Weekly news - 2nd March 2018


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In date order - Monday to Friday

Lean (Purple Drank/Syrup): UK and Ireland DrugWatch Information Sheet

Lean, also known as Purple Drank, Barre, Sizzurp or Syrup, refers to a drink that is made from over the counter (OTC) medications and used for psychoactive effect. Here are two information sheets - one for professional and one for young people | DrugWatch, UK

Family Life in Recovery: Understanding recovery from a family perspective: A survey of life in recovery for families

New research published today (26 February) – the first of its kind – shows how the recovery journey of a dependent drinker can markedly improve the lives of their families, for as long as recovery is sustained | Sheffield Hallam University, Alcohol Reserach UK, Adfam, UK

Drug Deaths

This week, Channel 4 News led with a heart-breaking report. Our city suffered 12 drug deaths in January alone, compared to 38 in the whole of 2016. Dundee has the highest rate of drug deaths in Scotland, Scotland’s rate is far above the United Kingdom average, and the UK’s drug death rate far exceeds the European average | They work for you, UK

County lines crime targeted in new Government £13 million scheme

County lines crime is to be targeted in a new multi-million pound scheme designed to steer young people and children away from exploitative gangs. The Home Office launched a £13 million fund on Sunday to help youth workers, police, nurses and other professionals form protective relationships with vulnerable young people | ITV, UK

Drug alert as six 13-year-olds fall ill

Six 13-year-olds from Ayrshire have been treated in hospital overnight after a suspected drug incident | BBC, UK

Mental Health Services: Alcoholic Drinks and Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce drink and drug abuse among mental health service users | They work for you, UK

Additions to the Effectiveness Bank 26 February 2018

Treatment in England is the focus. Latest statistics, the drop-off in support on leaving prison, and whether we need to insist that substitute prescribing patients take their medication under supervision | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Labour MPs blame own party for robbing Parliament of medicinal cannabis vote

Todat veteren MP Paul Flynn's private members bill was filibustered | London Economic, UK

Scotland to set 50p minimum unit price for alcohol

The Scottish government has recommended that the minimum price for a unit of alcohol should be set at 50p | BBC, UK

Effectiveness of brief alcohol interventions in primary care populations

Brief interventions aim to reduce alcohol consumption and related harm in hazardous and harmful drinkers who are not actively seeking help for alcohol problems | Cochrane Library, UK

P-05-784 Prescription drug dependence and withdrawal - recognition and support

Petition text: ​ We call on the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to take action to appropriately recognise and effectively support individuals affected and harmed by prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal | National Assembly for Wales, UK

Trial of physical Activity and Reduction of Smoking (TARS)

Researchers from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (PUPSMD) will lead a national study with £1.8 million of funding from the NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme to test the effectiveness of new support to help smokers who want to reduce but not quit | Plymouth University, UK

New research finds ‘wonder drug’ for alcohol use disorder ineffective

A new study, published in the Addiction journal, conducted by researchers from the University of Liverpool highlights the ineffectiveness of a specific drug treatment for alcohol use disorders | University of Liverpool, UK

Pharmacy undergraduates work with drug misuse services

The charity Addaction is giving final-year MPharm undergraduates the chance to witness drug misuse services first-hand, as part of their degree | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

Most UK cannabis 'super strength skunk'

Most cannabis being sold illegally in the UK is super-strength skunk linked to a higher risk of psychotic mental health episodes, an analysis of 995 samples seized by the police suggests | BBC, UK

UK cannabis market dominated by high-potency 'skunk'

The first comprehensive survey of cannabis strength published in the UK for almost 10 years finds that high-potency varieties made up 94% of police seizures in 2016. The study, co-authored by King’s College London researchers, highlights the potential threat posed to mental health by a market dominated by strong cannabis | KCL, UK

