Daily news - 23rd January 2017

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UK news

Government takes action on county line drug gangs

Drug gangs using mobiles and couriers to deal remotely in rural areas, including coastal and market towns, will have phones shut down, under new plans announced by the Home Secretary | Home Office, UK

Stop smoking services may boost mental health of people with depression

Smokers with depression who successfully quit smoking using stop smoking services may see an improvement in their mental health, according to new research(link is external),* funded by Cancer Research UK and published in Annals of Behavioural Medicine | Cancer Research UK, UK

Investigating causality in associations between smoking initiation and schizophrenia using Mendelian randomization

Smoking is strongly associated with schizophrenia. Although it has been widely assumed that this reflects self-medication, recent studies suggest that smoking may be a risk factor for schizophrenia | Nature, UK

Four in 10 British mothers drink in pregnancy - one of worst rates in Europe 

Four in 10 women British women drink during pregnancy with many young professionals binge-drinking in the first few months because they do not realise they are expecting, experts have warned | Telegraph, UK

Prescribing of controlled drugs by therapeutic radiographers: further advice

This letter from the chair of the ACMD to ministers gives further advice about the prescribing of controlled drugs by therapeutic radiographers | ACMD, UK

Driving under Influence

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the AA, RAC, RAC Foundation, Institute of Advanced Motoring, Police Federation, Fire Brigades Union and Royal College of Emergency Medicine on introducing a lower drink-driving limit in England and Wales as an effective and cost effective way of reducing road deaths; and if he will make a statement | They work for you, UK

The Battle Against Legal Highs - BBC iPlayer

[To be shown on Monday.] The drugs that were known as legal highs have become a global phenomenon | BBC iPlayer, UK

Caught In The Act

May 26th, 2016: The Conservative Government’s long awaited and much-criticised Psychoactive Substances Act finally comes into force, at a stroke outlawing hundreds, if not thousands, of products that had previously been perfectly legal | Volte Face, UK

How Your Casual Drink and Drug Habit Is Affecting Your Life Expectancy

Do you drink too much? I do. Not quite enough to convince me to quit, but enough to treat the recommended weekly unit allowance – 14 units, AKA seven pints, AKA "Thursday" – with a sense of contempt | VICE, UK

Faulty by design. The state of public-service commissioning

How public services are commissioned underpins their success in healthcare, criminal justice, employment services and beyond. In theory, designing contracts for services delivered by third-party providers stokes competition for service delivery, driving down prices and incentivising expert providers to deliver the best services to meet users’ needs | Reform, UK

Drug service expands to Doncaster’s homeless

A drug and alcohol support service in Doncaster is expanding to reach out to the borough’s homeless | Star, UK

Russell Brand Launches New Addict Employment Services At Trews Cafe

Creating a place to turn the lives of ex-drug addicts and prisoners seems like an unlikely space to find a breeding ground for healing the wounds left by events such as Brexit - but according to Russell Brand that’s exactly what could be happening here | Huffington Post, UK

Disgraced former Methodist Minister: I still struggle with drug addiction

The disgraced Methodist Minister and former chairman of the Co-op Bank who was fined for possessing cocaine and other drugs, has admitted he still struggles with addiction | ITV, UK

Tough alcohol licence rules to be eased in Swansea

Tough rules to restrict the number of premises selling alcohol in Swansea city centre are to be eased | BBC, UK


International news

Buying drugs online: Shedding light on the dark web

The drug trade is moving from the street to online cryptomarkets. Forced to compete on price and quality, sellers are upping their game | Economist, UK

A merger is the latest sign of Big Tobacco’s resilience

BAT already owns 42% of Reynolds. Now it is buying the rest | Economist, UK

E-cigarettes actually encouraging youth to smoke, survey suggests

Some advocates believe e-cigarettes are responsible for a decline in youth smoking but a University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) study indicates the opposite could be true | i news, USA

€37.5m cannabis seizure at Dublin Port displayed

Irish police have welcomed the seizure of a €37.5m (£32.4m) cannabis haul at Dublin Port | BBC, UK

The Dublin Drug Policy Summit

The Dublin Drug Policy Summit, organised by the Ana Liffey Drug Project, brought drug policy experts from across the world to Ireland as the country’s government takes significant steps in improving how it deals with illicit drug use | Volte Face, UK

Inauguration: Pro-Marijuana activists hand out 4,200 free joints to Anti-Donald Trump protesters - video

The plan was to make Donald Trump federally legalise cannabis | Independent, UK

Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo'  pleads not guilty in New York

Drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman appeared in a U.S. court on Friday after his surprise extradition from Mexico and pleaded not guilty to charges that he ran the world's largest drug-trafficking organisation during a decades-long criminal career | Telegraph, UK

Police enter Brazil prison after week of gang-fuelled chaos in which 26 died

The unrest was the latest in a spate of violence in the country's penitentiaries, in which at least 126 people have been killed since the beginning of the year. The fighting is typically between members of rival gangs that compete for control of drug trafficking routes outside prison walls | Independent, UK

