Daily news - 24th February 2017

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UK news

Prison governor empowerment and accountability

Progress made in getting offenders off drugs. Prisoners will be tested on entry and exit with a phased roll out beginning in 2017 | Ministry of Justice, The Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP and National Offender Management Service, UK

Warn gym users about steroid risks, says watchdog

Gym owners should warn their customers not to use dangerous steroids in a bid to stem the rise of body-enhancing drug abuse fuelled by “selfie” culture, health experts have said | Telegraph, UK

Peers call on government to publish Tobacco Control Plan

A cross party and crossbench group of peers today called on the Government to publish the promised new tobacco control strategy without further delay.  The call followed an oral question by Lord Rennard of Wavertree (Liberal Democrat) who asked what further action the Government planned to take to reduce the incidence of smoking-related diseases | ASH, UK

Police Issue Warning About Potentially Strong Strain of Heroin in Circulation in Leeds

West Yorkshire Police are issuing a warning to drug users about the dangers of substances they take following a potentially fatal batch of heroin in circulation in Leeds | West Yorkshire Police, UK

Addaction's 50th Birthday Radio 4 Appeal

[Happy Birthday to Addaction - 50 years old today]. One mother's determination to create better support for individuals & families affected by addiction created Addaction | Addaction, UK

Wales is hosting its first ever alcohol-free beer festival

It will take place in Pembrokeshire on St David's Day | Wales Online, UK

Mum of 16-year-old who died after drinking 'Britain's cheapest booze' praised for her bravery as she tries to save others

Megan Craig-Wilkinson was just 16 when she tried 7.5 per alcohol 'Frosty Jack's' cider at a party with friends | Mirror, UK

No Shelter

As project manager at the Wellspring homeless and disadvantaged shelter in the heart of Stockport, Jonathan Billings has seen first-hand the futile Spice cycle rough sleepers find themselves in | VolteFace, UK

When did Britain stop being a nation of hedonists?

Generation X were the last of the heavy smokers and binge-drinkers – and it could be brutal economic forces as much as changing attitudes that are keeping us out of the pub | Guardian, UK

How Muslim Drug Dealers Square Their Job with Their Faith

We spoke to a criminologist who spent four years hanging out with young British-Pakistani dealers in Bradford | VICE, UK

Six held as police find thousand of cannabis plants worth £1m in 80s nuclear bunker

Six people have been arrested after police discovered an "enormous" cannabis farm worth more than £1 million in an underground nuclear bunker | Telegraph, UK

More than 100 arrested as Op Gravity continues

Police have now arrested more than 100 people as they continue their campaign against drug dealing in Norfolk | Norfolk Constabulary, UK



International news

Early US study vindicated client-centred therapy for alcohol-dependent patients

1950s US trial uncovered in the search for seminal studies for the Alcohol Treatment Matrix found a Rogerian client-centred therapy characterised by non-directive, empathic listening generated healthier self-perceptions among alcohol-dependent inpatients and reduced relapse compared to approaches based on learning theory or psychoanalysis | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Canadian researchers set to study cannabis oil

Liam has Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy. But after debilitating seizures and pharmaceutical trials and errors throughout his life, Liam's parents turned to cannabis oil | BBC, UK

Downward spiral: how addiction decimated a Wyoming family

The state’s suicide rate is three times the national average and 16% of its people experience alcoholism or addiction. Alex’s family are the faces behind the figures | Guardian, UK

Sydney's controversial bar curfews: Have they worked?

One evening in January, the owner of an exclusive Sydney nightclub received a call from Bruce Springsteen's manager | BBC, UK

Sandy's story: how much longer can he can handle the court-prison cycle?

A suspended sentence could have made all the difference to a kind, trustworthy man whose crimes were against himself | Guardian, UK

25% of all overdoses are from heroin

America's opioid epidemic continues: The latest numbers from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, released Friday, show that one in four drug overdoses in 2015 wasrelated to heroin. In 1999, just 6% of all overdoses were related to the drug | CNN, USA

Many patients receive prescription opioids during treatment for opioid addiction

More than two in five people receiving buprenorphine, a drug commonly used to treat opioid addiction, are also given prescriptions for other opioid painkillers - and two-thirds are prescribed opioids after their treatment is complete, a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study suggests | Medical Xpress, USA

Studies show that the cerebellum is crucial to understanding vulnerability to drug addiction

