Daily news - 10th August 2017

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UK news

Preventing drug related deaths

Drug-related deaths are rising and are a major concern to councils and our health partners. Deaths have increased sharply over the past five years and are now at their highest levels since records began | LGA, UK

Expert reaction to study looking at marijuana use and various measures of heart disease

People who reported using marijuana once were classed as current marijuana users, so someone who tried marijuana once 15 years ago appeared in the data as someone who has used marijuana for the last 15 years | Science Media Centre, UK

Usability Testing of the BRANCH Smartphone App Designed to Reduce Harmful Drinking in Young Adults

The objective of this study was to identify usability barriers and enablers for an app, BRANCH, targeting harmful drinking in young adults | JMIR Publications, UK

Heroin addicts now want fentanyl after government campaign advertises how much stronger it is

Government warnings about fentanyl hitting UK streets have inadvertently sparked a demand for the deadly opioid among heroin addicts, a community leader has told IBTimes UK. Last month, the National Crime Agency (NCA) revealed that 60 drug deaths had been linked to fentanyl and its cousins, including the elephant tranquilizer carfentanyl, since December 2016 | IBTimes, UK

Norwich Mitre Pub resurrected by St Thomas' Church

A run-down city centre pub has been restored to its former use by a church in what is thought to be a UK first | BBC, UK

Home Secretary supports Met Police Chief over potential rise in 'stop and search' to fight acid attacks, knife and gun crime

Amber Rudd said she will not 'shy away' from doing what is necessary to fight crime | Independent, UK

Police crack down on drug 'spice' in Manchester city centre

Forty seven people have been arrested in Manchester this year in connection with dealing a drug known as spice, as part of Operation Mandera | ITV, UK

Eighteen people found guilty over Newcastle sex grooming network

Seventeen men and one woman have been found guilty of involvement in a sex grooming network in Newcastle that plied vulnerable women and girls with drink and drugs before assaulting them | Guardian, UK

Don't go soft on 'crack cocaine' betting machines, Philip Hammond is told by the Church of England

The Church of England yesterday begged ministers not to abandon their clampdown on the spread of high stakes gambling machines | Mail Online, UK


International news

An overview of forensic drug testing methods and their suitability for harm reduction point-of-care services

Given the current opioid crisis around the world, harm reduction agencies are seeking to help people who use drugs to do so more safely. Many harm reduction agencies are exploring techniques to test illicit drugs to identify and, where possible, quantify their constituents allowing their users to make informed decisions | Harm Reduction Journal, UK

Australian woman to stand trial in Colombia over drugs

A Colombian judge has rejected an Australian woman's plea bargain over cocaine-smuggling charges | BBC, UK

Happy Beer Day!

Last year, 39 billion litres of beer containing alcohol were produced in the European Union (EU), 400 million litres more than in 2015. The EU beer production was equivalent to 76 litres per inhabitant. In addition, nearly 900 million litres (2%) contained less than 0.5% alcohol or no alcohol at all were produced in the EU in 2016 | Europa, Belgium

Tech, Alcohol And Ageism On The Minds Of Top Aging Experts

Late last month, more than 6,000 professionals in gerontology and geriatrics convened in San Francisco for the IAGG World Congress, an event that occurs every four years and brings together representatives from disciplines such as medicine, nursing and social science, to address the latest ideas to improve the quality of life for older adults | Forbes, USA

One in 12 doctors accepts payment from pharmaceutical companies related to opioids

One in twelve physicians - and nearly one in five family medicine physicians - accepted payments from pharmaceutical companies related to opioids, according to a new study out of Boston Medical Center's Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine | Medical Xpress, USA

Study: Number Of Opioid, Heroin Overdose Deaths Far Higher Than Recorded

Approximately 90 people in the U.S. die of an opioid related overdose every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the actual number might actually be higher,  says a new study | IBTimes, USA

Improving detection of a 'date rape' drug

Because gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), commonly known as a "date rape drug" is rapidly absorbed and metabolized by the body, it's difficult for law enforcement to tell if someone has been given GHB. Now, scientists report in ACS' journal Analytical Chemistry that they have identified a potential biomarker that might lead to tests to detect the compound that could be performed much later than current ones | EurekAlert, USA



Blogs, comment and opinion

In Victorian Britain the crowds approved of sports doping – with cocaine

The American sprinter Justin Gatlin’s recent victory over Usain Bolt at the World Athletics Championships has brought the storied issue of sports doping back into the public eye | Conversation, UK

Alcohol liver disease – crisis on the horizon

We need to tackle the rising levels of mortality cause by alcoholic liver disease – and fast, warns Professor Roger Williams | IAS Blog, UK

A tale of two drug strategies

The UK and Ireland both released their own drug strategies in the last few weeks and it seems as if we’ve reached a fabled position of a ‘tale of two cities’. Regional and national drug strategies are continue to become increasingly varied, but what can we learn from two opposite examples? | Virgin Blog, UK

How we can reduce dependency on opioid painkillers in rural and regional Australia

Between 2008 and 2011, the rate of people treated for dependency on morphine in rural and regional Australia was roughly double that of their major city counterparts | Conversation, Australia


And finally...

Digital drinking buddy replaces ill-advised tweets with cat pics

Better than a breathalyser – build a clever coaster to ensure there’s no more Twitter after too much liquor | New Scientist, UK