Daily news - 16th January 2017

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UK news

Fake valium 'cheaper than chips', warns drug expert

Fake valium tablets are now so freely available across Scotland they have become "cheaper than chips", a drug expert has warned | BBC, UK

NHS patient caught selling his drugs in undercover film

A patient has been caught in an undercover BBC film illegally selling prescription drugs which cost the NHS £10,000 a year | BBC, UK

Patients on antidepressants for 50 per cent longer than in 1990s

The average patient now takes antidepressants for 50 per cent longer than they did in the 1990s with some staying on pills for decades, a new study has shown | Telegraph, UK

It’s magic: prevent substance use problems without mentioning drugs

Hot topic documenting the increasingly accepted realisation that youth
programmes focusing on drugs are not necessarily the best way to prevent problem use. Addressing underlying vulnerabilities and structural
influences has growing research support | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Functional Benefits of (Modest) Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol use has a long and ubiquitous history. Despite considerable research on the misuse of alcohol, no one has ever asked why it might have become universally adopted, although the conventional view assumes that its only benefit is hedonic | Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, UK

Hundreds of British soldiers busted for taking drugs including cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy in one year

Squaddies have been sacked or are facing disciplinary action after huge rise in substance abuse | Sun, UK [See also this recent MOJ FOI request]

Five people in hospital after 'taking prescription drugs and alcohol'

Three men and two women said to be stable after falling ill at sheltered housing unit in Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire | Guardian, UK

Deaths Linked To Chemsex Drug GHB Have Risen By 119% In One Year

As a new study into GHB-related deaths in London reveals a dramatic increase, toxicologists call for radical action to stop more young men fatally overdosing | BuzzFeed, UK

A Harm Reduction Expert Explains What Fabric's New Drug Policies Could Mean for the Safety of Clubgoers

The global dance music community breathed a collective sigh of relief last weekend when the doors of London's storied club, fabric, reopened after its license was revoked at the end of last year following two drug-related deaths at the venue | Thump, UK

The average Brit could pay off their mortgage 10 years early by abstaining from alcohol and cigarettes

The average British person could pay off their mortgage ten years early if they abstained from alcohol and cigarettes, according to research from estate agents eMoov | Business Insider, UK

Drink Driving

In the Scottish Parliament on 12th January 2017 | They Work for You, UK

Lawyer warns male students to think twice before having sex with drunken women

Male students should not risk having sex with girls who have been drinking heavily for fear they could end up being accused of rape, a leading female barrister has warned | Telegraph, UK

The Acid Test

Call LSD ‘neurotoxic’ in a psychedelic community and see how far that gets you. You’ll probably evoke some laughter, maybe some scorn, but not much else | Volte Face, UK

Medicinal Cannabis Under The Microscope

An extensive study by the US government evaluating the medical properties of cannabis has just been published | Volte Face, UK

Hepatitis C patient's agonising wait for drug treatment

Thirty-three-year-old Ben Franklin from London was diagnosed with Hepatitis C nine months ago. The virus can cause life-threatening liver damage | BBC, UK

Bookmakers face losing their licence and huge fines over problem gambling

Regulator to introduce tougher punishment for firms breaking rules governing responsible betting | Guardian, UK

NIHR Global Health Research

Applications will be invited for institutions to establish National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Global Health Research Units and Groups which can deliver measurable benefits to patients and the public in low and middle income countries (LMICs) | NIHR, UK

I Interviewed My Dad About His Career as an LSD Trafficker

One day in 1988, border police stopped my father at the French crossing into Belgium. My dad rolled down the window of his dark grey Volvo and two officers asked him for his papers | VICE, UK

Oxford company admits selling dangerous 'legal highs'

A director whose company sold so-called legal highs has pleaded guilty to selling dangerous products | BBC, UK

Ballymena court: James Kennedy, 25, from Liverpool remanded over £300,000 drugs haul

A man from Liverpool has been remanded in custody charged in connection with the seizure of £300,000 worth of herbal cannabis | BBC, UK


International news

Sark Vineyards closes in face of alcohol tax 'attack'

The owners of the only vineyard in Sark have announced they are closing the business | BBC, UK

HIV infections in Russia reach record-high and account for almost two-thirds of new cases in Europe

UK had third highest number of new HIV infections in 2015 | Independent, UK

Beer sales don't take a hit from marijuana legalisation, study finds

Research suggests cannabis legalisation linked to rise in drinking rather than users substituting Budweiser for bud-smoking | Guardian, UK

A second chance at life: meet Angie Jenkins, pardoned by Obama after 18 years in prison

Jenkins was set free 12 years early on a 30-year sentence, her commutation one of a historic number issued by Barack Obama. Her story is typical of America’s ‘war on drugs’, and the failed policies that imprisoned millions | Guardian, UK

Three dead after overdosing on 'bad batch' of ecstasy in Melbourne, court told

Police fear the MDMA tablets are still being sold after 20 who bought the drug in Chapel Street nightclubs taken to hospital | Guardian, UK

