Daily news -21st April 2017

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UK news

Marijuana only rarely causes psychosis, says expert

There appears to be only a low chance of developing psychosis as a result of using cannabis, a review of existing research has suggested | Independent, UK

Fentanyl warning after spate of drug-related deaths

A spate of drug-related deaths has prompted a warning about contaminated heroin in Yorkshire and Teesside | BBC, UK

What does an LSD-style drug-induced 'higher state of consciousness' feel like?

The effects of psychedelic drugs can lead to colours seeming more vivid and things seeming more beautiful | Guardian, UK

Do benefits outweigh risk of mind-altering drug use by healthy individuals?

Psychoactive substances are becoming increasingly available to individuals for treating mental health disorders and enhancing cognition, as well as for purposes of creativity, inner exploration, and enjoyment. A new review published in the British Journal of Pharmacology looks at how these products may provide benefits, as well as how their ease of accessibility is raising a variety of concerns | Medical Xpress, UK

Bristol ex-council buildings as homes idea to expand

More disused council buildings in Bristol are being converted into housing for homeless people | BBC, UK

Mother describes agony of watching her child, 14, being groomed by drug dealers

Last year ITV News revealed a leaked Home Office document showing the government knows about, but isn't yet sure quite how to deal with, the issue of county lines. "County lines" is how drug dealers have reinvented, and perhaps reinvigorated, drug dealing in Britain | ITV, UK

Drugs and alcohol found at 'unsafe prison' in Lancashire. Almost half of prisoners said it was easy to get drugs

A report's revealed drugs worth #40,000 were found at a "very unsafe" prison. 350 litres of illicitly-brewed alcohol known as "hooch" was also discovered at HMP Garth over Christmas | ITV, UK

We spoke to someone who studies drugs for a living about why legalizing weed is a good idea

We thought we'd speak to someone who wasn't stoned and knew quite a lot about the subject about the economics around the subject – why so many people think it should be legal, how it would work, and whether we'd start seeing cannabis bakeries pop up on every street corner | Economy, UK

Thousands of cannabis smokers defy police to light joints in London's Hyde Park for massive pro-marijuana rally

The 420 rally in support of cannabis de-criminalisation drew massive crowds, but many who enjoyed spliffs were seen being spoken to by police officers | Mirror, UK

Heroin addict jailed for begging in Belfast

A heroin addict who was caught begging in Belfast city centre has been jailed | BBC, UK

Dentist stabbed love rival four times after finding him drinking and taking cocaine with his wife, court hears

A dentist stabbed his love rival four times after returning home to find his wife drinking and taking cocaine with him, a court has heard | Telegraph, UK

Drink: are alcohol-free alternatives finally coming of age?

With more and more of us choosing to drink little or no booze these days, it’s boom time for the alcohol-free market | Guardian, UK


International news

Mapped: The countries that smoke the most cannabis

To mark 4/20, a day dedicated to smoking marijuana, we've mapped the world according to cannabis consumption – and the results might surprise you | Telegraph, UK

US support for marijuana legalisation reaches all-time high

Majority of Democrats and Republicans support legalising the drug | Independent, UK

A map of all the countries where weed is legal

It’s 4/20 – and no matter where you are in the world, we hope you are being respectful to local drug laws | Independent, UK

Inhale, go to jail: Some Arab governments are rethinking harsh cannabis laws

Others use them to lock up restless young men | Economist, UK

California "nuns" respond to a higher calling - video

Self-described 'weed nuns' grown and harvest their own healing cannabis. Angela Moore reports | Reuters, UK

Homeless drug users are being left to die, doctors warn

HSE is failing to give lifesaving treatment to homeless people with hepatitis C, expert says | Irish Times, Ireland

How Do Former Opioid Addicts Safely Get Pain Relief After Surgery?

