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23rd January 2015


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UK news

Consultation on how we regulate specialist substance misuse services

We're changing the way we regulate, inspect and rate substance misuse services. Please tell us what you think of our plans | Care Quality Commission, UK

Crime in England and Wales, Year Ending September 2014 (PDF)

Information on drug offences from page 78 | ONS, UK

Plain cigarette packaging: pro-smoking groups and Ukip condemn move

Nigel Farage says plain packaging plan is ‘appalling intrusion into consumer choice and the operation of the free market’ | Guardian, UK

Why introduce plain packaging for cigarettes?

The government has said it will press ahead with the introduction of unbranded cigarette packaging in England, asking MPs to vote on legislation before May's election. But what effect will this have? Christopher Snowdon, from the Institute of Economic Affairs, told Today the move would lead to an increase in budget cigarettes. He said: "It will be price rather than image that sells the product." | BBC Radio 4, UK

MPs courted by tobacco firms criticise move towards plain packaging

Six of the 15 MPs who have registered a financial interest related to a tobacco company have spoken out against proposal | Guardian, UK

Almost 42% of US drinkers report taking drugs that interact with alcohol

More than a third of US drinkers who consume alcohol five to seven days a week take medicines that interact with alcohol, study suggests | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

Police warn that cold and flu drugs are pushing drivers over limit

Heavily-medicated drivers suffering from common colds or flu could be unwittingly breaking drug-driving laws without even knowing it | AOL, UK

Report on an unannounced inspection of HMP Garth (PDF)

Drug treatment services were good but undermined by the too readily available drugs and alcohol, and the lodging of prisoners on the drug recovery wing for their protection rather than their need for treatment. There had been some significant finds of drugs and - despite the fact this was a category B prison - bottles of alcohol | HM Inspectorate of Prisons, UK

The rise and fall of tobacco advertising - in pictures

A law that would introduce cigarettes being sold with plain packaging could come into force in England and Wales in 2016. This gallery illustrates the changing face of tobacco advertising, from glamour and boastful claims to shock tactics and health warnings | Guardian, UK

Newtownabbey 'cocaine factory': Police seized drugs, cars and cash

Police have seized thousands of pounds worth of cash, drugs and cars after finding what they said was a suspected cocaine factory in County Antrim | BBC, UK


International news

Official US review assesses evidence for ‘recovery coaches’

A review commissioned by the US government to establish the evidence for former problem substance users acting as peer supporters and ‘recovery coaches’ found little solid research, but some encouragement for services considering this widely recommended route to improving recovery outcomes | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Jamaica poised to relax cannabis laws

Several restrictions on ‘ganja’ use could go up in smoke as island’s politicians back bill to establish licensing authority | Guardian, UK

Drone carrying drugs crashes near Mexican-US border

Tijuana police say drone overloaded with methamphetamine crashed in supermarket car park | Guardian, UK

Director presents highlights from EMCDDA 2015 work programme at European Parliament

EMCDDA Director Wolfgang Götz is at the European Parliament today where he is presenting to members of the Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) highlights from the agency’s 2015 work programme and developments in the monitoring of new psychoactive substances. Read transcripts of the speeches | EMCDDA, Portugal

Colombia's Coca Farmers Face Uncertain Future As FARC Negotiates Peace

Some were reticent as they mumbled their troubles, while others launched into angry diatribes. But each of the farmers to address the crowd echoed the same concern: "Can we live in a Colombia without coca?" | npr, USA


Blogs, comment and opinion

"I might go back to knitting after all" (or: Why innovation isn't always the answer)

[Blog post by Sam Thomas, Programme Manager, Voices from the Frontline}. I was in Westminster this morning for a speech by the incoming Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson MP. Charity bosses will have been watching with interest – partly because these are challenging times, but perhaps more because of a handful of tone-deaf comments his predecessor made about the role of charities in public life. Such is politics. | DrugScope Blog, UK

MDMA V. PMA Infographic

Pharmacology, names, history, effects and harm reduction | Release Blog, UK

MPs vote on plain packaging signals industry defeat – but there may be a sting in the tale

The government’s decision to allow MPs to vote on standardised packaging before the general election will finally bring to an end the tobacco industry’s three-year campaign to prevent regulation of cigarette packs in the UK. A campaign, our research shows, in which they used misleading evidence on both the illicit tobacco trade and the health benefits of standardised packaging as a tool to delay legislation | Conversation, UK

Spreading fear and confusion with misleading formaldehyde studies

Another alarmist and deeply misleading story about formaldehyde and e-cigarettes has now emerged in the New England Journal of Medicine: Hidden Formaldehyde in E-cigarette Aerosols.  I have written to the corresponding authors, and I would like to share my open letter | The Counterfactual, UK

How I Brightened My Bank Job with Crystal Meth

A 2013 study found that seven percent of Australians aged 14 years and older reported using ice at some point in their life. Numbers aren't yet available for 2014 but we're told they're rising. But who's smoking this socially defunct drug? Presumably the desperate, homeless, or hopeless. Surely no one with a job | VICE, UK