Lord Rennard: Delays to minimum alcohol pricing cost 65 lives a day

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Rennard writes ahead of his parliamentary question today on the cost benefits to the NHS and police of minimum unit pricing for alcohol in England | Politics Home, UK

The rising affordability of alcohol (PDF)

It is increasingly recognised that the affordability of alcohol has risen dramatically over the last 30 years. What is less widely appreciated is that this trend has been overwhelmingly driven by cheap alcohol in the off-trade (primarily supermarkets) – the very products that would be affected by a minimum unit price | IAS, UK

Beer in UK supermarkets 188% more affordable than 30 years ago, research shows

More than 1.2 million hospital admissions and one million crimes recorded each year relating to alcohol | Independent, UK

‘Chemsex’ and former legal highs drive dramatic shift in drug use

Former legal highs and “chemsex” drugs are driving a dramatic shift in substance abuse away from alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine, according to a study | i news, UK

Can medications make it *too* easy to recover?

Drug-based treatments dominate opiate addiction treatment but are far from universally accepted. Referring to chemical ‘solutions’ to addiction, this instalment of the online course on treatment research ends with the “curious possibility that precisely because a technology is (relatively) effortlessly effective, it is to that degree under suspicion”. As some patients thought likely, does recovery have to “hurt and cause pain”? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

'Legal high' shop owners in court

Two Tayside "legal high" shop owners have admitted selling substances that left eight customers requiring hospital treatment | BBC, UK

Alfie Dingley: Home Office considers medical cannabis trial

The Home Office says it is considering allowing a medical cannabis trial to treat a six-year-old boy with a rare form of epilepsy. It previously turned down requests by the family of Alfie Dingley, from Warwickshire, to legally take the drug | BBC, UK

EMCDDA–Europol Joint Report on a new psychoactive substance: N-phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl)piperidin-4-yl]cyclopropanecarboxamide (cyclopropylfentanyl)

In September 2017, the EMCDDA and Europol examined the available information on the new psychoactive substance N-phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl)piperidin-4-yl]cyclopropanecarboxamide (cyclopropylfentanyl), through a joint assessment | EMCDDA/Europol, Portugal

EMCDDA–Europol Joint Report on a new psychoactive substance: 2-methoxy-N-phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl)piperidin-4-yl]acetamide (methoxyacetylfentanyl)

In September 2017, the EMCDDA and Europol examined the available information on the new psychoactive substance 2-methoxy-N-phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl)piperidin-4-yl]acetamide (methoxyacetylfentanyl), through a joint assessment | EMCDDA/Europol, Portugal

Collection: Alcohol and drug misuse prevention and treatment guidance

Information and other resources to support commissioners, service providers and others providing alcohol and drug interventions. Now all brought together in one place for ease of use | PHE, UK

A matter of justice: Local government’s role in tackling health inequalities

Deprived communities experience poorer mental health, higher rates of smoking and greater levels of obesity than the more affluent. They spend more years in ill health and die sooner. Reducing health inequalities is an economic and social challenge as well as a moral one | LGA, UK

New Scottish care standards to come into force in April 2018

The Health and Social Care Standards set out what people should expect when using health, social care or social work services in Scotland | SDF, UK

Five things everyone needs to know about Xanax

Particular drugs go in and out of fashion for all kinds of reasons, but it’s the speed at which Xanax has made an appearance that’s been surprising | Metro, UK

2,500 caught drug-driving in three years in Wales

More than 2,500 motorists in Wales have been caught driving under the influence of drugs since new police powers were introduced three years ago | BBC, UK

Diane Abbott declares war on drugs a failure – but rules out Labour legalising cannabis

A Jeremy Corbyn government would crack down on the 'gigantic Ponzi scheme' that is Bitcoin | Independent, UK

West Midlands PCC points the way forward

One of the most significant casualties of the fragmentation of drug treatment that followed the Lansley reforms of 2013 was the relationship between the police and drug treatment commissioning | Collective Voice blog, UK