Daily news - 3rd March 2020

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UK news

DDN March 2020 - out now

Many years ago the UK treated heroin addiction as a medical issue, with diamorphine scripts dispensed by GPs. It’s taking us a long time to come back to that viewpoint but what might change the political mindset is the economic good sense of heroin assisted treatment (HAT, page 8). The savings represented by each person involved in the programme are significant and give an obvious direction | DDN, UK

Faster access to cannabis-based medicines as import restrictions are changed

Patients prescribed cannabis-based medicines will be able to get their treatment in days rather than months | Department of Health and Social Care and Home Office, UK

Faster access to cannabis medicines in UK

Patients needing cannabis-based medicines should no longer face lengthy delays in accessing their prescriptions, says the government | BBC, UK

E-cigarette use or vaping: reporting suspected adverse reactions

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is requesting that healthcare professionals report any suspected side effects or safety concerns with e-cigarettes and the e-liquids used for vaping to the Yellow Card Scheme | RCPCH, UK

'Wrong postcodes' force addicts to wait three months for treatment

The lives of people battling with addiction issues are still being put at risk because they are being told they will have to wait for weeks or even months to get medication and therapy, and being refused options such as rehab because they live in the “wrong postcode”, it has been claimed | Herald, UK

Awareness of the presence of nicotine in the JUUL brand of e-cigarettes among adolescents, young adults, and older adults in the United States

[Open access] Nicotine warning labels on e-cigarette products can inform potential consumers that using e-cigarettes can cause addiction. This study examined awareness of the omnipresence of nicotine in the JUUL e-cigarette through a cross-sectional online survey of 4860 adolescents (13–17 years), 3746 young adults (18–24 years) and 5000 older adults (25–99 years) in the United States | DEPP, UK

Pioneering Alcohol Advice Helps UK Armed Forces

A system that motivates health professionals to ‘Have a Word’ with patients about alcohol use has been rolled out across the UK’s Armed Forces – a public health world first for defence | Cardiff University, UK

National Statistics: Alcohol Bulletin

Quarterly update with provisional data from November 2019 to January 2020. This National Statistics publication presents statistics from the 4 different alcohol duties administered by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC): Wine Duty, Spirits Duty, Beer Duty and Cider Duty | HM Revenue & Customs, UK



International news

Using contributing causes of death improves prediction of opioid involvement in unclassified drug overdoses in US death records (PDF)

A substantial share of fatal drug overdoses is missing information on specific drug involvement, leading to under-reporting of opioid-related death rates and a misrepresentation of the extent of the opioid epidemic. We aimed to compare methodological approaches to predicting opioid involvement in unclassified drug overdoses in US death records and to estimate the number of fatal opioid overdoses from 1999 to 2016 using the best-performing method | Addiction, UK

Study shows rising age of first drug use in teens, young adults

The average age at which teens and young adults start using drugs has been rising, according to a study published today in JAMA Pediatrics | Medical Xpress, USA

Health Insurance Companies Charge Vapers Up to 50% More

Despite the fact that most e-cigarette users have turned to vaping in order to quit smoking, in the US they are being lumped in with smokers when it comes to health insurance penalties | Vaping Post, USA

Bloomberg Is Wrong to Throw “Dealers” Under His Campaign Bus

For the first time in US political history, drug policy reform and harm reduction have taken center stage at presidential debates and on the campaign trail of the 2020 hopefuls | Filter Magazine, USA

Former crime statistician warns of 'precious little research' to justify drug policing

The state's former chief crime statistician has warned current approaches to drug policing are not based on evidence and are probably doing more harm than good | SMH, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Ian Hamilton: “They talk, we die”—the continuing paralysis of UK drug policy

The latest report into drug use in the UK is another reminder of why drug policy should be based on evidence rather than ideology, says Ian Hamilton | BMJ opinion, UK

SDF statement on proposals by community activists to establish a supervised drug consumption facility

Services that offer witnessed drug consumption to people who inject drugs help protect people from the risks of public injecting.  The development of such services is a rational and evidence-based response to the problems we face in Scotland – including hazardous public injecting, HIV outbreaks and a continuing high prevalence of hepatitis C.  Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF) has made the case and promoted understanding of such services for many years | SDF, UK

If football clubs want to sell alcohol, they must tackle sectarianism and fans’ bad behaviour – Helen Martin

Scottish Government could demand action on fans’ swearing and violence as part of a deal to allow football clubs to sell alcohol | Edinburgh News, UK

Minimum pricing. First Scotland, now Wales. What’s next?

On 2 March 2020, minimum unit pricing is being introduced in Wales - here we explain the background to the measure, the benefits it will bring, and why efforts to introduce it in England remain stalled | Alcohol Change UK blog, UK

Health Matters: Smoking and mental health

The latest edition of Health Matters, PHE’s professional resource, focuses on smoking among the population of people living with a broad range of mental health conditions, ranging from low mood and common conditions such as depression and anxiety, to more severe conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder | PHE blog, UK

The Volteface Podcast #20 Righteous Minds with George McBride

In today’s episode Director of External Affairs Paul is joined by CEO of Hanway associations George McBride. They discuss what has changed since George’s early days in drug reform at the Beckley Foundation and consider the chances of cannabis being legalised here in the UK | Volteface, UK

The Trip Report 02/03

Through the work of organisations such as WEDINOS, The Loop, and SaferParty, we know a little more about the drugs in circulation. The report provided below is a summary of their findings over the last week | Cameron Scally, UK

CND blog

Live reporting from the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs | IDPC, UK

How Many More Experts Must Recommend Pill Testing Before The Government Makes It Happen?

The government has finally released the findings from the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug 'Ice' | 10 daily, Australia