Daily news -30th October 2017

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UK news

Substance misuse statistics

hese reports include statistics from the Welsh National Database for Substance Misuse and additional substance misuse related information available from routinely published sources in Wales | STAT Wales, UK

The impact of using the new definition of alcohol-specific deaths

This article communicates the new definition of alcohol-specific deaths, the reasons for it and its impact on the existing time series of alcohol-related deaths | ONS, UK

Stoptober 2016 campaign evaluation

Stoptober is a major annual event to encourage smokers to quit for 28 days in October - with the aim of stopping smoking permanently. This document measures the impact of Stoptober in 2016, its fifth year of operation | PHE, UK

Hepatitis B: guidance, data and analysis

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a viral infection carried in the blood causing inflammation of the liver and potentially long term damage. The virus is transmitted by contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids. Hepatitis B is vaccine preventable | PHE, UK

Boy, 16, dies at Halloween rave in Gwytherin, near Abergele

A 16-year-old boy has died after taking a suspected drugs overdose at a Halloween rave in Conwy county | BBC, UK

Updating your drugs policy to include NPS

In previous briefing papers, Mentor looked at the impact of new psychoactive substances on public health and drugs education. Schools and practitioners should also update their drugs policy to take account of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) | Mentor-ADEPIS, UK

Drugs: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to reduce the number of deaths from illegal drug use | They work for you, UK

Met Police Will No Longer Prevent the Swallowing of Drug Packages

Following the deaths of Rashan Charles and Edson Da Costa, Met police officers have been issued new advice: to not try to prevent suspects from swallowing wraps | VICE, UK

Tobacco companies using pricing tactics to 'keep smokers hooked', research suggests

Industry 'absorbing tax increases on the cheapest brands to make sure they stay cheap', say academics | Independent, UK

Additions to the Effectiveness Bank 27 October 2017

Coordinated around two ‘hot topics’ in substance use intervention research, the latest entries in the Effectiveness Bank probe into identifying and reducing the harms of injecting, and making brief alcohol interventions work in general practice | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Professor John Britton talks to the BBC about e-cigarettes - video

Amid the news that MPs will carry out an inquiry into e-cigarettes, Professor John Britton discusses e-cigs as a tool to help stop smoking, the gateway theory, the possibility of e-cigs on prescription and the effects of nicotine | Totally Wicked, UK

Woman suffering with sciatica says cannabis oil ‘cured’ her back pain 

She claims the liquid drops have left her virtually pain-free | Independent, UK

Warning over 'bad batch' of heroin after number of people fall ill

Police have issued a warning over a 'bad batch' of heroin being circulated around West Lancashire | Southport Visitor, UK

Drug and alcohol addicts 'going cold turkey' as detox centre closes and budgets are slashed

Data sourced by UKAT shows Gateshead Council has slashed its residential detoxification budget by half since 2013 | Chronicle, UK

Newport magazine aims to help drug addicts into work

A magazine written for and by recovering drug addicts has been set up to support users' rehabilitation and get people back into work | BBC, UK

Museum of drug policy

Free. 3rd - 5th November. London The Museum of Drug Policy is a pop-up arts and cultural hub featuring live programming and art from around the world that highlights how drug policies impact and shape our communities | Museum of Drug Policy, UK

Pier Road Project launch

The new drug and alcohol treatment service in Bexley, the Pier Road Project, was officially opened by the Mayor of Bexley on 18 October 2017. The service has been busy since it opened in July this year, already working with over 320 local people | Blenheim, UK 

Forward Leeds Focuses on Families and Alcohol

Forward Leeds is encouraging people to think about how drinking can affect family life as part of the upcoming Alcohol Awareness Week, (13-19 November) | Forward Leeds, UK

Taunton event: Anyone's Child could be a casualty of the drug war

November 9th. Free. Drugs are dangerous. Come along to our Anyone's Child event and find out why legally regulated drugs, supplied by doctors and pharmacists, would reduce the dangers. Join the discussion about what a new approach to drugs could mean for Taunton your family and your community | Everyone's Child, UK

Nuclear submarine sex and drugs scandal: Nine Trident crew expelled from Navy amid 'cocaine' and affairs allegations

Nine crew members on HMS Vigilant tested positive for drugs after claims of inappropriate sexual relationships on board the submarine | Independent, UK

Warning over dangers of smoking around pets - video

Nursing and veterinary experts are trying to raise awareness about how smoking can be dangerous for animals | BBC, UK


International news

The Internet and lifestyle drugs: an analysis of demographic characteristics, methods, and motives of online purchasers of illicit lifestyle drugs in the Netherlands

The Internet has marked a revolution in the supply of illegal drugs, while at the same time, new types of illegal and semilegal drugs increasingly are becoming available. In order to deepen our understanding of the demand and supply of these new drugs on the Internet, this study focuses on the demographic characteristics, methods and preferences of people who purchase ‘lifestyle drugs’ through the surface web | DEPP, USA

Health experts say Trump's opioid response relies on magical thinking

While some welcomed the president’s declaration of a public health emergency to fight the drug crisis others warned it would mean little without extra funding | Guardian, UK

Danish companies queue to grow cannabis

Companies have begun applying to Denmark's medicines regulator to grow cannabis plants ahead of the drug becoming legalised for medicinal purposes next year, it's reported | BBC, UK

