Weekly news - 17th August 2018


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Minimum price for alcohol Bill becomes law

A new law introducing a minimum price for alcohol in Wales has been granted Royal Assent by Her Majesty the Queen | Welsh Government, UK

Spice: New kit tests for drug in 30 minutes

Video. Scientists in Manchester have developed a "groundbreaking" machine to test for the illegal drug Spice | BBC, UK

Substances sold at Bestival kept people awake for up to four days

The Loop says N-ethyl pentylone and pentylone induced users with "temporary psychosis” | MixMag, UK

Monkey Dust drug use 'an epidemic', emergency workers warn

Public Health England says Monkey Dust is the street name for Methylenedioxy-α-pyrrolidinohexiophenone or MDPHP | BBC, UK

Politicians back extension of medicinal cannabis law to Northern Ireland

Political parties have united around a campaign to see a proposed new law allowing the prescription of medicinal cannabis extended to Northern Ireland | ITV, UK

Norway trials free heroin prescriptions for most serious addicts

Project aims to improve quality of life and reduce country’s high fatal overdose rates | Guardian, UK

Continuity of care for prisoners who need substance misuse treatment

An audit toolkit and guidance on data recording, for prison treatment providers and commissioners | PHE, UK

Rough sleeping strategy: prevention, intervention, recovery

Up to 6,000 vulnerable people will receive rapid specialist assessments and support under new measures in the government’s rough sleeping strategy | Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government and The Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, UK

The public health burden of alcohol: evidence review

[Updated] This review looks at the impact of alcohol on the public health and the effectiveness of alcohol control policies | PHE, UK

Vaping 'can damage vital immune system cells'

Vaping can damage vital immune system cells and may be more harmful than previously thought, a study suggests | BBC, UK

Alcohol misuse 'biggest health problem in Northern Ireland'

Figures obtained by BBC News NI show the number of alcohol-related deaths in Northern Ireland is the highest on record | BBC, UK

Deadly DNP

Many people will have heard warnings about the risks of using the toxic chemical called DNP (full name 2,4-DINITROPHENOL) for body building and weight reduction.  Yet despite these warnings the number of deaths has risen in 2018 | PHE blog, UK

Alcohol and drug misuse prevention and treatment guidance

[Guidance updated] Added Continuity of care for prisoners who need substance misuse treatment | PHE, UK

Alcohol Awareness Week 2018, 19-25 November: ‘Change’

Alcohol Concern have announced this year's Alcohol Awareness Week(AAW) will take place from 19-25 of November on the theme of 'change'. The charity, which has merged with Alcohol Research UK, is promoting the Twitter hashtag #AAW18 | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Mandrake

A brand new machine has been placed into Manchester city centre police station to help test seized drugs, in a scheme that is the first of its kind in the country | Greater Manchester Police, UK

Study sheds light on peer pressure and alcohol consumption

A new pilot study involving the University of Stirling has found that more than four in five people in the UK have experienced pressure from friends to consume alcohol | University Of Stirling, UK

Mixing alcohol and energy drinks ‘may impair judgment and cause risky behaviour’

Scientists have found that the combination could be responsible for making drinkers less able to engage in social communication and reduce their ability to feel fear | ITV, UK

Study finds e-cigarettes may make lungs vulnerable to infection

Researchers studied a type of lung cell called alveolar macrophages. These are also called dust cells, as they prevent irritants such as dust and infectious bacteria passing into the airways | NHS Choices, UK

Medical use of cannabis

This briefing provides a short overview of the current control of cannabis in the UK, and information on a recent review on cannabis based medicinal products. In July 2018, the Home Secretary announced that he had decided to reschedule these products which would allow them to be prescribed | Parliament.UK, UK

Policing of cannabis possession is largely accidental – and many officers don’t think it makes a difference

With the on-going debate on the legal status of cannabis, Charlie Lloyd, Geoff Page and Sharon Grace from York University discuss the results of their research in North Yorkshire looking at the day-to-day policing of cannabis possession and analysis of the data on drug possession offences. The research raises important questions about how police forces in England and Wales should deal with this common but to some, trivial, offence | Policing Insight, UK

Durham PCC calls for 'radical change' on drugs policy

Decriminalising illegal drugs for personal use would save lives and reduce organised crime, a police and crime commissioner (PCC) has said | BBC, UK

Inside small-town Britain's drug epidemic - BBC iPlayer

County lines: Newsnight looks at the murky world of drug dealing | BBC, UK

Fit to fly: Sumary of the Policy Debate on Alcohol and Air Travel (PDF)

This report presents an outline of the current issues associated with alcohol and air travel, the legal framework and the policy recommendations... | IAS and Eurocare, UK

Airports criticise proposals to stop them selling alcohol in the early morning

Airports have criticised proposals that could stop them serving alcohol to holidaymakers in the early morning | Telegraph, UK

Council pension funds are major investors in tobacco companies

Anti-smoking groups dismiss claims by local authorities that they can’t sell stocks | Guardian, UK

Bleak New Estimates in Drug Epidemic: A Record 72,000 Overdose Deaths in 2017

Fentanyl is a big culprit, but there are also encouraging signs from states that have prioritized public health campaigns and addiction treatment | NYTimes, USA

Investigating the potential impact of changing health messages on alcohol products (PDF)

This study investigated what consumers pay attention to on alcohol labels when purchasing alcohol products and the potential impact of changes to current labels, for example through the inclusion of a prominent health message | Alcohol Concern, UK

Relaxing e-cigarette laws would cut smoking deaths, say MPs

Government urged to rethink ban on vaping in public places and reduce taxes | Guardian, UK

Drunk air passenger arrests up 50%

Arrests of passengers suspected of being drunk at UK airports and on flights have risen by 50% in a year, a BBC Panorama investigation suggests | BBC, UK

The Truth About 'Monkey Dust', UK Media's Latest Drug Obsession

Don't believe everything you read about the cheap stimulant said to be turning users into super-strong zombies who like jumping off buildings | VICE, UK

Body scanners and sniffer dogs to target prison drugs

New body scanners and sniffer dogs are to be introduced in 10 of England's most "challenging" prisons as part of a clampdown on drugs and mobile phones | BBC, UK

Naltrexone treatment of offenders: ethics and evidence

Opinion is sharply divided on the ethics and effectiveness of pressuring opioid-dependent offenders to take the opiate-blocker naltrexone, especially long-acting products not approved for medical use in the UK. Is coercing offenders to accept naltrexone an unacceptable infringement of autonomy, or as caring as holding back someone about (by choice or not) to step off a cliff? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK