Daily news - 5th January 2017

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UK news

Doctors urge Theresa May to publish anti-smoking strategy

In a letter to the PM, medical professionals say plan is essential to cut smoking rates, which are highest among poorest in society | Guardian, UK

Teenager who died at Fabric nightclub took MDMA, inquest told

Jack Crossley, the second teenager to die within six weeks of visiting the club, took a fatal dose of drug, toxicology report found | Guardian, UK

Statistics from the NI Drug Misuse Database: 1 April 2015 – 31 March 2016

The bulletin summarises information on people presenting to services with problem drug misuse and relates to the 12-month period ending 31 March 2016 | Northern Ireland Executive, UK

Content analysis of UK newspaper and online news representations of women's and men's ‘binge’ drinking: a challenge for communicating evidence-based messages about single-episodic drinking?

In the UK, men's alcohol-related morbidity and mortality still greatly exceeds women's, despite an increase in women's alcohol consumption in recent decades. New UK alcohol guidelines introduce gender-neutral low-risk alcohol consumption guidance. This study explores how UK newspaper and online news represent women's and men's ‘binge’ drinking to identify opportunities to better align reporting of harmful drinking with evidence | BMJ, UK

Dry January: Ketamine trial could help free Devon man from alcoholism

Just two months ago, Marcus was drinking up to seven bottles of wine a night and regularly blacking out, sometimes finding himself in police custody | University of Exeter, UK

Dry January? 3,000 Adults In Northamptonshire Are "Alcohol Dependent" - BBC Radio iPlayer

3,000 adults in Northamptonshire are dependent on alcohol, with 30,000 putting their health at risk from excess drinking, according to the County's Assistant Director for Public Health who says that more needs to be done to tackle the problems caused by alcohol abuse | BBC, UK

The UK Just Moved to Classify Cannabidiol Oil CBD as Medicine

The therapeutic effects of cannabidiol, the non-psychotropic chemical compound in cannabis known as CBD, have been well documented. Now the United Kingdom has effectively moved past the stigma to the science and classified CBD as an actual medicine | Motherboard, UK

Here’s how legalising psychedelics would minimise the risk of a ‘bad trip’

survey published by Johns Hopkins researchers reveals that, out of 2,000 respondents who said they have had a ‘bad trip’ from magic mushrooms, 10% believed their experience put themselves or others in harm’s way | Canary, UK

Drugs gang 'linchpin' on the run from Sudbury Prison

A man once described as the linchpin in a massive drug-dealing network has absconded from an open prison in Derbyshire | BBC, UK

Hull ferry workers accused of smuggling cocaine

Two P&O workers used their positions as ferry crew to smuggle cocaine into Hull from Rotterdam, a court has heard | BBC, UK

Drug gang led by electrician and CEO smuggled cocaine and cannabis in yams and bags of fruit and nuts

A London drug gang led by an electrician and a company CEO smuggled cocaine and cannabis into the UK by disguising the drugs as fruits and vegetables | Evening Standard, UK

'Stud badboy' shot on M62 by police, once charged with attempted murder, used fast cars to launder profits from his drugs empire

Having previously being acquitted of attempted murder and surviving being shot last year, the 28-year-old drug dealer was killed by police marksmen on Monday in a "pre-planned operation" | Telegraph, UK


International news

From the Mountains to the Mailbox: I Spent a Weekend with a Deep Web Drug Dealer

And watched firsthand how an online drug empire is run | VICE, UK

The curious case of James Woods, a dead tweeter and a $10m cocaine libel

The actor has won the right to discover the identity of a Twitter user who he says defamed him. The snag? The defendant’s lawyers says the tweeter is no longer alive | Guardian, UK

Thousands of joints to be handed out for free during Donald Trump's inauguration speech

Pro-cannabis group DCMJ urge those to light up four minutes and 20 seconds into speech at National Mall | IBTimes, UK

Drug abusers still crave the stimulus AFTER death: Researchers discover mutated protein in deceased addicts persists for more than a week

A protein in the brain is mutated when exposed to a constant supply of drugs. The Medical University of Vienna found it's still detectable after the user dies - suggesting cravings can continue after death | Mail ONline, UK

Hollow shoes, fake drinks cans and child smugglers - Custom control's crazy year in airport

Drug dealers are hiding narcotics in cans of fizzy drink, hollowed-out shoes and stuffed toys in a bid to get their lethal cargo past customs officials | Independent, Ireland

New law to fight drink driving ‘likely’

Transport Minister Shane Ross has said the spike in deaths on Irish roads last year was “calamitous”, and has said dramatic and tough new laws to stamp out drink driving are likely | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Police called to more than 60 drugs-related collapses in one month

Chief Superintendent Chris Noble, revealed the figures - which amount to two call-outs a day - following a previous police warning that the deaths of three people since St Stephen's Day may be linked to drug misuse | Irish News, Ireland

‘Chemsex’ drug raises concern about health and consent

Substances have always been taken to aid sexual pleasure but health can be a casualty | Irish Times, Ireland

