Daily news - 23rd January 2020

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UK news

'No evidence' of minimum alcohol pricing impact on young drinkers

NHS experts have found no evidence that minimum pricing for alcohol is having an impact on underage drinking. A study of 50 drinkers aged between 13 and 17 found there was no change in their consumption habits after the policy came into force | BBC, UK

Health: Alcohol Abuse - Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to produce an effective strategy for dealing with alcohol abuse in 2020 | They work for you, UK

Cannabis: Medical Treatments

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of medicinal cannabis prescriptions prescribed on the NHS in 2019 | They work for you, UK

Cannabis growing in East Finchley

Will you join me in congratulating the police in Barnet on their discovery of a flat in East Finchley growing 120 cannabis plants? Can you confirm that the Met police will continue to be pro-active in monitoring the illegal growing of drugs? | They work for you, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Exports

What discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for International Trade on support for UK alcoholic beverage manufacturers to export their products | They work for you, UK

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge returns to HMP Send to meet current and former Forward clients

HRH the Duchess of Cambridge returned to HMP Send today to meet with women five years on as well as those currently in prison | Forward Trust, UK

Essay competition: ‘I don’t want to go to rehab’

‘Rehab’ is often mentioned in the context of alcohol and other addictions but what do we actually mean by this term? What models exist other than a twelve-step based approach? What is the availability of rehab in the UK and what is the evidence for its effectiveness? Who gets rehab and who might benefit the most? To what extent are motivation or other factors critical in achieving a successful outcome? | MCA, UK

Leeds church fails to stop crazy golf course from selling alcohol

An indoor crazy golf course featuring a red light district-themed hole has been granted an alcohol licence, despite objections that the entertainment venue could corrupt young churchgoers | BBC, UK

Begging not targeted in Wrexham's new anti-social crackdown

PSPOs gave council staff and police the power to fine people £100 for drinking alcohol, taking drugs, rough sleeping and littering | BBC, UK

Robertsbridge pupils expelled after school student takes ecstasy

Four pupils at an East Sussex school have been expelled after a student took ecstasy during the school day | BBC, UK

John Lewis is selling a mattress stuffed with hemp – and it’s fully recyclable

John Lewis is selling the world’s first completely recyclable mattress, and it has been stuffed with cannabis | Metro, UK

Problem gambling: Why do some people become addicted?

Whether it is gambling on a slot machine or riding a skateboard, every day we choose to engage in activities which offer both a potential risk and a potential reward | BBC, UK

‘The reality is I am an addict’ – Hamilton Academical manager opens up on gambling problem

The head coach of Hamilton Academical, Brian Rice, has reported himself to the Scottish FA for a breach of its betting rules and admitted a lapse in his recovery from a gambling addiction. The SFA has charged Rice for bets placed on football, which is prohibited, between July 2015 and October 2019 | Guardian, UK


International news

Vietnam beer boom dries up as strict drink-driving laws introduced

Zero-tolerance approach along with heavy fines contribute to 25% drop in sales | Guardian, UK

Colombia: We’ll Spray Toxic Chemicals to Keep Americans from Doing Drugs

A new decree, urged on by Trump, means aerial fumigation of coca using glyphosate will likely resume in Colombia after a five-year hiatus | VICE, UK

Controlled-release opioid may be leading to heart infections in persons who inject drugs

A new study from ICES, Lawson Health Research Institute and Western University suggests that injection drug users prescribed controlled-release hydromorphone are three times more likely to develop endocarditis, a serious bacterial heart infection, when compared to those prescribed other opioids | Medical Xpress, USA

Smokers Should Quit at Least 4 Weeks Before Surgery, W.H.O. says

In a new study, the health agency urges hospitals and surgeons to play a bigger role to help the world’s 1 billion smokers kick the habit | NYTimes, USA

Four-in-ten U.S. drug arrests in 2018 were for marijuana offenses – mostly possession

A growing number of states have legalized or decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. But the drug remains illegal in other states and under federal law – and police officers in the United States still make more arrests for marijuana offenses than for any other drug, according to FBI data | Pew Research Centre, USA

