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RAW FEST: 14 - 16th August 2015


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UK news

Policy paper: Queen’s Speech 2015: background briefing notes

See pages 72-74 of the notes for information on NPS. The legislation aims to "Protect hard-working citizens from the risks posted by untested, unknown and potential harmful drugs and create a blanket ban which would prohibit and disrupt the production, distribution, sale and supply of new psychoactive substances (NPS) in the UK | Cabinet Office, UK

Ban on legal highs would technically cover alcohol, cigarettes and coffee

New bill proposes banning all psychoactive substances then expressly permitting use of government-approved drugs | Guardian, UK

Blanket ban on 'legal highs' will see dealers face seven years in jail

Queens Speech: Psychoactive Substances Bill to stop proliferation of drugs that have been blamed for dozens of deaths | Telegraph, UK

Legal highs are being banned, here's what you've told us about them

At the moment the government bans them on an individual basis, leaving it struggling to catch up each time new chemicals are introduced to the market. When a similar ban was introduced in Northern Ireland, there was a "massive reduction in the number of people taking these drugs," a spokesman for the Local Government Association said | BBC Newsbeat, UK

Roadside drug tests reveal high number of drivers test positive

Half of drivers pulled over by police in some regions are failing drugs tests, according to new figures | BBC, UK

Guidance: Approved drug-testing devices

Two drug-testing devices have been approved by the Home Office: Draeger DrugTest 5000, approved for preliminary drug testing on 18 December 2012 and for mobile preliminary drug testing on 13 March 2015. Securetec DrugWipe 3S S303G, approved for mobile preliminary drug testing on 16 December 2014 | Home Office, UK

Excess caffeine health warning - EU

Drinking more than five espressos worth of caffeine a day may be damaging to health, according to the European Food Safety Authority | BBC, UK

Delivering alcohol and drug education: Advice for teachers

What are the underlying principles of alcohol and drug education? And what are the best teaching methods to use when delivering alcohol and drug education in your classroom? This briefing paper provides advice and tips for teachers and educators responsible for delivering alcohol and drug education | Mentor-ADEPIS, UK

Alcohol Research UK: Spotlight 2014 (PDF)

This review describes Alcohol Research UK's recent research, achievements, events and initiatives and also looks to the year ahead. It includes an overview of the key flagship grant projects as well as PhD and small grants support | Alcohol Research UK, UK

An evaluation of The Nottinghamshire Alcohol Related Long Term Condition Team (PDF)

An example of good practice with change resistant drinkers | Alcohol Concern, UK

Alcohol-Related Risk of Suicidal Ideation, Suicide Attempt, and Completed Suicide: A Meta-Analysis

Several original studies have investigated the effect of alcohol use disorder (AUD) on suicidal thought and behavior, but there are serious discrepancies across the studies. Thus, a systematic assessment of the association between AUD and suicide is required | PLOS One, UK

Rachel's battle with alcohol - Part 2

Victoria Derbyshire speaks to Rachel, doctor and alcoholic, who first called the programme 15 months ago | BBC Radio iPlayer, UK

Invitation to End of Project Event, Friends Meeting House, Euston, London, 23rd June

Bereavement following a drug or alcohol-related death: experiences, needs, support. Results, recommendations and next steps from a major research project.This is a free event, including refreshments. If you would like to attend please would you complete the online booking procedure  as soon as possible as places are limited | University of Bath, UK

TONIC are in the last week of their Legal Highs & New Psychoactive Substances research...

so there is still time for frontline staff to win an iPod nano for taking the 10 minute confidential survey: We want to hear the experiences that staff in a range of services have had working with people who have tried or are regularly using new psychoactive substances (NPS). Also, if you are working with people who have tried legal highs, then they can win a Playstation 4 by taking part in a confidential online survey that also closes on 31st May: The findings will be used to help improve local service responses and increase the knowledge base about patterns and impact of NPS use | TONIC, UK

Support. Don't Punish

Guide to the global day of action on June 26th | Support. Don't Punish, UK

Protest against rehab centre near school in Trowbridge

A demonstration has been held in protest at plans to open a drug and alcohol recovery centre next to a school in Trowbridge | BBC, UK

'Legal highs': Belfast sellers first to be convicted in the UK, as landmark city council prosecution succeeds

Two men and a woman from Belfast have been convicted in a landmark legal case over the sale of so-called legal highs in Northern Ireland | Belfast Telegraph, UK

Staffordshire Police secure first conviction for drug driving

Staffordshire Police have secured the first conviction in the county for drug driving | ITV, UK

Cocaine worth £1.6m found hidden in cheese lorry at Dover

Border Force officers find 88lbs of Class A drug in Lithuanian-registered HGV laden with dairy produce at Port of Dover in Kent | Telegraph, UK

HMP Peterborough drug support nurse suspended

A nurse supporting inmates with addiction issues took drugs from the jail for personal use, it has emerged | BBC, UK



International news

New website: Global Drug Policy Reform

This website is part of a unified campaign of many organisations around the world that are demanding reform of drug policies at the UNGASS and beyond. The campaign is intended to present an easy way to display the “face” of the movement to demonstrate our unity around several reform issues (see the campaign “platform” on the website). Over time, this campaign will develop messaging and branding to make it more effective. It will also cross-link to various campaigns that have been developed around the UNGASS and global drug policy reform | UN Drug Policy Reform, UK

