Daily news - 24th January 2017

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UK news

The brains of alcohol dependents and binge drinkers may recover differently

Cells that clear damage in the brain are less active in alcohol-dependent patients after withdrawal than in models of adolescent binge-drinking | Imperial College, UK

The number of deaths in Wales involving cocaine has reached its highest level in two decades

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed there were 10 deaths related to the drug in Wales in 2015 | Wales Online, UK

Eye on Wales: Hepatitis C

Kayley Thomas hears about a man in Cardiff who helps people around the globe get affordable hepatitis C medicines | BBC Radio iPlayer, UK

Just what the doctor ordered

Social prescribing – a guide for local authorities | Local Gov Association, UK

Politicians call for watershed on alcohol TV ads to protect kids

The campaign comes amid soaring hospital admissions for alcohol-related illnesses and emergencies | Manchester Evening News, UK

The Psychoactive Substances Act Is Mostly Helping London Police Arrest NOS Sellers

Data obtained by VICE under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that 71 percent of arrests since the bill came in were for nitrous oxide offences | VICE, 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

Playing By The Rules

From cartel massacres in Juarez to London turf war stabbings, the buying and selling of illegal drugs is accompanied by violence. This, or course, has nothing to do with the drugs themselves, and everything to do with their illegality | Volte Face, UK

Open Mic Night at the Recovery Academy

An Open Mic Night for and by the Leeds recovery community | Forward Recovery, UK

Drugs ring jailed for more than 30 years

Five members of a drugs ring have been jailed for more than 30 years following a crackdown on dealers operating from a Wolverhampton street | ITV, UK

Wine experts are putting salt in their glasses to improve the flavour

It will instantly transform your cheap bottle of plonk | Independent, UK


International news

E-Cigarettes may lure teens who otherwise might not smoke

E-cigarettes aren’t tied to a decline in teen smoking and the devices may actually entice some youth who are unlikely to try traditional cigarettes, a U.S. study suggests | Reuters, UK

Legal Loophole Allowing for Low-THC Cannabis Sale in Switzerland

A legal form of cannabis, C-Pure, is being bought, sold, and consumed in Switzerland due to an inadvertent legislative loophole – throwing into question the wider ability and purpose of policing cannabis | Talking Drugs, UK

Georgia eases draconian law on cannabis use in landmark ruling

Campaigners welcome relaxation of rules on possession but face stiff opposition on efforts to overhaul country’s drugs policy | Guardian, UK

Five-year-old Sydney girl dies from suspected methadone overdose

Girl’s grandfather found her unconscious at her Quakers Hill home, where there were vials of methadone, say police | Guardian, UK

Irish police put massive cannabis find on display

Police and the Republic's revenue service have put herbal cannabis worth 37.5m euros (£32m), seized at Dublin Port on Friday, on display | BBC, UK

Synthetic drugs: How new highs are infiltrating the Irish market

Irish people are some of the biggest consumers of synthetic drugs in Europe | Journal, Ireland

Opportunities for addiction care and HIV prevention in Russia

Opioid agonist therapy using methadone is regarded as one of the most effective treatments for opioid use disorders as well as helping to reduce HIV risks. Such therapy, however, is not yet available in Russia | Medical Xpress, USA

Potential way to reduce drug cravings: Vagus nerve stimulation therapy

A new preclinical study shows that vagus nerve stimulation therapy might have the potential to help people overcome drug addiction by helping them learn new behaviors to replace those associated with seeking drugs | Science Daily, USA

Nicotine normalizes brain activity deficits that are key to schizophrenia

A steady stream of nicotine normalizes genetically-induced impairments in brain activity associated with schizophrenia, according to new research involving the University of Colorado Boulder. The finding sheds light on what causes the disease and why those who have it tend to smoke heavily | Medical Xpress, USA

Colorado moves to crack down on black-market pot ads online

Weed on Craigslist? It is widely for sale in Colorado, but legislation moving through the state Legislature aims to crack down on those who sell marijuana illegally using online ads | Medical Xpress, USA

Texas Teacher Shouldn’t Be Punished for Marijuana Use in Colorado, Judge Says

A Texas high school teacher can use marijuana in Colorado… | NYTimes, USA

Smokers unleash harms on their pets

Pets are also at risk from cigarette smoke residue that gets on skin, clothes, carpets, furniture and other household items, dubbed "thirdhand" smoke, according to the agency | Medical Xpress, USA

Gangs less involved in cannabis compared with other drugs: Statscan

Canada’s organized crime groups and gangs are much less likely to produce and traffic marijuana than they are other illicit drugs such as cocaine and crystal methamphetamine, according to a new federal study that tracked drug violations from police forces in four cities across three provinces | Globe and Mail, Canada

Doctors Have No Idea What To Do With Medicinal Cannabis In Australia

The complicated process that leads to medicinal cannabis prescription has both doctors and patients scratching their heads | BuzzFeed, USA

The EU to hire hackets to stop dark net drug trafficking

Alexis Goosdeel, chief of The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), announced a new approach to fighting darknet drug sales | Deep.dot.web, Australia

Queensland To Scrap 1am Lockout, After Report Finds No Noticeable Drop In Assaults

ID scanners will be introduced to 'safe night precincts' instead | Huffington Post, Australia

Sydney's last drinks and lockout laws are working

A softening of Sydney's lockout laws risks a return to the horrendous rates of violence that plagued Kings Cross in the early hours | Age, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Nicotine in the news

Previously I mentioned the harm reduction battle cross-over between drugs and e-cigarettes: reports in the news this year highlight another connection – how scientists, clinicians and the media can mislead the general public | NSP Blog, UK

Tobacco elimination: an economic and public health imperative

Last week, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the US National Institutes of Health, in collaboration with WHO, released The Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control—the 21st volume in a series of monographs on tobacco control produced from the NCI | Lancet editorial, UK

Protecting our children from harm while they play 

Tottering round in mum’s far too big heels, sneaking into the make-up drawer to paint your face, rummaging around in the tool box to play ‘fix it’, chattering into any inanimate object to take that important ‘call’,  pestering to ‘drive’ the car and wanting to ‘help’ with the dishes | Ash Scotland Blog, UK

A word from the Editor: One year alcohol-free and I’m much happier

It was exactly one year ago that I decided to give up drinking alcohol. Since then, I am very happy to say, I haven’t had as much as a sip | Sunday Express, UK

U-47700 death: 'As we pretend that policing drugs deters users, we can expect more harm, more deaths'

Our drug policy isn’t working and it’s time to embrace a more rational and open approach, writes Dr Garrett McGovern | Journal Opinion, Ireland