Daily news - 19th July 2017

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UK news

MPs debate drugs policy

MPs are to take part in a general debate on drugs policy in the House of Commons on Tuesday 18 July 2017 | Parliament.uk, UK

Labour MP calls on public to ‘come to Parliament, take cannabis and break the law’

Paul Flynn made the extraordinary appeal during a debate on drugs policy in the Commons on Tuesday | I news, UK

Towards a smoke-free generation: tobacco control plan for England

Outlining plans to reduce smoking in England, with the aim of creating a smoke-free generation | DoH, UK

England 'on track' to stamp out smoking

The government has set out an ambitious plan to make England effectively smoke-free in the next few decades | BBC, UK

Let workers vape in office, Government plan suggests 

The Tobacco Control Plan pledges to “maximise the availability of safer alternatives to smoking” and to support smokers turning to nicotine substitutes | Telegraph, UK

Cost of smoking to the NHS in England: 2015

Data on the cost of smoking to the NHS to support the development of the new Tobacco Control Plan for England | PHE, UK

Local alcohol consumption: national survey results

A summary of results from an alcohol consumption survey of 25 upper tier local authorities in England | PHE, UK

Addicted Parents: Last Chance to Keep My Children - BBC iPlayer

Following families at Phoenix Futures' Specialist Family Service, the UK's only family rehab. Four mothers who are addicted to drugs must get clean or face losing their kids | BBC iPlayer, UK

Smokefree Skills: An assessment of maternity workforce training

Time and again as this report was developed, stakeholders, midwives, obstetricians and others would agree that the issue of smoking in pregnancy was extremely important. The oft repeated phrase was that this importance “goes without saying”. This, it seems, is the crux of the problem | ASH, UK

Hepatitis C and people who inject drugs: The family experience

Today we are publishing our report “Marks and scars” on the impact of hepatitis C on the families of people who inject drugs | Adfam, UK

New drug strategy prompts calls for clear national alcohol policy

The release of a new national drugs strategy for England and Wales has prompted revised calls for a new national alcohol strategy that includes minimum unit pricing (MUP) | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Older alcohol worries - BBC radio iplayer

Concern about growing number of over-50s in Norfolk who drink too much alcohol | BBC radio Norfolk, UK

Prisons: Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the street value was of the drugs recovered in prisons in each year since 2010 | They work for you, UK

Tobacco: Packaging

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the introduction of standardised packaging of cigarettes on levels of smoking in the UK | They work for you, UK


What assessment he has made of trends in the number of homeless people sleeping rough between 2010 and 2016 | They work for you, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of alcohol-related admissions into hospital; and if he will make a statement | They work for you, UK

Prisoners and families affected by bereavement

Free event. August 8th 1pm. London. Clinks is co-hosting a roundtable with Adfam to identify and discuss key issues around supporting prisoners and family members affected by bereavement. People affected by bereavement in prison may experience ‘disenfranchised grief’, being unable to grieve for their losses in socially acceptable ways | Clinks and Adfam, UK

England gets a taste for Buckfast, the fortified wine that's linked to crime

Sales of the controversial fortified tonic wine Buckfast are growing in southern England, after a campaign to improve its image | Telegraph, UK


International news

Medical cannabis Bill scrapped in Ireland

A Bill which would have legalised cannabis for medical use has been dropped in the Republic of Ireland | Christian Institute, UK

Psychedelics – A tool for therapy?

The Breaking Convention 2017 was the 4th International Conference on Psychedelic Consciousness which gathered both top researchers from around the world, as well as those interested in psychedelics. Rebecca Samuels reports | The Psychologist, UK

'The fatherland of Rausch': how Germany, where many of the world's drugs were invented, began to turn against them

A German chemist invented cocaine in 1859. Heroin was invented by the Bayer corporation in 1888, and a ban was introduced in 1929. Now, however, times are changing – and more compassionate policies are taking root | Open Democracy, UK

Pablo Escobar’s top hitman calls on Theresa May to legalise cocaine

Number of users fatally poisoned by the drug more than doubled in space of a year | Independent, UK

A new drug of choice in the Gulf

A dangerous arrival in a dangerous region | Economist, UK

Singapore Executes Man for Drug Offence After Flawed Trial

Singapore has executed a Malaysian man who was given a mandatory death sentence after heroin was found in a car he had borrowed. He was hanged on the morning of July 14 | Talking Drugs, UK

