Daily news -13th April 2017

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Enjoy the Easter holidays. We'll be back on Tuesday.


UK news

DDN April 2017

Anxiety is starting to be well documented, particularly among young people, and Xanax’s link with celebrity makes it difficult to deter experimentation with the drug. Kevin Flemen’s article explains the nature of the threat and what to look out for. Throughout the rest of this month’s issue we talk a lot about prison – including the perspective of a service manager, who until recently was working at the frontline of prison substance misuse services | DDN, UK

Annual Business Plan 2017

This plan sets out where we will focus our efforts over the next year, from building the case for investment in prevention, working to reduce the health gap between the richest and the poorest and continuing to invest in and promote our world class science in the UK and around the world | PHE, UK

Could 'love hormone' help drug addicts stay clean?

Experts say oxytocin, a key hormone made naturally by the brain, could hold the key to treating drug addicts and help them avoid relapse | Science Daily, UK

Manchester MP asks home secretary for help to tackle Spice 'crisis'

An MP has asked the home secretary for help with the issue of people taking former legal high Spice in Manchester | BBC, UK

Spice Is Not The Real Problem, It’s The Way We Look At Poverty

Recent media reports pointing to the toxic effects of Spice on users and communities have called for immediate action from local and government authorities to mitigate the damages and sanitise public space. But years of state-enforced austerity reveal so-called ‘drug epidemics’ as just the symptom of deeper, structural economic problems and inequalities. Not least, also of a general condescending attitude towards the poor and less fortunate | Volte Face, UK

The spice epidemic shows why we should legalise herbal cannabis

The government's drugs crackdown is only encouraging underground chemists to develop riskier and riskier drugs | New Statesman, UK

How you can help people on Spice

Anyone walking through the city centre, in particular, is hit by the scale of the problems caused by this vicious drug – the effects of which are most visible among rough sleepers and beggars. Here are a few ways people can safely make a difference | Manchester Evening News, UK

Smoking law changes: Ban on 10-packs of cigarettes comes in on 21 May with plain packaging made mandatory

Cheapest packet will cost £8.82 when new laws come into force | Independent, UK

A report says clothing stores and banks are being replaced by cafes, health clubs and vaping outlets on the UK's high streets | Sky News, UK

Take home naloxone - hot topic

Rnage of videos and articles | SSA, UK

National Alcohol Awareness Day Competition

The MCA runs a biennial competiton in support of the National Alcohol Awareness Day. In the past this has taken the form of different guises, from computer games to posters | MCA, UK



International news

One of the World’s most bizarre tourist attractions

There’s been a lot in the media recently about the prisons in England and Wales. They’re overcrowded and under-staffed. There’s been an increase in violence, in terms of self-harm, suicide, rioting and assaults by prisoners on each other and on staff. New psychoactive substances (NPS) have become a popular drug choice as they’re difficult to detect through conventional drug testing methods | PHI, UK

Justin Trudeau to launch plans to legalise marijuana across Canada

The Canadian Prime Minister says he favours the law being set to allow the drug to be used legally from the age of 18 | Independent, UK

Will Internal Trade Barriers Hamper Cannabis Legalisation in Canada?

Canada has experienced historic difficulties with trade between its provinces, so policymakers are working to prevent this from occurring with the upcoming legal cannabis trade | Talking Drugs, UK

Australia is flailing in the face of a meth epidemic

The addiction rate is the world’s highest | Economist, UK

Anti drug driving: Campaign tackles drug driving and promotes awareness of new preliminary drug testing

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) launched its fifth in a series of anti-drug driving awareness campaigns in association with An Garda Síochána on 12th April 2017 | RSA, Ireland

'I can have one joint, right?' Everything you need to know about roadside drug testing

New devices were unveiled to reporters today. Here’s what you need to know | Journal, Ireland

So alcohol won't affect you? Then why do you bother drinking at all?

