Daily news - 1st June 2017

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UK news

UK councils under pressure over £1bn of tobacco investments

Major investors set example to local authorities with commitment to selling shares in cigarette makers | BBC, UK

World must stop investing in tobacco say fund managers in charge of $3.8 trillion

'We in the investment community are becoming increasingly aware of the important role we can play in helping to address the health and societal impacts of tobacco', group says | Independent, UK

Why is cocaine so strong at the moment... and where's it all coming from? 

The changing political landscape in Colombia means coke in the UK is stronger, and cheaper, than many users can remember | MixMag, UK

Could cannabis help crack cocaine addicts kick the habit?

Components of cannabis might help those addicted to crack cocaine to quit. Such people may find it easier to curb their usage or give up entirely when they take some form of cannabis, suggests a small study that builds on similar results from research in rodents | New Scientist, UK

UK General Election 2017: Drug Policies of the Main Parties

As the UK’s General Election looms, we take a look at manifesto pledges and public statements relating to drug policy that have been put forward by the main political parties in England, Scotland, and Wales | Talking Drugs, UK

Recreational drugs market should be managed by 'governments not gangsters', says expert

Steve Rolles argues the war on drugs has been a ‘spectacular failure’ and has led to ‘the most rapid expansion of drug use in human history’. His solution? Licensed high street venues... | Independent, UK

Spice podcast

Latest podcast | National Addiction Centre at King’s College London, UK

Wilkinson and Kypri on alcohol availability policies

Podcast | IAS, UK

Acute memory and psychotomimetic effects of cannabis and tobacco both ‘joint’ and individually: a placebo-controlled trial

Cannabis and tobacco have contrasting cognitive effects. Smoking cannabis with tobacco is prevalent in many countries and although this may well influence cognitive and mental health outcomes, the possibility has rarely been investigated in human experimental psychopharmacological research | Psychological Medicine, UK

Good News for People Who Smoke Their Weed with Tobacco

Smoking weed with tobacco doesn't improve the high, according to new research conducted by UCL and running counter to the long-held stoner myth that a drop of baccy will somehow magnify the effects of the cannabis. However, it's not all bad news: the study found that the combination may actually reduce the damaging effects cannabis can have on memory | VICE, UK

Update on the London Chemsex Network

In January 2017 London Friend invited representatives of London-based drug treatment services to a scoping meeting with a view to establishing a Chemsex Network across agencies | London Friend, UK

Northumbria academic receives prestigious international award for alcohol research

A Northumbria University, Newcastle, academic, whose research has had a major impact on public health policies around the world, has received a prestigious award for his contribution to alcohol studies | Northumbria University Newcastle, UK

Cocaine dealer who posed with wads of fake cash to look rich jailed for three years

Drug dealer Justin Bruney, 22, from Barking, east London, was jailed after being arrested in Tadworth, Surrey | IBTimes, UK

Royal Navy Frigate In £65m Drugs Bust

A Royal Navy frigate has seized £65m worth of heroin and cannabis from a vessel in the Indian Ocean | Forces News, UK

Parents' phone addiction may lead to child behavioural problems

"Is our smartphone addiction damaging our children?," The Guardian asks, after publication of a recent study into "technoference" – when people switch their attention away from others to check their phone or tablet | NHS Choices: Behind the headlines, UK

What happened to Robert the smoking robot?

More than 80 years ago, a robot could be found in the unlikely surroundings of Kettering, directing traffic and smoking a cigarette | BBC, UK


International news

Girls who go to private schools are more likely to have problems with alcohol and drugs 

Girls who go to private schools are three times more likely to suffer from alcohol and drug problems than other young women later in life, an American study has suggested | Telegraph, UK

Mapped: The countries that smoke the most cigarettes

To mark World No-Tobacco Day, we’ve mapped the planet according to cigarette consumption | Telegraph, UK

Fewer Australian teens smoking and drinking alcohol, study shows

Ninety-eight per cent of teenagers have never smoked, according to the 2016 national drug strategy household survey [See full report and more coverage at the end of this section] | Guardian, UK

Child smartphone addiction growing, says German drug agency

Study of 6,000 children links phone dependency to health and behavioural problems | Irish Times, Ireland

Alcohol behind spike in people presenting to A and E after self-harm on St Patrick's Day and other public holidays

Alcohol is behind a spike in people presenting to A and E with self-harm injuries on public holidays, with St Patrick's Day showing the highest numbers of hospitalisations, new research suggests | Independent, Ireland

Sharp rise in Irish smokers rolling their own cigarettes

False belief that ‘rollies’ are healthier alternative to pre-rolled cigarettes behind increas | Irish Times, Ireland

European Questionnaire on Drug Use among Prisoners (EQDP) and Methodological guidelines

This is the final version of the questionnaire on drug use among prisoners at European level. The questionnaire is the results of several years of work in the field of drugs and prison, which has included the agreement on a methodological framework or monitoring drug and prison in Europe, the analysis of existing questionnaires and a discussion among high level experts from several European countries and international organizations | EMCDDA, Portugal

The addicts next door

West Virginia has the highest overdose death rate in the country. Locals are fighting to save their neighbors—and their towns—from destruction | New Yorker, USA

Young adult substance abuse down 42 percent among PROSPER program participants

Benefits of middle school prevention program extend into emerging adulthood, according to long-term study | Science Daily, USA

Kids in high-achieving schools: Addiction down the road?

