Daily news - 24th October 2019

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UK news

'Urgent action' promised to tackle rising Dundee drug deaths

Changes to drug laws and government policy is needed to tackle rising death rates among drug users. The call comes from the Dundee Partnership Forum, which has pledged "urgent action" to protect those most at risk | BBC, UK

Early days of minimum unit pricing in Scotland

After years of simulations predicting what would happen if a minimum unit pricing policy was implemented, at last Scotland has been able to provide preliminary real-life data on what actually happened after it became the first (and to date, only) UK nation to set a ‘floor price’ per unit of alcohol in May 2018, preventing the sale of cheap, strong drinks | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Is vaping safe? - audio

In the UK, doctors say switching from smoking to e-cigarettes will save lives; in the US, there have been deaths linked to vaping, but the evidence is mixed. How risky is it? | BBC, UK

CBD: Snake oil or miracle cure

The trendy cannabis extract is touted as a cure for everything from anxiety to arthritis. But Anna Studman found the grass isn’t necessarily greener for consumers | Which magazine, UK

Medical cannabis - free webinar

This webinar covers: An overview of medical cannabis and the evidence base; Pros and cons of medical cannabis from a clinician’s point of view; Treatment pathways to medical cannabis in the UK, including and barriers and enablers | SMMGP, UK

Addiction: a disease or is it self-inflicted?

Former Blue Peter presenter Richard Bacon joins Melissa and Jade to talk about his own history with drugs and alcohol as they ask whether addiction is a disease or self-inflicted | BBC Radio 5, UK

University student died after rugby initiation drinking game went wrong, coroner hears

Nineteen-year-old Samuel Potter, of Hersham, Surrey, died from alcohol toxicity at a house in Linden, Gloucestershire on May 9 this year | Telegraph, UK

Female County Lines Arrests

Please provide the numbers of county lines arrests that have been made in each of the following years: 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018 and 2019 to date. Please provide a breakdown by age and gender | They work for you, UK

Police donate seized cannabis farm equipment to Blackpool Zoo

Scaly residents at Blackpool Zoo will be feeling a little cosier this winter thanks to their enclosures being equipped with £5,000 worth of kit seized from a cannabis farm raid | Lytham St Annes Express, UK


International news

Is drug addiction a criminal or public health issue? - audio

Experts on drug dependency are meeting in Lisbon this week and are calling for a public health approach to tackle the issue rather than treating addicts as criminals. Researchers say that harm reduction is key – including safer alternative medication for opioid addicts, clean needles and supervised injection centres where medical help is on hand in case of overdose | BBC, UK

Drug use - special issue

[Includes several open access articles and others free to access with registration] Changes in public attitudes and laws towards drug use have occurred in an increasing number of countries. Global drug production and consumption are increasing as are the risks and harms to health, while new substances continue to emerge. This Series focuses on opioids, cannabinoids, stimulants, and new psychoactive substances. The Series authors review the evidence on the epidemiology of drug use and related harms and interventions (treatment and policies) to address them. They highlight issues that are likely to become increasingly important in the next decade | Lancet, UK

Spatio‐temporal assessment of illicit drug use at large scale: evidence from 7 years of international wastewater monitoring

[Open access] Wastewater‐based epidemiology is an additional indicator of drug use that is gaining reliability to complement the current established panel of indicators | Addiction, UK

What prohibition's failure means for the legalisation of cannabis

Economists have a bit of an image problem. People think we shamelessly massage statistics, overconfidently make terrible predictions, and are no fun at drinks parties | BBC, UK

Good incentives, bad timing: crop substitution, coca cultivation, and aerial spraying in Colombia

Coca cultivation in Colombia has risen dramatically in recent years, leading the Colombian government to consider a return to aerial-spraying campaigns previously halted over health concerns. But former president Juan Manuel Santos suggests that factors other than a suspension of spraying were to blame, not least a reconfiguration of non-FARC armed groups and the perverse incentive of a future crop-substitution programme announced early on in the peace process | LSE, UK

Kenyan police's claim that son of British aristocrat died of drug overdose dismissed by forensic expert

Blood samples used by Kenyan authorities to claim that a British aristocrat’s son had taken a cocktail of drugs before dying in police custody were almost certainly switched, a court in Mombasa heard on Wednesday | Telegraph, UK

Figures reveal huge rise in number of children admitted to hospital over their drinking

There was an 80% increase in the number of children admitted to hospital because of alcohol-intoxication last year | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Minister for Health welcomes Government approval to draft a Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill

Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD has today welcomed the approval from Government to draft a Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill | DoH, Ireland

Association of Flavored Tobacco Use With Tobacco Initiation and Subsequent Use Among US Youth and Adults, 2013-2015

In this longitudinal cohort study, flavors in tobacco products were associated with youth and young adult tobacco experimentation. First use of a flavored tobacco product may place youth, young adults, and adults at risk of subsequent tobacco use | JAMA Open, USA

Association of a Multimodal Educational Intervention for Primary Care Physicians With Prescriptions of Buprenorphine for Opioid Use Disorders

 In this quality improvement study, an educational intervention was associated with an increase in the number of PCPs and clinics that could provide buprenorphine treatment for OUD and with an increase in the patients who were able to access care with medications for OUD | JAMA Open, USA

Scientists identify what may be a key mechanism of opioid addiction

Scientists at Scripps Research have discovered a molecular process in brain cells that may be a major driver of drug addiction, and thus may become a target for future addiction treatments | Medical Xpress, USA

Alcohol byproduct contributes to brain chemistry changes in specific brain regions

Triggers in everyday life, such as running into a former drinking buddy, walking by a once-familiar bar, or attending a holiday gathering can cause people recovering from alcohol use disorder to relapse. A common chemical called acetate that is produced when the liver breaks down alcohol may contribute to this phenomenon, a team including Mount Sinai researchers has now found | Medical Xpress, USA

Can Harm Reduction and Abstinence-Based Models Constructively Co-Exist?

What does it mean to be “in recovery” from a substance use disorder? | Filter Magazine, USA

Get naloxone – no matter how you choose to consume

The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is advising people who use drugs to get trained in overdose response and pick up a Take Home Naloxone kit, regardless of how they choose to consume, after new research reveals that people who smoke or snort drugs are half as likely to carry life-saving naloxone medication | BCCDC, Canada


Blogs, comment and opinion

Collective Voice responds to the Health and Social Care Committee’s report of its Drug Policy session

Collective Voice welcomes the Health and Social Care Committee’s report of its Drug Policy session. This work shines a welcome light on a sector doing its best to meet the needs of those experiencing drug problems — and frequently a whole host of other associated life and social challenges | Collective Voice, UK

The evidence tells us to decriminalise drugs. But politicians will be guided by the flawed instincts of voters

Despite optimism over a more compassionate approach, many people continue to view problems with drugs as purely self-inflicted rather than a response to trauma or loss of hope | Independent voices, UK

The Guardian view on drug policy: rethink it without taboos

It is easier to find fault with prohibition than to design a perfect system, but there is clear evidence that the current methods are failing | Guardian editorial, UK