Daily news - 15th March 2017

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UK news

Joint work between Collective Voice, the NHS and PHE to improve clinical responses to drug-related deaths

Collective Voice believes that the most significant challenge facing the drug treatment and recovery system today is responding to the health needs of an ageing and increasingly vulnerable population. Moreover, that response must be formed in the context of declining resources and a fragmented delivery landscape | Collective Voice, UK

Methylphenidate-based novel psychoactive substances: temporary class drug order recommendations

Recommendations for a temporary class drug order on a number of methylphenidate-based novel psychoactive substances | PHE, UK

No one judges you here (PDF)

Report outlining the voices of older people who are affected by a loved one’s substance use | Adfam, UK

Brits are drinking more gin and almond milk, but have stopped smoking menthol cigarettes

Gin, cycling helmets, and milk alternatives like almond milk are gaining popularity, while Brits are no longer smoking menthol cigarettes and favour cans instead of bottles when drinking cider, according to the latest changes to the Office for National Statistics' basket of goods | Business Insider, UK

SURE: Substance Use Recovery Evaluator

SURE is a validated measure of recovery from drug and alcohol dependence developed with unprecedented input from people in recovery. We have now released an online version that will provide you with instant scores  | Kings College London, UK

Cop-Out on Drugs? - BBC iPlayer

Week In, Week Out asks if it is time for a radical rethink on how we deal with drugs. A former policeman who is now Police Commissioner for North Wales believes so. Arfon Jones says drug users should be dealt with mainly by the NHS, not the police. But will it work? The team put his controversial views to the test | BBC, UK

Could Portugal's radical drug approach work in Wales?

The first thing a Portuguese police officer will tell you about drugs is that they are still illegal | BBC, UK

April 2017 – Current Issue

This is a quick summary of the main discovery for each research paper we have published, organized issue by issue | Addiction, UK

Prisons: Drugs

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many prosecutions the Metropolitan Police Service and the Crown Prosecution Service have brought in respect of drug (1) possession, (2) dealing, and (3) smuggling, in London’s prisons since 1 January 2013 | They work for you, UK

Prisons: Drugs

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many drug-related deaths there have been in prisons in each year since 2010 | They work for you, UK

Electronic Cigarettes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the remarks by Lord Prior of Brampton on 14 September 2016 (HL Deb, col 1537) stating that the Government would continue to monitor and develop the evidence base for the regulation of e-cigarettes, what steps (1) Public Health England, and (2) the Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, are taking to encourage research on e-cigarettes | They work for you, UK

Electronic Cigarettes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the remarks by Lord Prior of Brampton on 4 July 2016 (HL Deb, col 1828) giving a commitment "to commissioning Public Health England to update its evidence report on e-cigarettes annually until the end of this Parliament", when the updated evidence report will be published | They work for you, UK

Here is what smoking cannabis actually does to your body

Fears grow over spice - but ordinary cannabis has many little-known side effects too | Liverpool Echo, UK

Expert says stop criminalising possession of cannabis

Liverpool professor says cannabis has many benefits as well as risks | Liverpool Echo, UK

Provide Housing for Rough Sleepers before Treatment, says New Report

Rough sleepers could be given a home before undergoing treatment for their drug, alcohol and mental health needs as part of a new initiative being considered by the Government | Volte Face, UK

Doctor's Diary: why the latest drink-driving push does not add up

There is rather more than is immediately apparent in the push toreduce the 'safe’ limits for drink-driving from 80 to 50 mgs percent – that will restrict drivers to just a pint of beer or single glass of wine | Telegraph, UK

Jockey Club reins in alcohol consumption at Cheltenham festival

Decision by organiser of horse-racing event follows inappropriate behaviour by footballers and reality stars last year | Guardian, UK

Drug addict admits killing solicitor Alison Farr-Davies

A drug addict has admitted to killing his solicitor girlfriend in Swansea | BBC, UK

People are giving their pets cannabis to cure their illnesses

With more people turning to medicinal marijuana to ease their ailments, others in the US are now using it to treat their pets | Metro, UK


International news

New psychoactive substances: Current health-related practices and challenges in responding to use and harms in Europe

[Open access] The availability of new psychoactive substances (NPS) in Europe has rapidly increased over the last decade. Although prevalence levels of NPS use remain low in the general European population, there are serious concerns associated with more problematic forms of use and harms in particular populations and settings | IJDP, UK

