Daily news -18th April 2017

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UK news

'It's worse than heroin': how spice is ravaging homeless communities

As Manchester police report a spike in spice-related incidents, homeless people say highly addictive drug is causing deaths | Guardian, UK

Spice In Manchester ‘More Potent’ And Less Controlled Since Psychoactive Substances Bill, Experts Warn

‘Now it’s being manufactured by, potentially, drug dealers then it cannot be controlled.’ | Huffington Post, UK

Inside the Chinese Spice labs where the drug is being made - before it is shipped across the globe by post

The ancient ‘spice trail’ from the Far East to the West has reappeared in the darker form of an illicit zombie drug trade, which is hooking users on the streets of Manchester | Manchester Evening News, UK

Spice discussion - video

In Bristol is David Nutt – he’s Professor of Neuro-psycho Pharmacology at Imperial College London and a former chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. And Dr Henry Fisher is Policy Director at Voltface-a drug policy think tank | Channel 4 news, UK

West Yorkshire police drugs warning after two further deaths

Two men have died in what are thought to be drugs-related incidents as West Yorkshire Police issued a warning to drugs users | BBC, UK

Heartbroken mum releases shocking pictures of teenage son in coma after taking prescription drug Lyrica

Jane Brown, 45, described son Geordie, 16, as 'one of the lucky ones' after he woke from a coma in intensive care when he took the substance | Mirror, UK

Northern Ireland drug addiction services 'overwhelmed'

A Belfast GP has said that drug addiction services in Northern Ireland are overwhelmed and it is time for a multi-agency approach | BBC, UK

Blue Light Project: Year 1 (PDF)

The focus of this project is the ‘Blue Light’ clients those higher risk and dependent drinkers who are not only treatment resistant but are also placing a significant burden on emergency services such as the Police, EMAS and A&E | Lincolnshire County Council, UK

Stressed teachers are becoming reliant on caffeine, alcohol and prescription drugs, poll suggests

Stress at work is leading some teachers to become increasingly reliant on caffeine, alcohol and prescription drugs, while a number have seen relationships breakdown, it has been suggested | Telegraph, UK

Drinking-cut target to tackle 'devastating' alcohol impact

Scots should cut the amount of alcohol they drink by at least 10 per cent over the next decade because of the “devastating impact” alcohol abuse has on public services and communities, according to campaigners | Herald, UK

Smoking ban in beer gardens and al-fresco dining areas rejected by ministers

Asmoking ban in beer gardens and al-fresco dining areas has been blocked by the Government after ministers warned they would infringe on people's freedom and lead to pub closures | Telegraph, UK

MoJ to launch unit cracking down on drones smuggling drugs into jails

New hit squad set to tackle rising number of incidents while prisons minister vows to put people orchestrating drop-offs ‘behind bars’ | Guardian, UK

Tesco Easter beer ad labelled 'crass' - audio

A Tesco advert promoting a beer offer in the run-up to Easter was "crass" and showed "religious illiteracy", Cambridge University adacemic Michael Wakelin tells BBC Radio 5 live. The supermarket has apologised for any offence from the alcohol promotion, which said "Good Friday just got better" | BBC, UK

Booze-selling punt may soon be open on the River Cam amid protest from locals 

The tranquility of one of Britain's most popular tourists spots, the River Cam, faces disruption after an application was put in for a giant floating bar | Telegraph, UK

May's letter will reignite cannabis debate, says Lord Monson

A peer who is campaigning to legalise low-potency cannabis says the debate has been reignited after Theresa May told him in a letter that she shared his “concerns over the use of skunk | Telegraph, UK

Tune Into VICE All Next Week for a Smoking Hot Special Series: 'Weed Week'

Do you enjoy the weed? You like puffing a bit of the waccy-baccy? Are you in favour of "freeing the herb"? Or, in fact, do you have a fairly debilitating medical condition for which cannabis is the best medicine? | VICE, UK

