Daily news - 20th March 2017

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UK news

Methylphenidate-based drugs and phytocannabinoids: letter from Sarah Newton to the ACMD

Sarah Newton reponds to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs about its further advice on methylphenidate-based drugs and phytocannabinoids | ACMD, UK

Teenagers are 'replacing drugs with smartphones', researchers suggest

Smoking, drinking and drug use among teenagers have more than halved over 10 years | Independent, UK

New laws on smoking and cigarettes are coming into force - what you need to know

The new laws were actually introduced in May last year, but shops and suppliers were given a year to adjust and get rid of old stock | Wales Online, UK

Warn families of risk of sex and gambling addictions with Parkinson's drugs, doctors told 

The families of Parkinson's sufferers must be warned about dangers of sex and gambling addictions caused by drugs used to treat the disease, doctors have been told | Telegraph, UK

'Decriminalise personal drug use to free up prison space', say Lib Dems

Party believes criminalisation of low level users is behind jail overcrowding | Independent, UK

'There is NO difference between vaping and smoking' - the small print that could invalidate all your insurance

As far as insurers are concerned, a drag on a cigarette is identical to a puff on a vaping device. And that could spell disaster for you | Mirror, UK

Number of soldiers failing drugs tests reaches seven year high as one in every 100 tests positive

Sources claim more soldiers are now booted out of the army for drugs offences than anything else | Mirror, UK

Researcher claims 'academic McCarthyism' over e-cigarettes

Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos, of the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Athens, said attacks on research into vaping funded by Big Tobacco were a form of “academic McCarthyism” | Herald, UK

Call for zero limit to apply to drug-drive offences in Scotland

A road safety charity is calling on the Scottish Government to introduce a zero-tolerance policy for "dangerous and potentially deadly" drug-driving | Herald, UK


New factsheet. Regulation of the price of alcohol is one of the main tools used by governments to address alcohol-related harm. This factsheet provides an overview of the main issues around alcohol pricing, with particular focus on the UK | IAS, UK

Bishop Auckland drug and alcohol support centre opens

A new centre for people seeking help for drug and alcohol addiction has officially opened in Bishop Auckland | BBC, UK

Young bodybuilder, 20, died after ‘taking cocktail of drugs bought from dark web’

Robbie Ryder's death has now sparked an Interpol investigation | the Sun, UK

Vaping etiquette: How to tackle the social minefield

Never in bed, or in a queue, and certainly not in a restaurant - the fog may have finally cleared on the rules of vaping in polite society | BBC, UK

Heroin and Llanelli: Inside a town's drug problem

A judge claimed heroin use in the town was at 'epidemic levels' - here's what people at the heart of the town's drug problem think | Wales Online, UK

Submissions open for fourth Recovery Street Film Festival

The Recovery Street Film Festival, which encourages people to submit three-minute films conveying their experience of drug and alcohol addiction, has officially launched for the fourth consecutive year | Recovery Street Film Festival, UK

Help design the new website for Bristol Drugs Project

This survey is being carried out by Raising IT on behalf of Bristol Drugs Project to help design their new website. Any personal information you provide will only be used for this purpose | BDP, UK

Westminster Spice Intrigue

“It is the great delusion of our time – that we can solve these problems with policing. It seems to persist as every decade goes by, despite all drugs being more available, cheaper and more dangerous. It’s about public perception of the problem being solved, rather than a problem being solved | Volte Face, UK

Thousands of pounds worth of Spice taken off streets in pioneering drugs bust

Four people have been arrested and are currently in police custody | Manchester Evening News, UK

UK medicines regulator says it is 'completely impossible' to control illegal online pharmacies

Unregulated sale of antibiotics online risks creating untreatable superbugs | Independent, UK

Doping in amateur sport: Drug use 'fast becoming a crisis' - Nicole Sapstead

Drug use at every level of sport is "fast becoming a crisis" according to UK Anti-Doping - responding to a BBC poll into doping in amateur sport | BBC, UK

Police inspector hid 11 kilos of cocaine in washing machine

A police inspector who was found with £700,000 of drugs at his home - including a huge amount of cocaine in his washing machine - was a “criminal masquerading as a police officer”, his force has said | Scotsman, UK


