Daily news - 21st October 2019

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UK news

UK alcohol clinical guidelines development begins

Public Health England (PHE) is working to produce the first UK-wide clinical guidelines for alcohol treatment | PHE, UK

Review of Psychoactive Substances Act 2016: ACMD contribution

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) summarise their contribution to the impact review of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 | ACMD, UK

ACMD advice: future use and purpose of Temporary Class Drug Orders

Letter from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to the Home Office about the future use and purpose of Temporary Class Drug Orders (TCDOs) | ACMD, UK

ACMD advice on independent prescribing by paramedics

Letter from Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to ministers, providing advice on independent prescribing of controlled drugs by paramedics | ACMD, UK

Smoking and poverty 2019 (PDF)

Most adults who smoke want to stop. 1 Smoking often begins in childhood, as a result of environmental determinants, with people only realising how hard it is to quit after becoming addicted. 2 More than two thirds of those who try smoking go on to become regular smokers, developing an expensive and often lifelong addiction causing disease, disability and premature death | ASH, UK

Tobacco firms accused of using gimmicks to subvert plain packaging

Philip Morris has used ‘pro-seal’ and bevels to make packs more recognisable, says report | Guardian, UK

Prospective longitudinal study of tobacco company adaptation to standardised packaging in the UK: identifying circumventions and closing loopholes (PDF)

UK standardised packaging legislation was introduced alongside pack size and product descriptor restrictions of the European Union Tobacco Products Directive to end tobacco marketing and misinformation via the pack. This paper aims to assess compliance with the restrictions and identify attempts to continue to market tobacco products and perpetuate misperceptions of harm post legislation | BMJ Open, UK

E-cigarettes could help more than 50,000 smokers quit in England each year

However, as e-cigarettes are not risk free the researchers strongly discourage non-smokers from using them | BBC Magazine, UK

Body image crisis as number injecting steroids in Glasgow now 'on a par with heroin use'

An amateur bodybuilder has told how steroid use wiped out his fertility and put him on course for a heart attack as a new documentary warns that the drugs are Glasgow's "hidden public health crisis". | Herald, UK

Quarter of Britons tempted by cannabis-extract products

Nearly one-in-ten Britons already use products with legal cannabis extracts, and large sections of the population are considering it | YouGov, UK

Mentor UK to cease activities with immediate effect

For over 20 years Mentor UK has been the country’s leading voice in alcohol and other drug prevention. We are proud of all that we have achieved, in particular the dedication and compassion of our staff, and are honoured by the high regard that their work is held in | Mentor UK, UK

‘Curb drink culture’ says drugs expert David Nutt

New restrictions needed for leading cause of deaths of men under 50 | Guardian, UK

"The comedown is horrible": The common cocaine cocktail destroying lives

Coroners have recorded an increase in self-inflicted deaths where a mixture of cocaine and alcohol has been a factor | Manchester Evening News, UK

Pregnancy: Alcoholic Drinks

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to tackle the misrepresentation of evidence which encourages women to drink alcohol during pregnancy by downplaying the risk to the health of the unborn child | They work for you, UK

Alcohol marketing: Protecting the vulnerable conference

The event Alcohol marketing: Protecting the vulnerable featured presentations on a range of topics, including protecting youth, regulating digital alcohol marketing, challenging stereotypes, learning about the successes and failures of campaigners in other sectors of health policy, and ending with a policy workshop on regulating marketing to protect vulnerable groups to alcohol advertising | IAS, UK

Healthier Lifestyles Award 2019 winner

Sandwell Blue Light Project. Sandwell Council implemented a multi-agency ‘Blue Light’ approach to supporting high impact, change-resistant problem drinkers. They are currently expanding the approach after evaluation illustrated how the work had transformed the lives of some of the borough’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable people | RSPH, UK

Black, asian and ethnic minorities more likely to be targeted in stop-and-search, Home Office report finds

Any increases ‘pose the risk of magnifying any residual levels of discrimination in the use of this power’ | Independent, UK

Drill rapper banned from using drug dealing slang words in music videos posted on social media

Ervine Kimpalu, who goes by the artist name Rico Racks, was issued with a special five year Criminal Behaviour Order when he appeared at Blackfriars Crown Court on Friday preventing him from referring to several drug-related words in his online rap videos | Telegraph, UK

