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Ecstasy use hits decade high, malaria vaccine heads into regulatory home straight, and hidden health risk of middle class boozing

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines

Ecstasy use in 16-24 year olds has hit highs unseen in more than a decade, the Telegraph reports, after a recent Home Office study showed 5.4% of the age group had tried the drug in 2014/15 – compared to 3.9% the year before.

This is equivalent to 100,000 new users, but stands in contrast to a sharp decrease in the numbers taking other Class A drugs last year.

The report also showed that one in six young adults also said they had tried one of the range of  ‘legal highs’ which have sprung up to circumvent drug laws.

The Telegraph also notes that the Government is going to investigate senior NHS staff taking payments to arrange meetings between drug company representatives and NHS purchasing staff, following an investigation by the paper.

The BBC reports that a Malaria vaccine has got a ‘green light’ after clearing one of the final hurdles in the regulatory process for new drugs.

The European Medicines Agency assessed the safety and effectiveness of the Mosquirix treatment, developed by GlaxoSmithKline, and gave a positive recommendation.

The jab will now be considered for use on children in West Africa by the World Health Organisation.

And finally being healthy, active, educated and over 50 could pose a hidden health risk as a study of 9,000 people has concluded that ‘risky drinking’ is a hidden phenomenon amongst the middle class.

Age UK, who lead the study published in BMJ Open journal, called for explicit age-specific guidelines on alcohol consumption. Their chief economist, and study author, Professor Jose Iparraguirre said: ‘Our findings suggest that harmful drinking in later life is more prevalent among people who exhibit a lifestyle associated with affluence and with a ‘successful’ ageing process.’

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