Daily news - 11th September 2017

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UK news

Strong painkiller use 'doubles in 15 years'

The use of powerful prescription painkillers has doubled in the last 15 years, according to a report by public health experts [Harry Shapiro of DrugWise quoted] | Telegraph, UK

Deaths by drug poisoning where any opiates were mentioned on the death certificate, local authorities in England and Wales, 1993 to 2016

Deaths involving opiates by English and Welsh local authorities, deaths registered between 1993 and 2016 | ONS, UK

Opiate-linked death rate in Wales 50% higher than England

The proportion of deaths in Wales connected to opiates - such as heroin - was 50% higher than England last year, official figures have shown | BBC, UK

Prescription drug pregabalin linked to death rise

Deaths linked to a drug readily prescribed on the NHS have increased dramatically after claims it has flooded the black market | BBC, UK

The Lammy Review (PDF)

An independent review into the treatment of, and outcomes for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals in the criminal justice system | Lammy Review, UK

Do black criminals get harsher sentences for the same crimes?

Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people make up 14 per cent of the general population, but a quarter of the prison population, the report finds | Channel 4, UK

How alcohol industry organisations mislead the public about alcohol and cancer

Alcohol consumption increases the risk of several types of cancer, including several common cancers. As part of their corporate social responsibility activities, the alcohol industry (AI) disseminates information about alcohol and cancer. We examined the information on this which the AI disseminates to the public through its ‘social aspects and public relations organizations’ and related bodies. The aim of the study was to determine its comprehensiveness and accuracy | Drug and Alcohol Review, UK

£20 million funding boost and ‘overhaul’ of Scotland’s drug strategy announced

The Scottish Government has published A Nation With Ambition, its programme for 2017-18. This includes a £20 million pound investment in alcohol and drug treatment and support services. Scottish Drugs Forum has demonstrated the fact and consequences of reductions in local spending and welcomes this announcement | SDF, UK

Scottish Government provides few clear measures to tackle drug consumption in it latest action plan for 2017-18

The Government states that they want to “renew our mission to tackle some deep-seated and intractable challenges – homelessness, rough sleeping and drug use. These problems are not unique to Scotland but they blight lives and damage communities. With cuts from Westminster exacerbating the problems, we will intensify our own efforts to tackle them.” | Volte Face, UK

Drug and Alcohol Misuse (Fatalities)

To ask the First Minister what the Scottish Government’s response is to the reported significant increase in the number of deaths related to drug and alcohol misuse in the last year. (S5F-01478) | They work for you, UK

New campaign urges women to avoid alcohol in pregnancy

A new hard-hitting health campaign will urge women to avoid drinking any alcohol during pregnancy | BBC, UK

This Is How Scotland's Recovering Addicts Organised To Fight Stigma

A community of Scots in recovery from substance abuse has grown rapidly over the past decade. At their first ever national conference, they told BuzzFeed News about their plans – inspired by the LGBT pride movement | BUzzfeed, UK


To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what plans he has to fund tobacco cessation services during this Parliament | They work for you, UK

CLeaR local tobacco control assessment

Supporting local public health organisations to undertake the CLeaR assessments to review and improve their tobacco control work | PHE, UK

Britons drinking less but drinking better

August edition of CGA’s Alcohol Sales Tracker reveals a fall in the volume of drinks sales but rising interest in premium bars and drinks | CGA, UK

Additions to the Effectiveness Bank 8 September 2017

Despite its limitations, researchers revisiting 2003 Licensing Act for
England and Wales say existing powers can still be used to address the public health consequences of alcohol. Rising alcohol-related admissions drive the testing of a ‘symptom-driven’ medication policy for withdrawal in one hospital trust. A reminder of the surprising recommendations on psychosocial therapies for drug users in NICE clinical guidelines, key quality yardsticks for British services. And two years on from pilots in England, the government's recovery agenda may not have been well served by its favoured payment-by-results commissioning model | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Children forced to work at cannabis factories as slaves, warns charity

Children are being forced to tend cannabis factories and commit street crimes, a leading charity has warned as it raised the alarm over the hidden toll of child slavery in the UK | Independent, UK

Smoking cannabis at home could get you evicted 

Tenants are being warned that they could face eviction if caught smoking cannabis inside their own homes | Independent, UK

Police: Powers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will give the police powers to recover costs from landlords in cases where the police are repeatedly required to deal with drug-related issues at the same premises | They work for you, UK