England and Wales have highest imprisonment rate in western Europe

Drug offences remain the most common for which prisoners have been imprisoned in European jails, representing 18.7% of the total population. The most common sentence being served is between one to three years | Guardian, UK

Swedish men on target to be first to completely stub out smoking

Sweden is lighting the way to a cigarette-free world. The Swedish government has released data showing that the proportion of men aged between 30 and 44 smoking fell to just 5 per cent in 2016 | New Scientist, UK

Opioid pain medication works differently on women than men

Men and women's brains respond differently to opioid pain medication (like morphone or vicodin), science says | Indy 100, UK

Colombia's coca production soars to highest level in two decades, US says

Cultivation of plant used to make cocaine climbed 18% last year compared to 2015, with an estimated 188,000 hectares containing crops despite US efforts | Guardian, UK

Drugs and Trump

A PhD in physics and former Wall Street trader, Chris Arnade now photographs and writes about addiction, poverty, and other despairs. His “Faces of Addiction” photo series explores addiction in the south Bronx neighbourhood in New York City | Volte Face, UK

An Interview with Ethan Nadelmann

On January 27th, Ethan Nadelmann – Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance and the man Rolling Stone called “the real drug czar” – announced that he was stepping down from the organisation he helped found some 17 years ago | Volte Face, UK

A millionaire, his meth addiction and the horror movie 15 years in the making

The Evil Within – a strange, gory film pored over meticulously in his mansion by oil dynasty scion Andrew Getty until his death – is finally getting a release | Guardian, UK

Ben Affleck has completed treatment for alcohol addiction to be 'best father I can be'

Actor Ben Affleck said on Tuesday he had completed treatment for alcohol addiction, saying he wanted to "be the best father I can be." | Telegraph, UK

New 'SafeSesh' kits allow college students test quality of recreational drugs

A new project called SafeSesh has been launched to provide university students with safe drug testing kits | Independent, Ireland

Alcohol abuse costs economy £900m a year, addiction charity says

Alcohol misuse costs the Northern Ireland economy almost £1 billion a year, research showed | Belfast Telegraph, Ireland

Spain: Busted Drug Ring Planned to Sell Bear-Shaped Cannabis Gummies

Police in Spain have arrested 27 people suspected of growing cannabis, turning it into oil and planning to produce bear-shaped gummies | OCCRP, Spain

Commission grants industry additional year to propose alcohol labelling information

Following a two-year delay, the European Commission presented its proposal on alcohol information on Monday (13 March), giving the alcoholic beverages industry an additional year to come up with a “self-regulatory” proposal | Euractiv, Belgium

Interview: US hails UN plan to monitor fentanyl market

The chief U.S. State Department counter-narcotics official on Tuesday hailed a pending United Nations move to control substances used to make a deadly synthetic drug, but acknowledged it will not put an immediate dent in illegal trafficking of the chemicals | Medical Xpress, USA

NIDA and NIAAA release new resources for National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) are pleased to unveil new online toolkits designed for National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week event holders interested in focusing on specific drugs | SATPRNews, USA

Heroin use linked to epigenetic alterations in the brain

The past few years have seen an explosion of heroin abuse and deaths from opiate overdose. But little is known about the molecular underpinnings of heroin addiction. A new study in Biological Psychiatry found that heroin use is associated with excessive histone acetylation, an epigenetic process that regulates gene expression | News Medical, USA

City sues drugmaker for letting OxyContin flood black market 

As deaths from painkillers and heroin abuse spiked and street crimes increased, the mayor of Everett took major steps to tackle the opioid epidemic devastating this working-class city north of Seattle | Associated Press, USA

Four-year study finds group meditation reduces drug-related deaths in general population

Large groups practicing the advanced Transcendental Meditation program were associated with significant reductions in rates of drug-related death and infant mortality during the period 2007-2010 | EurekAlert, USA

New study links opioid epidemic to childhood emotional abuse

Findings suggests new treatment approaches for opioid abusers | EurekAlert, USA

Specialized compound could lead to chronic pain relief without the use of opioids

Purdue researchers have discovered a compound that could lead to the treatment of chronic pain without the need for patients to rely on opioids | Medical Xpress, USA

Some Addiction Treatment Practices are Making Me Sick

Have you heard what’s going on with drug addiction in this country? No, not the 47,055 Americans who are dying from it every year, or the tripling of heroin overdose deaths. Not the 23.5 million Americans who currently have an illicit drug or alcohol abuse issue, or the $700 billion in annual costs related to crime, lost work productivity and health care | Huffington Post, USA