Doctors lobby group would welcome Arthur Sinodinos as health minister

Australian Medical Association says it’s ‘not playing favourites’ amid speculation Sinodinos will replace Sussan Ley | Guardian, UK

Fighting fire with fire: The drug that can block addiction

“It’s rare not to have a traumatic experience when you’re dependant on a substance.” | Journal, Ireland

One in five of north's road deaths caused by drugs or alcohol

More than 160 people died between 2006 and 2015 in road crashes linked to drugs and alcohol, statistics compiled by the PSNI show | Irish Times, Ireland

These Are the World’s Cheapest Places to Buy Drugs, Alcohol and Cigarettes

Indulging in a weekly habit of drugs, booze and cigarettes can cost you as little as $41.40 in Laos and a whopping $1,441.50 in Japan, according to the Bloomberg Vice Index | Bloomberg, USA

Seeing vape pen use boosts desire to smoke among young adults

Although they look less like cigarettes than first-generation e-cigarettes, a new study found that the newer generation e-cigarette vape pens (also known as vaporizers) stimulate the urge to smoke as powerfully as watching someone smoke a “combustible” tobacco cigarette | Science Life, USA

Problem drinking in older adults

Older adults suffering from multiple chronic health conditions and depression are nearly five times as likely to be problem drinkers as older adults with the same conditions and no depression | Science Daily, USA

Decreasing cocaine use leads to regression of coronary artery disease

People who use cocaine regularly are at high risk of coronary artery disease. A study now reports that stopping or reducing cocaine use can potentially reverse the process of coronary atherosclerosis | Science Daily, USA

Scientists reveal non-addictive pathway to pain relief

OHSU research suggests an avenue for developing treatments for chronic pain that harness the medicinal properties of cannabis while minimizing the threat of addiction | EurekAlert, USA

I’m a doctor who wants to treat addiction, but the rules won’t let me 

Mr. B undid his arm bandages and revealed two large, gaping wounds where he injected his heroin. He lay back in his hospital bed, looked up at the ceiling and said with a quivering voice, “I can’t inject into my veins anymore because they are all shot. I know I have a problem, Doctor. I’ve been trying to quit, but it’s so hard.” | Washington Post, USA

Philippines' Duterte says he may impose martial law if drug problem 'virulent'

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he would impose martial law if the drug problem became "very virulent", just a month after dismissing as "nonsense" any suggestion he might do so | Reuters, USA

Three people die from drug overdoses in Melbourne after 20 hospitalised, court told

Three people have died and more than 20 were taken to hospital in Melbourne over the weekend due to suspected overdoses of the drug MDMA, police have told the Melbourne Magistrates Court | abc.net.au, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Substance misuse services in prisons - “Shouldn’t compassion be a key guiding principle?

“Shouldn’t compassion be a key guiding principle?” | Clinks Blog, UK

Employing former alcohol addicts – too risky?

Only 16% of employers would hire someone who’s had an alcohol problem, according to a Drink Wise, Age Well report on older adults and the labour market. Shocking? Sadly, not really as it’s all part of a much larger problem of the stigma attached to addiction | Drink Wise Age Well Blog, UK

Drug policy developments of 2016

Published on 298 December 2016, the interactive map reproduced below enables anyone to explore some of this year’s most significant developments in international drug policy | Russell Webster, UK

How to avoid temptation during dry January

Are social pressure, awkward gaps in conversations and a dread of sober dancing weakening your resolve to cut out the booze? Fear not | Guardian Opinion, UK

The Brink Encourages the North West to go dry for January

The Brink is encouraging the North West to cut down on alcohol consumption to coincide with Alcohol Concern’s Dry January initiative | Acton on Addiction blog, UK

Called to the bar? No thanks

Beer is foul and pub culture is irredeemably dull... I’m just glad that it’s not my round | Guardian Opinion, UK

What Britain can learn from Europe about changing UK Drug laws

In 2015 there were a record 2,479 drug-related deaths in England and Wales, up 10% from 2014, and our drug laws wilfully ignore the socio-economic and personal realities that inform both recreational and problematic drug use | New European, UK

From preventable deaths to pills that kill

The Sunday Mail Exclusive “The Pills that Kill” suggests the response to the latest overdose of a young people who consumed a substance sold to them as MDMA involve improving education and greater collaboration of law enforcement agencies, while encouraging the public to “tell us who these pushers are.” | QNADA, Australia

Time for New Zealand to ban alcohol sponsorship in sport

New research published today outlines the prevalence of alcohol promotion in New Zealand television broadcasts of international sporting events – prompting calls for the government to ban alcohol sponsorship in sport and end the 31-year alliance between the All Blacks and beer brand Steinlager | Drink Tank, New Zealand

Is the Ministry of Health acting outside the law on medical cannabis?

The key barrier to the use of medical cannabis – or to even discovering what its uses might be – has long been marijuana’s illegality under the Misuse of Drugs Act. But what if it transpired that a key component of cannabis is not, and has never been, controlled by the act? | Public address, New Zealand