Criminal Justice Reform in the Fentanyl Era: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

The U.S. is in the throes of a deadly overdose crisis that claimed almost 70,000 lives in 2018. Of those, around 30,000 deaths involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl | DPA, USA

Why Harsher Fentanyl Penalties Will Exacerbate the Overdose Crisis

Congressmembers are pushing for new laws that will impose harsher penalties for potent synthetic opioids like fentanyl, which are involved in tens of thousands of deaths in the US each year | Filter Magazine, USA

San Francisco Heroin, Fentanyl Overdose Deaths Double in 2019: Report

According to preliminary statistics compiled by city authorities, deaths from overdoses of Fentanyl, a synthetic painkiller 100 times more powerful than morphine, alone reached 234 in 2019, up from 90 in 2018. Total deaths resulting from overdoses of Fentanyl, Heroin or the two together hit 290, while in 2018 there were 134 such deaths | National Review, USA

Inside Baltimore’s Unique Bid to Open Safe Consumption Sites

Arow of seats at the front of Baltimore City Council’s chambers was reserved for harm reductionists on January 13. They were there to celebrate a small but significant shift in how Baltimore deals with the overdose crisis: The introduction of a resolution to hold an informational hearing about safe consumption sites and the possibility of establishing them in Baltimore | Filter Magazine, USA

How Philly plans to combat the nation's worst big-city opioid crisis in 2020

Philadelphia is home to the worst urban opioid crisis in America. More than 3,000 people have died of drug overdoses here in the last three years, and the city health department estimates that tens of thousands of Philadelphians are addicted to opioids | Medical Xpress, USA

Opportunities and Limits of New Federal Funding for Stimulant Responses

As the federal government pours billions of dollars into state-level responses to opioid use disorders and opioid-involved overdoses, the tide may be turning on the historic death toll | Filter Magazine, USA

Juice WRLD Cause of Death: Autopsy Shows Rapper Died of Accidental Overdose

The 21-year-old artist, whose real name was Jarad A. Higgins, went into convulsions during a drug raid at Midway Airport in Chicago | NYTimes, USA

Council of Chief Medical Officers urges ban on flavoured e-cigarettes in series of recommendations

The Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health released a series of recommendations on Wednesday designed to address rapidly rising youth vaping rates that also include a call for the minimum purchase age for tobacco and e-cigarette products to be raised to 21 and for manufacturers to disclose all ingredients in their products | Globe and Mail, Canada


Blogs, comment and opinion

How government policy in 2020 can nurture recovery, reduce inequalities and save lives

The recent Conservative manifesto was light on detail around drug and alcohol treatment, however a subsequent addition was published laying out plans to tackle addiction. This includes two crucial pledges: to introduce a combined addictions strategy and a ‘dedicated monitoring unit at the heart of government’ | Collective Voice, UK

Lab Long Read: Human-centred policy? Blending ‘big data’ and ‘thick data’ in national policy

The last decade has been marked by a significant shift in the debate about the relationship between the citizen and the state. Around the world, in order to remain relevant, organisations have undertaken significant transformation to become more ‘human-centred’ | Civil Service blog, UK

Has pub diversification ended decades of decline?

Recent ONS figures show the number of pubs and bars increased in 2019 for the first time in a decade, raising questions over whether a long term downward trend since the 1980s could be coming to an end | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Liz Moore: 'It made a big impression to know early what addiction was'

Long Bright River portrays the blight of addiction in Philadelphia and in a troubled family. The novelist explains how her own experience informed its story | Guardian, UK

‘Deaths of Despair’ Aren’t Just a U.S. Problem

The U.K., too, is experiencing rising levels of death from addiction and other blights. Geography and gender are two dividing lines | Bloomberg opinion, USA

The vaping panic is looking eerily like the start of a new drug war

Over the past year, a media narrative emerged that any given American could be maimed by a Juul. Government officials also piled on | Business Insider, USA