Daily news -24th April 2017

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UK news

Alcohol: drinking in the street

This Library Briefing Paper looks at what the law says on drinking alcohol in the street | Parliament.uk, UK

Drug-driving limits and roadside testing to be introduced

Drug-driving limits and roadside testing will be introduced in Scotland in 2019, the Scottish government has confirmed | BBC, UK

Smokers and obese patients face more curbs on NHS surgery

Anger as plan to extend ‘lifestyle rationing’ for hip and knee operations is revealed in letter | Observer, UK

Smokers and vapers face new regulations

From the 21st May, all cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco the UK must be sold in standardised, plain packaging in accordance with domestic legislation | Boots, UK

New issues and age-old challenges: a review of young people’s relationship with tobacco (PDF)

This report reflects our ongoing commitment to prevent future lung cancer. Whilst progress has been made to reduce smoking rates, tobacco remains a legally available, socially tolerated, health hazard. We are facing the stigmatisation of smokers in communities where social and economic disadvantages are compounded with added health burdens | Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, UK

Boy of 11 who had up to 100 epileptic seizures a day becomes the first person to get cannabis on the NHS

An 11-year-old boy has been given medicinal marijuana on the NHS in what is believed to be the first case of its kind | Mail Online, UK

Marijuana Abuse Treatment Is On The Rise As Questions About Cannabis Use Persist

Any call for drug policy reform in the UK is usually met with a standard response from the Home Office. It goes something like this: “Drug misuse among adults and young people has fallen in the last ten years and we are working to educate young people about the risks, to help those who are dependent through treatment, and to clamp down on the illicit trade.” | IBTimes, UK

Baked On 420

The sun peeked through the clouds as thousands descended on Hyde Park yesterday for the annual 420 celebrations. It felt like a festival with everyone sitting on the grass, smoking weed, eating snacks and listening to music. We even saw a group who had brought a tent and were happily having a barbecue | Volte Face, UK

Jake Hanrahan - Embedded in the dark web

Podcast. What really goes on in the dark web? Jake Hanrahan is an independent and freelance journalist, he's been on the frontline of many wars and precarious situations | Volte Face, UK

“Legal highs” to be banned in Warrington town centre

The borough council’s executive board has agreed to introduce a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) banning the substances – proper name “New Psychoactive Substances” (NPS) | Warrington Worldwide, UK

Steroid Use and Public Health: The Power of Visual Communication

Free event showcasing visuals developed for use by healthcare providers, aiming to improve knowledge of, communication with and engagement with steroid and other image enhancing drugs (SIED) users. Wed 14 June 2017. Birmingham City University | Birmingham City University, UK

Snooker star Neil Robertson says computer game addiction almost cost him his career

Former world champion's girlfriend has now banned popular games ‘World of Warcraft’ and ‘League of Legends’ from their house | Mirror, UK

Davina McCall opens up about her battle with heroin and alcohol addiction

She knew she had to change when her friend called her a “junkie” | Cosmopolitan, UK


International news

Global plan to wipe out hepatitis

Countries must work together to wipe out viral hepatitis - a disease that is killing as many people globally as HIV and TB, says the World Health Organization (WHO) | BBC, UK

Network analysis of global tobacco control collaboration: data from the World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH)

The World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) is held every three years to foster communication and collaboration on global tobacco control. Very little is known about the nature of interactions between WCTOH attendees and their linkages to tobacco control organizations, so knowing this information could help improve tobacco control efforts | BMC Public Health, UK

The Successes of Italy’s Community-Based Approach to Naloxone

The provision of naloxone by community-based harm reduction services, as takes place in Italy, is highly important for reducing the harms of opioid drugs, a report suggests | Talking Drugs, UK

Israelis hold mass marijuana smoking protest outside parliament

Annual ‘420’ rally known locally as ‘Big Bong Night’ held as activists pressure government for full decriminalisation | Independent, UK

Calls for Pre-Use Drug Testing as Canada Fentanyl Deaths Crisis Worsens

As the highly potent opioid fentanyl continues to drive accidental overdose deaths in Canada, it seems increasingly important for people to be able to test the contents of their drugs – however, there are concerns this could have unintended consequences | Talking Drugs, UK

Addiction: A Creative Solution

Peru’s National Institute of Mental Health has been pioneering a new way of treating addiction | Volte Face, UK

Mexico: surge in drug gang violence leaves 35 dead in one weekend

Fights between gangs have increased since the arrest last year of Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman | Guardan, UK

Should drink drivers get an automatic ban? Doctors will be debating that today

The Irish Medical Organisation’s AGM is happening in Galway | Journal, Ireland

Poll: Have you ever smoked cannabis?