An international research team led by the Universitat Jaume I (UJI) has shown that the cerebellum, contrary to previous thought, fulfills functions that go beyond the motor sphere and can be co-responsible for the brain alterations associated with addictive consumption of drugs | Medical Xpress, USA

Study finds sons of cocaine-using fathers have profound memory impairments

Fathers who use cocaine at the time of conceiving a child may be putting their sons at risk of learning disabilities and memory loss | Medical Xpress, USA

Washington's move to curb tobacco among young adults 'encouraging,' professor says

Raising the minimum legal purchasing age could help young adults in Washington from becoming established smokers, according to one researcher | Legal Newsline, USA

The White House Mulls Cutting the Office of National Drug Control Policy

The White House is considering eliminating the Office of National Drug Control Policy, among other programs, the New York Times reported last week. The move throws into question whether—and how—the Trump administration will address the United States’ opioid epidemic | PSMag, USA

White House hints at crackdown on recreational marijuana

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday suggested the Trump administration will step up enforcement of federal laws against recreational marijuana | The Hill, USA

Who is using medical marijuana and how do they compare to recreational users?

More than half of the U.S. states and territories have laws permitting medical use of marijuana. Knowing who is using medical marijuana can inform efforts to reduce the potential harms. This week STASH reviews research from Dr. Wilson Compton and his colleagues published in JAMA that explores medical marijuana use among US adults | BASIS, USA

Is marijuana stronger than it used to be? Here's what the science says

If you've ever smoked up with someone who lived through the 1960s, you may have heard them remark that marijuana is much stronger than it used to be | MIC, USA

Many people keep taking prescription opioids during addiction treatment

The grip of opioid addiction is so strong that many people who undergo treatment relapse repeatedly. Now a study by Johns Hopkins University researchers offers new clues about why treatment is so difficult | Washington Post, USA

Supervised injection site could house machine to quickly test for tainted drugs

Ottawa's first supervised injection site could include a machine that instantly checks street drugs for deadly hidden substances, such as fentanyl | Ottawa Citizen, Canada

Safe injecting room trial wins backing of influential officer Ron Iddles

A safe injecting room for heroin users should be trialled in Richmond to help curb drug deaths, the departing head of the Police Association has said | Age, Australia

Overdose reversal drug to be subsidised

A drug used to reverse the effects of heroin overdose will be subsidised by the Victorian government in a bid to reduce overdose deaths | News.com.au, Australia

ACT Health warns of dangerous ecstasy-type 'MDMA' party drug being sold in Canberra

A Canberra woman was hospitalised after taking a capsule that was part of a "bad batch" of a toxic drug being sold as MDMA, or ecstacy in the ACT | Canberra Times, Australia

Elderly man one of three charged over $5.5m cannabis crop in Colinroobie

An 80-year-old man is one of three people charged over a large cannabis crop in south-western NSW that police estimate had a street value of $5.5 million | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Why we don’t need the alcohol industry for a strong economy

How would the economy be affected if there was a fall in alcohol consumption? This question is particularly important ahead of the Budget, with the Chancellor deliberating over whether to raise or cut alcohol duty. Drawing on new researchAveek Bhattacharya explains why reducing consumption will actually be good for the economy | LSE Blog, UK

Misleading data mars the debate on alcoholism

The recent focus given by the MPs Liam Byrne and Jonathan Ashworth to the plight of children and families of alcoholics has shed a welcome light on an important question – how best do we support individuals and families affected by substance misuse? | Guardian Letters, UK

CGL's response to the Prisons and Courts Bill

Change, grow, live (CGL) welcome the announcement that recognises that rehabilitation is a responsibility of prisons, alongside punishment. We welcome the fact that the Secretary of State will be required to report to parliament about progress | CGL, UK

My son takes heroin

[From the archive] Research in the United States has shown that drug addiction there is usually an attempt to escape from intolerable social conditions. Most of the mistakes we in Britain are making in handling this problem arise because so much of the American research and experience is accepted as valid here | Guardian Archive, UK

Readers recommend playlist: songs about recovery

Things are looking up as our reader scours your suggestions and selects a restorative playlist including Yazz, PJ Harvey and Judy Garland | Guardian, UK

Recreational Cannabis — Minimizing the Health Risks from Legalization

The cannabis-policy landscape is undergoing dramatic change. Although many jurisdictions have removed criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of cannabis and more than half of U.S. states allow physicians to recommend it to patients, legalizing the supply and possession of cannabis for nonmedical purposes is a very different public policy | NEJM Perpective, USA