Weekly news - 4th August 2017


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Organisers say they have uncovered crushed up malaria medication, insecticide and concrete inside drugs being sold | Sky News, UK

Public Health England encourages hepatitis C testing

PHE is urging people to get free testing for hep C as it is believed many are unknowingly living with the condition | PHE, UK

Hepatitis C in England and the UK

Latest hepatitis C virus (HCV) reports, slide sets and infographics for England and the UK | PHE, UK

The Novel Psychoactive Substances in the UK Project: empirical and conceptual review work to produce research recommendations

Although illegal drug use has largely been declining in the UK over the past decade, this period has witnessed the emergence of a range of novel psychoactive substances (NPS) (‘legal highs’). These are new, mostly synthetic, substances that mimic the effects of existing drugs). Despite there being many causes for concern in relation to NPS, there has been little prior study of the burden associated with their use in public health terms. Clarity is lacking on research priorities in this rapidly developing literature | PHR, UK

Reports that frequent drinking prevents diabetes are inaccurate

"Drinking a moderate amount of certain drinks such as wine three to four times a week reduced diabetes risk by about 30%," The Guardian reports. That was the main reported finding of a Danish study looking at the impact of alcohol on diabetes risk | NHS Choices, UK

A stubborn addiction

Tobacco use has come down in the past 40 years yet stamping it out completely remains elusive. Tim Tonkin reports on anti-smoking bodies’ and the Government’s plan to find the last piece of the puzzle | BMA, UK

Young People Are Still Dying From Heroin

The tragic death of Kayleigh Jukes signals the alarming rise in heroin use among young people | VICE, UK

Opioid misuse is increasing in middle-aged Britons – here's how it could cause an addiction crisis

The older we get, the more likely we are to suffer with long-term health problems. Life expectancy may be increasing, but so are the number of years we spend in ill health. In people aged 50 and over, the leading causes of chronic ill health are lower-back and neck pain. It's hardly surprising, then, that so many middle-aged people are hooked on painkillers | Medical Xpress, USA

Low levels of hepatitis C diagnosis and testing uptake among people who inject image and performance enhancing drugs in England and Wales, 2012-15

[Open access] One in 20 people who inject image & performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs) have hepatitis C antibodies | DAD, UK

Guidance: Widening the availability of naloxone

Naloxone is the emergency antidote for overdoses caused by heroin and other opiates/opioids (such as methadone and morphine) | DoH et al, UK

Take-home naloxone for opioid overdose in people who use drugs (PDF)

Advice for local authorities and local partners on widening the availability of naloxone to reduce overdose deaths from heroin and other opiate drugs | PHE, UK

Unlinked anonymous HIV and viral hepatitis monitoring among PWID: 2017 report (PDF)

New data from the ongoing Unlinked Anonymous Monitoring Survey of HIV and Viral Hepatitis among People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) have been published on the PHE website | PHE, UK

Deaths related to drug poisoning in England and Wales: 2016 registrations

Latest update on deaths related to drug poisoning in England and Wales by cause of death, sex, age and substances involved in the death. A backseries of data from 1993 is also included in this publication | ONS, UK

Fentanyl deaths: Warning as drug kills 'at least 60'

At least 60 people have died in the UK in the last eight months after taking the strong painkiller fentanyl | BBC, UK

'Trainspotting generation' most likely to die from drug use

Surge in deaths among 40- to 49-year-olds last year helps fuel another record high in drug use deaths | Guardian, UK

Alcohol-related Deaths

In 2016, there were 1,265 alcohol-related deaths, on the basis of the current definition (details available via Alcohol Related Deaths - the Coverage of the Statistics section); an increase of 115 (10%) compared with 2015. This is the highest annual total since 2010, and the third largest annual increase in numbers | NRB Scotland, UK

Doctors warn worrying increase in alcohol-related deaths must prompt action

BMA Scotland has warned that the latest figures published today [Wednesday] by the National Records of Scotland on alcohol-related deaths make it essential that efforts to tackle the harms of alcohol misuse are redoubled | BMA, UK

Reported drinking and driving (RAS51)

The Department for Transport has released the final estimates for road casualties in GB for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels for 2015 | Department for Transport, UK

Reform and Rehabilitation? The UK Needs a Better Solution to Help Drug Using Offenders

Discussion around how drug use is criminalised in this country often focuses on the legal sanctions placed on those caught in possession, to which a number of objections can be made | Volte Face, UK

Psychosocial interventions for stimulant use disorders: what works?

Considerable interest in finding an effective treatment for “highly
addictive” cocaine and amphetamines hasn’t quite been matched by
evidence. Wrapping up what is known about psychosocial (rather than
pharmacological) approaches, this notable review indicates that
contingency management holds the most promise, but further study is
needed to answer the big question – ‘is one psychosocial approach more
effective than the others and in what circumstances?’ | Drug and Alcohol
Findings, UK

Drug-related deaths: Hidden success and deepening crisis

The overall rise in drug-related deaths reported in the most recent figures from ONS, published yesterday (2 August 2017), masks dramatic discrepancies between age groups. Deaths among the under 30s have fallen significantly, with those concerning people in their 20s more than halving over the past 15 years | Collective Voice, UK