Weekly news - 30th August 2019


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In date order, Monday to Friday

National intelligence network on drug health harms briefing: August 2019

This briefing is based on a meeting of the national intelligence network (NIN) on the health harms associated with drug use. The NIN is made up of representatives from drug treatment services, local authority public health and commissioning teams and national professional and membership bodies | PHE, UK

10 Prisons Project sees drops in violence and drugs

Statistics show drug use halved and a 16% reduction in assaults | MoJ, UK

Deaths jump fivefold as doctors dole out opioids ‘like Smarties’

[Free registration maybe required] GPs are prescribing 8,000 packs a day of oxycodone and fentanyl. Experts fear a US-style epidemic is taking hold. [Harry Shapiro of DrugWise quoted] | Sunday Times, UK

Cannabidiol for adjuvant treatment of seizures associated with Dravet syndrome [ID1211]

You can now comment on this draft guidance | NICE, UK

PHE update CLeaR alcohol self-assessment tool to support local strategy

Public Health England (PHE) have updated its alcohol CLeaR self-assessment tool which aims to help local alcohol partnerships think about how effective their local system and services are at preventing and reducing alcohol-related harm | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

'Deeply saddening': Leeds Festival issues statement after 17-year-old girl's death in suspected drug overdose

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said: "West Yorkshire Police were called to the Bramham Park site following a report that the girl, who is from the Oldham area, had died shortly after 3.40am this morning (Saturday, 24 August) | Yorkshire Evening Post, UK

Australia’s annual overdose report 2019

The continued growth in unintentional overdose deaths is linked to highly potent drugs, many of which are available through prescription, such as pharmaceutical opioids and benzodiazepines. Illegal drugs such as heroin and stimulants including crystal methamphetamine (‘ice’) also contribute to a significant number of fatalities | Penington Institute, Australia

Get Involved in Overdose Awareness Day 2019

With the number of drug-related deaths increasing year on year at the highest rate ever recorded, it is getting ever more important to raise awareness of the risks of overdose, and what can be done to reduce harm | NHS Substance Misuse Provider Alliance, UK

Adding behavioural support to drug treatment helps more people quit smoking

Among people using drug treatment to stop smoking, adding telephone or face-to-face behavioural support boosts their chances of success. Adding support increases the proportion of people quitting from around 17% on average to about 20%. This is a small but worthwhile increase given the health risks associated with smoking | NIHR, UK

Why red wine could be good for your gut - in moderation

Red wine could be good for the gut, increasing the number of different types of helpful bacteria that can live there, according to researchers | BBC, UK

Johnson & Johnson to pay $572m for fueling Oklahoma opioid crisis, judge rules

Oklahoma becomes first state to successfully sue an opioid manufacturer, a ruling that is sure to affect other drug companies | Guardian, UK

Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain, final estimates involving illegal alcohol levels: 2017

Final estimates for personal injury drink-drive accidents in Great Britain for 2017 | DoT, UK

Comparison of Trends in Self-reported Cigarette Consumption and Sales in England, 2011 to 2018

This study of survey and sales data found close alignment between estimates of long- and short-term changes in population cigarette consumption in England derived from the Smoking Toolkit Study, a monthly national survey, and recorded sales. According to both methods, monthly cigarette consumption decreased by almost one-quarter between 2011 and 2018, equating to a decline of more than 117 million cigarettes per month or 1.4 billion cigarettes per year | JAMA Network Open, UK

Controlling Drug Users: Forms of Power and Behavioural Regulation in Drug Treatment Services

This article examines the control practices used in drug treatment services to regulate the behaviour of people with drug problems. Drawing on an extensive qualitative study, we developed a conceptual framework, integrating the notion of responsive regulation with Wrong’s sociology of power | British Journal Criminology, UK

Global Drug Survey: The Big UK Cannabis Survey 2019

The survey is in 4 sections – the first asks about how you use cannabis now, the second asks about CBD use and function, the third on social club involvement and finally medical use | Global Drug Survey, UK

Medical cannabis costs family £4,000 a month to help teenager

An epileptic teenager's family are paying thousands of pounds a month for privately prescribed medical cannabis because they cannot get it on the NHS | BBC, UK

Purdue Pharma and Sacklers offer up to $12bn to settle opioid claims, report says

Purdue Pharma and members of the multi-billionaire Sackler family, who own the company that makes the prescription painkiller OxyContin, have offered to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits from US states and cities for between $10bn and $12bn, according to a media report on Tuesday | Guardian, UK

Under a new law, New York State will expunge the records of those convicted of low-level marijuana crimes | NYTimes, USA

Road to recovery: Addiction in our society – the case for reform (PDF)

We are clear that no one should be left behind on the road to recovery. Effectively funded and commissioned services, targeted at helping people fully recover from dependence, is crucial to delivering this | CJS, UK

Stop the deaths

New website. Drug deaths are being prevented every day in Scotland, but despite all our efforts and successes, there are still many tragic and preventable deaths. #StopTheDeaths aims to highlight what can be done NOW to reduce the tragic toll of drug-related deaths in the country | SDF, UK

Music festivals: What can be done to stop drug deaths?

At least one person has died from a suspected drugs overdose at a music festival this summer. The 17-year-old's death at the event in Leeds has reignited the debate about what can be done to stop others meeting the same fate | BBC, UK

Health warnings on individual cigarettes could play a role in reducing smoking

Experts from Stirling's Institute of Social Marketing examined smokers' perceptions of the warning 'Smoking kills' on individual cigarettes - as opposed to the message only appearing on packs | News Medical, UK

'Hundreds' seek private clinics for medical cannabis

Hundreds of people in the UK are turning to private clinics for medical cannabis, BBC News has been told | BBC, UK

Cannabis: Miracle Medicine or Dangerous Drug? - BBC iPlayer

At an extraordinary moment in the history of one of the world’s oldest and most controversial drugs, Horizon investigates the very latest medical and scientific research into the effects of cannabis on the brain and the body | BBC, UK

Here's Where We're at with the Rash of Vape-Related Illnesses

The bulk of the cases seem to involve patients inhaling tetrahydrocannabinol, from THC oil cartridges supposedly bought off the street or at head shops | VICE, UK