Black Mamba's 'killing me but I need it' - video

Darron's been sleeping rough on the streets of Birmingham since he got out of prison in December for shoplifting | BBC, UK

Teen hospitalised after taking 'Blue Transformer' ecstasy pill - which he swapped for two cigarettes

A 17-year-old was hospitalised after overdosing on ‘blue Transformer’ ecstasy pills - which he’d swapped for just two cigarettes | Liverpool Echo, UK

Woman diagnosed with brain tumour claims cannabis oil ‘saved her life

By the sixth MRI, the cancer had gone | Independent, UK

Heroin in Wales: Caring for dad 'led to habit'

As new figures show a rise in the number of opiate-related deaths in Wales, one man reveals the horror of becoming a heroin addict, and how he managed to turn his life around | BBC, UK

The former prison inmate who now works at the same jail

Four years ago, Ian Bruty was locked up for supplying heroin and crack cocaine. Now, in a remarkable admirable turnaround, the father-of-two has his own set of keys to the prison | ITV, UK

Video: 'You're not giving anything up - you're only gaining'

Four women explain why they have stopped drinking alcohol and how it's affected their outlook on life | BBC, UK

Alcohol Free Zones - BBC radio iPlayer

JKT talks alcohol free zones with the Director of the Guernsey Alcohol Advisory Service, David Newman. Would they work and if not, what's the best way to tackle problem drinking? | BBC Radio Guernsey, UK

‘It’s a hidden epidemic’: Men turning to drink and drugs due to hair loss 

More than a quarter of men under the age of 35 turn to drink and drugs due to hair loss, new research shows. The survey of just over 2,000 men, commissioned by Asda Pharmacy, shows the major emotional strain placed on young men who are losing their hair | Telegraph, UK

Programme Grants for Applied Research

In 2017/2018 we would particularly welcome applications from Social Sciences/Qualitative Science and Health Psychology/Behavioural Science methodologists with a strong track record in applied health research | NIHR, UK

Volunteers needed for Queen's University research into electronic cigarettes

Researchers are looking for smokers, non-smokers, and e-cigarette users aged between 18 and 45 | Belfast Live, UK

From smoking to Ebola, can graphic design save your life?

Can graphic design save your life? Lucienne Roberts and Rebecca Wright think so. For evidence, just look at the evolution of cigarette packaging over the past 120 years - and the dramatic fall in the number of smokers | WIRED, UK

MSP fights back tears as she reveals dad died from alcohol abuse in emotional bid to combat stigma

Monica Lennon was close to tears as she brought up the "significant" rise in drug and alcohol deaths in Scotland in the past year | Daily Record, UK

Jonathan Rhys Meyers turns to alcohol after his wife suffers miscarriage

The wife of actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers has revealed that the couple have suffered a miscarriage, prompting him to turn to alcohol again | Telegraph, UK

X Factor's Kayleigh Taylor: 'I chose alcohol and drugs over my children'

X Factor hopeful Kayleigh Taylor has revealed the details of a drug habit that left her "in £15,000 of debt", and struggling to look after her three children | Telegraph, UK

'Non-drinkers deserve a great adult cocktail': how alcohol-free spirits became a stealth hit

The number of British adults who consume alcohol is at its lowest since 2005, and a new generation of booze-free spirits offer a welcome alternative to lemonade. But which is better, a strawberry sour or an old fashioned made with ‘Whissin’? | Guardian, UK

Man buries vodka weeks before festival - then digs it up when it starts

Getting alcohol into a festival site can be an almost impossible task | Independent, UK


International news

Anti-smuggling proposal 'may let tobacco industry in by back door'

With Big Tobacco historically involved in the illicit cigarette trade, proposed EU track and trace system must be truly industry-independent, warn health bodies | Guardian, UK

Tilray to Invest Massively in European Facility

Tilray, a global pioneer in medical cannabis research, recently announced plans to invest up to €20 million (£18 million) in a European Union Campus (EU Campus) after receiving licences from the Government of Portugal to import cannabis genetics and to cultivate cannabis for medical purposes | Volte Face, UK

Teen marijuana use falls to 20-year low defying legalisation opponents' predictions

The last time the figures were this low was 1994 | Independent, UK

Canada's Ontario province to sell marijuana for recreational use in 150 government-run shops

Canada’s largest province has unveiled plans for up to 150 government run shops selling marijuana for recreational use | Telegraph, UK

