Daily news - 20th July 2017

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UK news

More specialist services in the community needed to tackle addiction, says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to research published in the British Journal of General Practice on long term use of benzodiazepines and 'z-drugs' | RCGP, UK

Drugs Policy

I am pleased to have the opportunity to open this debate on drugs policy because, as many Members will know, the Government have just published an ambitious new drug strategy, which sets out a range of new actions to prevent the harms caused by drug misuse | They work for you, UK

A Manchester MP has called for the legalisation of cannabis

Jeff Smith, Labour MP for Withington, told the House of Commons he believes the legalisation of cannabis is ‘inevitable’, if only the government would ‘grasp the nettle’ | Manchester Evening News, UK

The Alternative Drug Strategy

On the same day as the Government’s new drug strategy was published – making it clear once more that “we have no intention of decriminalising drugs” – a straight-talking ex-police officer was telling a room full of prison governors, policemen, probation workers, drugs charity workers, academics, councillors, treatment organisations, bereaved parents and former drug addicts why his force has taken to doing the very opposite: introducing a de facto decriminalisation of drug use | Volte Face, UK

SMMGP response to the 2017 Drug Strategy

Whilst many of the Drug Strategy’s ambitions are good, it frustratingly does not provide a realistic direction for how they will be delivered | SMMGP, UK

Towards a Smokefree Generation - A Tobacco Control Plan for England

The Government has today published the Tobacco Control Plan for England, with a vision to create a smoke free generation | They work for you, UK

The death of smoking: how tobacco will be eradicated for good

Smoking rates have been slowly falling in Western countries for decades. Soon, the habit could be wiped out, without even having to ban it | New Scientist, UK

Dr Richard Piper appointed new CEO of Alcohol Research UK

Alcohol Research UK is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Richard Piper as its new Chief Executive with effect from September 2017 | Alcohol Concern, UK

LAPE local alcohol surveys: a consistent picture?

A new report detailing results from drinking surveys in 25 local areas has been released by Public Health England (PHE) | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Exactly how addictive are party drugs?

A typical Friday night for Alice, 25, used to mean to going to any lengths to find a party. A few years ago, she was quite literally living for the weekend — she was out every weekend, fuelling her nonstop partying with a powerful mix of drugs | The Debrief, UK

Medicinal use of cannabis: RPS seeks pharmacists' views

A new survey into pharmacists’ views on the medicinal use of cannabis has been launched by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS). The results of the survey will be used to inform draft RPS policy on the matter, which will then be presented to the national pharmacy boards for discussion | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

Research Participation Form

Why are fewer young adults accessing drug and alcohol treatment in England?" Want to share your views? You can get involved in ongoing research at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).  Please direct any questions about the research project to Zoe Carre at z.carre@lse.ac.uk | LSE, UK

Highlands woman 'central figure' in drugs gang

A Highlands woman has been described as a "central figure" in a gang's distribution of heroin and cocaine in the Inverness and Elgin areas | BBC, UK


International news

International inequalities in drinking and related outcome

Older drinkers tend not to set cars on fire, riot, or urinate in your garden on a Saturday night. Perhaps this is why, despite being one of the worlds’ most at-risk group for alcohol-related harm, older drinkers receive very little media or political attention. This lack of attention also ensures that older adults continue to remain our invisible addicts | DrinkWise AgeWell, UK

Ireland could lift Good Friday alcohol ban

A ban on the sale of alcohol in Ireland on Good Friday may be reversed after legislation passed all stages in the Seanad Éireann (Irish senate) | BBC, UK

How a Reddit forum has become a lifeline to opioid addicts in the US

With more than 37,000 subscribers, r/opiates creates a space for substance users to signal-boost fentanyl warnings and get support for overdoses and detoxing | Guardian, UK

Tobacco firms 'hamper anti-smoking push'

The tobacco industry is hampering efforts to introduce life-saving interventions in low and middle income countries, according to a report by the World Health Organization [- see below] | BBC, UK

Smoking Deaths Still Too High - BBC iPlayer

Despite global efforts to curb smoking, 1 in 10 deaths are still caused by tobacco; army general in Thailand is among dozens convicted of human trafficking; European Commission threatens Poland with sanctions if it presses ahead with judicial reforms | BBC, UK

Does Adding Information on Toxic Constituents to Cigarette Pack Warnings Increase Smokers’ Perceptions About the Health Risks of Smoking? A Longitudinal Study in Australia, Canada, Mexico, and the United States

Health warning labels (HWLs) on cigarette packs in Australia, Canada, Mexico, and the United States include varying information about toxic cigarette smoke constituents and smoking-related health risks | SAGE Journals, UK

