Daily news - 23rd March 2017

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UK news

Welcome to the website of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for New Psychoactive Substances and Volatile Substance Abuse

The purpose of this newly formed All-Party Parliamentary Group is to help monitor the issues and challenges which remain. Witnesses requested to give evidence will highlighted where the legislation has been successful and where more focus needs applying to residual problems. The Group’s findings will be fed back to policy-makers and stakeholders | APPG, UK

‘The rate of drug-related deaths is at scandalous proportions’

New psychoactive drugs will add to the problem if we don’t deal with them properly, says Lord Carlile, chairman of Addaction | Guardian, UK

Moderate drinking can lower risk of heart attack, says study

Drinking in moderation helps protect heart, with study finding it lowers risk of many conditions compared with not drinking | Guardian, UK

Is there a drug problem in Wrexham?

When pictures of people apparently high on drugs in Wrexham's bus station were posted on social media earlier this month, it prompted claims by some the town has a major drugs problem | BBC, UK

Black Mamba drug turns Wrexham user into 'zombie'

Video. Addicts are turning to cheaper synthetic drugs to get their fix - and it is leading to highly visible problems | BBC, UK

Huge amount of alcohol seized from underage people

Authorities confiscated lager, cider and "huge amounts" of vodka | Wales Online, UK

Guidance: E-cigarettes: regulations for consumer products

Preliminary guidance on how to get an e-cigarette on the market in the UK, including the notification scheme and reporting problems with e-cigarettes | MHRA, UK

Electronic Cigarettes

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps are being taken by (a) his Department, (b) the Medical and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and (c) Public Health England to encourage research into the use of e-cigarettes | They work for you, UK

Tobacco treaty has helped cut smoking rates, but more work needed

A global tobacco treaty put in place in 2005 has helped reduce smoking rates by 2.5 percent worldwide in 10 years, researchers said on Tuesday, but use of deadly tobacco products could be cut even further with more work on anti-smoking policies | Reuters, UK

Legalise drugs, says mother who lost daughter to ecstasy - BBC Newsnight - video

Five years ago Anne-Marie Cockburn's 15 year-old daughter Martha died from taking 1/2g of MDMA powder that turned out to be 91% pure. She is now calling for the legalisation of all drugs for people over 18. She spoke to Kirsty Wark | BBC Newsnight, UK

Volteface Podcast #2 – Could the United Kingdom ever Legalise Cannabis?

In the second episode of the Volteface podcast, Hardeep Matharu speaks to Volteface Director Steve Moore about the current cannabis landscape in the UK and whether it might be set to shift | Volte Face, UK

Operation Torus: Opioids killed more than road deaths

More people died in 2015 from the misuse of opioid drugs than in road fatalities, the police have said | BBC, UK

Celebrations as twelve of Scotland's trainees graduate from Addiction Worker training project

Twelve graduates from the Scottish Drugs Forum’s award-winning Addiction Worker Training Project (AWTP) celebrated their achievements at a completion ceremony at the Lighthouse in Glasgow on Tuesday (21st of March) | SDF, UK

Cosmetic practice owner who crashed her car while drunk spared ban after claiming she accidentally drank vodka and orange for breakfast

A cosmetic practice owner who crashed her car while drunk has been spared a driving ban after claiming she accidentally drank her son's vodka and orange for breakfast | Telegraph, UK

Cheltenham drug dealer jailed for 'claw hammer' murder

A drug dealer who bludgeoned a 68-year-old man to death in order to steal his cannabis has been jailed for life | BBC, UK


International news

Alcohol policy changes and 22-year trends in individual alcohol consumption in a Swiss adult population: a 1993–2014 cross-sectional population-based study

Evidence on the impact of legislative changes on individual alcohol consumption is limited. Using an observational study design, we assessed trends in individual alcohol consumption of a Swiss adult population following the public policy changes that took place between 1993 and 2014, while considering individual characteristics and secular trends | BMJ, UK

Meet the cocaine-addled, Hitler-obsessed drug smuggler who tried to take down Pablo Escobar

Pablo Escobar is remembered as the face of the Medellin cartel, the Colombian criminal organisation that flooded the world with cocaine in the 1980s | Independent, UK

Israel finds hundreds of bottles of alcohol left behind by British soldiers during First World War

Israeli archaeologists digging near the city of Ramla are used to uncovering flint tools and Palaeolithic remains | Telegraph, UK

Gardaí target teen gangs on Cork city street

There have been several arrests and drugs detections following a Garda crackdown on antisocial behaviour on one of Cork’s busiest pedestrian streets | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Ireland top of the table for drinking at home

Ireland tops the table of 25 countries for people drinking at home before going on a night out — with more than four out of five surveyed engaging in “pre-drinking” | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Pregabalin harm reduction campaign launched on drugs.ie

The Ana Liffey Drug Project, through its Online & Digital Services team, have worked in partnership with the HSE to launch a pregabalin harm reduction campaign on the drugs.ie website | Drugs.ie, Ireland

Cannabis legislation in Europe: an overview

At a time of increased debate on the laws controlling the use of cannabis in the European Union, this report answers some of the questions most often asked about cannabis legislation. Using a question and answer format, basic definitions and the obligations of countries under international law are set out in a section on ‘What is cannabis and what are countries’ obligations to control it?‘ | EMCDDA, Portugal

Interdisciplinary research team studies whether using e-cigarettes while pregnant causes craniofacial birth defects

E-cigarettes are touted as a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes, but they could pose alarming risks to children in utero, Virginia Commonwealth University researchers have found | Medical Xpress, USA

Epigenetic alteration a promising new drug target for heroin use disorder

Heroin use is associated with excessive histone acetylation, an epigenetic process that regulates gene expression, and more years of drug use correlate with higher levels of hyperacetylation, according to research | EurekAlert, USA

Can Old Prescription Drugs Provide New Treatments for Alcoholism?

By scouring thousands of medications created for other conditions, a researcher wants to find pills that can help overcome addiction | The Atlantic, USA

Making Sense of Making Meth

Jason Pine is an anthropologist at the  State University of New York, Purchase College,and a recent John C. Haas fellow in CHF’s Beckman Center. His latest project looks atthe culture and practices of  small-scalemethamphetamine production in  the rural United States | Chemical Heritage Foundation, USA

Friends you haven't met yet

How Irish pubs shaped American communities | NYTimes, USA

Are you taking a risk?

Information, case reports, films and a video game on painkiller use | ADF, Australia

Police blitz nabs 'alarming' number of truck drivers under influence of drugs

One in 37 Victorian truck drivers tested positive to drug-driving, almost double the national figure, in a Victoria Police blitz this week | Age, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Interesting new drug facts (March 2017)

Drug & alcohol misuse and treatment in prisons | Russell Webster, UK

Alcohol, productivity and morality

Work has been pretty busy lately, so I hope readers will forgive me posting about what might seem to be ‘old news’.  But, as anyone who’s studied policy relating to alcohol or other drugs for any length of time will surely agree, the issues tend not to go away, but cycle round to be viewed in a new light.  And it’s precisely that sense of history that’s prompted this post | Thinking to some purpose, UK

Deadlist Place to Deal review – the carnage at the heart of Duterte’s war on drugs

Livvy Haydock trails the cops, vigilantes and victims caught up in the Filipino president’s drive to rid his country of drugs | Guardian, UK

How our teens are getting 'high' online - as they ditch the booze and cigarettes

Are smartphones taking the place of cigarettes and alcohol in the lives of teenagers? | Independent opinion, Ireland