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UK news

Drug leaves Lancaster University students in hospital

Three of the students have since been discharged but two remain in hospital. Both are described as "stable" | BBC, UK

Measuring the impact of the recommendations of the London Joint Working Group on Substance Use and Hepatitis C – learning from the pilots (PDF)

The aim of the London Joint Working Group on Substance Use and Hepatitis C (LJWG) Pilot Project was to assess the impact of the LJWG’s recommendations on improving care pathways in hepatitis C. The intention was to measure the number of people being tested for blood-borne viruses (BBV), along with rates of diagnosis and onward referral for specialist assessment. The findings highlight the fact that the current infrastructure is not set up in a way that supports measuring improvements in the provision of integrated care for people with hepatitis C and a history of using drugs | LJWG, UK

English alcohol consumption 'hugely' underestimated, research suggests

The extra booze is swigged on holidays and at celebrations so is not included in surveys that only ask questions about 'typical drinking' [see item below] | Telegraph, UK

Holidays, celebrations, and commiserations: measuring drinking during feasting and fasting to improve national and individual estimates of alcohol consumption

Accurate measures of alcohol consumption are critical in assessing health harms caused by alcohol. In many countries, there are large discrepancies between survey-based measures of consumption and those based on alcohol sales. In England, surveys measuring typical alcohol consumption account for only around 60% of alcohol sold. Here, using a national survey, we measure both typical drinking and atypical/special occasion drinking (i.e., feasting and fasting) in order to develop more complete measures of alcohol consumption | BMC Medicine, UK

What's the best way to help the homeless?

Around 280,000 people from all walks of life became homeless last year, and experts say it's a problem on the rise. Research by homelessness charity Crisis found a huge range of factors can cause people to become homeless, including family breakdown, leaving an institution, and mental health problems... Drug dependency can be another cause - in a 2011 Crisis study of single homeless people, 32 per cent had experienced drug dependency | Telegraph, UK

Does scientific evidence support a reduction in the drink-driving limit?

The Police Federation have called for the drink-driving limit to be reduced to levels seen in Scotland. What effects does alcohol have on driving ability? | Guardian, UK

Smokers are kicking traditional habits for e-cigarettes

Nearly half a million people have switched smoking tobacco for e-cigarettes in the last year as they try to kick the habit, research shows. Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) said there are now 2.6 million vapers in Britain, up from 2.1 million in 2014, with nearly all of this increase attributable to a rise in the number of ex-smokers using electronic cigarettes | Herald, UK

'Legal high' shops in Manchester city centre raided by police who seize pills, packets and powders

See police in action at the raids – Officers say these 'legal' drugs, costing as little as £8, are putting vulnerable children in danger | Manchester Evening News, UK

Kent Police arrest 24 in raids on suspected drug dealers

Twenty four people have been arrested in three days of police raids as part of a crackdown on drug dealing in Kent | BBC, UK

Belfast men jailed over cocaine seizures

Two Belfast men have been jailed for offences linked to the discovery of a significant cocaine operation in the Shankill area of the city | BBC, UK



International news

Submission: Impact of the world drug problem on the enjoyment of human rights (PDF)

Referring to para. 1 of the Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/28/L.22 Harm Reduction International1 and the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty2 welcome the opportunity to provide information relating to ‘the impact of the world drug problem on the enjoyment of human rights, and recommendations on respect for and the protection and promotion of human rights in the context of the world drug problem, with particular consideration for the needs of persons affected and persons in vulnerable situations’ | IHRA, WCAD, UK

Australian review jeopardises Norfolk Island medicinal cannabis export deal

Australian government reviewing decision by the self-governing territory to grant Perth company a licence to grow and export medicinal strain of cannabis | Guardian, UK

Southwest Airlines baggage handlers ran alleged marijuana ring from Oakland

Federal affidavit says employees carried duffels containing bags of the drug into airport and handed them to passengers who had been through TSA checkpoints | Guardian, UK

US drugs agents allegedly ran sex-for-cash 'Bada Bing style' strip club

Two Drug Enforcement Agents charged with secretly managing New Jersey lap dance club | Telegraph, UK

Six others hospitalised on night tragic teen collapsed

Undercover gardaí targeting drug dealers have arrested a man in the nightclub outside which tragic teen Ana Hick collapsed.... | Independent, Ireland

Ministers welcome availability of life-saving antidote to heroin-related overdoses aimed at reducing drug-related deaths

Minister for Health, Dr Leo Varadkar and Minister of State with responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin both welcomed today’s confirmation by the HSE that naloxone will be made available from tomorrow for prescription and supply to opioid drug users under an initiative aimed at reducing drug-related deaths and near-fatal drug poisonings | Department of Health, Ireland

States Lack Accurate Statistics On Widespread Heroin Use

In Pennsylvania, it's estimated opioids like heroin killed at least 1,300 people last year. In Massachusetts, more than 1,000 have died, and in Connecticut, heroin deaths jumped more than 85 percent in two years | npr, USA

This Music Festival Knows It Can't Stop People From Doing Drugs, So It's Trying To Keep Them Safe Instead

The upcoming Lightning in a Bottle Music Festival, which starts Thursday in Bradley, California, is a drug-free event. But rather than pretend this label and any effort to enforce it will create a drug-repellant force field around the festival, organizers say they're preparing for the inevitable | Huffington Post, USA

Medicinal cannabis: received submissions

The Commission received the following submissions in response to the issues paper for the medicinal cannabis reference. See the links below to the public submissions, placed here by permission of those who submitted them | Victorian Law Reform Commission, Australia



Blogs, comment, interviews and opinion

We need a new focus on complex needs

The most recent (6 May 2015) report from Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) calls for a new national focus on individuals with multiple needs. MEAM (which is a coalition of Clinks, Homeless Links and Mind) is responding to an announcement in the 2015 budget that the Government is committed to exploring options to integrate spending around vulnerable groups of people, including those with multiple needs | Russell Webster, UK

Alcohol use confounds the relationship between cannabis use and conversion to psychosis

For over a decade, research has attempted to examine the relationship between cannabis use and psychosis, and we have summarised some of this cannabis and psychosis research in blogs on the Mental Elf | Mental Elf, UK

Synthetic Cannabis Spice Puts 5 in Students Hospital - video

Addiction therapist Sarah Graham speaks about what Spice is and other legal highs and calls on the new PM to take action to ban all "legal highs": by moving towards a classification system based on psychoactivity and a product's mimicking older already banned substances- like cannabis, cocaine, hallucinogens, ecstasy, heroin, etc. | Sara Graham, UK

Global security is a key benefit of drug policy reform – let’s use it in our advocacy

In 2011 Transform partnered with the International Institute for Strategic Studies in a piece of work which concluded that the war on drugs undermines international security.  What was remarkable about this project is not that it culminated in the former deputy head of MI6 writing in The Sun newspaper that legalising and regulating drugs was worthy of exploration, it was that the drug policy reform movement collectively decided not to make more of it | Transform Blog, UK

Kofi Annan calls on the World Health Assembly to legally regulate drugs

Yesterday saw the 68th edition of the World Health Assembly, the supreme decision-making body of World Health Organisation, and the largest and most high-profile health-related event in the world | Transform Blog, UK

Don’t believe the hype, teens are drinking less than they used to

Ask your friends and colleagues about young Australians and alcohol and I bet they’ll say something about a generation out of control or a binge-drinking epidemic. The media regularly brings the worst outcomes of young people’s drinking to our attention and points to a problematic drinking culture supposedly unique to young Australians. Little wonder people believe things have never been so bad | Conversation, Australia