International news

Orly airport: Drugs and alcohol found in gunman's blood

Blood tests have revealed that a gunman who attacked soldiers at Orly airport in Paris on Saturday had consumed drugs and alcohol | BBC, UK

Progressive Changes in Newly-Proposed EU Action Plan on Drugs

The European Commission (EC) has proposed a new counter-narcotic plan for the European Union, which includes several seemingly progressive changes | Talking Drugs, UK

The Danger of Singapore’s “Harm Prevention” Approach to Drugs

As dawn broke on November 18, 2016, Chijioke Stephen Obioha – a 31 year-old chemistry graduate and aspiring football player - was hanged in Singapore’s notorious Changi Prison. Obioha had received a mandatory death sentence because he had been found in possession of 2.6kg of cannabis | Talking Drugs, UK

Device promises injections without needles

A computerised system for injecting medicine without using needles has won an innovation award at the South by SouthWest Interactive technology conference in Austin, Texas | BBC, UK

Poor, minority neighborhoods have more tobacco-selling shops per capita

Neighborhoods with a high proportion of black residents or high poverty tend to have the greatest density of stores selling cigarettes and tobacco products, U.S. researchers say | Reuters, UK

Former premiers and Australian police chiefs call for drug decriminalisation

Bob Carr, Jeff Kennett and former police commissioners release reform blueprint based on treating drug use as a health issue rather than a legal one | Guardian, UK

Duterte's bloody crackdown drives drug users to rehab

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody crackdown on the drug trade has made global headlines. But less well publicised is the country's urgent need for rehabilitation facilities | BBC, UK

Philippine president swears at European MPs over death penalty criticism

Rodrigo Duterte uses colourful language, telling European parliament to mind its own business | Guardian, UK

Road Safety Authority: Ban motorists who drink and drive

There is “concrete evidence” to support the introduction of an automatic three-month disqualification for anybody caught drink driving, the Road Safety Authority has claimed | Irish Examiner, Ireland

New judge wants drugs court for North East

The new district court judge in Louth, Judge John Coughlan, used his first day sitting in Dundalk to announce that he wants to set up a drugs court for the North East | Independent, Ireland

Your 6 big questions about medicinal cannabis in Ireland... answered

Vera Twomey can’t access medicinal cannabis for her daughter, but legislation is on the way | Journal, Ireland

Cannabis and Young Users—A Brief Intervention to Reduce Their Consumption (CANABIC): A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial in Primary Care

Brief intervention to reduce cannabis is a promising technique that could be adapted for use in primary care, but it has not been well studied in this setting. We tested the efficacy of a brief intervention conducted by general practitioners among cannabis users aged 15 to 25 years | Annals of Family Medicine, France

Survey: Naloxone Successful at Reversing Overdoses in Most Cases

Increasing access to naloxone in community settings is an effective intervention in reversing opioid overdoses. At the American Academy of Pain Medicine’s 2017 Annual Meeting, survey results were presented that revealed the implications of naloxone use in real-world experiences with the recently approved intranasal naloxone formulation | Pharmacy Times, USA

Positive Real-World Data for Naloxone Nasal Spray

Adapt Pharma's naloxone nasal spray (Narcan) has been working well in the real world, reversing the vast majority of opioid overdoses for which it's deployed, researchers reported here | Medpage Today, USA

Drug against alcoholism works, researchers claim

French researchers provided fresh evidence Friday to support claims that a drug touted as a miracle cure for alcoholism, and prescribed for this purpose in France, actually works | Medical Xpress, USA

No opioids, please: Clearing the way to refuse prescriptions

The ease of relapsing into opioid addiction has led a growing number of states to help residents make it clear to medical professionals they do not want to be prescribed the powerful painkillers | Medical Xpress, USA

US communities crumbling under an evolving addiction crisis

Of the 2,900 babies born last year in Cabell County, West Virginia, 500 had to be weaned off of opioid dependence | Medical Xpress, USA

Bill White’s message to congress

Two of the most important responses to the opioid epidemic have been the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid in 31 states and the District of Columbia and the ACA requirement that states include mental health and addiction treatment as reimbursable services. Those critical responses will be turned back if the GOP health reform proposal is passed in its current form | Addiction Recovery News, USA

Researchers review progress of treating glutamate signalling in depression

Major depressive disorder (MDD) impacts 15 million Americans and is the leading cause of disability, yet current treatments possess limited efficacy | Medical Xpress, USA