Cannabis: It’s A Pleasure

Unsurprising but true: policy documents and treatment interventions developed to tackle illicit drug use do not acknowledge the social benefits, and indeed pleasures of, substance use | Volte Face, UK

Teen refused live-saving lung transplant because he smoked cannabis

A teenager who tested positive for cannabis has been denied a lung transplant | Metro, UK

STUC to debate call to legalise medicinal cannabis use

A motion at the STUC's annual conference next week will say that Scotland and the UK are lagging behind other countries by criminalising medicinal use | Herald, UK

Friday Monday

New website with information about sex and drugs for gay and bi men | THT, UK

A Service of Celebration and Hope – Lives Worth Talking About

On Tuesday 9th May Westminster Abbey will open its doors to 2,000 guests for a service of Celebration and Hope ‘Lives Worth Talking About’  The service is a first in the history of this national institution. DrugFAM is extremely grateful to the Dean & Chapter of Westminster and his team for their support | DrugFAM, UK

Publications for family use

Free resources | Adfam, UK

Meet Scotland's only female Whiskey distiller

Heather Nelson is joining a small group of women who have broken into the masculine world of whisky-making | Independent, UK


International news

Official Launch Event: Anyone's Child, Mexico

Wed, April 19, 2017. 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM BST. Free event. Join us for the launch of Anyone's Child Mexico - an online interactive documentary telling real life stories from families in Mexico, the front line of the drug war | Anyone's Child, UK

Two Britons held after Spanish police discover haul of drugs '80 times stronger than cannabis' 

Two Britons are being held by the Spanish authorities after police discovered a haul of synthetic drugs "80 times stronger than cannabis" | Telegraph, UK

The world's smokers, mapped

Data from the World Health Organisation has revealed the prevalence of male smokers across the world, with a staggering 40 per cent smoking tobacco | Independent, UK

The Danish beermakers brewing up work for autistic people

Just 16% of autistic adults are in full-time paid employment, despite the vast majority saying they want to work. This beer company aims to help | Guardian, UK

Psychedelic drug ayahuasca improves hard-to-treat depression

It tastes foul and makes people vomit. But ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic concoction that has been drunk in South America for centuries in religious rituals, may help people with depression that is resistant to antidepressants | New Scientist, UK


April 20th is a special date in any cannabis consumer’s diary. For reasons that, though debated, are believed to revolve around a group of students from San Rafael known as ‘The Waldos,’ who would spark up religiously at 16:20 back in the ‘70s, the numbers 420 have come to stand for all things marijuana-related the world over | Volte Face, UK

Canada introduces legislation to allow recreational use of  marijuana

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government introduced legislation on Thursday to let adults possess 30 grams of marijuana in public - a measure that would make Canada the largest developed country to end a nationwide prohibition on recreational marijuana | Telegraph, UK

How Canada plans to legalise cannabis - video

Canada's government has introduced a bill to legalise and regulate pot. What's in it? | BBC, UK

The weed sommelier: 'It's simple – you smoke, you eat, you drink'

As more states legalise marijuana, a new breed of sommeliers are pairing puff with food. Philip Wolf describes the highs and lows of the job | Guardian, UK

Rick and Morty VR game Virtual Rick-Ality gets 4/20 release date

You play as a clone of Morty stuck in Rick's garage | Independent, UK

Utah’s Zion Curtain - which prevented children watching barmen prepare alcoholic drinks - to come down

The “Zion Curtain”, a seven-feet, two-inch high barrier in Utah’s restaurants, which prevents drinks being mixed and poured in front of anyone below the age of 21 is coming down | Telegraph, UK

Prince's doctor prescribed oxycodone under friend's name days before death

Unsealed affidavits suggest musician was struggling with opioid addiction, as authorities searched for where he procured fentanyl that killed him | Guardian, UK

Coroner's drug-related deaths near double in two years

The number of drug-related deaths recorded by the coroner has almost doubled in the space of two years, it can be revealed | Irish Times, Ireland

