Daily news - 7th February 2017

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UK news

Highways and buyways (PDF)

A new survey of the street drug market in the UK by DrugWise has concluded that the primary aims of the PSA which came into force in May 2016 have been achieved. Firstly to close down retail outlets for so-called ‘legal highs’ and second to stop the legal cat and mouse game whereby a drug would be banned only for the chemists to render the drug legal once more by slightly changing the formula.  However, of the new drugs, synthetic cannabinoids collectively known as spice in particular, have become street drugs alongside heroin and crack causing continuing problems for vulnerable groups including the rough sleeping and homeless communities and those in prison.

Other key findings include: Unprecedented purity levels for heroin, cocaine, crack and ecstasy. Confirmation of the changing nature of drug distribution  networks. Significant non-medical use of prescription and over-the counter drugs [ Press release (PDF) ] | DrugWise, UK

Exclusive: This Is What's Happening in Britain's Drug Scene Right Now

A study released today reveals a load of new unexpected narcotics trends throughout the UK | VICE, UK

Ban on former legal highs has driven trade underground – study

Street dealers replace high street shops as sources of Spice, and increasing purity seen in other drugs such as heroin | Guardian, UK

Cocaine and ecstasy sold at ‘unprecedented levels of purity’

Drugs including cocaine and ecstasy are being sold at unprecedented levels of purity in the UK, a new report warns | Courier, UK

DDN magazine - February issue

In this issue, Natalie Davies examines the argument for consumption rooms in detail; Catherine Larkin and Danny Hames take stock of the value of a naloxone strategy; Tony Margetts evaluates the progress of prison reform; Lizzie McCulloch looks at a new approach to cannabis policy and treatment; and two of the major treatment charities explain how they are tuned to the challenges ahead | DDN, UK

Volteface Launch New Report: Black Sheep

The report argues that legally regulating cannabis consumption would better help those most at risk | Volte Face, UK

Cross party support for new ‘Black Sheep’ report into problematic cannabis reveals regulated, legalised market would help those most at risk

Although the number of people seeking support for problematic cannabis use is on the rise, cannabis remains a neglected drug in UK public health discourse and there is limited support and guidance available | Ladbury, UK

Legally regulating cannabis market could help those at high risk, say experts

A legally regulated cannabis market would result in more effective strategies aimed at helping drug users to access the right support and guidance, say researchers at the University of York | University of York, UK

We Need To Talk About Cannabis

Cannabis is by a long way the most used illegal substance in the UK and young people are quite at home with that concept | Volte Face, UK

FDACs face challenging future

Local stakeholders question whether problem-solving court provides value for money | Solicitors Journal, UK

Effectiveness Bank hot topics January/February 2017

Latest selection of important issues which generate heated debate over
facts or interpretation, starting with one of the most intensive and
expensive treatment options – residential rehabilitation. How has this fared in the current financial climate? Staying on the subject of ‘recovery’ from addiction, we weigh up the benefits and risks of aiming for _abstinence versus controlled drinking. And then circle right back to way before substance use is on the agenda, exploring those ‘magic’ preventive interventions which don’t mention drugs at all – but can have greater impact than those focused on the issue | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Some smokers have a 72 per cent chance of getting deadly lung disease - video

Major study finds genes that significantly increase the chance of getting a chronic lung disease such as bronchitis or emphysema | Independent, UK

Vaping is 'far safer' than smoking cigarettes

Vaping has been endorsed by health experts after the first long-term study of its effects in ex-smokers | ITV, UK

New rule announced on the advertising of electronic cigarettes

Today we’re announcing the creation of a new rule in the CAP Code prohibiting the advertising of unlicensed, nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes in some non-broadcast media | CAP, UK

Calls repeated for taxation levers on white cider ahead of spring budget

Public health bodies are calling on the Chancellor to use taxation as a lever to address the cheapest alcohol products including 'white ciders' ahead of the spring budget next month, though are competing with opposing calls from alcohol industry bodies | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Public attitudes towards alcohol control policies in Scotland and England: Results from a mixed-methods study

UK alcohol policies restricting access to alcohol via pricing are the least popular. Females and those who are older are more supportive of restrictive alcohol policies. Perceived effectiveness should be considered when measuring alcohol policy support. Mixed methods approaches are useful to strengthen understandings of policy support | Social Science and Medicine, UK

Jon Ashworth MP: My dad was an alcoholic - but I was lucky

Labour MP Jon Ashworth has spoken frankly and movingly about his childhood spent growing up with an alcoholic father | BBC, UK

This inspiring man was down and out with drugs and alcohol but bounced back to help others

He now works as a substance misuse worker | Manchester Evening News, UK

Is It a Myth That LSD Can Permanently Fry Your Brain?

