Daily news - 14th September 2017

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UK news

Overdoses on opioid painkillers more than double in a decade

Number of hospital admissions in England rose to 11,660 last year as doctors say drugs are being prescribed too readily [DrugWise's Harry Shapiro quoted] | Guardian, UK

Press release: PHE launches Rise Above for Schools programme

PHE has developed a series of new resources for secondary school teachers to use in their lesson plans as part of the Rise Above for Schools programme. The resources will help teachers to engage pupils with coping strategies about ‘traditional’ health issues, like smoking and alcohol, while also addressing some of the most challenging pressures young people face today in an ‘always on’ social media generation | PHE, UK

Guidance: Alcohol: applying All Our Health

Examples and interventions to help people live healthy lifestyles, make healthy choices and reduce health inequalities | PHE, UK

PHE 'All Our Health' alcohol resource

PHE's All Our Health strategy aims to 'maximise the impact healthcare professionals in England can have on improving health outcomes and reducing health inequalities', with alcohol identified as one of the key indicators in health improvement owing to the 10.4 million adults drinking above the low risk guidelines | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Guidance: Directors of Public Health in England

List of Directors of Public Health (DsPH) | PHE, UK

Cancer survivors who quit smoking sooner can live longer

Lung cancer survivors who quit smoking within a year of diagnosis will live for longer than those who continue to smoke, according to new research led by the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham | Oxford University, UK

E-cigarette science – is scaremongering hampering research opportunities?

We need more trials into the long-term impacts of e-cigarettes, but is disagreement between scientists over their effects putting people off taking part? | Guardian, UK

Consultation on E-cigarette Advertising

CAP and BCAP are consulting on changes to their Codes to remove the current prohibition on health claims being made for e-cigarettes. This proposal follows the results of a call for evidence last year in which a majority of respondents argued that improvements in products and the positive view taken by many public health stakeholders about e-cigarettes’ relative safety compared with smoked tobacco warranted the removal of the prohibition | ASA, UK

GPs 'don't bother persuading cancer patients to give up smoking'

GPs are not bothering to persuade cancer patients to give up smoking despite quitters enjoying double the life expectancy, new research reveals | Telegraph, UK

Drugs: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if her Department will review the UK's drugs policy and take steps to evaluate the effectiveness of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 | They work for you, UK

Drugs: North East

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to the latest statistical bulletin published by the Office for National Statistics on deaths related to drug poisoning, what steps he is taking to address the disproportionately high drug mortality rate in the North East | They work for you, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Excise Duties

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Government plans to change alcohol taxation structures and levels after the UK leaves the EU; and if he will make a statement | They work for you, UK

Alcohol related brain damage

Professor Ken Wilson, Consultant Psychiatrist and specialist in alcohol related brain damage writes on this complex subject | SMMGP, UK

Festival Drug Deaths Don't Need to Happen

Another suspected drug-related death at Bestival is a tragic reminder of how avoidable drug harms can be | VICE, UK

“Misleading” Information from Drinks’ Industry Over Cancer and Alcohol - BBC radio

Drinking alcohol - particularly in large amounts - increases our risk of developing various conditions including cancer. Alcohol industry websites display information about those risks – but how much can werely on them? | BBC World Service, UK

HIV/AIDS in Prisons in England and Wales, 1980s and 1990s

As part of the Prisoners, Medical Care, and Entitlement to Healthproject, we organised a witness seminar in May 2017 as an opportunity for key individuals to discuss their experiences and memories of the development of prison policy around HIV/AIDS | Centre for History in Public Health, UK


International news

Tobacco company launches foundation to stub out smoking

Philip Morris International say their Foundation for a Smoke-Free World aims to accelerate the end of smoking, but anti-tobacco campaigners are sceptical | Guardian, UK

Most common e-cig refills contain respiratory irritants, and people who smoke and use e-cigs are more likely to experience respiratory symptoms

Two new studies presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress highlight the risks associated with using e-cigarettes, especially for those who also smoke conventional cigarettes | ELF, UK

Spanish Authorities Providing Free Cocaine-Crushing Cards

Authorities in the northern Spanish city of Bilbao are distributing cards for people to crush cocaine with prior to snorting, in a bid to reduce the potential harms of nasal drug use – including the spread of hepatitis C | Talking Drugs, UK

The surprising place killing cash

Half a dozen men crowd round one of the many small colourful wooden shacks off a main street in Hargeisa, Somaliland, shouting and arguing over the quality of khat – a mild narcotic that has been likened to both coffee and cocaine – that they’ve just been hastily handed by the vendor | BBC Future, UK