Drug warning over middle-aged motorists who 'borrow' tablets and drive

New drug-driving roadside checks are starting today | Journal, Ireland

The strength of your cannabinoid may be higher than you think (PDF)

Synthetic cannabinoids can mimic the effects of cannabis and can cause extreme agitation and aggression. Harm reduction advice | Drugs.ie, Ireland

Decriminalisation of all drugs for personal use considered

Growing calls in recent years for the decriminalisation of drugs for personal use | Irish Times, Ireland

You Draw It: Just How Bad Is the Drug Overdose Epidemic?

How does the surge in drug overdoses compare with other causes of death in the U.S.? Draw your guesses on the charts below | NYTimes, USA

Families Torn Apart By Opioid Epidemic

Christopher Perrotto was taking oxycodone with friends in a parked car in the South Shore on April 10, 2011 when he overdosed and died. He was just 22 years old | DNA Info, USA

Overcoming Opioids: The quest for less addictive drugs

Tummy tucks really hurt. Doctors carve from hip to hip, slicing off skin, tightening muscles, tugging at innards. Patients often need strong painkillers for days or even weeks, but Mary Hernandez went home on just over-the-counter ibuprofen | Medical Xpress, USA

What’s the Scoop on Fentanyl?

The webinar focuses on Fentanyl, a potent, synthetic opioid pain medication that has been associated with the recent surge in opioid related overdose deaths. Slides available to download | Harm Reduction Coalition, USA

Weed and the American family

In an unprecedented project undertaken by Yahoo News and The Marist Poll, “Weed & the American Family” takes a look at Americans’ attitudes about marijuana use | Yahoo/Marist, USA

Parents Are More Worried About Their Kids Smoking Cigarettes Than Pot

When asked about their top concerns for their children, 24% said that smoking cigarettes is their biggest worry followed by 21%who said it was marijuana | Forbes, USA

Researchers examine the relationship between drug injection risk behaviors and immune activation

The use of heroin and other illicit drugs has been shown to trigger a response from the body's immune system. Consequently, high levels of immune activation (inflammation)—that is associated with the progression of chronic disease and disability—are frequently found among people who inject drugs (PWID) | Medical Xpress, USA

Think you can handle your alcohol? Study may urge some drinkers to think again

Heavy drinkers develop behavioral tolerance to alcohol over time on some fine motor tasks, but not on more complex tasks, suggests a study | Science Daily, USA

Mothers who vape during pregnancy put babies at asthma risk

A UTS-led study of the effects of smoking electronic cigarettes during pregnancy has been hailed by the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) in its stand against legalising nicotine in e-cigarettes | Medical Xpress, USA

Navy Implements Ban Of E-Cigarettes, Vaping Across The Service

The Navy has decided to suspend e-cigarettes and other vaping devices across the entire service because of reports that e-cigarettes sometimes explode. The Navy stated in a Friday press release that the suspension, which also applies to Marines, will come into effect in 30 days, on May 14 | Daily Caller, USA

Dr. Bronner's Pledges $5 Million to MAPS to Make MDMA into FDA-Approved Medicine to Treat PTSD

The gift comes after MAPS was given the go-ahead by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin Phase 3 drug trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for people with treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) | PRNewswire, USA

West Virginia law allows schools to administer opioid antidotes

Under a new West Virginia law, schools, both public and private are now authorized to administer drugs to counteract opioid overdoses in students without first receiving parental consent | Digital Journal, USA

Wine Industry Finds a Companion in a Competitor: Marijuana

Some worried that legalized cannabis would infringe on the wine business, but the two industries have embraced their shared agricultural base | NYTimes, USA

Portugal Treats Drug Possession As A Health Issue, Not A Crime

In the 1980s and '90s, Portugal had one of the worst heroin epidemics in the world. Now, drug use is at an all-time low, after Portugal decriminalized all drugs. If you're caught with drugs, you get mandatory medical treatment, not prison | Npr, USA

Homeland Security Secretary Thinks Marijuana Is ‘Not A Factor In The Drug War’

And the solution to drug abuse “is not arresting a lot of users,” John Kelly said | Huffington Post, USA

A Look Back At Psychoactive Drugs That Were Once 'Miracle Cures'

Cocaine was touted as a cure for addiction to morphine, alcohol, heroin, and even tobacco in the early 20th century | The Fix, USA

Pot's a fixture at music fests but what happens when it's legal?