How Australia's PM was defended over a 'beautiful' baby photo

Australians have come to the defence of PM Malcolm Turnbull after a photo of him holding his grandchild and a beer became a topic of much discussion | BBC, UK

Drug policy expert sceptical about supervised injecting units

Prof David Hall also questioned the ongoing reliance on methadone as a treatment | Irish Times, Ireland

'A lot of questions about ketamine' - keeping people drug-safe at Electric Picnic's welfare tent

The Ana Liffey Drug Project made its debut at this year’s festival – and it proved to be a busy three days for the volunteers | Journal, Ireland

Poll: Would you support the idea of drug testing stations at nightclubs?

The proposal is being examined by as part of the government’s latest national drug strategy | Journal, Ireland

'So many people are taking drugs...it's not going to get rid of their problems' - Mother who became homeless due to addiction

Mother-of-four Louise Kavanagh started taking heroin when she was 28 - and her life quickly spiralled out of control | Independent, Ireland

E-cigarettes linked to increased arterial stiffness, blood pressure and heart rate in humans

New research has shown for the first time that e-cigarettes with nicotine cause a stiffening of the arteries in humans. This has important implications for the use of e-cigarettes, as arterial stiffness is associated with an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes in later life | EurekAlert, Italy

FDA’s Innovative Plan to Address the Enormous Toll of Smoking

On July 28, 2017, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, announced a comprehensive regulatory plan to expedite reducing the toll of more than 480 000 annual tobacco-related deaths in the United States | JAMA Network, USA

Study finds legal cannabis may reduce use of dangerous prescription drugs

The United States is in the midst of a major drug epidemic. Stories continue to roll in daily about the lives claimed by prescription and non-prescription drug overdoses | Medical Xpress, USA

US heroin deaths jump 533% since 2002, report says

The number of heroin users in the United States jumped from 404,000 in 2002 to 948,000 in 2016, a 135% increase, according to the most recent government numbers | CNN, USA

New Mexico Sues Drug Makers Over ‘Catastrophic Effects’ Of Painkiller Crisis

Another state is targeting the pharmaceutical industry with a lawsuit alleging companies knowingly profited off spreading addiction to painkillers | Daily Caller, USA

Perth trialling world-first $1 methamphetamine cure

The study, led by WA Health emergency medicine specialist Dr Amanda Stafford, will use the drug Baclofen, which was licensed in the 1970s as a muscle relaxant | News.com.au, Australia

Report slams Drinkwise Australia for 'misleading' public on alcohol cancer link

The alcohol industry should not be providing risk assessments to drinkers, report finds | Age, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Targeting our efforts to reduce drug-related deaths

Last month, ONS released the latest statistics for drug-related deaths in England and Wales, which made for sobering reading. Yet again, the number of drug-related deaths has risen to the highest level since records began in 1993 | Collective voice Blog, UK

Alcohol awareness and the ‘demon drink’

Leigh Lewis and Paul Wallace defend Drinkaware’s website information, John Porter points out that the Institute of Alcohol Studies is funded by an organisation with its roots in the temperance movement, and David Smythwonders why, if alcohol consumption is linked so strongly to cancers, do mortality rates not reflect this | Guardian letters, UK

Confessions from the City: why firms are failing to tackle the cocaine crisis

The week before Christmas, and a party at one sales firm in the City of London turned out to be “somewhat eventful”. Two members of staff were ejected – in full view of their colleagues and the directors – after being caught snorting lines of cocaine in a toilet cubicle | Guardian, UK

The pursuit of pleasure is a modern-day addiction

The easy availability of temptations, combined with constant stress, is taking its toll on a whole generation | Guardian, UK

Drink your beer before it's banned

The price of beer isn’t what it was. It never has been, of course, as it always goes up. The difference now is that it seems to matter less | Telegraph opinion, UK

The truth about Britain’s drug-infested prisons

This summer has been a grim reminder of the terrible consequences of failed drug policy in our prisons and on our streets | Reaction, UK

Does marijuana affect your sleep?

If you speak to someone who has suffered from insomnia at all as an adult, chances are good that person has either tried using marijuana, or cannabis, for sleep or has thought about it | Conversation, Australia

The rejection of a safe injecting room for Richmond is a tragedy

Drug law reform is a justice issue. Fixing our harsh drug laws is an essential next step in restitution for child abuse survivors | Age comment, Australia