Daily news -29th June 2017

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UK news

Consultation on the National Statistics definition of alcohol-related mortality

Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports annual trends on deaths associated with alcohol consumption using a National Statistics (NS) definition of alcohol-related deaths. ONS also use this definition to respond to Parliamentary Questions, and to the media and customer data requests | ONS, UK

An overview of lifestyles and wider characteristics linked to Healthy Life Expectancy in England: June 2017

Including sections on alcohol and smoking | ONS, UK

MESAS monitoring report 2017

The Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland's Alcohol Strategy (MESAS) monitoring report 2017 brings together the latest available data on key alcohol indicators in Scotland. Supporting datasets and infographics that summarise the findings are available | NHS Health Scotland, UK

Alcohol licensing: pilot of analytical support package

Updated guidnce. Findings from pilot of analytical support package for alcohol licensing, to support the role of public health teams in alcohol licensing | PHE, UK

Pregnancy: Smoking:Written question - 284

The Government is committed to reducing smoking prevalence in pregnant women and will be publishing its new Tobacco Control Plan for England shortly. This will aim to reduce smoking prevalence generally and includes actions to reduce smoking during pregnancy | Parliament.uk, UK

Health: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what plans he has to hold discussions with representative organisations in sexual health, drugs and alcohol services on the mandated public health duties of local authorities in light of the Government's plan to devolve the public health grant | They work for you, UK

The UK Government Can Prevent a Fentanyl Crisis, but It Must Act Now

Fentanyl, the powerful opioid which has been attributed to thousands of deaths in the US and Canada in recent years, has begun to emerge in illegal markets in the UK. The government must act now to prevent the potential devastation that this could cause | Talking Drugs, UK

Drinkaware unveils five-year strategy as it focuses on older drinkers

A significant shift in drinking habits and falling sales have led the alcohol education charity Drinkaware to shift its focus from young to older drinkers | Morning Advertiser, UK

This is what happens to your brain on cocaine

Other than that, scientists have analysed the effects of the Class A drug, possession of which can lead to a seven year custodial sentence, an unlimited fine, or both | Independent, UK

Co-production in substance use research

Special issue call for papers from Drugs and Alcohol Today | Emerald Publishing, UK

Smoking ban and drinking alcohol - BBC radio

After the success of the smoking ban, what else should be banned? | BBC Radio London, UK

RAPt Apprentice Scheme Wins National Award

RAPt has won an HR Excellence Award in recognition of its Apprenticeship Scheme for people in recovery from addiction | RAPt, UK

The SSA Fred Yates prize for Researcher of the Year 2017

Congratulations to Dr Andrew Jones, Lecturer in addiction and motivation at the University of Liverpool winner of the 2017 Fred Yates pize for his contribution to addictions research in the area of disinhibition and alcohol use | SSA, UK

LSD to be tested as a ‘cure for depression’ in Britain for the first time

Silicon Valley execs boast of ‘microdosing’ LSD at work – not enough that they start babbling about faces in the ceiling, but enough to feel inspired | Metro, UK

Sponsor drops Dan Evans over cocaine scandal

Britain's tennis world number 50 Dan Evans testing positive for cocaine has cost him a lucrative sponsorship deal with Italian sportswear firm Ellesse who terminated their contract after just three months | Statesman UK

Inspection Reveals HMP Birmingham Is Getting More Violent

Violence is increasing and the safety of prisoners is at risk at HMP Birmingham, according to a damning report on an inspection carried out in February this year | Volte Face, UK

British Sugar cannabis farm 'weed' smell investigated

A sugar producer is investigating whether its cannabis farm is responsible for a smell which has been baffling Norfolk residents for a week | BBC, UK

Organised crime pair had drugs in sock

Two members of an organised crime group have been jailed after a National Crime Agency investigation | NCA, UK

'Exaggerations' threaten public trust in science, says leading statistician

David Spiegelhalter, president of Royal Statistical Society, says sloppy attitude to statistics leads to misleading claims and draws parallels to rise of fake news | Guardian, UK


International news

Europe's Drug Wars - BBC radio

Saturday 1st July. Gangland killings in Ireland and death threats to journalists more than 20 years after the assassination of crime reporter Veronica Guerin mask a much bigger problem. The bloodshed in Ireland has its tentacles across Europe where law enforcers struggle to contain an out of control drugs war. Here Veronica’s friend, colleague and fellow crime reporter Paul Williams looks at the continent’s drug crime hotspots and examines the different policies used to control the illegal sale of drugs across Europe | BBC World Service, UK

Colombia today announces end of Farc as drug industry booms and guerilla violence increases 

Colombia’s president today declared the end of the world's longest running civil war at a forest disarmament ceremony, as United Nations confirmed that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) had finally handed over all their weapons | Telegraph, UK