Corralling smokers into 'dope moats' is one approach | CBC news, Canada

Prescription drugs mixed with alcohol are pushing up drug overdose deaths in Monash

People are mixing prescription medication such as pain killers and sedatives with alcohol, leading to a surge in drug overdoses in Monash | Herald Sun, Australia

No. 1 drug threat: Ice addiction overtakes booze

Meth has overtaken booze as the number one problem drug confronting WAs treatment and support services | Perth Now, Australia

Cocaine accused closes legal fee-fundraising page

A man charged in relation to New Zealand's biggest cocaine bust who was asking Kiwis to help fund his legal defence has now closed a fundraising page online | NZHerald, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Nicotine in the news

Top read of the week is Fidela Cook writing in the Scottish Sunday Herald about how e-cigarettes pretty much saved her life by turning her away from a 40 a day cigarette habit | NSP Blog, UK

Drugs: The State of the Nation (April 2017)

Last week (7 April 2017) Public Health England (in partnership with the Department of Health, the Home Office and the Scottish and Welsh Governments) published the United Kingdom Drug Situation 2016 | Russell Webster, UK

Behavioural addiction and substance addiction should be defined by their similarities not their dissimilarities

In their critique of pathologizing everyday behaviours as addictions, Kardefelt-Winther et al. [1] note correctly that the components model of addiction [2] uses the symptoms of substance addiction | Addiction commentary, UK

Solve Scotland’s deep social ills, don’t target Catholicism

The liberal elite blames the church and alcohol yet does nothing themselves about deprivation | Guardian, UK

Punked? How an upstart brewing company sold up and sold out

Want to be a multi-millionaire? Well then, start a “rebel business”, generate brand controversy – and then sell it to the capitalists you appeared to despise. That’s one way to do it | Conversation, UK

Drones and Phones

To be fair, anything involving flying stuff is inherently more interesting than “I threw a ball stuffed with weed over a wall”. Drones have a whiff of the Mission Impossible. Basic media clickbait | Ben's prison blog, UK

Did you know it costs less to care for someone than punish them?

If you have a family member who suffers with addiction, how would you choose to help them? | Virgin blog, UK

Nothing prepared me for pregnancy – apart from the never-ending hangover of my 20s

I am queasy, irritable and dehydrated. My heavy-drinking days have trained me well for having a baby | Guardian opinion, UK

Isis and al-Qaeda are little more than glorified drug cartels, and their motivation is money not religion

Purported faith is just an excuse for terrorist organisations to take over the territory they need to monopolise the illegal drugs trade | Independent voices, UK

The war on drugs is racist. Donald Trump is embracing it with open arms

Drugs have long been used to scapegoat black and Latino people. With Jeff Sessions doing Trump’s bidding as Attorney General, things will only get worse | Guardian Opinion, UK

Unraveling the Drug War: A Rare Chance to Lower MDMA and NPS Sentences

It isn’t all that often that we get a chance to pull apart the drug war.  We have one of those rare opportunities approaching – on April 18 the U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) is holding a public hearing that will mark the beginning of a two year process to reconsider the sentencing guidelines for MDMA as well as a handful of novel psychoactive substances (NPS) | DPA Blog, USA

Is this the end of the black market for marijuana?

Marijuana was criminalized in Canada in 1923. There was no debate in the House of Commons, just the statement, “There is a new drug in the schedule.” | Globe and Mail opinion, Canada