Nearly one and a half million Americans were treated for addiction to prescription opioids or heroin in 2015, according to federal estimates, and when those people get seriously hurt or need surgery, it's often not clear, even to many doctors, how to safely manage their pain | npr, USA

Marijuana legalization support at all-time high

Sixty-one percent of Americans think marijuana use should be legal, a five-point increase from last year and the highest percentage ever recorded in this poll. Eighty-eight percent favor medical marijuana use | CBS News, USA

I used to support legalizing all drugs. Then the opioid epidemic happened

America’s worst drug crisis shows what can happen when a dangerous, addictive substance is made easily accessible | Vox, USA

Does Anyone Still Believe Marijuana Is a Gateway Drug?

US Homeland Security Head Vows to Target Undocumented Immigrants for Marijuana Use | Human Rights Watch, USA

Why Denver Should Not Rule Out Dual Consumption

In November of last year, Denver voters passed Initiative 300, which allows for limited social cannabis consumption by adults in designated consumption areas within establishments that have received support from their local eligible neighborhood association and have obtained a permit from the City of Denver | Dance Safe, USA

Some of the Parts: Is Marijuana’s “Entourage Effect” Scientifically Valid?

Industry players swear pot’s many chemicals work in concert, but most scientists hear a THC solo | Scientific American, USA

America's war on drugs is rooted in 'racist policies,' Columbia University expert says

Carl Hart, an expert in behavioral neuroscience, says U.S. is preoccupied with morality of drug use | HUB, USA

Smoking By Race: Menthol Cigarettes Ban Would Affect Black, Latino, Asian And Young Smokers

San Francisco has unveiled a tough anti-tobacco proposal that would ban the retail sale of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco or tobacco-related products that are often the first choice of minority group members and teenagers who smoke | IBTimes, USA

Insane True Stories of Drunk Juries

Getting wasted while deciding the fate of suspected criminals is an age-old tradition | VICE, USA

Seniors turning to cannabis for relief – and businesses are all in

Adults in their 70s, 80s and 90s are trying cannabis for the first time, hoping the plant will ease chronic pain, insomnia, depression and anxiety after pharmaceutical drugs have failed | Globe and Mail, Canada

Two people a day die of opioid ODs in Ontario: study

More than two people each day are dying of opioid overdoses in Ontario, a grim tally that underscores the soaring use and abuse of the potent narcotics, researchers say | CTV News, Canada

Woman 'forced into street drugs' by push to reduce opioid prescriptions

Sooke resident Sandra Hughes says pressure on doctors to reduce prescription opioids for patients, or cut them off completely, has left her in constant pain, unable to work and forced to buy dangerous street drugs | Vancouver Sun, Canada

Peak pardons

Canada is pardoning more drug convicts — this year saw the most in five years | VICE, Canada

Queensland company awarded medicinal cannabis licence

A Queensland-based company has been awarded the state's first licence to legally cultivate and produce medicinal cannabis. Medifarm director Adam Benjamin said the business planned to start rolling out local products by early 2018 | Brisbane Times, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Is the pharmaceutical industry responsible for the US heroin crisis?

Despite constituting less than 5% of the global population, the United States consumes 80% of the global opioid supply. US opioid prescriptions quadrupled between 1999 and 2014, while the number of problematic users tripled | Transform Blog, UK

Teens tend to think marijuana use is no big deal, but they’re wrong

According to the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teenagers are engaging in fewer risky behaviors than their Gen X parents did. This is, of course, good news | Washington Post Blog, USA

When legalizing pot, less is more

The Liberal government’s cannabis legislation has drawn condemnation and praise. Whether they approve or not, many observers criticize the lack of details on essential aspects of legalization | Globe and Mail, Canada

Decriminalisation and a Regulated Drug Supply Market are the Key to Success

The Portugal model of drug decriminalisation is acknowledged globally as a resounding success. In 2001, the Portuguese government decriminalised the personal use and possession of all illegal drugs. Since then, rates of HIV infections and overdoses have dramatically decreased | Sydney Criminal Lawyers Blog, Australia