Cannabis users have more sex, scientists find, and drug may increase arousal 

Regular cannabis users have more sex, a new study has shown, and scientists think the drug may be stimulating sexual arousal | Telegraph, UK

The Latest Effort to Map the Weed Genome Will Focus on Pot That Doesn’t Get You High

Scientists at the University of California Davis have launched a new project studying the hemp DNA sequence | Motherboard, USA

'Won't help your schoolwork': Emmanuel Macron sniffs marijuana on French Guiana trip

French president laughs off the fumes in the air as he tours the streets of capital Cayenne | Guardian, UK

Stranger Things actor Charlie Heaton denied entry into the US over alleged cocaine possession

The actor remained noticeably absent from the star-studded premiere of Stranger Things season 2 | IBTimes, UK

Bootsy Collins: ‘LSD was a big part of why I left James Brown’s band’

The musician, 66, on free love, Funkadelic, coming to earthly consciousness and getting away from being Bootsy | Guardian, UK

Toll of alcohol on Ireland's health revealed amid legislation drive

Alcohol has claimed the lives of 2,000 people since the government first began deliberating over the controversial Alcohol Bill two years ago, a leading charity has warned | Independent, Ireland

Women who use drugs: Issues, needs, responses, challenges and implications for policy and practice (PDF)

In the European Union 34.8 million women aged 15 to 64 are reported to have ever tried an illicit drug, compared with 54.3 million men | EMCDDA, Portugal

User-led interventions: an expanding resource? (PDF)

This short paper outlines the growth of user-led interventions across Europe in the problem (as opposed to recreational) drug sector over recent years. It starts by attempting to define and categorise user-led interventions before describing a number of examples and sharing what is known about their effectiveness. The paper concludes by identifying likely developments, highlighting the opportunities created by user-led work and detailing the challenges for policymakers and commissioners in Europe | EMCCDA, Portugal

Ending the opioid crisis: a practical guide for policy makers

Although the opioid epidemic is a national issue, states shoulder the majority of the financial and social burden caused by addiction. Fortunately, there are many actions that states can take to effectively address the opioid epidemic and the larger public health crisis of addiction | CASA, USA

While Vowing to Take on Opioid Crisis, Trump Cuts Drug Treatment Options

GOP’s Cuts to Medicaid, ACA, Mean Millions Lose Access to Drug Treatment Programs | Human Rights Watch, USA

Opioid epidemic shares chilling similarities with the past

While declaring the opioid crisis a national public health emergency Thursday, President Donald Trump said: "Nobody has seen anything like what's going on now." | Medical Xpress, USA

E-cigarette aerosols caused embryo defects in the laboratory

New research has found that e-cigarette aerosol exposure can cause facial defects in frog embryos and disrupt mammalian embryonic cell growth | MNT, USA

Woman who became ‘face of drug addiction’ after viral overdose photo speaks out 1 year later

One year after an Indiana woman became “the face of drug addiction” when a shocking photo showing her overdosed went viral, she is speaking out about having hit rock bottom and her inspiring recovery | NYTimes, USA

You can be fired for using marijuana even when it's legal

Gary Ross, a systems administrator from California, suffered from debilitating back pain from injuries he sustained while serving in the military | Quartz, USA

Opponents of marijuana legalization warned of pot-laced Halloween candy. It never happened

The fears were used as an argument against legalization. But they proved to be bogus | Vox, USA

Drug and alcohol connections newsletter

Latest research news | NDARC, NDRI, NCETA, Australia

Renewed calls for safe injecting room as Victoria's heroin death toll reaches 16-year high

Heroin claimed the highest number of lives in 16 years last year, data shows, amid a growing mood inside the Andrews State Government to trial a safe injecting room in Melbourne's inner city | abc,net.au, Australia

Pharmacy lobby has backed down on codeine changes, says Health Minister Greg Hunt

The Health Minister says the Pharmacy Guild has backed down in the fight to water down the impending changes to codeine-based painkillers | Age, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Interesting things about drugs – October 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

Alcohol-related deaths will go uncounted in new UK scheme

On Oct 6, the UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced plans to revise its definition of alcohol-related mortality in an effort to unify disparate definitions currently used across the UK government. The new scheme, which uses a narrower definition of alcohol-specific (rather than alcohol-related) death, means that nearly a quarter of deaths related to alcohol misuse in 2015 will no longer be counted as such | Lancet editorial, UK

What we must learn from the US opioid epidemic

The excellent article by Makary et al highlights the fact that the current prescribed opioid epidemic that the US is experiencing is multi-factorial in origin | BMJ editorial, UK

Why you should give money directly and unconditionally to homeless people

Who are you to judge what they do with that cash? | New Statesman, UK

Mourning to mass mobilization

The numbers are eye-opening and heart-breaking: Each year in the United States, there are more than 50,000 drug-related deaths,  88,000 deaths from excessive alcohol use, and more than 480,000 tobacco-related deaths | William White Papers, USA

Andrew Laming's opposition to pill-testing at music festivals based on inaccuracies and nonsense

Federal parliamentarian Andrew Laming's article "Spilt Milk idea for illicit drugs makes you cry", published last week, was so disappointing and contained so many inaccuracies it demands a response | Canberra Times opinion, Australia