Daily news - 17th March 2017

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UK news

Keep prescribing to hold down UK drug-related deaths

Robust messages for government from the UK’s official drug policy advisers: ageing profile of multiply-ill heroin users will continue to press up drug-related deaths; to counteract this government must maintain investment in substitute prescribing programmes like methadone maintenance; drug consumption clinics should be considered | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Review Confirms Link between Drug Use and Poor Dental Health

A new review published online today in the scientific journal Addiction has found that dental patients with substance use disorders have more tooth decay and periodontal disease than the general population, but are less likely to receive dental care. With drug use increasing by approximately three million new users each year, this is a problem that won’t disappear anytime soon | Addiction, UK

An exploration of the role of alcohol in relation to living situation and significant life events for the homeless population in Merseyside, UK

This Alcohol Research UK funded project explored alcohol consumption patterns of the homeless population. The research aimed to provide further context and understanding to changes in consumption patterns for the homeless population in Merseyside. Co-productive research methods were adopted for this study | PHI, UK

Nitrous Oxide

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she will consider reclassifying nitrous oxide as a controlled substance | They work for you, UK

Public Health and licensing in Scotland: tackling 'overprovison'?

New research exploring the experiences of public health professionals involved in local Scottish licensing details the complexities and challenges involved in efforts to see health considered in licensing decisions | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Cans of Tennent’s Lager to carry weekly alcohol consumption guidelines in an industry first starting this month

Brewer Tennent Caledonian said it was part of its commitment to promote responsible drinking | Scottish Sun, UK

Drug Users Are People, Not Zombies

Recently there has been a seemingly endless stream of articles in the mainstream media, from the Daily Mail to the BBC, describing people under the influence of spice as “zombies” | Volte Face, UK

Arfon Jones: ‘Cop-Out on Drugs?’

Following in the footsteps of Durham’s Ron Hogg and others, Arfon Jones, Police & Crime Commissioner for North Wales, has this week spoken out about the need to reform drug policy in the UK | Volte Face, UK

Housing First: Housing-led Solutions to Rough Sleeping and Homelessness

Housing-led solutions to rough sleeping and homelessness | Centre for Social Justice, UK

Use of Ketamine and Novel Psychoactive Substances (legal highs)

[Survey] Dr Lisa Lione at the University of Hertfordshire is conducting research into knowledge and awareness of NPS (formerly known as 'legal highs') and other drugs such as ketamine. All data collected in this survey will be held anonymously and securely. No personal data is asked for or retained. Please share with your networks. Thank you! | Univ of Herts, UK

Social etiquette experts release guide on how to use E-CIGARETTES politely

In a bid to clear up what many see as the cause of a new urban smog, social etiquette experts today issued a guide on how to use electronic cigarettes politely | Express, UK

St Patrick's Day: Heavy police presence in Belfast's Holyland

There has been a heavy police presence in the Holyland area of south Belfast ahead of St Patrick's Day | BBC, UK

Cocaine smuggling Bianca skipper found guilty

The skipper of a fishing boat has been convicted of one of Britain's biggest-ever cocaine smuggling operations | BBC, UK

Northumbria Police officer gave information to drug dealer

A detective who gave confidential police intelligence to a drug-dealing childhood friend has been jailed | BBC, UK

Cannabis lamp theft reported to South Yorkshire Police

A man called police to report the theft of lamps he used for growing cannabis | BBC, UK


International news

St Patrick's Day 2017: Meet the sober Dubliners celebrating Ireland's patron saint without a Guinness

'Apocalyptic' scenes of drunken debauchery have become the norm for Dublin on St Patrick's Day, as tourists descend for a day of heavy drinking. Nicola Brady meets the locals who've had enough | Independent, UK

Lawyers See Dollar Signs in Exploding Vapes

E-cigs bursting into flames are a potential gold mine for ambulance chasers | VICE, UK

A new study reveals that certain drugs may make us smarter than we thought

It's both appealing and disturbing to think that taking a pill could boost someone's brainpower to make them "smarter." | Independent, UK

A PR stunt mixing beer, politics, gay rights and religion: what could possibly go wrong?

