Daily news - 23rd August 2017

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UK news

Did the UK Government’s 2010 drug strategy tick all the boxes?

Coinciding with the release of the new drug strategy is an evaluation of
earlier efforts towards reducing demand, restricting supply, and
building recovery in communities. Condensed here from 220 pages to key
bullet points about activities undertaken, their effectiveness, and
value for money, it sets the scene for understanding how far the
evidence base informed the subsequent revision of the strategy | Drug
and Alcohol Findings, UK

Effectiveness Bank Drug Treatment Matrix course starts soon

In two weeks we will deliver the first instalment of the 2017/18 refresh of the Drug Treatment Matrix. Released fortnightly, the 25 cells and ‘bite’ commentaries will cumulate to a course reflecting on the most significant research underpinning practice, leading you through seminal and key studies on harm reduction and the treatment of problem drug use | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Image and Performance Enhancing Drugs: public evidence gathering day

The ACMD is holding a public evidence gathering day on Image and Performance Enhancing Drugs on Tuesday 26 September at The Kia Oval, Vauxhall, London | ACMD, UK

Even cautious young people post about sex and drugs online, study suggests

Even cautious teenagers over-share on social media and risk damaging their job prospects, a University of Plymouth study has found | Telegraph, UK

New £23m addiction research centre opens in Hull

A new research centre has been opened in Hull to develop new treatments for drug addicts | BBC, UK

Victoria Debyshire - cannabis debate

Watch from 35.50mins. Discussing marijuana drug controls | BBC, UK

The One Show

Watch from 3.40mins. Discussing drug testing at festivals | BBC, UK

Grime artist Jammer's 'street skunk' warning

The music producer, who's part of Boy Better Know, was speaking during a live debate on Radio 1 | BBC Newsbeat, UK

Drugs charity Focus 12 to sell premises to clear debts

A drug and rehabilitation charity where comedian Russell Brand was treated for substance abuse is set to sell its premises to secure its future | BBC, UK

How charity helps those whose loss is made worse by drugs stigma

Marlene Johnston is a counsellor Family Addiction Support Service ,Glasgow and a mum of three who has lost two sons to drugs and has been working with FASS for 22 years | Herald, UK

Psychedelics pioneer keeps his inner hippy in check

After giving people LSD and psilocybin, Robin Carhart-Harris is convinced of psychedelic therapy's potential – but he daren't get too excited about it | New Scientist, UK

SMMGP London workshop: Oioid substition treatment

27th Sept, London, free. The aims of the workshop are to improve and refresh knowledge of Opioid Substitution Treatment (OST) choices and how to improve outcomes for people who use drugs problematically, by reviewing the evidence base for OST, making delegates aware of the range of treatments and how to use them. Case studies | SMMGP, UK

Drugs accused Matthew Taylor denied funeral bail

A man who admitted supplying drugs to a teenager the day before she was found dead has been refused compassionate bail to attend her funeral | BBC, UK

Met Police faces anger after linking kilo of seized heroin to Notting Hill Carnival

The Metropolitan Police has prompted anger after linking a kilo of heroin seized in south east London to Notting Hill Carnival, an event due to take place 12 miles away on the other side of the capital | Independent, UK

Cannabis worth £380,000 seized in Lisburn

Police have arrested three people after cannabis with a street value of £380,000 was seized in Lisburn | BBC, UK

Drugs gang who raped woman in revenge on rivals jailed

A drugs gang who kidnapped and raped a woman to "take revenge" on a rival operation have been jailed | BBC, UK


International news

Baby boomers' drink and drug misuse needs urgent action, warn experts

Urgent action is needed to tackle drink and drug misuse among baby boomers, experts have warned, with a growing body of data from around the world suggesting that substance misuse is increasing among those in their mid-50s and older | Guardian, UK [see also BMJ editorial]

Wednesday briefing: Baby boomers 'worst drinkers and drug users'

Top story: Alarming scale of addiction in over-50s | Guardian, UK

German police seize massive haul of 'Trump' ecstasy tablets

A man and his father have been detained by police | Independent, UK

What happens when you smoke weed every day for 5 years

The Liberal Democrats have said they will continue to support the legalisation of cannabis, according to the party's new leader Sir Vince Cable | Independent, UK

Chris Christie becomes unlikely hero for New Jersey drug treatment centers

New Jersey governor has opened his state’s first rehab facility for prisoners, cut insurance red tape and emphasized treatment over punishment | Guardian, UK

Duterte faces nationwide revolt over drugs war after killing of schoolboy sparks outrage

A horrifying image of a schoolboy being dragged to a violent death in a dirty alleyway has galvanised the Philippines against a brutal state-led war on drugs that has killed over 12,500 people in the last year | Telegraph, UK

Almost £1m of addiction services lost in past year despite spiralling heroin problem

Close to £1 million of addiction services have been lost in the past year despite a spiralling heroin problem in Northern Ireland, it has been warned | Irish News, Ireland

An Garda Siochana. (2017) An Garda Siochana: annual report 2016 (PDF)