Police arrest more than 700 in UK-wide county lines drug crackdown

£400,000-worth of drugs also confiscated in a week as part of coordinated campaign | Guardian, UK

What are county lines gangs? How drug dealing gangs are exploiting children in the UK – and what's being done about it

"We need the help of the public to disrupt these criminal networks and the misery they cause their victims," say CrimeStoppers | I news, UK

Police to be given powers to combat illegal use of drones

The move could help tackle the use of drones to bring drugs, weapons, phones and other contraband into jails | ITV, UK

North-east scientist leading the charge in the ‘cat and mouse’ game of prison drug smuggling

Crime lords attempting to flood the north-east’s super-jail with drugs are being blocked by pioneering technology – and the expertise of a north-east scientist | Press and Journal, UK

Getaway driver, 81, jailed after Bognor Regis drugs stabbing

Ian Hemmens picked up Mahamud Sami after the attack in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, on 10 March, a jury heard | BBC, UK

Matt Every suspended after testing positive for cannabis

American Matt Every has been suspended for 12 weeks for violating a drugs policy | BBC, UK

Gambling-related harms: evidence review

Information about a review of the prevalence of gambling, its associated health harms and their economic and social burden | PHE, UK


International news

Trends report: Drink Driving (PDF)

Approximately 1.3 million people die and up to a further 50 million are injured on the world’s roads every year [5]. Road safety is a shared responsibility, and government, civil society, and the private sector must all play a role in reducing these deaths and injuries | IARD, UK

An argument for phasing out sales of cigarettes

[Open access] The successes of tobacco control in some countries and locales have led to discussions of ending the tobacco epidemic, often called the ‘endgame’. In this paper, we recommend articulating the endgame goal as phasing out sales of cigarettes, a goal once called ‘unthinkable’ | BMJ, UK

Erdogan says he will never allow vaping, will block e-cigarettes in Turkey

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday he will never allow electronic cigarette companies to produce their products in Turkey, urging Turks to drink tea instead | Reuters, UK

Lawsuits, payouts, opioids crisis: what happened to Johnson & Johnson?

The household name has been hit in recent years with product misfires and court judgments challenging public trust and investor faith | Guardian, UK

Honduran president's brother guilty of drug smuggling

A jury in New York has found the brother of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández guilty of drug smuggling | BBC, UK

Michael Douglas would ask son Cameron to hand out drugs at parties ‘as a really young kid’, memoir claims

‘I would [do it], not realising until years later what it had been,’ Cameron Douglas writes | Independent, UK

Burmese fishermen 'faint' after mistaking $20 million of floating crystal meth for natural deodorant

Sacks of crystal meth scooped from the sea by Burmese fishermen who mistook it for a deodorant substance had a street value of $20 million (£15.4m), an official said on Sunday, in a country believed to be the world's largest methamphetamine producer | Telegraph, UK

Former Philippines police chief faces drug charges

The former head of the Philippines national police force is facing a criminal complaint in relation to the alleged resale of confiscated drugs | BBC, UK

Govt allocates €200k for new health diversion system for people caught with illegal drugs

An allocation of €200,000 has been provided for the phased implementation of the new State health diversion system for possession of illegal drugs | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Today is the last day to get Scotch whisky into the US before tariffs kick in

Ordinarily, getting single malt whisky from Scotland to the US looks a bit like this: bottles go in boxes; boxes go on trains, then on boats; boats traverse the Atlantic. It’s a slow, steady process that may take weeks—appropriate for a product which may have spent as much as a quarter-century sitting peacefully in barrels | Quartz, USA

Taking Ayahuasca When You’re a Senior Citizen

Some older adults are dabbling in this powerful psychedelic, which is mostly illegal in the United States | NYTimes, USA

Many women and health care providers assume CBD safe during pregnancy despite lack of research

While most women of childbearing age understand drinking alcohol while pregnant is harmful, they may be less skeptical about the safety of cannabidiol (CBD) | Medical Xpress, USA

Rapid increase in naloxone distribution after kits became available at Ontario pharmacies

Almost 68,000 people received a naloxone kit from a pharmacy in the two-year study period | EurekAlert, USA

Scientists Want to Try Using Shrooms to Revive People in Vegetative States

Does psilocybin have the potential to increase consciousness in people who are unresponsive? | VICE, USA

