Daily news -4th August 2017

Weekly subscribe button

UK news

Reported drinking and driving (RAS51)

The Department for Transport has released the final estimates for road casualties in GB for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels for 2015 | Department for Transport, UK

Reform and Rehabilitation? The UK Needs a Better Solution to Help Drug Using Offenders

Discussion around how drug use is criminalised in this country often focuses on the legal sanctions placed on those caught in possession, to which a number of objections can be made | Volte Face, UK

Psychosocial interventions for stimulant use disorders: what works?

Considerable interest in finding an effective treatment for “highly
addictive” cocaine and amphetamines hasn’t quite been matched by
evidence. Wrapping up what is known about psychosocial (rather than
pharmacological) approaches, this notable review indicates that
contingency management holds the most promise, but further study is
needed to answer the big question – ‘is one psychosocial approach more
effective than the others and in what circumstances?’ | Drug and Alcohol
Findings, UK

Drug-related deaths: Hidden success and deepening crisis

The overall rise in drug-related deaths reported in the most recent figures from ONS, published yesterday (2 August 2017), masks dramatic discrepancies between age groups. Deaths among the under 30s have fallen significantly, with those concerning people in their 20s more than halving over the past 15 years | Collective Voice, UK

Recovery Street Film Festival Launch

We would be delighted if you could join us at the 2017 Recovery Street Film Festival launch and prize giving on 1st September, 11am-12pm. The event will be the first opportunity to watch the shortlisted 10 films on the big screen at the trendy Curzon cinema in Soho and find out who this years winners are. Register your place your place before they go! | Recovery Street Film Festival, UK

Liberal legalisers: The Times cannabis letter at 50

In July 1967 a petition appeared in the Times, signed by 64 of Britain's great and good. They included The Beatles, David Dimbleby, David Hockney and Tariq Ali. The petition called for the decriminalisation ofcannabis, describing it as "the least harmful pleasure-giving drug, probably much safer than alcohol and tobacco". Its publication brought forth the wrath of the establishment - the future Lord Hailsham called it "a grave error of judgement." | BBC, UK

Celebrity Big Brother's Paul Danan reveals he 'died' in heroin overdose

It's no surprise that former Hollyoaks actor Paul Danan entered the Celebrity Big Brother house last night with a spring in his step, as he has revealed that he shouldn't really be here at all, having briefly 'died' following a heroin overdose | Telegraph, UK

Barber who used to be drug and alcohol addict gives out free haircuts to homeless in city centre

Eddy Ilic has been offering free haircuts since the start of the year - but today was the first time he's taken his scissors out to the streets | Mirror, UK

Six men charged over £66m drugs seizure in Hull

Men due in court over heroin and cocaine haul found in van stopped at King George Dock in May | Guardian, UK

Rangi Chase: Widnes Vikings half-back banned after testing positive for cocaine

Widnes Vikings half-back Rangi Chase has been suspended from all training and playing activity after testing positive for cocaine | BBC, UK


International news

International Journal of Drug Policy: August 2017

Many free full text articles on heroin and Fentanyl overdoses and adulteration | IJDP, UK

INCB on therapeutic cannabis

The INCB has produced a series of alerts, including one in late June on the therapeutic use of cannabis | IDPC, UK

Donald Trump boasts he won state of New Hampshire because it's 'a drug-infested den'

'We are becoming a drug-addicted nation and most the drugs are coming from Mexico or certainly from the southern border', Mr Trump said | Independent, UK

Prescribing of benzodiazepines and opioids to individuals with substance use disorders

Benzodiazepines are recommended for short-term use due to risk of dependence. This study examined characteristics associated with benzodiazepine and opioid dispensing of 7+ days in a Medicaid population with substance use disorder (SUD) | Drug and Alcohol Dependence, USA

Are clinicians overprescribing gabapentinoids for pain?

Noting that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines recommend gabapentinoids as first-line agents for neuropathic pain, Christopher W. Goodman, M.D., and Allan S. Brett, M.D., from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Columbia, present data on their excessive use | Medical Xpress, USA

Increasing risk of drug withdrawal in newborns as US opioid epidemic accelerates

Increases in prescribing of both psychotropic medications, opioids to pregnant women are a major concern, say experts | Science Daily, USA

Why are doctors underusing a drug to treat opioid addiction?

