Weekly news - 8th February 2019


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Dry January: Does it lead to binge-drinking in February?

An estimated 4.2 million people in the UK said they were planning to abstain from drinking in January - and the official Dry January campaign says it's designed to "reset" people's relationship with alcohol | BBC, UK

Fake Valium is killing those who buy pills online, charity warns

Criminal gangs are selling fake Valium online at a fraction of the cost of genuine tablets, leading people to take potentially lethal doses of illicitly-produced drugs, according to a leading addiction treatment service | Guardian, UK

Street Valium (Glasgow)

Since mid-November in Glasgow, over 20 homeless people have died due to the availability of a high-strength street valium known as street blues—that is three deaths a week. Drug users have been warned that they are dicing with death | They work for you, UK

Ketamine use by young on rise, official figures for England reveal

Guardian analysis of data show police seizures of the drug increased by 30% last year | Guardian, UK

2019 surveillance of drug misuse in over 16s: opioid detoxification (NICE guideline CG52)

We will not update the guideline on drug misuse in over 16s: opioid detoxification. Although no new evidence impacts on the current guideline recommendations, we recognise a need to clarify the broader care pathway for the management of drug misuse. We are therefore engaging with system partners with the aim of developing NICE guidance that is comprehensive and accessible | NICE, UK

Welcome moves by the WHO to reclassify cannabis under the UN treaties, undermined by concerns about political interference

The World Health Organisation’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) has recommends the reclassification of Cannabis under the UN drug treaties, following a lengthy review process. In a letter yet to be made public, the ECDD key recommendations are that... | Transform, UK

New WHO factsheets reveal Europe struggles to implement policies to reduce alcohol consumption

To better understand the seriousness of the problem, WHO/Europe released a series of factsheets on alcohol consumption, harm and policy responses for 30 European countries. The factsheets reveal that in European Union Member States as well as Norway and Switzerland, some 42% of all traffic deaths and 23% of all injury deaths were due to alcohol in 2016. During the same period, 1 in 5 deaths among those aged 15 to 19 was alcohol-related | WHO, Denmark

DDN February 2019

The rising rate of homelessness in this country is a scandal that shames our society. Furthermore, we are passive to the theory that through wrong choices, drugs and alcohol, those on the streets nominate their fate as they become consigned to an invisible underclass that will die a third of a lifetime sooner than they should | DDN, UK

Drugs policy inquiry launched

Government's stated intention in its 2017 drug strategy is to reduce all illicit and other harmful drug use, and increase the rate of individuals recovering from their dependence.  The Health and Social Care Committee is seeking written submissions on the health consequences of illicit drugs policy | Parliament.uk, UK

Get an up-to-date overview of new and emerging drug-related health harms in just three pages

Read Public Health England’s summary of the latest intelligence and clinical messaging on new and emerging drug-related health harms. The information included in the ‘dashboard’ summary comes from a range of intelligence sources (including the Report Illicit Drug Reactions national pilot) and aims to support frontline practitioners, service providers and other stakeholders in responding to new and emerging drug-related health harms.  Practitioners can also report adverse reactions to illicit drugs via RIDR | PHE, UK

ADPH Press Release: Public health should be a priority in the Spending Review

On Monday 4 February 2019 The Times published an open letterorganised by the Association of Directors of Public Health, and co-signed by 54 health leaders, calling for public health to be a priority in the Spending Review | ADPH, UK

Member: cannabis-derived products for medicinal use guideline committee

We are looking for members to join the cannabis-derived products for medicinal use guideline committee. Closing date: 5pm, Sunday 10 February 2019 | NICE, UK

2019 surveillance of alcohol-use disorders: diagnosis and management of physical complications (NICE guideline CG100)

We will update the guideline on alcohol-use disorders: diagnosis and management of physical complications (NICE guideline CG100). The update will focus on treatment for acute alcohol withdrawal | NICE, UK

A change in the air: Results of a study of smokefree policy and practice in mental health trusts in England (PDF)

The aim of this study was to describe the progress made by mental health trusts in England in implementing NICE guidance | Smoke Free Action, UK

The role of stopping smoking in money advice – putting health and economic benefits together (PDF)

A pilot project carried out between 2014-2016 working with money advice services in Glasgow (see below) found that staff were keen to help clients to save money by stopping smoking, but were concerned about how they could raise this issue in the most sensitive and empathic manner | NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Smokefree Services and ASH Scotland, UK

Fake Xanax: Anxiety drug deaths an 'escalating crisis'

The coroner for Northern Ireland has called the rising number of deaths linked to fake versions of the anti-anxiety drug, Xanax, "an escalating crisis" | BBC, UK

'County lines' drug gangs tracking children via social media

Warnings on coercion and blackmailing over smartphones went unheeded, say experts, as child exploitation spirals | Guardian, UK

Statistics on Alcohol, England 2019 [PAS]

This statistical report presents a range of information on alcohol use and misuse by adults and children drawn together from a variety of sources for England unless otherwise stated | NHS Digital, UK

Local Alcohol Profiles for England (LAPE)

Updated. The profiles provide information to monitor the services and initiatives that have been put in place to prevent and reduce the harmful impact of alcohol | PHE, UK

Richer, older men more likely to drink to excess, figures show

NHS Digital data shows one in five people say they drink more than 14 weekly units of alcohol | Guardian, UK

Drug-related deaths in England: local authorities and how they are responding (PDF)

Drug-related deaths (DRDs) are at their highest level since records began in 1993 with 3,756 DRDs in England and Wales last year, 53% of which related to opiate use. Almost a third of all deaths from overdose in 2016 in Europe happened in the UK. This constitutes a public health and humanitarian crisis which must be addressed urgently | NAT, UK

Victoria Derbyshire show - Xanax special report - BBC iPlayer

The programme has been exclusively told that more than 200 deaths in the UK have been linked to misuse of the drug Xanax. [Watch from 5 mins 15 secs} | BBC, UK

Vaping seen as increasingly "fashionable" as one in three millennials take up smoking substitute

Vaping is seen as increasingly "fashionable", say consumer experts, as almost one in three 18-24 year olds now use the smoking substitute | Telegraph, UK

Hand in hand: Survivors of Multiple Disadvantage Discuss Service & Support (PDF)

This report considers the links between domestic & sexual abuse and severe multiple disadvantage, looking particularly at mental health and substance use issues | Agenda / AVA / Lloyds Bank, UK

Beer before wine not fine, scientists find after vomit-filled tests

Research into old saying about alcohol consumption shows you get a hangover either way | Guardian, UK

ACMD Membership

Details of the council's committees and latest meeting minutes | ACMD, UK

The nature of violent crime in England and Wales: year ending March 2018

Victims believed the perpetrator(s) to be under the influence of alcohol in 39% (561,000) of violent incidents1. In 21% (305,000) of violent incidents, the victim believed the perpetrator(s) to be under the influence of drugs | ONS, UK

MDMA users more empathetic than people who take other drugs, study finds

Compared to users of cannabis, cocaine and ketamine, people who take ecstasy report feeling “significantly greater emotional empathy” and are better at identifying others’ emotions, researchers at the University of Exeter found | Independent, UK [see Journal of Psychopharmacology article summary here]

Why Europe Has Dodged America's Fentanyl Crisis

Europe's most lucrative heroin markets seem ripe for a fentanyl takeover. But why the no-show? | VICE, UK