North Korea using crystal meth to keep exhausted population working

Kim Jong-un's regime in North Korea is turning blind eye to the trade of crystal meth inside the hermit nation | IBTimes, UK

Drug-testing welfare recipients an 'absolute disgrace', Australian of the Year says

Leading mental health expert and Australian of the Year, Patrick McGorry, has criticised the government’s plans to drug test welfare recipients as an “absolute disgrace” | Guardian, UK

Philippines cuts its human rights budget to £15

President Duterte's supporters 'imposing death penalty on a constitutionally created office' | Independent, UK

Older Men Drink More Regularly, but Younger Men Drink More

Among the 67% of U.S. men who drink alcohol, those aged 50 and older are more likely than those under 50 to say they have imbibed within the last 24 hours, which suggests older men drink more frequently than younger men. However, younger men likely drink more than older men on the occasions when they do consume alcohol | Gallup, USA

Did A New Methadone Formula Worsen The Opioid Crisis In Canada?

One researcher claims that the change in formula is “one of the contributing factors to people overdosing from fentanyl or fentanyl-adulterated drugs.” | The Fix, USA

What you can do to help fight the opioid epidemic

Proper disposal of prescription painkillers and use of safe alternatives to manage pain could help combat America's opioid abuse epidemic, doctors say | Medical Xpress, USA

Treating acute pain in opioid-dependent patients: Review and recommendations

What's the best way to manage acute pain without contributing to the patient's opioid use disorder (OUD)? A review and recommendations for acute pain treatment in patients with OUD is presented in the Journal of Trauma Nursing, official publication of the Society of Trauma Nurses | Medical Xpress, USA

Scientists reveal new insights and possible solutions for opioid epidemics using machine

Mount Sinai researchers have identified unique structural, biological and chemical insights in the way different opioid drugs activate the receptors and specific signaling pathways responsible for the drug's beneficial and adverse effects, according to a study to be published in Nature's Scientific Reports | Medical Xpress, USA

Marijuana may produce psychotic-like effects in high-risk individuals

Marijuana may bring on temporary paranoia and other psychosis-related effects in individuals at high risk of developing a psychotic disorder, finds a preliminary study | Science Daily, USA

Unintentional drug use continues among molly users in EDM party scene

Electronic dance music (EDM) parties have historically been high-risk scenes for use of a variety of psychoactive substances. Studies over the past couple of years have found nightclub and festival attendees report high rates of use | Medical Xpress, USA

“A deep fragrance of academia”: the Australian Tobacco Research Foundation

To review the history of the tobacco industry supported Australian Tobacco Research Foundation (ATRF)(1970–1994) for evidence of the industry’s use of the Foundation to further its objectives that “more research was needed” on smoking and health and to promulgate the view that nicotine was not addictive. To review efforts by public health advocates to discredit the ATRF as a public relations tool used by the Australian industry | BMJ, Australia

Government funding to improve care for children and families dealing with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

The Australian Government has announced $8 million in funding for new Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) diagnostic and prevention services around Australia | Drink Tank, Australia

We Tested Synthetic Cannabis and Found the Chemical Linked to Kiwi Deaths

NZ Police just announced three more deaths, taking the total number of cases under investigation to 20 | VICE, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Three science ideas you need to know about legal and illegal highs

When someone doesn’t want me to write about something, it makes me curious. So when people tried to warn me off my long-read article on ‘novel psychoactive substances’ (NPS) just published in Chemistry World, I got curious | Medium, UK

Tennis drug cheats do exist, but it’s too easy for them to slip through the net

Maria Sharapova is back and her drug ban is receding into memory in a sport where the anti-doping procedure barely scratches the surface of a problem that is unlikely to be non-existent | Guardian sports blog, UK

Until my son became dependent, drugs weren't part of my world. I hope they're never part of yours

The government wants to waste $20mn on a trial and yet commit only half of that on what people with a drug dependence desperately need: treatment and support | Guardian opinion, UK

Is evidence for or against drug-testing welfare recipients? It depends on the result we’re after

The government’s announcement in the May 2017 budget of a trial of random drug testing of 5,000 Youth Allowance and Newstart recipients has been almost universally criticised. While the prime minister claimed the program is “based on love”, the CEO of Jobs Australia has warned it will be so demeaning as to drive young people to sex work | Conversation, Australia

Are residents better off under the Sydney ‘lockout laws’?

The Sydney “lockout laws” have created significant debate about whether crime is being reduced, if it is being pushed into surrounding areas, and what the impacts are on local residents | Conversation, Australia