Daily news - 1st August 2017

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UK news

A stubborn addiction

Tobacco use has come down in the past 40 years yet stamping it out completely remains elusive. Tim Tonkin reports on anti-smoking bodies’ and the Government’s plan to find the last piece of the puzzle | BMA, UK

Young People Are Still Dying From Heroin

The tragic death of Kayleigh Jukes signals the alarming rise in heroin use among young people | VICE, UK

Opioid misuse is increasing in middle-aged Britons – here's how it could cause an addiction crisis

The older we get, the more likely we are to suffer with long-term health problems. Life expectancy may be increasing, but so are the number of years we spend in ill health. In people aged 50 and over, the leading causes of chronic ill health are lower-back and neck pain. It's hardly surprising, then, that so many middle-aged people are hooked on painkillers | Medical Xpress, USA

Low levels of hepatitis C diagnosis and testing uptake among people who inject image and performance enhancing drugs in England and Wales, 2012-15

[Open access] One in 20 people who inject image & performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs) have hepatitis C antibodies | DAD, UK

How millions of us have become dependent on tobacco - for income

In the income-starved era since the financial crisis, tobacco stocks have doubled their share of total FTSE 100 dividend payments | Telegraph, UK

Tobacco firms entice shops to promote cigarettes despite ban

Tobacco firms are enticing Scottish retailers to promote their products, despite a ban on the open display of cigarettes in shops, according to a new study | Scotsman, UK

MS charity says cannabis should be legalised for medicinal use

UK should follow the lead of Germany and Canada and legalise the drug for people with multiple sclerosis, a condition that already has a licensed cannabis-derived treatment, says MS Society | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

How on-site drug testing at festivals can help save lives

This year, between six and 10 UK festivals are hoping to provide drug testing on site following the recent increase in drug-related deaths. As the UK appears to be slowly catching up with the rest of Europe in terms of attitudes to harm reduction, April Clare Welsh explores whether this controversial practice can help save the lives of recreational drug users | FACT MAG, UK

VICE EXCLUSIVE: Thames Water Tried to Blame Wastage on Cannabis Farms

VICE can exclusively reveal that the water firm recently attempted to obtain the addresses of every known cannabis farm in London | VICE, UK

Drinkers fight against tavern closures by starting their own micropubs in old shops

Former hairdressers, golf shops and even a tattoo parlour are being used to serve booze | Sun, UK

Small grants programme (PDF)

Our Small Grants programme provides up to £8,000 for exploratory projects that address emerging issues in alcohol research, employ novel theoretical or methodological approaches, or pilot new work in treatment or service delivery | Alcohol Research UK, UK

Liverpool prison's drug problem laid bare in shocking report - and it's worse than first thought

Startling figures show how many prisoners failed drugs tests | Liverpool Echo, UK

Father's desperate plea to sentencing judge manages to saves son from prison 'by the skin of his teeth'

'I owe [dad] my freedom and I’d like to thank him for standing by me and also thank the judge' | Independent, UK


International news

Class tramadol with heroin and cocaine, says Northern Ireland medical expert

A former Northern Ireland State Pathologist has called for prescription medicine tramadol to be made a class A drug alongside heroin and cocaine | Belfast Telegraph, UK

Trump urged to declare national emergency over US opioid epidemic

President Trump is being urged to declare a federal state of emergency to address the epidemic of opioid overdoses that is claiming as many American lives as the terrorist attacks on 9/11 every three weeks | Guardian, UK

US proposes cutting nicotine in cigarettes to 'non-addictive' levels

This is the first time the government has sought to regulate the amount of nicotine in cigarettes | Independent, UK

Youth more likely to discourage than promote smoking among peers

Young people more often discourage smoking among their peers than encourage it, new University of Otago research suggests | Medical Xpress, USA

New report says years of sustained, coordinated efforts needed to curb opioid epidemic

To reduce the growing number of deaths related to both prescription opioid overuse and illicit opioid use, a new report determines it will take years of sustained and coordinated efforts by physicians, patients, federal and state agencies and the public to curb the opioid epidemic. The findings were released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine earlier this month | Medical Xpress, USA

Study shows muted stress response linked to long-term cannabis use

 new study by Washington State University psychology researchers reveals a dampened physiological response to stress in chronic cannabis users | Medical Xpress, USA

Fentanyl Testing Strips Have Limitations But Are Better Than Nothing

Last week, DanceSafe began offering fentanyl testing strips for purchase on its website in response to the ever-growing number of deaths related to fentanyl, carfentanil, and other opioid analogues. While the testing strips can identify most fentanyl-related analogues, there are still limitations that every consumer and harm reductionist should be aware of, as discussed in this article by Canada’s CBC | Dance Safe, USA

