Daily news - 22nd March 2017

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UK news

System launched to help tackle harms from new psychoactive substances

A new online system - Report Illicit Drug Reaction (RIDR) - has been launched today to improve our knowledge of the harmful effects of new psychoactive substances (NPS – commonly known as ‘legal highs’) | PHE, UK

'Zombie' drug side effects to be recorded on national database 

A national database of “zombie” drug side effects has been launched to help doctors overcome their “poor” grasp of banned new psychoactive substances, health chiefs have announced | Telegraph, UK

Alcohol licensing: a guide for public health teams

Public health teams make sure that licensing policy and applications consider the health and wellbeing of local communities | PHE, UK

Cider duty consultation announced: will 'white cider' survive?

A consultation on duty for cider under 7.5% ABV and still wine between 5.5% and 8.5% ABV has been launched by the treasury, as promised in the recent spring budget | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Managing the talking route to recovery from alcohol dependence

Fortnightly instalment of online course starts with a study which concluded that “leaders ... have a cascading impact on their staff”. Findings that post-training ‘coaching’ is needed to produce competent therapists mean management is critical to client progress. Ends with how poorly progressing clients are ‘rescued’ by systems which let therapists know how (especially how badly) their clients are doing | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Will Quince MP: Smoking while pregnant is number one modifiable risk factor for stillbirth

Conservative MP Will Quince says it is not “unreasonable” to require tobacco companies to warn pregnant women against consuming their products | Politics Home, UK

New study predicts overall beneficial effect of e-cigarettes

A new study predicts that when e-cigarettes are available as alternative to cigarettes, by 2050 the 32% of smokers in the UK that otherwise would have continued smoking would have completely switched to e-cigarettes | News Medical, UK

The core components of a gender sensitive service for women experiencing multiple disadvantage (PDF)

The report ‘Women and Girls at risk: evidence across the life course’ (McNeish & Scott 2014) was pivotal in shining the spotlight on the vast range of harms faced by many women over the course of their lifetimes | AVA / Agenda, UK

What's the crack: Human enhancement drugs

Latest podcast | What's the crack, UK

Liberal Democrats Pass Progressive Harm Reduction Motions

At their spring conference in Perth last week, the Scottish Liberal Democrats endorsed plans to tackle the rising numbers of drug-related deaths in Scotland, with the use of drug consumption rooms and pill testing facilities. They also reaffirmed that drugs should treated as a health issue and called for new steps to educate people on drugs | Volte Face, UK

Where’s The Harm?

I spend a great deal of my time trying to persuade people of the need for drug law reform | Volte Face, UK

Zero-alcohol Heineken is soon going to hit shelves in the UK

Heineken 0.0 is to be sold in rather pretty blue-and-green bottles, and also the brewing company’s iconic (and in my opinion, irritatingly small) cans | Metro, UK

Tobacco Control in England: Reducing Inequalities and Improving NHS Sustainability

Public Health England and NHS England are hosting three one-day events with a practical focus on the current challenges and how they can be met, discussing implementation of tobacco control interventions and how the NHS can make its contribution, to the benefit not only of millions of smokers but its own sustainability | UKTAS, UK

Chemsex Workshop: 29 March in South London

Chemsex Workshop is a groupwork session for gay and bisexual men who have chemsex | GMFA, UK

Rio Ferdinand 'turned to alcohol' to cope with his wife's death

Former Manchester United footballer Rio Ferdinand has said he turned to alcohol following the death of his wife, getting up in the middle of the night to drink | ITV, UK

Release response to consultation on police and crime plan for London 2017-2021

We highlight a number of issues relating to the policing of drugs and sex work | Release, UK

Vietnamese gangs use teenagers as slaves in UK ‘cannabis farms’

Human rights and anti-trafficking organisations are calling on authorities to tackle these illegal operations and crack down on drug gangs believed to be committing human rights abuses and profiting from slave labour | Asian Corresspondent, UK

HMP Haverigg drug use 'led to bullying and sexual violence'

Prisoner use of former so-called legal high drugs led to bullying and sexual violence at a Cumbrian prison, a new report has said | BBC, UK

West End 'chemsex' party drug suppliers jailed

A gang of three people responsible for supplying drugs at West End ‘chemsex’ parties have been jailed for a total of 11 years | Evening Standard, UK