There were protests across the globe yesterday as people seek to have the drug legalised | Journal, Ireland

Mother 'severely disappointed' after daughter's medicinal cannabis seized at airport

A mother who travelled to Spain to obtain medicinal cannabis for her daughter said it was confiscated by customs officials today | Independent, Ireland

Switzerland is selling legal cannabis that contains potential health benefits but without the high

“With this stuff, I feel the same relaxation as before, but since there is no high, I can still get things done and play with my kids.” | Journal, Ireland

Global hepatitis report 2017 (PDF)

In May 2016, the World Health Assembly endorsed the Global Health Sector Strategy (GHSS) on viral hepatitis 2016–2021. The GHSS calls for the elimination of viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030 (reducing new infections by 90% and mortality by 65%) | WHO, Switzerland

The difficult choices: Managing chronic pain while avoiding opioid abuse

Rather than being considered a miracle pill that magically takes away pain, prescription opioids are increasingly being seen as a precursor to heroin addiction and the cause of potentially deadly overdoses themselves | Science Daily, USA

Applying CDC's Guideline for Prescribing Opioids

Addressing the Opioid Epidemic: Recommendations from CDC | CDC, USA

First-time marijuana use in college at highest level in three decades

Levels of first-time marijuana use in college have increased sharply in the past three years to the highest levels recorded in the past three decades. In 2015, about one in five college students became a first-time marijuana user | Medical Xpress, USA

Effects of alcoholism on the brain's reward system may be different in women than in men

Medical researchers have found evidence implying that alcoholism may have different effects on the reward system in the brains of women than it does in men | Science Daily, USA

Heavy Drinkers May Not Handle Alcohol As Well As They Think

Young adults who are heavy social drinkers may think they have a "tolerance" that lets them drink alcohol without it impairing their coordination, but a new study shows otherwise | Live Science, USA

How Do Drugs Get Into US? CBP Seized About Four Tons Of Drugs Everyday In 2016, John Kelly Says

U.S. had witnessed the highest number of death rates due to drug overdose in the past two decades. Around 52,404 lethal drug overdoses were reported in 2015 with 20,101 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers, and 12,990 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2015, and the number is just increasing, according to American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) | IBTimes, USA

Duterte’s War on Drugs Stumbles in Rehabilitation Effort

Government pulls back on supersize treatment centers; focus placed on community leaders with little medical expertise | Wall Street Journal, USA

Banned Pesticides Keep Turning Up in Canada’s Medical Weed

So what happens when it’s legalized? | Vice, Canada

Bulk heroin imports

Canada’s health minister has said prescribing heroin could help reduce overdose deaths, so Ottawa is letting doctors import large quantities of the illegal drug | VICE, Canada

Greens, health professionals hit back at festival pill testing rejection

A prominent pill testing advocate has hit back at claims their proposal to provide the service at Canberra's upcoming Groovin The Moo music festival was not well formed, saying the ACT government even knew the uniforms staff were going to wear | Canberra Times, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

The Truth on Drugs | Part 1: The Common Misconception

It saddens me to say that we currently live in a world where many people like to blindly broadly paint drugs as ‘bad’ without worrying about the implications of their small-minded beliefs | GonzoWorld Blog, UK

Michel Kazatchkine: “I always say: drugs are dangerous, therefore they must be legalized and regulated. We don’t prohibit people from driving cars but we ask them to stop at the red light.”

Doctor, researcher, diplomat and human rights activist. Michel Kazatchkine is the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In 1985, he founded a specialized HIV/AIDS clinic in Paris. Before his appointment to the UN, he headed the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria | Eurasian Harm Reduction network Blog, Lithuania

What the New York Times Gets Wrong on Vaping Regulation

Yesterday, the New York Times published an editorial titled “Big Tobacco Attacks Sensible F.D.A. Vaping Rules | Forbes, USA

Opioid Use Disorders and Suicide: A Hidden Tragedy (Guest Blog by Dr. Maria Oquendo)

In 2015, over 33,000 Americans died from opioids—either prescription drugs or heroin or, in many cases, more powerful synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Hidden behind the terrible epidemic of opioid overdose deaths looms the fact that many of these deaths are far from accidental. They are suicides | NIDA blog, USA

Mass Opium Addiction Treatment in Assam, 1939 (Part I)

The phenomenon of the “opium habit” was attracting worldwide attention by the 1920s | Points Blog, USA