Undocumented immigration doesn't worsen drug, alcohol problems in US, study indicates

Despite being saddled with many factors associated with drug and alcohol problems, undocumented immigrants are not increasing the prevalence of drug and alcohol crimes and deaths in the United States, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health | EurekAlert, USA

National study highlights hidden causes of methamphetamine-related death

The number of methamphetamine-related deaths in Australia doubled between 2009 and 2015 with heart disease and violent suicide identified as prominent causes of death, a study from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre has found | Medical Xpress, Australia

'This is not a beat up': Ice-related deaths doubled over seven years, study finds

The number of deaths relating to methamphetamine use has doubled in seven years, with nearly half of those in regional Australia, a national study has found | abc.net.au, Australia

The Price is Right: Setting a Floor Price on Alcohol in the Northern Territory

Relative to wages, the cost of alcohol has reduced considerably in the Northern Territory (NT) over the past 20 years. Lower prices and the resulting increase in demand has contributed to unacceptable levels of harm in the community | FARE, Australia

Out-of-date strategy leaves ACT drug and alcohol sector facing 'policy vacuum'

The ACT's peak alcohol, tobacco and other drugs strategy is now three years' out of date | Age, Australia

ABC needs to report news not promote for-profit rehabs

A few months ago, the ABC broadcast what appeared to be an advertorial for a private rehabilitation centre on Australian Story, prompting this commentary from AOD Media Watch’s Dr Stephen Bright and Associate Professor Nicole Lee. So it’s disappointing that on July 30th, 2017, the ABC published an online story about another centre, with the same approach | AOD Media Watch, Australia

Exploration of the use of apps to access or supply drugs

Survey.The use of social media apps to access illicit drugs quickly and locally is relatively new as a means of supply and purchase. Because it is relatively new, little is known about why people use this approach and what the consequences are of doing so. This research is exploring the different motivations and experiences that those who have purchased drugs in this way have had as well as wanting to compare these motivations and experiences to other ways of accessing drugs such as through friends, through ‘dealers’ face to face or on the dark net | Griffith University, Australia

Philippine fishermen say they are dumping bodies in Duterte's 'war on drugs'

When Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was running for election, he vowed that fish in Manila Bay would grow fat from the bodies of drugs users and addicts | Age, Australia

Tenth death linked to synthetic drug use

Police found the body of a 47-year-old man in a central Auckland hostel last Friday and said his death may be linked to synthetic drug use | RNZ, New Zealand

Ups and downs with Painkiller prescriptions

It’s widely accepted that over-prescription of opioid painkillers, and associated addiction, is a deadly problem in many countries throughout the world, notably the US. But just how bad are things here in Godzone? How aware are our medical professionals of the dangers of doling out opioids, and are we doing anything to curtail overzealous prescribing? | NZDF, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Nicotine in the news

Tobacco harm reduction is on a roll right now – and I don’t mean a roll-up. Let me count the ways | NSP Blog, UK

Official picture of drug use 2017

Usage trends mainly flat | Russell Webster, UK

How sharing can make a hangover less harrowing

Headache and nausea aside, the morning after an evening of drinking can be filled with regret, anxiety and misery. But it can also be a time of humour, story-telling and emotional bonding | Conversation, UK

US plan to cut smoking with non-addictive cigarettes has flaws

A bold proposal in the US to cut cigarette nicotine to sub-addictive levels is interesting, but there are big challenges to making it work | New Scientist comment, UK

White House opioid commission to Trump: “Declare a national emergency” on drug overdoses

The President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis issued a preliminary report on Monday stating that its “first and most urgent recommendation” is for the president to “declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act.” | Washington Post Blog, USA

Opinion: How to effectively address the overdose epidemic

We’re now more than a year into the public health emergency declared by British Columbia’s provincial health officer as a result of the province’s rising rate of drug overdose deaths | Vancouver Sun opinion, Canada

The real story of how ice is killing Australians isn't found in scary headlines

In the past few years, we have been going ice mad, and this is particularly visible in media reporting | abc.net.au opinion, Australia

Australia leads the world in hepatitis C treatment – what’s behind its success?

The Australian government has listed yet another drug to cure hepatitis C on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). The drug Epclusa® – a combination of sofosbuvir 400mg and velpatasvir 100mg – is the first of the direct-acting antiviral treatments effective for all types of the disease. It will cost most patients A$38.80, and A$6.30 for concession card holders. Before the PBS listing, the cost exceeded A$20,000 | Conversation, Australia