French bartender sentenced after customer drinks 56 shots and dies

The bartender, who received a four-month suspended sentence, admitted he made a mistake in publicising the shots record and encouraging the victim | Guardian, UK

The Challenge of Synthetic Drugs in East and South-East Asia and Oceania (PDF)

Trends and Patterns of Amphetamine-type Stimulants and New Psychoactive Substances | UNODC, Austria

Meth Trafficking Has Exploded Throughout Asia Despite Hardline Laws

Methamphetamine seizures in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania have exploded in recent years, nearly quadrupling from some 11 tons in 2008 to 42 tons in 2013, according to a report released Tuesday by the United Nations' Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) | VICE, UK

llegal trade of tobacco products: What you should know to stop it

The illicit trade of tobacco products poses major health, economic and security concerns around the world. It is estimated that one in every 10 cigarettes and tobacco products consumed globally is illicit. It is for this reason that combatting the illegal tobacco trade is the theme of WHO's annual World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) in 2015. A key objective of the campaign is to advocate for the ratification and implementation by governments of the Protocol to Eliminate the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, which is a supplementary treaty to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control | WHO, Switzerland

The safe use of flavorings in e-cigarettes

The first practical guide to ensure the safe use of flavourings in e-cigarettes has been published | EurekAlert, USA

Electrical acupoint stimulation beneficial for heroin addicts

Transcutaneous electric acupoint stimulation (TEAS) is associated with alleviation of withdrawal syndrome in heroin addicts, according to a study published in the May issue of Pain Medicine | Medical Xpress, USA

Task force flags long-term ice funding

Finding a solution to Australia's problem with the drug ice is likely to put a long-term dent in government coffers, a task force chief says |, Australia

Cannabis Use 2012/13: New Zealand Health Survey

This report presents information on cannabis use in New Zealand, including patterns of use, drug-driving, harms from use (productivity and learning, and mental health), legal problems, and cutting down and seeking help. Information on the medicinal use of cannabis is also presented | Ministry of Health, New Zealand


Blogs, comment, interviews and opinion

Queen's speech 2015 : 5 bills charities meed to know about

Today’s Queen’s Speech was a textbook example of where manifesto pledges meet reality, as was most apparent in the unexpected absence of a ‘Human Rights Act Repeal Bill’, proving right those who highlighted the considerable challenges that this would entail. Nevertheless it was a packed speech, indicating that the legislative agenda is going to be an extremely busy one. And proposals for a ‘British Bill of Rights’ will be put forward, so its commitment remains | NCVO, UK

Addaction statement on Psychoactive Substances Bill

Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive of Addaction, said: “The Government is right to identify NPS as a growing concern and clarity on the legal grey area around their sale is certainly welcome. However, we mustn’t kid ourselves that this legislation is enough to address the harm caused by these substances. Any regulatory measures must be accompanied by a renewed focus on education, support, advice and specialist treatment | Addaction, UK

Multiple Needs Summit 2015………..Guest blog by Jon Adamson

Events like the National Multiple Needs Summit (22nd April 2015) are always a great opportunity for evaluators like me to have our beloved measures and outcomes illuminated by the personal touch of human experience | MCN Evaluation, UK

Best practice with treatment resistant drinkers

Following their recent publication and resource pack on how to help long term “treatment resistant” drinkers to change, Alcohol Concern has just published a best practice exampleof this “blue light” initiative | Russell Webster, UK

BBC World News: Interview with Ann Fordham on access to morphine

Ann Fordham of IDPC discusses access | IDPC, UK

Smoking in psychiatric hospitals

Last week the Mental Elf reviewed a research paper on the effects of smoke-free policies in psychiatric hospitals. It looks like some smokers manage to stay clear of cigarettes after being admitted to a hospital with a ban | The Psychaitry SHO, UK

Rapping About Addiction

Can rappers help others recover from addiction? Macklemore was abusing drugs and alcohol from the age of 13 and Eminem was hooked on prescription drugs. Now they rap about recovery | Castle Craig Blog, UK

Higher Ground: Checking Your White Privilege

Drug laws don’t affect everyone equally | Seattle Weekly, USA

Remind me again, how does cannabis affect the brain?

Governments and communities worldwide are softening their views on cannabis use. Trials of medicinal cannabis have been approved in VictoriaQueensland and New South Wales. And the Australian parliament is currently debating legislation to introduce a government regulator of medicinal cannabis | Conversation, Australia



And finally...

Queen's Speech raises a few smiles online with mention of the phrase 'psychoactive drugs'

It may not be known as a source of much amusement, but the Queen's Speech managed to cause something of a stir online today when Her Majesty mentioned the phrase “psychoactive drugs” | Independent, UK

Council ‘accidentally’ plants marijuana in city centre flowerbeds

Local people in Astana City noticed an unusual aroma as they walked down Auezova Street and alerted the authorities when they found thousands of marijuana plants flourishing in the flower beds that line the road | Metro, UK