Pharmacologist David Nichols told me that permanent acid trips make no medical sense | VICE, UK

Peru drugs mule tells of fight for release

Drugs mule Michaella McCollum has described her fight for release and settling back into life at home as “a long ride” | Scotsman, UK

'Largest drugs operation' in Gwent Police force history

The force said 300 officers carried out 14 simultaneous warrants in Newport at 05:00 on Tuesday, after three hours of briefings | BBC, UK

Duo caught in £136,000 drugs raid in Dundee

A Dundee chef and a pensioner from England were caught with nine kilos of cannabis with a street value of up to £136,000, a court was told | BBC, UK


Internationl news

Leaked Police Memo Reveals What Was in Melbourne's Deadly Batch of MDMA

Back in January, a bad batch of MDMA killed three people in Melbourne and landed 20 others in hospital. It was the deadliest night for the city's club scene in recent memory | VICE, UK

Japan Tobacco bets on e-cigarette's growth prospect, boosts annual dividend

Japan Tobacco Inc said it was still confident about the prospect of its Ploom Tech tobacco-based electronic cigarettes, the launch of which has been delayed due to supply problems, and raised its dividend despite forecasting a lower annual profit | Reuters, UK

Many teens use e-cigarettes for 'dripping' liquid nicotine

One in four teens who use electronic cigarettes have tried “dripping” liquid nicotine directly onto the heating coils on the devices to get thicker clouds of vapor, a new study suggests | Reuters, USA

Myanmar monk is arrested over two huge drug hauls

A Buddhist monk arrested in Myanmar has been linked to more than four million methamphetamine pills hidden in a monastery, police say | BBC, UK

Injecting centre reports ‘off the mark’ says senior gardaí

Senior gardaí have described reports that they are opposed to government plans for a pilot drug injecting centre as “way off the mark” | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Monday Interview: 'Do we let them die on the streets?' - minister backs new centre to help addicts

Catherine Byrne tells Eilish O'Regan users will be able to safely inject drugs without fear of arrest in a HSE-funded room | Independent, Ireland

Buying a box of cigarettes in Ireland could eventually cost €30

Saturday marked World Cancer Day and the Irish Cancer Society is asking the government to make a huge increase in the cost of cigarettes in Ireland | Joe, Ireland

Dose of Science: What Is In Your Cocaine?

Cocaine is a drug which has a certain ‘high life’ status attached to it, mainly because of its price. It is expensive. Conversely, amphetamines have a similar stimulant effect, yet their average street price is only a fraction of that of cocaine | Drug reporter, Hungary

Canada authorizes new drug consumption rooms

Canada's health minister on Monday approved opening North America's first new drug consumption rooms in more than a decade, in an effort to contain the opioid overdose crisis | Medical Xpress, USA

Marijuana policy has outpaced science, says researcher

With marijuana legalization advancing in several states, including Massachusetts, scientists are working to answer questions about the drug's effectiveness as a medicine and its impact on health and the brain | Medical Xpress, USA

Can Medical Marijuana Curb Opioid Epidemic? Cannabis Could Help Withdrawal, Reduce Drug Cravings, Review Finds

Medical marijuana could help those struggling with addiction to heroin and other opioids to turn their lives around, says Yasmin Hurd of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in a new review published in Trends in Neurosciences. Prior research has found that cannabinoids could reduce cravings and ease opioid withdrawal symptoms | Medical Daily, USA

DEA Asked Public To Comment On Its Proposed Kratom Ban And 99 Percent Opposed It

But the legal fate of the herb still hangs in the balance | Huffington Post, USA

One-Quarter Say God will Determine the Super Bowl’s Winner—but Nearly Half Say God Rewards Devout Athletes

Politics, Marijuana, & God: Extracurricular Activities of Professional Athletes | PRRI, USA

Police defend decision not to warn public of new drug after Melbourne club deaths

ictoria Police has defended its decision not to warn the public about what was in a toxic batch of drugs being sold in Chapel Street nightclubs | Age, Australia

Support growing for safe injecting room in Melbourne

A safe drug injecting room for Melbourne will be considered by the Andrews government after a spate of overdose deaths | Age, Australia

'I would have killed myself': Lack of beds forces Victorians interstate for drug rehab

Jaron was suicidal. In between the daily grind of scoring heroin to feed his habit while trying to hold down a job, he had been looking up rehabs, making calls | Age, Australia

Govt to ease medical cannabis laws?

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne says he will make an announcement tomorrow, but will not comment ahead of it | Radio NZ, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Nicotine in the news

Writing for the Australian online news outlet News.Com Joe Hildebrand reported, “when I quit smoking last year, I got a message from Associate Professor Colin Mendelsohn from the School of Public Health at the University of NSW “Congratulations,” he said. “You’ve just added almost 10 years to your life.” He then added: “You’re also now a criminal.” | NSP Blog, UK

Working with domestic abusers in alcohol treatment

Cranstoun and the Domestic Violence Intervention Project (DVIP) just (1 February 2017) published a practice briefing on a pilot programme which integrated the accredited DVIP Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programme (DVPP) and Cranstoun’s structured substance use day programme | Rusell Webster, UK

My husband is a recovering alcoholic and is uninterested in sex

He sleeps in a separate room and isn’t even interested in cuddles | Guardian, UK

Application to legalise low strength nicotine for vaping in Australia rejected. Now our real battle begins!

The New Nicotine Alliance, Australia, (NNA AU) last year submitted an application to Australia’s medicines and poisons regulatory authority, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), to legalise vaping with nicotine as a consumer product | NSP Blog, UK

Smoking must be in the mix on poverty question

In this blog, Policy & Research Officer Mike Andrews reflects on the media coverage of recent poverty reports, and conversations around the office about them | ASH Scotland, UK