Gaps in drug treatment as abuse rates on rise

A lack of vital drug treatment services are leaving some areas of the country at risk of being abuse 'blackspots' | Independent, Ireland

More people attending sexual-assault centres as alcohol found to be a factor in many cases - annual report

Nearly one in two people who sought help from the country's sexual-assault treatment units last year had drunk at least the equivalent of two pints of beer | Independent, Ireland

Shane Ross to 'name and shame' drink-drivers by the end of this year

Drunk-drivers disqualified from driving will have their names published on a list | Journal, Ireland

After Decades of War, Colombian Farmers Face a New Test: Peace

The FARC rebels have disarmed and joined the government to wean farmers off illicit crops. But in poor villages, the lure of drug money is still strong | NYTimes, USA

Fear of arrest stops some needed calls to 911 after opioid overdose is administered

Fear of being arrested still undercuts an Indiana law that shields anyone who administers naloxone from criminal charges, according to a survey conducted by two researchers at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Naloxone is a lifesaving emergency antidote for opioid overdose | EurekAlert, USA

How to obtain and use the 'angel' therapeutic Naloxone

It's a terrifying scenario that's become all-too-real in the age of the opioid epidemic: a person lying lifeless, not breathing, because of an opioid overdose | Medical Xpress, USA

Findings link aldosterone with alcohol use disorder

A new study led by scientists at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, demonstrates that aldosterone, a hormone produced in the adrenal glands, may contribute to alcohol use disorder (AUD) | Medical Xpress, USA

Uruguay pharmacies start selling pot

Pharmacies in Uruguay start selling marijuana from Wednesday under the final phase of a four-year-old law that made the small South American country the first in the world to legalize pot from production to sale | Medical Xpress, USA

Ontario study raises red flags over methadone distribution

More than half of the methadone distributed in Ontario is prescribed by just 57 doctors, most of whom work in high-volume clinics that provide assembly-line medical care to the burgeoning number of patients struggling with opioid addictions, a new study says | Globe and Mail, Canada

Alcohol industry isn’t just funding studies; it’s also funding journalism to sway public opinion

Just four days ago [on 3 July], the New York Times reported, “Is Alcohol Good for You? An Industry-Backed Study Seeks Answers.” Because it was the day before the July 4th holiday, the story may not have received the attention it deserves, so we shine a spotlight on it here | DrinkTank, Australia

Calls for medicine policy rethink as hospitals ration 'critical' painkiller fentanyl

Australian hospitals are being forced to ration a painkiller used in millions of operations each year | Age, Australia

Needle exchange faces backlash 

Business owners and ratepayers in Perths south-east are concerned a needle exchange program is fuelling anti-social behaviour | Perth Now, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Interesting things about alcohol and other drugs, July 2017

A summary of the latest statistics on alcohol and other drugs from Andrew Brown (@andrewbrown365), including data from CHAIN that shows increasing complexity of need among rough sleepers in London | MEAM, UK

The 2017 Drug Strategy

After seven years, England finally (published on 13 July 2017) has a new Drug Strategy  simply, if somewhat strangely entitled “2017 Drug Strategy”. Although some parts of the strategy apply to other parts of Great Britain, the healthcare, education, housing and social care strategies apply only to England and the criminal justice ones only to England and Wales | Russell Webster, UK

A supported and up-skilled maternity workforce is vital to reduce smoking in pregnancy - Viv Bennett and Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent

The harmfulness of smoking in pregnancy is well known and what a healthcare practitioner (HCP) does and says at both the pre-conception and pregnancy stage really matters for increasing the number women having a smokefree pregnancy | VIV Bennett, UK

Jeff Sessions is leading America back into Reefer Madness

The US attorney general is trying to undo the progress made in liberalizing marijuana consumption in the US. This will only lead to more people in jail | Guardian CIF, UK

Ireland’s youth will suffer from looser drug laws

This week we heard about a possible plan to decriminalise possession of small quantities of drugs including heroin, cocaine and cannabis for personal use | Irish Times opinion, Ireland

Smoking Marijuana While Black

Black and Latino New Yorkers still are far more likely to be arrested for lighting up in public | NY Times opinion, USA