry naloxone – a medication used to block the effects of opiates and save the lives of people overdosing from drugs – have reacted with anger to claims from the Scottish Police Federation that their ask goes beyond the call of duty | Herald, UK

Heroin antidote has 'significant' impact on Portsmouth drug users

Between April 2018 and March this year 255 Naloxone kits were distributed in Portsmouth, with reports of people using them 'to save the lives of friends.' | Portsmouth News, UK

Banned tanning drugs 'sold on North East high streets'

Makers of Xtreme Rapido nasal spray claim it contains Melanotan, a chemical that over-stimulates pigment production and turns skin brown. As it is an unlicensed medicine while it is not illegal to buy it, it is illegal to market and sell it in UK | BBC, UK

PSHE/Citizenship GCSE: Jordan's experience of drinking alcohol at 16

[One of a number of new videos on alcohol with Teacher notes] Jordan drank over half a bottle of neat brandy and it nearly killed him | BBC Teach, UK

PSHE/Citizenship GCSE: Lorne's experience of smoking cannabis

[One of a number of new videos on drugs with Teacher notes] Lorne gives a highly personal account of how smoking cannabis devastated his life | BBC Teach, UK

Magistrates raise concerns over county lines defence 'loophole'

Association fears drug gangs are exploiting Modern Slavery Act to escape prosecution | Guardian, UK

Life for a drug addict at the end of the county lines which have transformed this criminal industry

One addict said they'd received 16 texts from dealers by lunchtime, and rarely had to go looking | Wales Online, UK

'Down on luck' fisherman jailed for drug dealing

Alan Stuart Green became a heavy user of drugs after the boat of which he was a skipper sank, resulting in the crew being trapped for a time under water, Carlisle Crown Court was told | BBC, UK

Police use 'rap translator' to convict gang leader who threatened to shoot rivals in drill song

Chelmsford County Court heard the leader of the C17 gang mentioned "pulling the trigger twice on a gun", dealing drugs and carrying weapons in the lyrics | Telegraph, UK

Heroin thrown at police officers called to Birmingham assault

West Midlands Police said they found a woman, 38, with minor injuries having been assaulted by a group of teenagers who had forced their way into her home | BBC, UK


International news

What are the respiratory effects of e-cigarettes?

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are alternative, non-combustible tobacco products that generate an inhalable aerosol containing nicotine, flavors, propylene glycol, and vegetable glycerin. Vaping is now a multibillion dollar industry that appeals to current smokers, former smokers, and young people who have never smoked | BMJ, UK

Cannabis use and psychosis: a review of reviews (PDF)

We conducted a systematic review of meta-analyses and systematic reviews to evaluate the impact of cannabis use on the onset and course of psychoses | European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, UK

Spanish police arrest drug traffickers who saved their lives in high speed boat chase

Spanish police arrested four drug traffickers who stopped to save their lives after the officers were thrown overboard during a high speed boat chase off the coast of Malaga on Friday | Telegraph, UK

Decision on drug injection centre 'reprehensible', says MQI

Merchants Quay Ireland has described as "reprehensible" Dublin City Council's refusal of planning permission for a drug injection centre | RTe, Ireland

As vaping-linked injuries and deaths rise in the US, some Irish colleges are moving towards an all-out ban

18 deaths and 1080 injuries in the US have been linked to vaping | Journal, Ireland

A breath test for opioids

A test to detect opioid drugs in exhaled breath has been developed by engineers and physicians. A breath test could be useful in caring for chronic pain patients as well as for checking for illegal drug use | Science Daily, USA

Clampdown on vaping could send users back toward cigarettes

Only two years ago, electronic cigarettes were viewed as a small industry with big potential to improve public health by offering a path to steer millions of smokers away from deadly cigarettes | Medical Xpress, USA

Vape store owners are suing to stop the product bans in New York and Massachusetts

New York and Massachusetts officials are grappling with the economic effects of the vaping ban this week, facing lawsuits from local vape shop owners who say the ban will close their stores | CNN, USA

As drinking declines, nonalcoholic beer gets a slick rebrand

Brooklyn Brewery is betting better taste—and looks—will lure more sober-curious drinkers | Fast Compnay, USA

A Mumbai-Based Dealer Explains Why Instagram Is So Great for Selling Weed

“I manipulate people. I might follow them but wait for them to see my Stories to know I sell.” | VICE, USA

Anti-smoking groups butt heads over Melbourne vaping conference

Anti-smoking groups have gone to war over a vaping conference in Melbourne amid allegations of intimidation of the event's attendees and secret tobacco industry funding | Age, Australia

Drug-fuelled 'insanity' at Listen In concert at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium leaves three people critical

Five people who attended the Listen In event at Mt Smart were hospitalised, three were rushed to Auckland Hospital in a critical condition after taking drugs. One person who had taken drugs was in a moderate condition, and a fifth person's injuries were unrelated to drugs | NZHerald, New Zealand




Blogs, comment and opinion

Why the opioid crisis isn't a bigger federal election issue

12,800 Canadians have died as a result of the opioid crisis since 2016, Health Canada says | CBC, Canada