Weekly news - 31st August 2018

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International Overdose Day - 31st August

International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on 31 August each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose| Penington Institute, Australia. UK events here


In date order, Monday - Friday

UK study finds buprenorphine’s lifesaving lead over methadone has been undermined by poorer retention

Rather than being ‘parked’ for years, study reveals that in the UK
patchy retention has undermined both methadone and Buprenorphine’s
ability to save lives. Affecting buprenorphine in particular, the result
has been to dilute its greater lifesaving potential | Drug and Alcohol
Findings, UK

Government preparations for a March 2019 'No deal scenario' (PDF)

[Letter from the Health and Social Care Minister, Matt Hancock concerning preparations to ensure that the NHS and other service providers continue to get the supplies they need, in a timely way] | DHSC, UK [See also How to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal | Department for Exiting the European Union]

Major study re-ignites 'no safe level' drinking debate

The question of moderate drinking and health returned to the headlineswith a vengeance following the publications of a major study in the Lancet using data from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2016 | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Why the effects of a boozy binge could last longer than you think

The effects of a heavy drinking session on our thoughts and performance may last longer we think, according to a new study | Science Daily, UK

Drinkers Like Me - Adrian Chiles - BBC iPlayer

In this revealingly intimate documentary for BBC2, Adrian Chiles takes a long hard look at his own love of boozing. He wants to find out why he and many others don't think they are addicted to alcohol, despite finding it almost impossible to enjoy life without it | BBC, UK

Public health emergency call amid fears drug related deaths in Scotland will top 1,000 in 2018

Scotland should declare a “public health emergency” to deal with the rising number of drug related deaths, according to experts tasked with shaping the Scottish Government’s response to the growing crisis | Herald, UK

‘Cut methadone waiting times to save lives’

Scotland's rising death toll should be declared a 'public health emergency', say the Scottish Drugs Forum | i news, UK

Fentanyl for sale to UK users through Chinese websites

Drug users can easily buy potentially lethal substances through Chinese eBay-style websites, the Guardian can reveal | Guardian, UK

Teenagers who smoke and drink suffer ill effects by age of 17

Tests showed stiffening of the arteries had begun by this relatively young age | BBC, UK

Prisoners to be offered free vaping kits ahead of tobacco ban

The initiative, which will cost about £200,000, is part of a programme to support inmates give up smoking | BBC, UK

NHS smoking cessation services

Information showing Welsh resident smokers who were carbon monoxide (CO) validated as successfully quitting at 4 weeks | Welsh Government, UK

Welsh Government's stop smoking service falls short of 5% goal

The Welsh Government has fallen short of its annual goal to treat 5% of smokers through NHS stop smoking services, according to new figures | BBC, UK


For each of the last three years, Scotland has suffered record numbers of drugs overdose deaths. Each of these tragic deaths impacts on individuals, families, communities and the nation. This cannot be accepted or allowed to become a ‘new normal’ | SDF, UK

Quarter of students know someone at university who they believe is an alcoholic, survey finds

Despite concerns that their classmates are dependent on alcohol, the majority (52 per cent) of students said they did not get drunk on a typical week, according to the YouGov research | Indepenedent, UK

Cannabis extract helps reset brain function in psychosis

Research from King’s College London has found that a single dose of the cannabis extract cannabidiol can help reduce brain function abnormalities seen in people with psychosis. Results from a new MRC-funded trial, published in JAMA Psychiatry, provide the first evidence of how cannabidiol acts in the brain to reduce psychotic symptoms | KCL, UK

Smoking and alcohol affect teenagers' artery health

Stiffening of the arteries doesn't usually cause any noticeable symptoms, but is a possible indicator of future vascular problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease | NHS: Behind the headlines, UK

Blenheim launches Drug and Alcohol Related Deaths Strategy

Recent data released from the Office of National Statistics shows that drug related deaths are continuing to rise. There were 3,756 deaths relating to drug poisoning in England and Wales in 2017 for both legal and illegal drugs. At Blenheim we are obviously very concerned by these figures and are today launching our Drug and Alcohol Related Deaths Strategy to ensure that we are doing everything we can to reduce these unnecessary deaths | Blenheim, UK

New e-learning course on how to prevent and reverse an opiate overdose launched to mark International Overdose Awareness Day

This free short e-learning course covers the key aspects of drug-related deaths in Scotland, opiate overdose prevention, intervention and naloxone basics | SDF, UK