The opioid crisis ravaging America is claiming record numbers of lives

It’s claiming lives at an almost unimaginable rate | ITV, UK

US drugs crisis: 'Doctors kick-started my addiction by prescribing me opioids when I was nine'

Nobody in America is denying the scale of the opioid crisis. It is, to quote the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention,“the worst drugs epidemic in US history” | ITV, UK

The unlucky 13: Chinese court sentences baker's dozen of drug dealers to death in front of 10,000 people - then eight are executed immediately

Thirteen people in China have been sentenced to death for selling drugs as part of a public hearing watched by some 10,000 people | Mail Online, UK

John Singleton: 'The crack epidemic gave me something to write about – but I had to survive it first'

The Boyz N the Hood director is back – with Snowfall, a TV show about America’s drug epidemic. Over a lunch of fried catfish in South Central LA, John Singleton reveals all about his ‘ghetto Game of Thrones’ | Guardian, UK

Joint United Nations statement on ending discrimination in health care settings

United Nations entities recall that a central principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to “ensure that no one is left behind” and to “reach the furthest behind first” | WHO, Switzerland

Serotonin contributions to cocaine's allure

A new study reinforces long-held suspicions that the brain chemical serotonin, a molecule usually associated with mood, appetite and libido, makes a direct contribution to the actions of cocaine. Scientists can now clearly see details of how the brain uses serotonin not just to regulate mood, but also to drive both rapid and long-lasting changes in the brain | Science Daily, USA

Addiction specialist explains fentanyl threat

As the opioid crisis rages across the United States, people suffering from addiction as well as the first responders, doctors, and counselors trying to help them are facing another deadly challenge: fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 100 times more powerful than heroin and a growing part of the nation's illicit drug supply | Medical Xpress, USA

Police: Pregnant woman overdoses, charged with baby assault

A Pennsylvania woman who overdosed on heroin while pregnant and had to undergo a cesarean section is being charged with assault on her unborn child, authorities said | Associated Press, USA

E-cigarettes increase risk of cigarette smoking in youth

Dartmouth Norris Cotton Cancer Center research finds strong and consistent evidence that e-cigarette use is one cause of subsequent cigarette smoking initiation in adolescents and young adults | EurekAlert, USA

The DRAM, Vol. 13(7) – Extra walls: GLB individuals and additional barriers to alcohol treatment

As a group, gay, lesbian, and bisexual (GLB) individuals are more likely to suffer from alcohol use disorders than heterosexual individuals. They also use treatment services for alcohol use disorders at a higher rate than heterosexual individuals | BASIS, USA

Even in the 1700s, Book Clubs Were Really About Drinking and Socializing

And “a considerable element of boisterous good humor.” | Atlas Obscura, USA

The Going Out In Sydney App: Evaluating the Utility of a Smartphone App for Monitoring Real-World Illicit Drug Use and Police Encounters Among Festival and Club Goers

Gaining accurate information on illicit drug use and policing in real-world settings is a challenge. This study examines the utility of a smartphone app (‘Going Out In Sydney’) to prospectively follow up illicit drug use and policing encounters at music festivals and licensed entertainment precincts in Sydney, Australia | Insights, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Interesting new drug facts (June 2017)

This is the latest post in a monthly series reproducing Andrew Brown’s monthly slideshare of interesting new facts about alcohol and other drugs which he has unearthed from a wide range of reports | Russell Webster, UK

Smoke-free policy in psychiatric hospitals associated with reduction in physical violence

In many psychiatric hospitals, concerns about increased violence are one of the factors preventing the introduction of smoke-free policies | Mental Elf Blog, UK

Eight things that have changed since the smoking ban ten years ago

It’s hard to think back to what English pubs and clubs were like before the law about smoke-free public places came into force ten years ago. Do you remember the dense fog, the smell of tobacco smoke on your clothes and hair after a night out, and the ashtrays loaded with cigarette butts? | Conversation, UK

Do You Really Encounter Supernatural Entities When You Take DMT?

Throughout human history, shamans have used psychoactive compounds in order to enter spiritual domains and commune with supernatural entities, ancestral beings and deities | Beckley Foundation Blog, UK

Comment: 'Every time we let the designated driver have one or two we are actively saying that drink-driving is acceptable'

Our Road Safety Authority expert fears 'just two will do' attitude of yesteryear will creep back | Independent, Ireland

The Points Interview: Jane T. Merritt

The Trouble with Tea explores 18th century consumer culture, market economies, and their political use and meaning.  The core of the book’s argument questions the old adage among economic historians that consumer demand drove merchants to provide an ever-increasing supply of goods, thus sparking a Consumer Revolution in the early eighteenth century | Points blog USA

E-cigarettes needed to get more adults to quit smoking

Some tobacco control activists are so blinded by a commitment to destroy the tobacco industry that they can't see the potential of a life-saving, harm reduction alternative, e-cigarettes | Sydney Morning Herald comment, Australia