They have what most would want - affluent upwardly mobile parents, living in comfortable homes in the suburbs, going to an elite high school and being groomed for the nation's best colleges. And they appear to thrive in this setting - popular among their peers, performing exceedingly well in school, highly regarded by peers and teachers, and accomplished at a various extracurricular activities | Medical Xpress, USA

Organic compound found in red wine boosts the body's ability to fight drug-resistant tuberculosis

An organic compound found in grape skins can stimulate the mouse immune system to fight even the most persistent tuberculosis strains. Such immune-based therapies, commonly used to treat cancer, could be the only hope against the spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis, says Amit Singhal, who led the study at the A*STAR Singapore Immunology Network | Medical Xpress, USA

Oxytocin reduces cravings for methamphetamine

Many people have suggested that addiction hijacks the body's natural drives in the service of compulsive drug use. A new study now suggests that hijacking another natural system in the brain may help overcome drug addiction | Medical Xpress, USA

The DRAM, Vol. 13 (6) -- Leave no one behind: Understanding problem drinking among veterans

Reports by journalists as well as research studies have taught us that American veterans returning home after their service often find it difficult to transition back to civilian life | BASIS, USA

Growing pot industry offers breaks to entice minorities

Andre Shavers was sentenced to five years on felony probation after authorities burst into the house where he was living in one of Oakland's most heavily policed neighborhoods and found a quarter ounce of marijuana | Medical Xpress, USA

Ohio Sues 5 Major Drug Companies For 'Fueling Opioid Epidemic'

The state of Ohio has sued five major drug manufacturers for their role in the opioid epidemic. In the lawsuit filed Wednesday, state Attorney General Mike DeWine alleges these five companies "helped unleash a health care crisis that has had far-reaching financial, social, and deadly consequences in the State of Ohio." | npr, USA

Research suggests strokes may cause increased preference for alcohol

Brain changes after stroke may lead to increase in alcohol-seeking behavior, at least in animal models, according to research published Wednesday in the journal Scientific Reports | Medical Xpress, USA

A tool to protect police dogs in drug raids from overdosing 

Police dogs simply follow their noses to sniff out narcotics. But inhaling powerful opioids can be deadly, so officers have a new tool to protect their four-legged partners: naloxone, a drug that has already been used for years to reverse overdoses in humans | Associated Press, USA

National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) 2016 key findings

The 2016 NDSHS show that younger people (aged under 30) were smoking less, drinking less and using fewer illicit drugs in 2016 than in 2001. However, for people in their 40s, 50s and 60s, there was little to no change in drug usage behaviours over this period but their use of some drugs has increased between 2013 and 2016. Media Release | AIHW, Australia

National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) 2016 key findings

Key findings from the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) show that young people are continuing to drink and smoke less, while risky drinking increased among people in their 50s and 60s | NDARC, Australia

ADF newsletter

The new ADF newsletter will continue to provide opinion pieces, investigate emerging alcohol and other drug trends, and keep you up-to-date on our partners’ activities and projects | ADF, Australia

Drug Testing Of Welfare Clients Found Only Tiny Number Of Users In The U.S.

It could be a costly, and ineffectual, program | Huffington Post, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Women, addiction and crime: what works? #WomenAndDrugs

Some of the country’s leading experts on mental health and substance abuse will gather at the University of York tomorrow to “end the silence” surrounding women and addiction. We’ll be taking this #WomenAndDrugs event #BeyondTheRoom and I’m delighted to be publishing two relevant blogs, one today and the other tomorrow. Here’s the first from regular elf blogger Ian Hamilton | Mental Elf Blog, UK

Growing use of smart drugs by students could be a recipe for disaster

It’s that time of year again. The blossom is on the trees, and university libraries and reading rooms are heaving with students poring over laptops, textbooks and stacks of notes – exam season is here | Conversation, UK

Glasgow Science Festival: TXTual Health?

How might texting help men reduce their binge drinking? How can social media improve sexual health among young people? How can webcam technology help parents bond with sick or premature babies admitted to special care baby units? These are some of the issues being explored at Glasgow Science Festival this year, with a special event led by Glasgow Caledonian University researchers | Glasgow Science Festival, UK

Some reflections on World No Tobacco Day

Today is the WHO’s World No Tobacco Day, a day set aside as a tribute to the seven million people killed each year by tobacco and a call to action to governments to halt this deadly epidemic | Medium Blog, UK

The prohibitionists have nicotine in their cross-hairs

After caffeine and alcohol, nicotine is the third most popular drug globally.  Smoking does a great deal of harm to health - six million and rising premature deaths annually and a huge burden of morbidity. However, the drug nicotine itself is not the source of the great harms that arise from smoking. The damage is done by the products of tobacco combustion, the smoke particles and toxic gases that deliver the nicotine deep into the lungs | Transform Blog, UK

The opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it's connection

One of Johann Hari’s earliest memories is trying to wake one of his relatives and not being able to. As a child, he didn’t know why, but as he grew up, Hari realised addiction was in his family | Virgin Blog, UK

Gov. Walker Would Drug Test the Poor 

As he prepares to run for a third term, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, ever the devotee of low-road, right-wing politicking, is hoping the Trump administration will allow his state to be the first in the nation to mandate the drug screening of childless individuals who apply for Medicaid | NYTimes, USA

Move over Hippocrates: Harm reduction as the new paradigm for health care

The concept of “First, do no harm,” which is embedded in the oath that kicks off the careers of most new doctors in America, has become something of a surrogate for the practice of medicine. But it’s something of a false promise. Doctors routinely cause their patients harm. The oath we should be taking is, “Help others with as little harm as possible.” | STAT news, USA

Everyone agrees ‘driving while high’ is bad. But what does that even mean?

While several states have legalized using marijuana, nobody is in favor of driving under its influence. But as states crack down on high driving, they're struggling to figure out what counts as driving high, and how they can reliably test for it | Washington Post Blog, USA

Three charts on: Australia’s changing drug and alcohol habits

Australians are using less alcohol, tobacco and other drugs than they did a decade ago, new results from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) National Drug Strategy Household Survey show | Conversation, Australia