Daily news - 4th March 2020

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UK news

Scottish Drug Misuse Database Overview of Initial Assessments for Specialist Drug Treatment 2018/19

In 2018/19, initial assessments for specialist drug treatment relating to 10,757 individuals resident in Scotland were recorded on the Scottish Drug Misuse Database. Just over half of people in contact with drug services were from older age groups; the percentage of individuals assessed for specialist drug treatment who were aged 35 years or over increased from 29% in 2006/07 to 53% in 2018/19. Heroin was the most common substance people reported needing help with, although its use has decreased over time | ISD Scotland, UK

Younger drug users moving away from injecting heroin

Younger drug users are moving away from injecting heroin, new figures have revealed | BBC, UK

False fears preventing smokers from using e-cigarettes to quit

Over half of smokers believe nicotine vaping products are equally or more harmful than smoking despite US vaping deaths being caused by substances banned in UK | PHE, UK

Vaping in England: evidence update March 2020

Annual update of Public Health England’s e-cigarette evidence review by leading independent tobacco experts | PHE, UK

E-cigarettes: use by patients in NHS mental health organisations

Advice for commissioners, service providers and mental health trusts providing care to NHS patients who use electronic cigarettes | PHE, UK

Delivering health and care for people who sleep rough Going above and beyond (PDF)

An estimated 726 people died while experiencing homelessness in England and Wales in 2018, at an average age of 45 years for men and 43 years for women. Many people who sleep rough experience a toxic combination of struggles over personal safety, food, shelter and ill health that most of the wider population find difficult to truly understand. This may be why many routine health and care services – despite being designed with deep values of equity and fairness – fail to meet the needs of people sleeping rough | The Kings Fund, UK

Local tobacco control profiles for England: March 2020 update

An overview of the extent of tobacco use, tobacco related harm and the measures being taken to reduce this harm at a local level in England | PHE, UK

Mobile drug consumption room set for Glasgow - without Government approval

A plan to open a mobile drug consumption room in Glasgow without Government approval has won backing of politicians and campaigners | Glasgow Times, UK

Campaigners want a ban on alcohol sponsorship in Scottish sport

Campaigners are calling for alcohol sponsorship to be banned in Scottish sport. An academic study found drink advertising features every 15 seconds at some high-level fixtures | BBC, UK

Intervention to help GPs identify, assess and treat patients with hepatitis C found to be effective

The first UK clinical trial to increase the identification and treatment of hepatitis C (HCV) patients in primary care has been found to be effective, acceptable to staff and highly cost-effective for the NHS. The University of Bristol-led Hepatitis C Assessment to Treatment Trial (HepCATT), published in the British Medical Journal today [27 February], provides robust evidence of effective action GPs should take to increase HCV testing and treatment | University of Bristol, UK

Routemap to eliminating hepatitis C in London: The Opportunity (PDF)

Hepatitis C is an infectious blood-borne virus that can cause cirrhosis, liver cancer and premature death – yet we now have the treatments and care pathways to cure it and eff ectively eliminate the virus in London. This is an incredible opportunity and one anyone who has any experience of hepatitis C, in a personal or professional capacity, is determined to achieve. To eliminate hepatitis C in London, we need to find | LJWG, UK

WDP and Storyhouse announce brand new partnership

Leading drug and alcohol charity WDP has joined forces with Storyhouse, an award-winning library, theatre, cinema, and cultural centre in Chester, to offer local people who access substance misuse services the opportunity to enjoy events and facilities available at this valuable community hub. It is the first partnership between WDP and a significant regional cultural centre | WDP, UK

Brewery fights order to remove 'cartoony' animals from beer can

Bristol-based Lost & Grounded has been told by regulator that design appeals to children | Guardian, UK

Rulings & Decisions: Lawless

The company firstly stated they did not believe Lawless was in breach of the Code | Portman Group, UK

Addiction Current List - March 2020

This is a quick summary of the main discovery for each research paper we have published, organized issue by issue | Addiction, UK

Kilmarnock barber who beat drug addiction is now helping others in recovery

Stephen Pratt has transformed his life after being "stuck in the gutter" | Daily Record, UK

This Is How Much Money Drug Dealers Really Make

The upper echelons of drug dealers are depicted as living lavish lives – but what about your average Friday night shotter? | VICE, UK

'My husband stole £300,000 to fund his gambling habit'

Becky's husband was jailed for stealing money to fund his gambling addiction, she now wants more support provided for families 'left behind'. She was eight months pregnant when her husband was jailed for stealing over £300,000 from work | BBC, UK

Lewis Bagshaw death: Teenager guilty of fatally stabbing man over drugs

A 17-year-old boy has been found guilty of murdering a "loving father" in a revenge attack over a row about drugs | BBC, UK


International news

Sentencing of women convicted of drug-related offences

Drug-related offences are known to have a particular and disproportionate impact on women. Eighty-two per cent of all women in prison in Thailand are imprisoned for a drug offence; in the Philippines, the proportion of women in prison for a drug offence is 53% and in Peru and Costa Rica it is more than 60% | Penal Reform International, Linklaters LLP, International Drug Policy Consortium, UK