A week ago the Australian brewer Coopers was delighted to unveil a beer for the Bible Society. But after the ‘public relations disaster of 2017’ it is counting the cost of an embarrassing and potentially expensive backlash | Guardian, UK

The ayahuasca king: the man who gives jungle 'medicine' to lost souls

Peter Gorman’s Amazon expeditions draw guests aiming to ‘clear up ailments’ and ‘solve mid-life crises’ – and drugs are key to the transformative experience | Guardian, UK

Hundreds of skulls found in illegal mass grave in Mexico

The site is suspected to be a drug cartel burial ground on the outskirts of Veracruz | STV, UK

A Return to the Failed ‘War on Drugs’ in the US?

Revolving Door of Prison Will Not Solve Problematic Drug Use | Human Rights Watch, UK

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome: Doctors unaware of dangers

A study published in the March edition of the Irish Medical Journal suggests that prenatal alcohol exposure may not be routinely considered in the evaluation of children with developmental delay by paediatric doctors in Ireland | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Gardaí to monitor public transport in bid to seize alcohol from underage Patrick's Day drinkers

Over 1,100 gardaí will police the capital on the day | Journal, Ireland

Some GPs boycott new HSE opioid guidelines

A number of GPs specialising in substance abuse (GPSSA) are refusing to use the new HSE Clinical Guidelines for Opioid Substitution Treatment (OST) | Medical Independent, Ireland

A review of 2014 RTC fatalities with a positive toxicology for alcohol (PDF)

The Health Research Board (HRB) collected information on 2014 road traffic fatalities from closed coronial files on behalf of the RSA in the context of the National Drug-Related Death Index (NDRDI). The National Drug-Related Deaths Index (NDRDI) is an epidemiological database which records all deaths due to drug and alcohol poisoning, and all deaths among drug users and those who are alcohol dependent | RSA, Ireland

Poll: Would you buy cigarettes or alcohol on the black market?

Black market goods can represent a huge loss to the Exchequer | Journal, Ireland

Commission on Narcotic Drugs takes decisive step to help prevent deadly fentanyl overdoses

By scheduling two fentanyl precursors and a fentanyl analogue, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) is sending a clear message that it can help protect people's health and respond to the urgent needs of states, the Chair of 60th Session of the CND, Ambassador Bente Angell-Hansen said today | UNODC, USA

Opioid dependence can start in just a few days

Doctors who limit the supply of opioids they prescribe to three days or less may help patients avoid the dangers of dependence and addiction, a new study suggests | Medical Xpress, USA

Treating cocaine addiction by reducing our appetite for drugs?

he hypocretin/orexin (HCRT) system of the brain is best known for promoting wakefulness and appetite. A new paper in Biological Psychiatry suggests that blocking hypocretin signaling via the HCRT-1 receptor (HCRT-R1) might also reduce the appetite for cocaine | EurekAlert, USA

Drug and alcohol problems linked to increased veteran suicide risk, especially in women

Veterans who have drug or alcohol problems are more than twice as likely to die by suicide as their comrades, a new study finds. And women veterans with substance use disorders have an even higher rate of suicide—more than five times that of their peers, the research shows | Medical Xpress, USA

Daily consumption of tea protects the elderly from cognitive decline

Tea drinking reduces the risk of cognitive impairment in older persons by 50 per cent and as much as 86 per cent for those who are genetically at risk of Alzheimer's | Medical Xpress, USA

Jeff Sessions: ‘Medical marijuana has been hyped, maybe too much’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has repeatedly condemned the recreational use of marijuana. On Wednesday he went a step further, casting doubt on medical marijuana use | Washington Post, USA


Blogs, comment and opinion

As I Stand By My Child’s Grave, What More Evidence Do I Need That It’s Time For Drug Reform?

On 20th July, 2013, I received the phone call that no parent wants to get. The voice said that my 15-year-old daughter was gravely ill and they were trying to save her life | Huffington Post Blog, USA

Rodrigo Duterte relaunches Philippine drug war despite calls for investigation

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to continue his “war on drugs” in spite of growing calls for an investigation into his role in it | Conversation, USA