Pain relief without the high

Researchers at Leiden University led by Mario van der Stelt (Leiden Institute for Chemistry) have set 'gold standards' for developing new painkillers based on the medicinal effects of cannabis. Publication in Nature Communications | Medical Xpress, USA

This lifesaving drug reverses opioid overdoses, but its skyrocketing cost is putting it out of reach 

Competition is expected to lower a product's price, but that hasn't been the case for naloxone, a lifesaving drug that reverses opioid overdose | CNBC, USA

Liquid nicotine for electronic cigarettes is toxic for kids

A 6-year-old child who accidentally swallowed liquid nicotine intended for her parents' electronic cigarettes required immediate emergency medical treatment that included intubation and an overnight stay in a pediatric intensive care unit | EurekAlert, USA

FDA workshop to examine exploding e-cigarettes

From 2009 to January 2016, the Food and Drug Administration identified 134 US incidents of e-cigarette batteries overheating, catching on fire or exploding | CNN, USA

Fewer see e-cigarettes as less harmful than cigarettes

The perception that e-cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes fell between 2012 and 2014, a sign that fewer people see them as a safe alternative to smoking tobacco, a new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests | Medical Xpress, USA

Gambling Disorder among people in methadone maintenance treatment

People who are in methadone maintenance treatment are at risk for problem gambling.  Importantly, such patients are over 8 times more likely to dropout of methadone treatment and more likely to be using opioids during methadone maintenance treatment | BASIS, USA

Obamacare Withdrawal

Drug addicts could lose access to treatment if the Affordable Care Act is repealed | VICE, USA

Vermont Governor Pardons 192 for Marijuana Convictions

The pardons were limited to people who had no violent criminal histories or convictions for felonies, driving under the influence or reckless driving | NYTimes, USA

Drugs du jour

LSD in the ’60s; ecstasy in the ’80s; ‘smart’ drugs today: how we get high reflects the desires and fears of our times | Aeon, USA

Giving children alcohol doubles their chances of still drinking a year later, a UNSW study of teens and parents finds

Children and teens who are given alcohol by their parents are much more likely to be drinking full serves of alcohol by age 15 or 16, but less likely to binge drink, according to a UNSW study which followed nearly 2,000 children and their parents over four years from Year 7 onwards | NDARC, Australia

Cocaine trafficking to Australia is set to hit record highs this year

Cocaine trafficking to Australia is set to hit a record as police seizures reveal traffickers are targeting local markets with tonnes of the “white gold” which sells for up to $900 a gram in part of the country | News.com.au, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Recovery apps go to the next level

Apps designed to help people recover from dependency on drugs and alcohol have been around for some years now. However, one of the newest, the Breaking Free Companion app which I was given the chance to review over the Christmas holiday is by far the most sophisticated — and useful — that I have seen | Russell Webster, UK

Mary E Black: New Year’s resolution—a smoke-free NHS

My doctor father used to regularly set his trousers on fire. Born in 1924, he started smoking cigarettes as a teenager. He died of a smoking related cancer in 2003. My doctor grandfather served in the Royal Army Medical Corps in the first world war and died, when my father was 14, of smoking related cancer (and possibly some damage from mustard gas). I never met him | BMJ Blog, UK

An unhappy Christmas for UK research: how the law against synthetic cannabinoids might destroy pharmaceutical discovery in the UK

This was their third round of controls against these new hyper-potent recreational cannabis agonist drugs that have taken over many of our prisons and also are wreaking havoc in the homeless population | Drug Science Blog, UK

Kenny MacAskill: Alcohol killed my friend. That's why I support minimum pricing

Like most people I’ve done the walk of shame to the bottle bank. Neighbours were in for the Bells and friends and family on Ne’erday. Significant alcohol was consumed as the debris confirmed | Herald Opinion, UK

Here's why Dry January is terrible and you should stop doing it

We share a mutual contempt for smug people on the internet (and in real life) who proudly boast that they have the ability to forgo alcohol for extended periods of time | Independent, UK

How cannabis prohibition created a monster in UK Prisons

Synthetic Cannabinoids (SCs), commonly referred to by some of the more popular brand names they have been sold under including ‘Spice’, ‘K2’ and ‘Black Mamba’ have – in a very short space of time - overtaken heroin and cannabis to become the most commonly used drugs in UK prisons | Transform Blog, UK

Jean Cocteau: confessions of an opium addict

The multi-talented instigator of the nouvelle vague was, according to Claude Arnaud’s lurid biography, an obsequious, masochistic, insecure opium fiend | Spectator, UK

Regulating cannabis is inevitable. We should talk about getting it right

A legal marijuana market would free up police resources and eliminate a major source of funding for organised crime | Guardian, UK

It's Time To Face The Music On Australia's Flawed Drug Policy

A few changes could make a real difference | Huffington Post Blog, Australia

The summer I spent New Year's Eve in detox

Sipping our green cordial, we watched fireworks explode on a small telly from a couch as weathered as some of my fellow patients' faces. Outside on Richmond's streets, we could hear yahoo-ing | Age, Australia