Daily news - 10th March 2017

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UK news

Advisory Panel on Substance Misuse (APoSM) A Report on: Substance Misuse in an Ageing Population

A new Report into substance misuse among adults over 50 years old has been welcomed by Minister for Social Services and Public Health, Rebecca Evans | Welsh Government, UK

The Advisory Panel on Substance Misuse (APoSM)

This independent expert panel advises ministers on substance misuse related matters | Welsh Government, UK

Budget 2017: alcohol duty to rise with inflation & consultation on white cider

The Chancellor's spring budget announced duty across all alcohol categories is to rise in line with inflation, also announcing a consultation on a new rate for cider under 7.5% ABV in view of high strength white ciders. A potential duty change for still wine between 5.5% and 8.5% ABV will also be included in the consultation, though the rationale is less clear | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Why Women Take Fewer Drugs Than Men

The gender drug divide is actually widening; women are now less likely than men to have taken drugs than they were in 1996 | VICE, UK

Gay and bisexual men are being offered an innovative new online service

Friday/Monday has been launched by leading LGBT charities Terrence Higgins Trust and London Friend as the first online counselling service for gay and bi men, offering digital support groups and virtual one-one counselling | Attitude, UK 

Homeless blighted by 'legal high' Spice which sells for as little as £5 a gram

Since the ban on `legal highs' came into force last year, the emergency services in Manchester have recorded a drop in calls related to the drugs | ITV, UK

Why I exposed the drug 'zombies' of Wrexham bus station

Over the past two years, bus driver Gavin Rodda has watched helplessly as “zombies” have slowly taken over his place of work | Telegraph, UK

Licensed Premises

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to encourage the sale of more low-alcohol or non-alcoholic drinks in licensed venues; and what assessment they have made of the potential health benefits of such a policy | They work for you, UK

Prison smoking ban blamed for rise in assaults and vandalism

Report by the Independent Monitoring Board blames tobacco withdrawal amongst inmates for a series of incidents | Mirror, UK

Is Smoking Weed Effectively Legal Now? - podcast

Some police forces have stopped prosecuting people for possessing small amounts of cannabis, instead diverting them into government programmes if they're caught. Does that mean weed is basically legal now? We hear from the police, weed smokers and people who've got caught to find out the legal status of weed in the UK | VICE, UK

Drug testing and harm reduction, an altruistic approach to drug education

Illicit substances or illegal drugs operate in a peculiar area of our collective cultural zeitgeist here in Britain, from cannabis to cocaine to MDMA no one takes drugs quite like the British | ICOV, UK

Why I bought my daughter heroin

What would you do if your child was a heroin addict suffering from acute withdrawal symptoms - disintegrating in front of your eyes - while waiting for rehab treatment to start? One mother from a village in the south-west of England describes how she ended up driving her daughter to town, and paying for her to get a fix | BBC, UK

Dumfries and Galloway early drink and drug intervention urged

A report has suggested dozens of teenage boys across Dumfries and Galloway could be taking drugs "most days of the week" | BBC, UK

How Plymouth alcoholic Army veteran John Manuel fought back - video

John Manuel, who quit the Army and ended up a homeless alcoholic, tells how he is rebuilding his life | BBC, UK

Alcohol deaths increase exponentially

Concerns have been raised over the rapid rise of alcohol related deaths in Aberdeenshire over the last year | Press and Journal, UK

Prescription drugs probe into boy's death in Fife

Police are looking into whether the death of a 14-year-old boy in Fife was linked to prescription drugs circulating at local schools, it is understood | BBC, UK

Police seize £2,000 of "legal highs" in Newcastle raids

Nine people have now been charged after officers raided two addresses in Newcastle linked to the supply of the substances and other Class A drugs following a six-month operation to gather intelligence | Northern Echo, UK

Drug trafficker jailed for prison drone smuggling bid

A drug trafficker who tried to smuggle heroin into an Edinburgh prison by flying a drone over a built-up area has been jailed for more than five years | BBC, UK

Dutch canal victim 'rolled into water' while drunk

A British man whose body was found in a canal in Amsterdam died after he rolled into the water while drunk and having taken drugs | BBC, UK


International news

Cannabis boosts risk of stroke and heart attack, independent of tobacco, new study finds

Cannabis itself is harmful to cardiovascular health and increases the chance of early death regardless of related factors such as smoking tobacco, new research reveals | Telegraph, UK

Can this man successfully treat opioid addiction with marijuana?