Garda National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) p. 8. Driving while intoxicated incidents p. 27. Drug Seizures p. 56 | An Garda Siochana, Ireland

Global Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Among Children and Youth

What is the prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder among children and youth in the general population? | JAMA, USA

Perceptions of health risks of cigarette smoking: A new measure reveals widespread misunderstanding

Most Americans recognize that smoking causes serious diseases, yet many Americans continue to smoke. One possible explanation for this paradox is that perhaps Americans do not accurately perceive the extent to which smoking increases the probability of adverse health outcomes | PLOSOne, USA

Smokers hospitalized for heart attacks often don't get cessation drugs

Few smokers hospitalized for heart attacks and other serious complications of cardiac disease get medication to help them quit smoking, a U.S. study suggests | Reuters, USA

Lowering nicotine levels, use of e-cigarettes and raising cigarette prices associated with smoking cessation

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have waged a war against smoking and now new steps are in place to help quitters go ahead and stop smoking | News Medical, USA

Medicaid patients continue high prescription opioid use after overdose

Despite receiving medical attention for an overdose, patients in Pennsylvania Medicaid continued to have persistently high prescription opioid use, with only slight increases in use of medication-assisted treatment, according to a study published by JAMA | Medical Xpress, USA

Opioid crisis in Staten Island affects all races, ages, and socioeconomic backgrounds

Contrary to media reports, the opioid epidemic on New York's Staten Island is not confined to affluent young white residents, and affects all neighborhoods, races, ages, and socioeconomic backgrounds | Science Daily, USA

Opioid misuse can be tracked using Twitter

Social media such as Twitter can be a useful tool to find out how widespread the misuse of prescribed opioid drugs is in a particular state or town, or to track the dynamics of opioid misuse in a given locality over time. This is according to a study in the Journal of Medical Toxicologypublished by Springer Nature | Medical Xpress, USA

It's Time to Stop Calling People 'Addicts'

Getting the language right is more than semantics in drug policy: it can be a matter of whether a parent gets custody of a child, whether the right addiction treatment is used—and even one of life or death | VICE, USA

Toronto harm reduction workers hope drug testing strips can help prevent fentanyl overdoses

Markham biotechnology company making kits says demand is growing every day | CBC News, Canada

Welfare crackdown 'will move drug problem closer to the heart of the city'

As many as 1750 young people and job seekers in western Sydney face drug-testing and strict welfare quarantining | Age, Australia

'You talk we die': Abbotsford mural calls for action on safe injecting rooms

The towering piece of street art in a quiet Abbotsford laneway is emblazoned with dozens of names of the sons, daughters, sisters, brothers and friends who have died from drug overdoses | Age, Australia

MJA Podcasts 2017 Episode 44: Targeted anti-smoking efforts, with Prof Billie Bonevski

Professor Billie Bonevski is a behavioural scientist and research fellow at the University of Newcastle. She discusses smoking rates in disadvantaged population groups | MJA, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Substance misuse in older people

Developed countries have seen substantial increases in longevity over the past 20 years, contributing to a global demographic shift. The number of older people (aged over 50) experiencing problems from substance misuse is also growing rapidly, with the numbers receiving treatment expected to treble in the United States and double in Europe by 2020 | BMJ editorial, UK

Cannabis use can lead to relapse in psychosis, partially because patients stop taking medication

A lot of research has been conducted on cannabis and psychosis. Previous studies reviewed here on the Mental Elf have shown that smoking high potency ‘skunk’ appears to increase the risk of psychosis (Kennedy, 2015) and that cannabis use increases the likelihood of having a psychotic episode in those who are deemed to be high risk (Walsh, 2015) | Mental Elf blog, UK

Regular pub binge drinkers are more likely to be violent

People who admit to regularly binge drinking at the pub are more prone to have acted violently in the past 12 months, according to my new research. The findings raise questions about what strategies can be used to reduce alcohol-related violence and suggest promise for measures to modify alcohol pricing and taxation as well as restrictions on pub licences | Conversation, UK

People who think punitive measures help drug addicts haven't seen what I have

Had the government consulted experts before unveiling their plan to drug test welfare recipients, they would have been advised to drop it – pronto | Guardian opinion, UK

Ozark, drug cartels and America’s changing relationship with Mexico

The recent violence in Charlottesville and the ever-shifting statements by Donald Trump about national identity bring to the fore the dangers of the recurrent narratives of “us” versus “them” and the threats posed to American values by the omnipresent other – such as Trump’s “bad hombres” from Mexico | Conversation, UK

“A transformative way of dealing with drug use”: Paul Harkin on Safe Consumption Sites

Due to concern about HIV, Hep C and overdose deaths, there has recently been a huge upsurge in discussion both locally and nationally about creating Safe Consumption Services (or Safe Injection Facilities) where drug users can use drugs under medically supervised conditions. These facilities would mitigate the risk of harm to folks who are already using drugs in very unsafe surroundings, such as in the streets or in bathrooms of businesses | GLIDE, USA