A drug approved for private physicians to treat opioid addiction is being underprescribed, and a survey of addiction specialists suggests that many of them are not willing to increase their use of it, despite an expanding opioid addiction epidemic in the United States, according to research presented at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association | Medical Xpress, USA

Maine becomes 4th state to raise legal age to buy tobacco to 21

Maine will become the fourth state to raise the smoking age to 21 after lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to override the governor’s veto | NYTimes, USA

Homeless and on heroin, but turned away from treatment

Nearly two decades of using heroin and a year of living on the streets of Philadelphia had led Steven Kemp to a simple conclusion: It was time to get sober. But when he staggered into a detox facility on a recent Friday night, his head brimming with the thought that suicide would end the pain, he was told he couldn't be admitted because he didn't have a photo ID | Medical Xpress, USA

Oxford County: Double doses of Naloxone failed to revive two in bootleg fentanyl overdoses

Five potentially fatal fentanyl overdoses in recent weeks worries public health who want people to know more about the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act | Woodstock Sentinel, USA

Booker Debuts ‘Marijuana Justice Act’ to Legalize Cannabis

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced legislation earlier today that would end federal cannabis prohibition and begin to repair some of the lasting damage done by the war on drugs | Leafly, USA

Understanding the facets of addiction stigma

Here at the BASIS, we are guided by our mission to increase awareness, to reduce stigma, and ultimately, to improve lives. More than 10 years ago, in an op-ed for The BASIS, we highlighted the dehumanization of patients with addiction that persists in our society, and the consequent challenges to recovery that it poses | BASIS, USA

Legal MDMA Therapy Could Be Just a Few Years Away

In a pilot study, 83 percent of subjects no longer met the criteria for PTSD following treatment with the drug | VICE, USA

Colombia's government is intent on passing a law that will grant a one-year judicial immunity for small-scale coca farmers who agree to abandon their illegal cultivations, which is a provision of the government's peace deal with the FARC. Without guaranteeing that farmers will not be jailed in the short term, there is little hope that they will voluntarily switch to alternative crops as part of the government's new substitution program | Insight Crime, USA

Frequently asked questions on opioid agonist treatment for pharmaceutical opioid dependence: An evidence summary

This evidence summary comes from a program of work that aimed to build the evidence base for the treatment of pharmaceutical opioid dependence, or dependence on opioid pain medications such as oxycodone, morphine and codeine. Many of the original trials examining methadone and buprenorphine (+/- naloxone) were conducted in people dependent on heroin | NDARC, Australia

Harmful substance use, dependence and behavioural addiction (Addiction) - 2017

Believes that substance dependence and behavioural addictions (SDBA) are serious health conditions, with high mortality and disability. Those who are impacted should be treated like other patients with serious illness, and be offered the best available treatments and supports to recovery | AMA, Australia

Alcohol a bigger scourge than meth: Doctors criticise 'disappointing' drug strategy

Doctors have criticised state and federal governments over their new drug policy blueprint, accusing them of putting too much emphasis on methamphetamine and not enough on a much more damaging and deadly substance: alcohol | Age, Australia

Ice ‘distribution hubs’ among hardest hit locations in regional Australia

As the ice epidemic ravages country Australia, children as young as 12 from regional towns are being driven hundreds of kilometres for treatment for ice addiction at a city residential withdrawal unit | New Daily, Australia

Stigma and stereotypes about sex work hinder regulatory reform 

Mention the word “prostitution” and there’s more than a fair chance that most people will automatically think of a drug-dependent female in  high heels and a mini-skirt shivering on a cold and darkened street in a dodgy part of the city | Age, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Drug related deaths, and support for staff and volunteers

The latest drug statistics came out yesterday. Drug related deaths are the highest they have ever been | Medium, UK

Alcohol-deaths in Scotland’s Ageing Population – a priority for prevention

The National Records for Scotland have published worrying  figures that show there were 1,265 alcohol-related deaths in 2016 — an increase of 115 (10%) compared with 2015, and the highest annual total since 2010 | Drink Wise Age Well Blog, UK

Why women who misuse drugs have different needs

Two editorials published in The Lancet and Addiction highlight how little is known about women and drugs, pointing to a blind spot in our collective knowledge | Pharmaceutical Journal opinion, UK

Marewa Glover & David Sweanor: Vaping can make us smoke-free by 2025

New Zealand led the world in the fight against smoking-related illnesses with its Smoke-Free Environments Act 1990 | NZHerald opinion, New Zealand