Drug dealer sentenced after boy puts ecstasy pill in mouth

A drug dealer whose misplaced ecstasy pill was almost swallowed by a seven-year-old boy has been given a community sentence | BBC, UK


International news

Stopping the rise of new HIV infections among people who inject drugs

As part of UNAIDS’ efforts to stop the rise of new HIV infections among people who inject drugs UNAIDS is taking an urgent message to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, as it meets in Vienna, Austria, for its sixtieth session. In a statement to the commission, UNAIDS warns of the staggering rise in HIV infections among people who inject drugs and notes that countries are failing to invest in and deliver effective strategies to address the growing problem | UNAIDS, UK

Harm reduction should address the specific needs of couples who inject drugs

The sharing of drug injecting equipment most often occurs between sexual partners, but the ways in which couples manage risks and care for each other have been largely ignored by harm reduction services, say Australian researchers | NAM Aidsmap, UK

Drunk pilot faces prison sentence after pleading guilty

A pilot who was found drunk in the cockpit before a flight in Canada has pleaded guilty to being impaired while in control of an aircraft | BBC, UK

Drug Policy Futures position papers

On March 15 the Drug Policy Futures launched four position papers at a lunch held for Member States during the Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting in Vienna | EURAD, Belgium

Could OTC medicines be the answer to alcoholism?

Researchers have long wondered if medications could treat alcohol abuse | Medical Xpress, USA

Research reveals how family history can affect your memory of hangovers

People with a family history of alcoholism are already known to be at a greater risk of developing a drinking problem, but new research has found they are also more likely to hold onto the painful memory of hangovers | Science Daily, USA

A new tool to predict the potential public health benefit of e-cigarettes

A new study predicts that when e-cigarettes are available as alternative to cigarettes, by 2050 the 32% of smokers in the UK that otherwise would have continued smoking would have completely switched to e-cigarettes | EurekAlert, USA

CVS Decision To Stop Selling Cigarettes Changed Customers’ Lives

A new study shows that if pharmacies didn’t sell cigarettes, fewer people would smoke | Huffington Post, USA

Ketamine: The New Wonder Drug for Depression

It's one of those counterintuitive facts in medicine: you give a kid who is hyperactive and can't sit still in class speed (the central-nervous stimulant Adderall), and they promptly stay on their chair and start paying attention | Psychology Today, USA

On Cognitive Doping in Chess (and Life)

Have you ever wanted to play better chess? To think and work more effectively, seeing moves 10 steps ahead? Vanquishing opponents with mental energy to spare? Well now you can, with cognitive-enhancement drugs | Atlantic, USA

Vietnam sentences 9 men to death for drug trafficking 

Vietnamese state media say a court has sentenced nine men to death for trafficking more than 1,000 pounds of heroin | Associated Press, USA

'I owe my parents my life': Parents imprison meth addict daughter in bedroom

A South Australian family were forced to turn their home into a rehab facility in a desperate bid to save their meth-addicted daughter's life | Yahoo News, Australia

Ice Taskforce forum at Murray Bridge

Families affected by ice addiction speak out at Murray Bridge forum | Murray Valley Standard, Australia

What it’s like to be 16 and addicted to ice

Canberra teenager Adam* has just returned to school after spending two years addicted to ice. He told his story to Kristen Henry | Yahoo news, Australia

Move illicit drugs to 'white' economy: report

Pharmacists could have a greater role in harm minimisation under the recommendations of a new report The Australia 21 report | AJP, Australia

Decriminalisation of illicit drugs, like cannabis, backed by Former Premier Jeff Kennett

Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett has launched a report endorsing decriminalisation of illicit drugs, including cannabis. With his stance, Kennett said he has “come a long way” on drug policy | IBTimes, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Marijuana raids are more deadly than the drug itself

Since 2010, At least 20 SWAT raids involving suspected marijuana dealers have turned deadly, according to data compiled by the New York Times | Washington Post Blog, USA

Reducing drug harm through decriminalisation and regulation makes good sense

The case for a fundamental change in Australia's drug strategy has been rendered even more compelling by the release of a report by some of the nation's most well-informed people about a policy failure that continues to cause countless unnecessary deaths | Age editorial, Australia