Weekly news - 22nd February 2019


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Ministers press ahead with 50p minimum unit price for alcohol in Wales

The Welsh Government is pressing ahead with plans to introduce a 50p minimum unit price for alcohol in Wales following a public consultation, Health Minister Vaughan Gething announced today | Welsh Government, UK

50p minimum unit price for alcohol set to go ahead

With the price of alcohol having increased significantly over the past two decades, Ministers have been clear about the need for pricing intervention to tackle alcohol misuse | ITV, UK

Britain’s fake Xanax crisis: how young Brits got hooked on super-strong benzos

Inspired by Soundcloud rap, British teens are developing an appetite for addictive benzos – and the demand is being met by UK-based labs cooking up dangerous counterfeit pills. Jordan Bassett investigates | NME, UK

Medicinal cannabis: Why has it taken so long to get to patients?

Medicinal cannabis was legalised last year but so far, virtually no-one in the UK has been able to access it | BBC, UK

The First Legal Bulk Cannabis Shipment to the UK Has Arrived

Patients prescribed cannabis now don't have to wait months for their medicinal weed | VICE, UK

Long-standing Labour MP Paul Flynn dies aged 84

Mr Flynn was a strong advocate for the medicinal use of cannabis, and in 2017 urged people to “break the law” by using cannabis at the Houses of Parliament | UTV, UK

Widening the availability of naloxone

Updated guidance to include use of nasal naloxone | Department of Health and Social Care, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, and Public Health England, UK

Advice on 2,4-Dinitrophenol

Letter to the Home Office about the appropriate control mechanism for 2, 4-Dinitrophenol (DNP) | ACMD, UK

Tough cannabis policies do not deter young people – study

Analysis of more than 100,000 teenagers found no link between liberal policies and higher use | Guardian, UK

Cannabis-based products for medicinal use in humans: commission to the ACMD

The Home Secretary has formally commissioned the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to conduct a longer-term review of cannabis-based products for medicinal use | Home Office, UK

Cannabis charges go up in smoke in Scotland as police revert to warnings

[Free subscription required] About 500 people caught in possession of cannabis in Scotland each month are being let off with a warning rather than being referred to prosecutors, despite evidence linking the drug to depression and death | Sunday Times, UK

Increase in UK sales of prescription psychiatric drugs via the darknet

Sales of prescription psychiatric drugs such as Xanax and diazepam via darknet online drug markets are on the increase in the UK, according to new research from the IoPPN and the University of Kent | KCL, UK

Glasgow's alcohol court to deal with domestic abuse

Scotland's first alcohol court is to be extended, a year on from its introduction in Glasgow | BBC, UK

Wales Christmas drink and drug campaign: 550 arrested

Nearly 550 motorists were arrested after failing drink or drugs tests over the Christmas period | BBC, UK

Drug-driving limits and roadside testing to be considered by MSPs

A new zero-tolerance limit for drug-driving and the introduction of roadside testing is to be considered by MSPs | ITV, UK

#MedicalCannabis – MEPs call for EU-wide rules and more research

While the World Health Organization has officially recommended that the cannabis compound cannabidiol (CBD) should not be classified as a controlled substance, there are no EU-wide rules at the moment for either the medical or recreational use of cannabis | EU Reporter, UK

Opioid dependence: buprenorphine prolonged-release injection (Buvidal)

Buprenorphine prolonged-release injection (Buvidal, Camurus) is an opioid partial agonist/antagonist. It is administered as a weekly or monthly subcutaneous injection and must be given by a healthcare professional | NICE, UK

Is shame a barrier to sobriety? A narrative analysis of those in recovery

[Open access] Experiencing shame can be a risk factor for relapse for people recovering from alcohol dependence, but for some it may act as a necessary protective factor for preventing relapse. Knowing how best to manage shame is therefore an important issue, yet the precise nature of the relationship between shame and alcohol dependence remains largely unexplored | DEPP, UK

How Britain's post-industrial cities got hooked on booze

With heavy industry mostly gone, cities such as Newcastle, Leeds and Liverpool have become worryingly dependent on the alcohol-driven night-time economy | Guardian, UK

MSPs to consider proposals to get tougher on drug driving

People who use prescription medication will be reminded to ensure it does not impair their ability to drive, as a move to crack down on drug-driving is considered by MSPs | The National, UK

Measurement-based care using DSM-5 for opioid use disorder: can we make opioid medication treatment more effective?

[Open access] Measurement-based care (MBC) is an evidence-based health-care practice in which indicators ofdisease are tracked to inform clinical actions, provide feedback to patients and improve outcomes. The current opioid crisis in multiple countries provides a pressing rationale for adopting a basic MBC approach for opioid use disorder (OUD) using DSM-5 to increase treatment retention and effectiveness | Addiction, UK

Special edition: Recovery in Prison (PDF)

A special open access edition of the Prison Service Journal devoted to promoting recovery in prison | Prison Service Journal, UK

Mindful drinking: the role of low and no alcohol drinks?

A new report from Drinks Retailer News, the 'Buyer's guide to mindful drinking', says the mindful drinking movement is gathering pace which could be seen as an 'impending disaster' for the drinks industry who 'cannot ignore the growing trend for moderation' Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Pregnancy: Alcoholic Drinks

What discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on including awareness-raising of the risks of pre-natal exposure to alcohol in the Government's alcohol strategy | They work for you, UK

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome: Diagnosis

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to facilitate diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders | They work for you, UK

The Volteface Response to the Centre of Social Justice Report on Cannabis

At the end of last year, the think tank the Centre for Social published its report ‘Cannabis: The Case Against Legalisation’, a systematic take-down of why the UK should not follow the path of legalisation | Volte Face, UK

A Study of the Contents of Cannabis Joints 2019 (PDF)

This study aims to give guidance in relation to the amount of cannabis in a joint | Unpublished - via Pete Collins, Force Drug Expert Lead, Avon and Somerset Police, UK

Scots boys among Europe’s top cannabis users

[Free registraton may be required] Research found that 15-year-old Scottish boys were the most likely in the UK to have smoked the drug in the past month and were in the top five among 16 European countries | The Times, UK

Efficacy and safety of a monthly buprenorphine depot injection for opioid use disorder: a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial (PDF)

[Includes a correction from yesterday's Medical Xpress article] RBP-6000, referred to as BUP-XR (extended-release buprenorphine), is a subcutaneously injected, monthly buprenorphine treatment for opioid use disorder... Administration of BUP-XR in a health-care setting also mitigates abuse, misuse, diversion, and unintentional exposure. We aimed to investigate the efficacy of different BUP-XR dosing regimens in participants with opioid use disorder | Lancet, UK

Frontline Security Enter the Drug Debate

A new, comprehensive guide has emerged from Working the Doors providing a macro-look at drugs and drug taking. Rather than beating the tired ‘zero tolerance’ drum echoed from many corners of night-time security (which refuses to acknowledge that drug taking in public spaces, such as nightclubs, DOES exist), Steve Johnson recognises the issues in this approach and instead provides a balanced look at the realities and dangers of drug-taking | Volteface, UK