A cuddle from mum instead of morphine: How rooming in helps opioid-dependent newborns combat withdrawal

Rooming in allows mothers, who are dependent on opioids to bond with newborns experiencing withdrawal | CBC News, Canada

Guards say they want supervised injection sites in federal prisons

Setting up supervised injection sites at federal institutions is the way to go if the Correctional Service plans to continue making needles available to drug-using inmates, prison guards say | cp24, Canada

Quebec pot arrests behind the wheel up 54% since legalization

Police forces in the province collected 795 blood samples from motorists suspected of driving while under the influence | Montreal Gazette, Canada

DEA to accept electronic vaping devices and cartridges as part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

With robust public participation over the course of 17 prior events, the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Initiative continues to remove ever-higher amounts of opioids and other medicines from the nation’s homes, where they are vulnerable to misuse, theft or abuse by family members and visitors, including children and teens | DEA, Australia

Alcohol-related domestic violence and assaults drop dramatically one year on from floor price introduction

There has been a 26 per cent decrease in alcohol-related assaults in the Northern Territory since it introduced the country's first alcohol floor price and rolled out a range of new measures | abc.net, Australia

The Data-linkage Alcohol Cohort Study (DACS): Investigating mortality, morbidity, and offending among people with an alcohol-related problem using linked administrative data

This project will assemble a retrospective observational cohort of people presenting to emergency department and hospital inpatient services with an acute alcohol harm and/or problematic alcohol use | NDARC, NRI, NCETA, Australia

More room for individual roles and personal circumstances in new meth sentencing guidelines

A Court of Appeal decision issued on Monday opened the door for judges to consider imposing more lenient sentences for offenders who played lesser roles | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand

New Zealand First to reconsider its policy against drug testing pills at festivals

Young New Zealand First has forced the party's caucus to reevaluate its policy on drug testing at festivals | News Hub, New Zealand

Vaping products now sold in NZ pharmacies

Vaping company Vapix, which is branded as a health product, is now being sold in Unichem and Life Pharmacy stores around the country | NZ Herald, New Zealand

Around the world in five cannabis markets

Five experts, all from countries with varying levels of cannabis legality, came to Auckland funded by Massey University to speak on the benefits and costs of the drug before New Zealand’s cannabis referendum in 2020 | The Spinoff, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Boring but deadly: the real-world consequences of how we tax alcohol

Policy proposal: Launch a comprehensive review of alcohol duties in preparation for a post-Brexit taxation structure that better reflects alcohol strength across categories and addresses anomalies between categories | Alcohol Change UK blog, UK

Will alcohol harm get the global response it deserves?

For the first time since the endorsement in 2010 of the WHO global strategy to reduce harmful use of alcohol | Lancet correspondence, UK

Time for The Lancet to realign with the evidence on e-cigarettes?

At a time of crisis, there is pressure to act, but at such a time, it is especially important that any action is informed by rational assessment of the relevant scientific evidence. The ongoing outbreak of vaping-associated respiratory illness in the USA is a case in point. A serious problem such as this requires a serious and well informed response | Lancet correspondence, UK

I'm an American doctor. Here's the truth about Juul, vaping and legalizing marijuana

Fear-mongering does none of us any good. We need to talk about the actual evidence | Independent voices, UK

Crack: Rock Cocaine, Street Capitalism and the Decade of Greed by David Farber – review

This history of crack’s devastating impact on US society in the 80s and 90s is pacy and enlightening | Guardian, UK

This overdose-reversal medicine could reduce opioid deaths – so why don’t more people carry it?

Forty-seven thousand Americans died of opioid-related overdoses in 2017 – similar to the number of deaths from car accidents and gun violence | Conversation, USA

Where is my Xanax Rx? Why your doctor may be concerned about prescribing benzodiazepines

As an academic psychiatrist who treats people with anxiety and trauma, I often hear questions about a specific class of medications called benzodiazepines. I also often receive referrals for patients who are on these medications and reluctant to discontinue them | Conversation, USA

Catching the Flu Got Me Kicked Out of My Addiction Treatment Program

In early September 2019, I was dropped from care by my medication assisted treatment (MAT) program — a highly effective treatment for opioid addiction that uses medication to rebalance brain chemistry and mitigate withdrawal and cravings — because I had the flu | Talk Poverty, USA