Parent-child intervention reduces teenage drinking in poor US families

Long-term results from an alcohol use prevention programme developed for poor black US families with 11-year-old children reinforce the potential of an approach which engages parents and children to improve parenting and change the children’s perceptions in ways which curb the growth of drinking | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Uruguay pharmacies start selling cannabis straight to consumers

Pharmacies in Uruguay have begun selling cannabis directly to consumers, culminating a long and pioneering legalization effort that began over three years ago | Guardian, UK

Police body cam footage 'shows officer planting drugs'

Video from Baltimore Police Department body cameras shows an officer tampering with evidence in a case that sent a man to jail for more than five months, reports have claimed | Independent, UK

HSE meets businesses over Dublin injecting facility

The Health Service Executive has said it has met with Dublin city businesses about the opening of a Supervised Injection Facility for drug users which is due before the end of the year | Rte, Ireland

Number of people caught drink driving up 18%

The number of people caught driving under the influence increased by 18% in the first half of the year, new figures show | Irish Examiner, Ireland

VIDEO: Drug addicts talk about injection centre due to open in Dublin by end of the year

Two anonymous drug addicts discuss the benefits of supervised injection centres | Independent, Ireland

WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic 2017

The latest WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic published today finds that more countries have implemented tobacco control policies, ranging from graphic pack warnings and advertising bans to no smoking areas. About 4.7 billion people – 63% of the world’s population – are covered by at least one comprehensive tobacco control measure, which has quadrupled since 2007 when only 1 billion people and 15% of the world’s population were covered | WHO, Switzerland

How Job Loss Can Lead to Drug Use

Several studies suggest the opioid crisis might be at least partly the result of widespread unemployment | Atlantic, USA

DanceSafe Now Offering Fentanyl Testing Strips

Fentanyl is a short-acting synthetic opiate that is now being used as an adulterant in substances such as heroin, cocaine, and MDMA. Due to its high potency, it has caused numerous deaths on unsuspecting victims. In response to the rising death toll caused by fentanyl-laced drugs, DanceSafe and the University of California San Francisco have conducted a study assessing five different immunoassay fentanyl test strips for their effectiveness at detecting fentanyl and its various analogs at concentrations typically found in street drugs | Dance Safe, USA

Students Create ‘Bad Batch’ App To Warn When Deadly Heroin Mixes Hit The Streets

A group of high school students recently launched an app that warns the public when a particularly strong or deadly mix of heroin hits the streets | Daily Caller, USA

GB Sciences to test cannabis-based therapies on humans, taps Worldwide Clinical Trials

GB Sciences has decided to focus its drug development forces on three cannabinoid therapies in its pipeline, and it has tapped Worldwide Clinical Trials to assess its intellectual property portfolio and to help with pre-IND planning | Fierce Biotech, USA

The hidden chemicals in hookah tobacco smoke

Thanks to its sweet smell and taste, hookah has gained popularity in recent years, especially among teens and young adults | Medical Xpress, USA

Very low rate of early use of prescription smoking cessation medications among older patients after

Only about 7 percent of older adults who smoked used a prescription smoking cessation medication within 90 days after being discharged from a hospital following a heart attack, according to a study published by JAMA Cardiology | Medical Xpress, USA

Afghanistan’s Opium Trade: A Free Market of Racketeers

A visit to Afghan opium fields challenges the notion that the Taliban controls the lucrative trade | The Diplomat, USA

Uruguay’s Marijuana Law Turns Pharmacists Into Dealers

| NYTimes, USA

Nearly half of WA sporting teams have at least one 'unhealthy' sponsor

A new study reveals almost half of WA sporting clubs have at least one unhealthy sponsor supporting them, with Aussie Rules footy the biggest culprit | Age, Australia

Vodka Cruiser Instagram ad poured down the drain after Cancer Council complaint

Liquor brands will think twice about using models with "youthful looks" in their advertising | Age, Australia

Why do people use alcohol and other drugs?

Briefing | ADF, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

UK drug policy: more harm than good?

Good afternoon. I want to tell you what happened to my two much-loved sons who died, to show why I’m calling for legal regulation of drugs. For half a century our laws have not stopped people using drugs. If people will use them anyway, let’s at least make them safer. The user might be your son or daughter, whether you know it or not | Anyone's Child Blog, UK

Ministerial codswallop frustrates proper debate

Ministers are fond of saying that government policies are based on evidence.  In the case of drugs policy they have the benefit of expert advice from a statutory body, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) | Transform Blog, UK

Warnings on US cigarette packs not as effective as those in other countries

Cigarette smoke contains more than 9,000 chemicals, including more than 60 carcinogens. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there are 93 harmful and potentially harmful chemicals found in tobacco products | Conversation, UK

What I want my alcoholic mother to know

Because “one sober parent was at home,” Sophie was left alone by child services and suffered emotional and physical abuse | News.com.au, Australia