When Joe Schrank got the call six years ago that his friend Greg Giraldo had been found unconscious after an overdose in a New Jersey hotel room, he was not surprised. Giraldo, a comedian, had cycled through the addiction loop for years, and Schrank had tried in vain to save him | Guardian, UK

Epilepsy patients turning to medicinal cannabis, survey shows

Study reports 14% of people with epilepsy used cannabis products to manage condition, with large majority reporting improvements | Guardian, UK

Played accused of drug dealing out of Champions League tie

Mauritius international Joseph Leopold has not been allowed to travel to Sudan for an African Champions League fixture because of drug trafficking charges | BBC, UK

Scientists complain that the marijuana they get from the US government for medical research is moldy and weak

There is one source of marijuana for clinical researchers in the US. Ironically, it belongs to the federal government, which classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance with no medical use and high potential for abuse | Quartz, USA

What’s Life Like for Women Who Use Drugs in Indonesia? It’s Time We Asked Them

In 2005, Merry Christina and her boyfriend were arrested while injecting heroin in the backstreets of a South Jakarta slum. Over the following four days, Christina was drugged, blindfolded, and gang-raped repeatedly by police officers, while her boyfriend was beaten and tortured in a separate cell. To secure her freedom, the police demanded Rp 95 million ($7,500)—a bribe equivalent to four years of her salary| Talking Drugs, UK

Views on Alcohol and Drug Related Issues: Findings from the October 2016 Northern Ireland Omnibus Survey (PDF)

This bulletin draws on findings from the October 2016 Northern Ireland Omnibus Survey and updates the findings of September 2015. Respondents were asked a number of questions on their views on alcohol and drug related issues. The findings provide information to assist in measuring progress with two Northern Ireland Executive strategies: (i) Building Safer, Shared and Confident Communities – A Community Safety Strategy for Northern Ireland 2012-2017 and (ii) the New Strategic Direction for Alcohol and Drugs Phase 2 2011-2016 | Deparartment of Justice, Ireland

Euro-DEN Plus network expands reach by welcoming eight new centres

Data from hospital emergency departments show that every year in Europe thousands of individuals experience drug-related toxicity and other harms, resulting in emergency presentations to hospital | EMCDDA, Portugal

Prescription heroin as medicine

Video | NYTimes, USA

Overhaul of US drug policy is long overdue, expert says

A new report from the Office of the Surgeon General, "Facing Addiction in America," suggests that an overhaul of U.S. drug policy is long overdue, according to a new issue brief from a drug policy expert at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy | Medical Xpress, USA

Opioid distributors sued by West Virginia counties hit by drug crisis

A new legal front is opening in the war against the nation’s opioid crisis as attorneys begin to pursue major corporations that distribute prescription painkillers. They are seeking billions of dollars in reimbursements for the devastation the drugs have caused in communities across the country | Washington Post, USA

Study: Black people more likely to be wrongfully convicted

All Marvin Anderson ever wanted to be was a firefighter. Instead, at 18 years old, he was wrongfully convicted of rape, sodomy, abduction and robbery | CNN, USA

You Have Rights When You're at The Club—Know Them

In our Dancing vs. The State series, THUMP explores nightlife's complicated relationship to law enforcement, past and present | THUMP< USA

The Deeply Unchill Things That Happened When I Tried to Quit Weed

When I realized my weed use was completely out of control, I had to ask myself some hard questions. Will I ever be able to smoke again? Is life—God forbid—better sober? And what if "Shark Tank" isn't actually good? | Broadly, USA

Cannabis use in people with epilepsy revealed: Australian survey

People with epilepsy resort to cannabis products when anti-epileptic drug side-effects are intolerable and epilepsy uncontrolled | EurekAlert, USA

Number of controlled drug prescriptions, mostly opioids, fall 25 per cent in ACT since monitoring system upgrade

The number of prescriptions being issued for 'controlled drugs' in the ACT, mainly opioid painkillers, has fallen some 25 per cent - or about 500 a month | Age, Australia

All police cars to be ‘drug buses’

There was a massive spike in the number of people being charged with possessing the drug ice between September 2014 and September 2015, and now all police cars will carry drug-testing kits | Daily telegraph, Australia

Herald Sun: Alarm at record number of drug-drive deaths on Victorian roads

Testing for illicit substances is being ramped up over the Labour Day long weekend which is notorious for drugged-up motorists. Last year one in nine of those tested returned a positive result | VAADA, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Taking the lead from Wales

Our colleagues in Wales, have for some time, demonstrated a strong commitment to responding to substance misuse in an ageing population | Drink Wise Age Well, UK

New Research on the Opioid Addiction Epidemic

Below are a few highlights concerning the United States’ opioid addiction epidemic | Points: Blog of the alcohol and drugs history society, UK