Today we publish a simple message from Moyagh Murdock, the chief executive of the Road Safety Authority | Independent, Ireland

Forum seeks to give voice to most-vulnerable drug users

Organisation aims to advocate for improved services and more rapid access to treatment | Irish Times, Ireland

Experts to examine the influence of cyberspace on criminal activities and responses to them

Leading European and international experts will meet in Lisbon on 20–21 April for meetings around the theme of ‘The expanding influence of the internet, the exploitation of cyberspace and the transformational nature of new technologies’ | EMCDDA, Portugal

Norwegian women drink least while pregnant, British women drink most

A study among over 7000 women in 11 European countries shows the proportion of women in Europe who drink alcohol when they know they are pregnant is lowest in Norway and highest in the UK. The countries with the highest proportion of women who reported alcohol consumption during pregnancy were the UK (28.5 %), Russia (26.5 %) and Switzerland (20.9 %) | Medical Xpress, USA

From opioid-free to long-term user, in one operation: Study shows key role of surgery

Having surgery always comes with risks. But a new study suggests a new one to add to the usual list: the risk of becoming a long-term opioid user | Medical Xpress, USA

Surprising brain change appears to drive alcohol dependence

A new study led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) could help researchers develop personalized treatments for alcoholism and alcohol use disorder | Medical Xpress, USA

US Navy SEALs battling ‘growing’ drug epidemic – report

Navy SEALs are largely seen as heroes, serving in one of the most respected units in the US military. However, the branch is silently battling a growing drug epidemic, a CBS News investigation has revealed | RT, USA

Democrats Lose Big On Vaping Ban That Would Have ‘Decimated The Entire Industry’

Democrats pushing for new taxes and restrictions on electronic cigarettes suffered a major defeat in New York over the weekend after lawmakers stripped new vaping rules from the state budget at the last minute | Daily Caller, USA

Italian Police Arrest 7 Drug Smugglers after Wild Speedboat Chase across the Mediterranean

Seven Albanian drug trafficking suspects were arrested after authorities chased their speedboat for nearly 22 hours across the Mediterranean Sea in a movie-like operation involving high speed boats, helicopters and planes | OCCRP, USA

After 6 suspected overdoses, Toronto councillors want amnesty for users who test drugs

Coun. Joe Cressy wants Health Canada to allow for testing by users at supervised injection sites | CBC Canada

Mark McGowan could allow vodka and Red Bull to be served together in WA pubs

Patrons won't have to mix their own vodka and Red Bull at WA bars if WA's new Premier Mark McGowan has his way | Age, Australia

Innocent looks turns female into Sydney’s least suspicious drug dealer

For more than a year, Britney* would pick up a car from her boss, get a list of customers with their locations and phone numbers and deliver drugs to them across Sydney | News.com.au, Australia

Stop street drinking lock ups: WA coroner

A coroner has recommended police lose the power to arrest and detain drunk people for drinking in the street after a 44-year-old Aboriginal woman of fragile health died in custody in WA's north | News.com.au, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Education And Support Are Key To Tackle Spice In Government’s New Drug Strategy

Editorial by Sarah Newton, Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism | Manchester Gazette, UK

Kathy Sheridan: Problem with ending Good Friday ban is ... alcohol

When we dump traditions we should at least be clear about our reasons for doing so | Irish Times Opinion, Ireland

The new White House drug czar has quite an idea for where to put nonviolent drug users

Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) will be President Trump's drug czar, according to a report from CBS News. Marino's congressional voting record is that of a hard-liner on marijuana issues, and he recently said that he'd like to put nonviolent drug offenders in some sort of “hospital-slash-prison.” | washington Post Blog, USA

Ohio City Says “Yes” to Arrests, “No” to Stopping Overdose Deaths

The only good thing about Washington Court House arresting naloxone-revived opioid users is that it shows everything wrong with criminal justice today | ACLU blog, USA

Legalizing Cannabis Will Fail If Producers Can't Brand Their Pot

Canada is on the verge of making history by becoming the first G7 nation to legalize, regulate and restrict access to cannabis for responsible adult consumption. But achieving Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's stated goals for legalization -- keeping cannabis out of the hands of young people while choking off the illegal market -- won't happen overnight | Huffington Post Blog, Canada

What is ‘success’ in drug rehab? Programs need more than just anecdotes to prove they work

This week’s Australian Story was a compelling narrative of redemption. After a long history of problem drug use and related crime, Peter Lyndon-James’s life was turned around and he went on to establish a private rehabilitation service in Perth, Shalom House | Conversation, Australia

The War On Drugs Has Failed. But What Should Peace Look Like?

I'm on a quest to interview some of the world’s greatest minds to imagine what a post-war-on-drugs world might look like in our own country | Huffington Post Blog, Australia




And finally...

Could a vampire get drunk on the blood of a victim who had been drinking?

The long-running series in which readers answer other readers’ questions on subjects ranging from trivial flights of fancy to profound scientific concepts | Guardian, UK