 From potential bystanders of overdoses to ‘public health collaborators’

Through a Danish programme, over 500 police officers, social workers, people who use opioids, and significant others received overdose awareness training and took home supplies of the ‘overdose antidote’ naloxone. Study examines what happened post-training, and identifies what may be *the* critical population of bystanders | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

How organisational context affects screening and brief intervention

Selection and exploration of key studies highlights a striking illustration of the importance of organisational context emerging from an unprecedented US implementation drive, and helps develop evidence-informed understanding of three important issues | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

US prosecutors accuse Honduran president of taking drug money

Juan Orlando Hernández allegedly took $25,000 in 2013 in exchange for protecting trafficker from law enforcement | Guardian, UK

Value of seized drugs plummets in 2019

The amount of drugs seized at Ireland’s ports and airports by Revenue customs officials has decreased by more than 400% over the past two years | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Alcohol, pregnancy and infant health – a shared responsibility (PDF)

The report has been written by some of the world’s leading alcohol researchers, led by Harold Holder. The researchers review international studies and evaluate the scientific strength of the various studies’ findings | Svensk Förening för Allmänmedicin, Svensk sjuksköterskeförening et al, Sweden

On the path toward non-addictive painkillers

Opioid-containing painkillers are virtually indispensable in clinical practice and are typically used in postoperative patients and patients undergoing cancer treatment | Medical Xpress, Germany

Introduction to the Special Series on Community Approaches to Addiction

Adam O’Malley was at a pub in the northern English city of Leeds when something caught his attention: a coaster that read, “Is there a mate missing around this table? Reach out to him.” | BASIS, USA

Study looks at EVALI findings in teens

The first study to examine both chest X-ray and CT imaging findings in teenagers with electronic (e-)cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) was published today in the journal Radiology | Medical Xpress, USA

Drugs may not work to help problematic pot users

Available evidence suggests that several drug classes, including cannabinoids and SSRIs, are ineffective for treating cannabis use disorder. Findings from a systematic review are published in Annals of Internal Medicine | Medical Xpress, USA

Conservative Utah's 1st medical marijuana dispensary opens

Utah's first medical marijuana dispensary opened Monday as the state began a slow rollout of a program that will allow residents with certain health conditions to use pot for medicinal purposes | San Francisco Chronicle, USA

California May Soon Pay People to Reduce Their Meth Use

Low-income Californians with methamphetamine use disorders may soon have expanded access to a well evidenced treatment intervention that offers monetary rewards for a reduction in use | Filter Magazine, USA

IV Ketamine Shows Promise for Chronic Pain, But Doubts Remain

The Littleton, Colorado location of Ketamine Wellness Centers is in the basement level of an inconspicuous suburban office building. The largest of its four treatment rooms contains a wall-mounted TV, a couple of chairs piled with pillows, and a comfy black recliner next to an IV pole | Filter Magazine, USA

New study reveals federal crackdown on poppers may create health risks for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men

A 2013 federal crackdown on alkyl nitrites, commonly known as “poppers,” may be putting gay, bi and other men who have sex with men at risk by driving them to access an unregulated – and potentially unsafe – supply, according to a new study from researchers at the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU) and the University of British Columbia (UBC) | BCCSU, Canada


Blogs, comment and opinion

UK MPs with extra work roles may be nearly three times as likely to be ‘risky’ drinkers

UK parliamentarians with additional work roles may be nearly three times as likely to be ‘risky’ drinkers as MPs without these extra obligations, suggest the results of a small survey, published in the online journal BMJ Open. | BMJ Open blog, UK

Addiction psychiatry can reduce homelessness – and yet it’s at risk

Without urgent government funding and an increase in the number of doctors specialising in addictions, the numbers of people sleeping on the streets will only rise | Guardian letters, UK

Revealed: The moral disaster of Britain's drug laws

Dame Carol Black's new Review of Drugs provides a damning picture of drug policy failures. It highlights record levels of drug-related deaths, continuing increases in use and harm, and a disturbing rise in the number of children being drawn into violent and exploitative supply chains | Politico, UK

Time for a fresh start in drug policy

As a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, I have for years argued that the so-called war on drugs has been a costly failure that has achieved nothing to make societies and communities safer | Virgin blog, UK

Updates from the 63rd Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Day one was eventful as there were several discussions and events which are of interest to the global drug using community. At this year’s CND one of the most anticipated discussion items was the World Health Organization’s recommendation to reschedule cannabis from Schedule IV, the most restrictive, to Schedule I, the least restrictive. Unfortunately, it appears the vote to reschedule will be postponed until December by member states | INPUD, UK

Parental supply of alcohol across adolescence increases risk of alcohol-related harms in early adulthood

Biostatistician Philip Clare on research findings that support the Australian Government's recommendation that any alcohol consumption in adolescence should be avoided | IAS blog, UK

“Cultures of Intoxication: Contextualising Alcohol and Drugs Use, Past & Present” Conference Report

University College Dublin was delighted to welcome twenty-five delegates to the UCD Humanities Institute on 7 and 8 February 2020 to take part in “Cultures of Intoxication: Contextualising Alcohol and Drug Use, Past & Present” | Points blog, USA