Medical marijuana business in New York is a bust so far

The state health commissioner last year declared New York’s medical marijuana program a success | Buffalo News, USA

Heroin Is Behind 80 Percent Of All Crime In Plagued Community

Police officers fighting the opioid epidemic in a Tennessee community rattled by overdoses say heroin is the driving force behind the vast majority of crimes and deaths | Daily Caller, USA


The war on drugs remains as racist as ever, statistics show | VICE, USA

U.S. Senate Expected to Take Up Measure Today Aimed at Expanding Drug Testing of People Who File for Unemployment Assistance

50 Civil Rights, Faith, and Criminal Justice Organizations Send Letter to Congress Opposing Legislation | DPA, USA

‘Drunkards’! How an anti-Irish stereotype began

There's somethin fascinating about the American celebration of St. Patrick’s Day | Boston Globe, USA

Understanding the Kratom Controversy

Face-eating zombies, bulletproof criminals, and rampant death of all involved. These seem to be among the most common media stories floated around when discussing newly discovered or emerging drugs | Chacruna, USA

Victoria pharmacy finds fentanyl in 90% of street drugs tested

Victoria pharmacy, researchers team up to improve fentanyl testing | CBC News, Canada

Opioid overdose risk rises with use of anti-anxiety drugs, study finds

Prescription drug combination involved in 30% of opioid fatalities among more than 300,000 users | CBC News, Canada

Vancouver harm reduction group provides naloxone training and drug-use education

Karmik offers stigma-free approach to ketamine, condoms and concerts - | Vancouver Courier, Canada

Australian company granted first licence to commercially grow medicinal cannabis

The first licence to grow and harvest medicinal cannabis has been granted to an Australian company. With this, patients will be able to have easier access to domestically produced medicinal cannabis | IBTimes, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

UNESCO-UNODC-WHO Endorse ADEPIS as Best Practice for Drugs and Alcohol Education

The latest United Nations publication on 'Good policy and practice in health education', titled ‘Education sector responses to the use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs’ features Mentor-ADEPIS programme as a "prime example" of good practice. ADEPIS is Mentor’s Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention Information Service | Mentor Blog, UK

A strong argument for putting Housing First

The Making Every Adult Matter coalition (Clinks, Homeless Link and Mind) has responded to Housing First: housing-led solutions to rough sleeping and homelessness, a new report from the Centre for Social Justice | MEAM Blog, UK

Our March blog is a guest post from Rebecca Mistry, family work co-ordinator with RAPt

RAPt works in prisons and in the community with individuals affected by substance misuse and their significant concerned others who are also impacted. For many of our clients, the issue of children and young people is an emotive one. Many have lost contact with their families, and do not see their children regularly, if at all. For some clients the children will be in the care of grandparents or other family members, living with foster parents, or possibly adopted | Children's Society Blog, UK

Changing trends in women’s drinking

A new factsheet from the Institute of Alcohol Studies does a great job in summarising the changing trends in women’s drinking; in particular the continued closing of the gender gap in terms of levels of consumption | Russell Webster, UK

One in 100 people is a problem gambler, but the health service does little to help

survey of 1,058 people attending GP clinics in Bristol, England, found that 0.9% were problem gamblers. That may not sound like much, but if you extrapolate that figure to the UK population, that’s around 600,000 people whose lives are blighted by this destructive addiction | Conversation, UK

Episode 6 of Pointscast Now Available!

On the latest episode of Pointscast, the first, best, and only podcast of the Points blog, hosts Alex Tepperman and Kyle Bridge offer their thoughts on the ways domestic and international drug use are portrayed in American media | Points Blog, UK

Goodbye glamour-puss and rugged hero: smokers lose brand identity with plain cigarette packaging

Plain cigarette packaging has been a great Australian success story. There’s now strong evidence that a record decline in smoking rates occurred soon after plain packaging was introduced in Australia in 2012. In fact, these early impacts were greater than expected | Conversation, Australia

Weekly Dose: ayahuasca, a cautionary tale for tourists eager to try this shamanic brew

Last night’s ABC Foreign Correspondent highlighted how Australians have been travelling to South America to seek the mystical experiences and healing properties of the plant brew ayahuasca | Conversation, Australia