Weekly news - 12th April 2019

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Seema Kennedy replaces pharmacy minister Steve Brine

Seema Kennedy has been announced as the new public health and primary care minister, with responsibility for pharmacy, replacing Steve Brine | Chemist and Druggist, UK

Fresh guidance to fill 'information vacuum' on new cannabis products for medicinal use

A clinical review, published on Saturday 6 April 2019 for the BMJ, provides new interim advice for doctors and clinicians in prescribing cannabis-based products and cannabinoids to treat certain conditions | EurekAlert, UK

Mother of girl with epilepsy has supply of medical cannabis confiscated

Campaigner Emma Appleby was stopped with £4,500 worth of cannabis oil for her daughter | Guardian, UK

Woman tells police she is resorting to growing own cannabis after NHS refuses to pay for her prescription

A woman believed to have received the UK's first-ever private prescription for medicinal cannabis after a change in the law fears being arrested after being unable to pay the cost of ongoing treatment | Telegraph, UK

Police chief is letting off cannabis users as warnings are ‘disastrous for their life chances’

West Midlands Chief Constable Dave Thompson told MPs he made the change to the force's policy on cannabis because he does not want to 'criminalise lots of young people' | The Sun, UK

Sentencing offenders with mental health conditions or disorders consultation

The Sentencing Council has launched a consultation on its proposed guideline on sentencing offenders with mental health conditions or disorders. It has included Substance misuse disorders in the new consultation document (PDF) | Sentencing Council, UK

Hepatitis C deaths fall by 16 per cent between 2015 and 2017

Deaths from serious hepatitis C related liver disease fell from 380 to 319, thanks to new curative treatments. But while England has exceeded the World Health Organization’s (WHO) target to reduce hepatitis C related mortality by 10% by 2020, challenges still exit to eliminate the disease in this country | PHE, UK

MRSA Research in Bristol

The latest issue of Eurosurveillance, Europe's journal on infectious diseases, features recent research into the prevalence of MRSA among people who inject drugs in "the Bristol clade" | BDP, UK

Alert: Wound botulism outbreak among people who inject drugs in Scotland

Four cases of wound botulism have recently been identified in Scotland | SDF, UK

The Trip Report 08/04/2019

Through the work of organisations such as WEDINOS, The Loop, and SaferParty, we know a little more about the drugs in circulation. The report provided below is a summary of their findings over the last week | Cameron Scally, UK

DDN April issue

Our cover story examines the thought that recovery doesn’t happen in a vacuum but can thrive with community support. How often do we focus solely on the individual? The inclusive cities model looks at the great potential of harnessing the power of communities. It also examines the difficulties of negative community influence – the barriers created by exclusion and stigma. Also with this month’s issue, you’ll find Routes to Recovery, our latest residential rehab guide | DDN, UK

Cocaine injecting and homelessness 'behind Glasgow HIV rise'

The Glasgow city centre outbreak is the UK's largest in more than 30 years | BBC, UK [See also: Re-emergence of HIV related to injecting drug use despite a comprehensive harm reduction environment: a cross-sectional analysis | Lancet, UK]

Smoking cessation for people with severe mental illness (SCIMITAR+): a pragmatic randomised controlled trial

[Open access] People with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia are three times more likely to smoke than the wider population, contributing to widening health inequalities. Smoking remains the largest modifiable risk factor for this health inequality, but people with severe mental illness have not historically engaged with smoking cessation services | Lancet, UK [See also: New intervention doubles quit rate among smokers with severe mental illness | University of York, UK]

Hepatitis C infections could be prevented by reducing transmission in people who inject drugs

Stepping up efforts to prevent transmission of hepatitis C among people who inject drugs, could reduce future infections by 43 per cent globally, according to a study by researchers at the University of Bristol published in the Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology today | Medical Xpress, UK

Briefing paper by ADVANCE in response to proposals for UK domestic violence bill

ADVANCE is a 60-month programme with 5 workstreams to describe the role of substance use in intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration by men in substance use treatment and develop and test a perpetrator programme for this group | KCL, UK

Access to Medical Cannabis

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care if he will make a statement on the return of medical cannabis that was seized from Emma Appleby at Southend airport on Saturday 6 April and which is needed to treat her very ill daughter Teagan’s extreme epilepsy, and to take steps to make sure that medical cannabis is available for prescription around this great country | They work for you, UK

'Two-tier system' as NHS patients miss out on medical cannabis

Tight NHS restrictions mean private patients have better access to drugs, experts say | Guardian, UK

Pregnant women less likely to smoke than their mothers

Women are less likely to smoke during pregnancy and more likely to be heavier than their mothers, according to new research | BBC, UK

Teagan Appleby gets medicinal cannabis prescription

A mother caught trying to bring medicinal cannabis into the UK says her daughter has been issued a prescription for the drug | BBC, UK

How deadly crack cocaine can be bought and delivered on Britain’s streets quicker than it takes to deliver a pizza

[Harry Shapiro of DrugWise quoted] A Sun investigation found it took just three minutes and 48 seconds from phoning an order for the Class A drug to it being delivered by bicycle in East London | The Sun, UK

Scots are drinking more despite minimum pricing

[Free subscription may be required] Scots have bought more alcohol since minimum pricing laws came into force, an analysis has found | The Times, UK

The couple who drink together, stay together: Gene linked to alcohol consumption influences who you choose to marry, study of 47,000 couples suggests

Lovers that mirror each other's drinking habits are more likely to stay together, research on 47,000 couples has revealed | Mail Online, UK

Death penalty in 2018: Facts and figures

At least 98 executions were known to have been carried out for drug-related offences in 4 countries – 14% of the global total and down from 28% in 2017. At least 226 of such death sentences were known to have been imposed in 14 countries | Amnesty International, UK