Weekly news - 9th November 2018

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Epilepsy families angry at lack of access to medicinal cannabis

Families of children with epilepsy say they are devastated after being denied prescriptions for medicinal cannabis | BBC, UK

NHS prevention plan aims to boost life expectancy

Health Secretary Matt Hancock will set out his long-term vision for the NHS on Monday - and it will focus on preventing illness | BBC, UK

Army to introduce zero-tolerance drugs policy - Gavin Williamson

The Army is introducing a zero-tolerance drugs policy in an effort to ensure "high standards" are maintained, the defence secretary has announced | BBC, UK

The UK Needs to Take a Racial Justice Approach to Drug Policy

In the US, drug policy is seen as a racial justice issue. We should view it through the same lens | VICE, UK

Council bans staff from smoking and vaping during work hours

Dundee City Council has announced a ban on staff smoking or vaping during working hours | Evening Standard, UK

Synthetic Cannabinoids: Reclassification

[House of Commons Debate] I beg to move, That this House has considered the reclassification of synthetic cannabinoids | UK Hansard, UK

Alprazolam: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency has made in tackling the diversion of Xanax from the regulated supply chain to the criminal market; for what reason that diversion has taken place; how many prosecutions there have been; and what plans have been put in place to prevent that diversion | They work for you, UK

The toxic impact of drug panics

Alarm surrounding the bizarre effects of the latest street drug can be seductive and makes for excellent headlines. But, ask Emily Goddard and Ian Hamilton, what about the harm this causes? | Independent, UK

Alcohol most misjudged drug when it comes to harm

People young and old underestimate the dangers of alcohol more than any other drug, shows a new study from Brunel University London | Brunel University, UK

Become an expert on drug treatment research

Online course exploring key studies on harm reduction and treatment now complete. The 25 instalments remain freely available, enabling you to become an expert on drug treatment research | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

November issue of DDN magazine out now

Never under-estimate the power of kindness and a safe space. The SWOP project featured in our cover story showcases the best kind of outreach – meeting people at the stage they’re at, offering comfort and safety first and foremost, and then providing the first links to a network of support. It’s a way of working, and a set of values, that we shouldn’t forget in this results-driven age. Outreach work can be so very undervalued as budget cuts bite, but without projects such as this many people would stay under the radar, scarred by trauma and unable to move on | DDN, UK

Prevention is better than cure: our vision to help you live well for longer

This document sets out the government's vision for putting prevention at the heart of the nation's health | Department of Health and Social Care, UK

Reality Check: Are public health campaigns working?

Health Secretary Matt Hancock wants to encourage people in England to make "better choices" around their alcohol, sugar, salt and fat intake, while getting more exercise | BBC, UK

Key role of specialist nurses highlighted by alcohol addiction inquiry

Free registration may be required. The loss of alcoholic specialist roles, such as wellbeing nurses, in local services struggling with cash shortages is preventing alcoholics from getting the help they need, according to a national inquiry | Nursing Times, UK

Doctors don't know whether they should encourage smokers to switch to e-cigarettes 

One in three medics would not recommend e-cigarettes to smokers, with quarter unsure if they are any safer than smoking, polling suggests | Telegraph, UK

Smoking, diabetes increase heart attack risk more in women

Women who smoke, have diabetes or high blood pressure increase their risk of a heart attack more than men faced with the same risks, a large study of UK adults has found | BBC, UK

Nitty drugs and broken trust: Young people talk Spice and the Secure Estate (PDF)

This report started as a look into Spice but revealed a shocking theme: a lack of trust. Seventy-five per cent of those surveyed said they didn’t trust any professional involved in their care – a result of broken promises and a lack of confidentiality and transparency. Some said they felt information could be misused. Why do they feel this way? | User voice, UK

Development of the Brief Addiction Therapist Scale (BATS)

A literature review and three-round Delphi survey facilitated the development of a Brief Addiction Therapist Scale (BATS), designed to evaluate the delivery of substance use treatment in routine practice | Alcohol Research UK, UK

The making of an opioid epidemic

When high doses of painkillers led to widespread addiction, it was called one of the biggest mistakes in modern medicine. But this was no accident | Guardian, UK

Four states vote on legal cannabis in midterm elections with mixed results

Three states approve the measures, while a fourth rejects recreational weed | Independent, UK

Seizures of drugs in England and Wales, financial year ending 2018

Contains figures for seizures of drugs made by local police forces and the UK Border Force | Home Office, UK

Seizures of drugs in England and Wales, financial year ending 2018

Contains figures for seizures of drugs made by local police forces and the UK Border Force | Home Office, UK

Cannabis seizures double in a year as critics say drug is flooding into UK because it is 'effectively decriminalised'

Cannabis seizures have more than doubled in a year amid claims that the drug is flooding into UK because it has effectively been decriminalised, official figures revealed today | Telegraph, UK

Why coke isn't vegan and other myths of the 'sesh'

When it comes to drugs, there's an endless supply of urban legends out there - whether it’s a tale about the best way to take a particular drug, a justification for taking them (even though they’re actually illegal), or a remedy users swear can help combat the after-effects | BBC, UK