Mount Sinai researchers review progress made in using ketamine and other therapies to treat depression

Major depressive disorder (MDD) impacts 15 million Americans and is the leading cause of disability, yet current treatments possess limited efficacy. Ketamine, which has been repurposed as a rapidly acting antidepressant, has emerged as an experimental and potentially promising compound to treat severe depression through a novel drug action mechanism that blocks glutamate receptors | News Medical, USA

Experts: Cannabis Could Help Cure Alzheimer's If Lawmakers Would Chill Out

According to brain experts, cannabis has shown considerable promise for treating the cause of dementia and Alzheimer's, but federal regulators keep blocking their path toward a cure | Forbes, USA

Smoking cessation programs benefit patients prior to joint replacements

Smokers who needed a hip or knee replacement experienced better surgical outcomes and fewer adverse events including hospital readmissions, surgical site infections and blood clots if they were enrolled in a smoking cessation program prior to surgery, according to preliminary new research that needs to be confirmed by larger studies | Medical Xpress, USA

The Story Behind the Groundbreaking 'Trainspotting' Poster

The ad campaign's designers talk us through the origins of the 'Trainspotting' poster seen in dorm rooms around the world | VICE, USA

We Asked People Why They Got Sober

"I reached a point where I realised that I had stopped having any hopes, dreams or goals." | VICE, USA

Pot Brand for the A-List

Beboe, started by a tattoo artist and a fashion executive, has movie stars lining up for its vaporizer pens and candies | NYTimes, USA

2 Texas Drug-Raid Deaths: Murder or Self-Defense?

With battering rams and flash-bang grenades, SWAT teams fuel the risk of violence as they forcibly enter suspects’ homes. Five months and 85 miles apart, two cases took starkly divergent legal paths | NYTimes, USA

Philippines tells EU lawmakers to butt out after criticism of drugs war

The Philippines derided the European parliament on Friday for interfering in its affairs after it issued a resolution calling for the release of a top critic of the president's war on drugs, which it said should target narcotics networks instead of users | Reuters, USA

Can Australia respond to drugs more effectively and safely?

Free PDF. This is the report of a day-long roundtable of 17 experts and practitioners held at the University of Sydney in September 2015 to consider drug law reform in Australia. Participants included retired judges, prosecutors, senior  police, prison and parole administrators, drug law researchers and advocates. Discussion focused on ways Australia could develop safer and more effective illicit drugs policies | Australia21, Australia

New study: Take-home naloxone in Australia

A team of researchers led by SSAC’s Professor Suzanne Fraser will begin work this month on a new project investigating impediments to uptake of ‘take-home’ naloxone in Australia | SSAC, Australia

Mental Health Paramedics revolutionising treatment

They respond to violent, psychotic, often drug-affected patients - assessing them on the spot. They're saving police and paramedics thousands of hours and potentially millions of dollars | Yahoo News, Australia

Inside Sydney’s busiest emergency room

Friday ight at 10pm a middle-aged drunk man was arrested after chasing a person with a sharp weapon. Even in emergency he was very aggressive | Daily Telegraph, Australia

Pushing the drug envelope

Class A and B drug busts are rising fast in New Zealand. Cocaine, heroin, LSD and ecstasy have been at the centre of a massive hike in secret stashes caught in the mail | NZHerald, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Tobacco-Free NHS - troubleshooting tips for hospitals

Over recent months we’ve been speaking to NHS trusts at different stages of the journey to becoming tobacco-free | PHE Blog, UK

The Child’s Right to Protection From Drugs: Understanding Its History to Move Forward

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) stands alone among the core UN human rights treaties in setting out a human right to protection from drugs | HHR Journal, UK

Why South Africa should follow Portugal and decriminalise drug use

In 2015 I started joining police in the South African port city of Durban on their “drug operations”. Most of my journeys were at night. They focused mainly on the policing of street level drug users | Conversation, South Africa

Overdose deaths and the failure of ‘tough on drugs’

With independent public policy thinktank Australia21 publishing a landmark report Monday calling for a complete overhaul in the nation’s approach to illicit drugs, Professor Dan Lubman and Christian Smyth argue that the current system is broken | Croakey Blog, Australia