Hong Kong Lacking Secular Drug Rehabilitation Services

The dominance of Christian-based drug rehabilitation services in Hong Kong has created significant barriers for those seeking treatment | Talking Drugs, UK

One step closer to supervised injecting rooms

Legislation that could pave the way for the opening of supervised injecting rooms for drug users will be brought before the Dáil in the coming weeks, according to a government minister | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Gardaí need ‘balance’ to drug centre

Australian former top cop urges careful planning of injection centre | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Synthetic drugs: How new highs are infiltrating the Irish market

The emergence the U-4 drug, which took the life of Cork teenager Michael Cornacchia earlier this week, has brought the dangers of synthetic drugs to the fore | Journal, Ireland

Gardaí race to get deadly drug off streets

Gardaí are racing to identify the supplier of the potent synthetic drug linked to the death of a teenage boy in a bid to take the highly dangerous chemical off the streets | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Largest cannabis haul in State's history linked to convicted Irish trafficker

Early investigations have pointed gardaí towards two of the country’s most powerful drug trafficking cartels | Journal, Ireland

Drug supply reduction: an overview of EU policies and measures

Illicit drug markets have a global reach. This paper provides an overview of EU policies and responses to the production and trafficking of illicit drugs within the international context. It considers the different strategic areas involved, the EU structures concerned, along with some of the key measures currently being implemented by the EU and its international partners | EMCDDA, Portugal

Marijuana: Is the party over?

One of the many decisions facing President Donald Trump is whether to continue the federal government's hands off policy on marijuana, which has allowed the legal sale of the substance in 27 states | CNN, USA

My Recovery Toolkit

Routine is a powerful recovery tool. How do you start? Write. Upon waking: pick up your pen and write about how you slept, how you feel, your plan for the day | The Fix, USA

Doctors prescribed me pain meds but couldn’t help me get off them

On May 23, 2015, my motorcycle was struck by a careless driver in a large van. My left foot was crushed, the great toe and first metatarsal shattered, while pieces of the first, second, and third metatarsals exploded out through the top and bottom of my foot | Washington Post, USA

Clearing the air around e-cigarettes

Fears that “vaping” is a gateway to tobacco smoking are unfounded, shows a comprehensive review of available evidence on the harms and benefits of electronic or e-cigarettes and vapour devices, released today by University of Victoria’s Centre for Addictions Research of BC (CARBC) in a report called “Clearing the Air.” | University of Victoria, Canada

Health Minister concerned clean drug proposal lacks public support

B.C.’s health minister says he’s willing to study a proposal to prescribe clean injectable drugs — such as heroin and morphine — to people with addictions, but he won’t proceed until there is more public support for the controversial idea | Vancouver Sun, Canada

Study calls for closure of compulsory drug centres

An article to be published in medical journal the Lancet next month concludes that compulsory drug detention centres, such as those used by the Cambodian government, don’t work and recommends for their closure | Phnom Penh Post, Cambodia

Lockout laws softened but mandatory scanning system to identify previous offenders

Pubs and clubs will dodge a 1am lockout but face a new mandatory scanning and banning identification system aimed at blocking drunken thugs | Perth Now, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

The war on drugs

Prohibition laws—which criminalise the production, supply, possession, and use of some drugs for non-medical purposes—cost at least $100bn annually but have failed to curb either supply or demand, reduce addiction, or minimise harm | BMJ, UK

Living With My Mother, The Addict

I have been living with addiction for the past decade. Not my own; my mother's. And as it turns out, my (now ex-) boyfriend’s brother’s, my friend's, an ex-colleague’s, another friend's boss... the list goes on | Refinery29, UK

Should I abandon my son to my alcoholic husband?

A woman, whose son protects her from her abusive husband, wonders if she should leave without a trace. Mariella Frostrup responds | Guardian, UK

Latest on European drug markets

Earlier this month (11 January 2017) the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) published an online postersummarising  the second comprehensive overview of illicit drug markets in the European Union undertaken in partnership with Europol | Russell Webster, UK

Debate: We need to tell pregnant women not to drink alcohol

Although it’s accepted that binge-drinking poses significant risks to a foetus, health professionals and the public are divided on the effects of an occasional drink after 12 weeks | Journal, Ireland

Drug Prohibition Is Killing Young Australians

We need to make it as safe as possible for when our kids experiment | Huffington Post Blog, Australia

The real killer in our nightclubs: dumb drug laws

Brandon Cook shares an insider's understanding of why our drug laws are wrong | Age, Australia

It’s Time to get Serious about opening more Drug Consumption Rooms

Rose Brennan recently argued in the Daily Telegraph that support is growing in NSW for the establishment of additional Drug Consumption Rooms. She made it clear that this soaring support is not just coming from ‘the usual suspects’. | AOD Media Watch, Australia

Phil Gifford: Booze adverts will become a thing of the past

The divorce between sport and alcohol funding is inevitable.  But, like a lot of divorces, it won't happen without lawyers, time, heat, outrage, and wild statements | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand