Weekly news - 5th July 2019


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RPS asks Home Office for guidance on THC levels in cannabidiol oil

Confusion around the legal threshold for tetrahydrocannabidol in cannabidiol oil has led the Royal Pharmaceutical Society to request “clear guidance” on the matter from the home secretary | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

Breaking the Embargo: A proposal to break UK public health medicinal cannabis impasse - Full report (PDF)

Through the creation of a new government authority, this policy intends to: Offer rapid clinical data and insight regarding the use of CBMPs; Provide two routes of access to safe, regulated CBMPs through trials rather than prescriptions | CMC, UK

Billy Caldwell’s mother Charlotte: ‘There’s just one more hurdle before getting his medicinal cannabis oil on the NHS’

Mother, whose fight to get cannabis oil for son's severe epilepsy helped change the law believes she is days away from winning final battle | i news, UK

NHS is forced to open Britain's first clinic for cannabis psychosis to treat addicts of the mind-altering drug

Cannabis-induced psychosis has reached crisis levels, forcing the NHS to open the first clinic specifically treating addicts of the mind-altering drug | Mail on Sunday, UK

Prisons: Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the (a) prevalence, (b) type of drug, (c) method of importation and (b) health risks to (i) prisoners and (ii) staff of the presence of illegal drugs in prisons in England and Wales | They work for you, UK

Middlesbrough: Where heroin is cheaper than cigarettes

In Middlesbrough, a bag of heroin can cost as little as £5. It is not the only town in England to see problems with the drug and homelessness. BBC Tees reporter Adam Clarkson spent an evening on the streets with people who wanted to tell their stories | BBC, UK

The Salvation Army: Wrexham's homelessness 'one-stop shop'

When a bus driver shared photos of the effects of drug taking in Wrexham, it attracted national publicity | BBC, UK

San Francisco vape ban could hinder war on tobacco, say UK experts

US and British officials at odds over whether e-cigarettes boost smoking or help to quit | Guardian, UK

Drug-related infectious diseases in Europe: update from the EMCDDA expert network

This report presents an overview of infectious diseases among people who inject drugs in Europe, both in the community and in prison settings, covering disease surveillance, outbreak investigations, and prevention and control, for the period up to the end of February 2019 | EMCDDA, Portugal

Smoking 'damages eyes as well as lungs'

Despite the clear connection, only one in five people recognise that smoking can lead to blindness, a poll for the Association of Optometrists (AOP) finds | BBC, UK

Cannabis Legalisation Poll (PDF)

Momentum is building behind cannabis legalisation but no poll has ever asked what messages would be most likely to sway public opinion. In May 2019, Volteface and the Evening Standard commissioned the polling agency Survation to find out which arguments would incentivise the British public to support the legalisation of cannabis and which would deter them | Volte Face, UK

Sales in beer fall by a third in 10 years as young people drive popularity in alcohol free drinks, report reveals

The volume of beer sold in Britain has fallen by more than a third in 12 years, with young people driving the popularity of alcohol-free drinks, a new report has revealed | Telegraph, UK

Making Hard Choices in Local Public Health Spending With a Cost-Benefit Analysis Approach

In 2013, public health moved into Local Authorities, but initial optimism has been overtaken by serious ongoing financial constraints and an uncertain future. Hard choices have become an everyday reality across local authorities and for their public health teams. Assessing the return-on-investment of public health interventions and possessing economic evaluation skills have become more critical than ever before | Frontiers in Public Health, UK

Homeless people are 60 times more likely to visit A&E, study shows

Just over 13% of homeless men have a substance dependence, compared with 4.3% of men in the general population. For women the figures were 16.5% and 1.9% respectively. In addition, more than a fifth of homeless people have an alcohol dependence, compared with 1.4% of the general population. Almost a third had visited A&E at least once in the past year, compared with 0.5% of the general population | Guardian, UK

Cannabis has great medical potential. But don’t fall for the CBD scam

The UK market for cannabidiol (CBD), a compound of cannabis, will soon be worth £1bn. But consumers are being conned | Guardian, UK

Adult smoking habits in the UK: 2018

Cigarette smoking habits among adults in the UK, including the proportion of people who smoke, demographic breakdowns, changes over time, and use of e-cigarettes | ONS, UK

Stub it out - About this campaign

As a smoker you are twice as likely to lose your vision compared to a non-smoker, yet the link between smoking and sight threatening conditions is not always recognised. In fact, only a fifth of smokers realise that smoking can cause blindness or sight impairment | Association of Optometrists, UK

Local tobacco control profiles for England: July 2019 update

An overview of the extent of tobacco use, tobacco related harm and the measures being taken to reduce this harm at a local level in England | PHE, UK

Smoking: Lack of progress on teenage rate 'shocking'

But a recent survey of thousands of Year 11 pupils suggested the percentage who smoke regularly in Wales - about 9% - has not fallen since 2013-14, with the rate among poorer teenagers rising | BBC, UK

Pregnant smokers warned of ‘potentially deadly risks’

More than 61,000 women still smoking last year at time they gave birth, NHS England says | Guardian, UK

Stronger evidence needed to improve confidence in medicinal cannabis

Despite the rescheduling of medicinal cannabis, very few prescriptions have been issued. One of the many reasons for this is because of the gaps in the evidence base | parliament.uk, UK

Drugs policy: medicinal cannabis 

The plight of children affected by intractable epilepsy and the efforts of the families of Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell to access to medicinal cannabis led to a change in Government policy. In November 2018 medicinal cannabis was changed from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulation 2001, allowing specialist doctors to prescribe it and for products to be available for further research to be conducted | House of Commons / Health and Social Care Committee, UK

Medical cannabis 'expectations unfairly raised'

Families' hopes were unfairly raised when doctors were allowed to prescribe cannabis, a report has concluded | BBC, UK

Scottish Affairs Committee - drugs debate

Debating problem drug use in Scotland | Parliament.uk, UK

Third of councils fear they will be unable to deliver lifeline services, risking ‘substantial human cost’

Local authorities overwhelmed by ‘unprecedented demand’ believe they will be unable to fulfil legal duty to constituents by 2022/23 | Independent, UK

Tory leadership: Boris Johnson promises review on 'sin taxes'

Boris Johnson has promised to review so-called "sin taxes" to see if they unfairly target those on lower incomes | BBC, UK

National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Waiting Times Summary (PDF)

This release by Information Services Division (ISD) reports on the waiting times for people accessing drug and alcohol treatment services between January and March 2019. It contains information on the number of people seen for treatment, types of treatment accessed and length of time waited. The Scottish Government set a standard that 90% of people referred for help with their drug or alcohol problem will wait no longer than three weeks for treatment that supports their recovery | ISD Scotland, UK

Senior Scottish police officer calls for radical change of approach to tackling drugs misuse

A senior Scottish police officer has called for a radical change to tackling drugs misuse, suggesting the criminal justice system was “probably deleterious” as it pushed people into the more harmful environment of prison | Herald, UK

Children as young as seven 'being enslaved by UK drug gangs'

Scale of exploitation and lack of help for victims of ‘county lines’ dealers shown in report | Guardian, UK

Druggie zombie junkies, and the language battle at the heart of our attitudes towards addiction

Unless there is a change in how we speak about drug users, it is easy to justify an environment where treatment and support is shrinking – which it is at an alarming rate | Independent voices, UK

The prevalence of wholly attributable alcohol conditions in the United Kingdom hospital system: a systematic review, meta‐analysis and meta‐regression

[Open access] The prevalence of alcohol‐related conditions is often reported as higher in hospital in‐patients compared with the general population. However, formal prevalence estimates are commonly derived from small studies which report highly varied results | Addiction, UK

1 in 5 hospital patients have alcohol-related problems

Various media sources report on the worrying extent of the alcohol problem in the UK, with the BBC and the Sun reporting that 1 in 5 people in hospital beds are heavy drinkers | NHS Choices, UK