Daily news - 31st March 2017

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UK news

Lord Brooke: Government has 'no sense of direction' in reducing devastating alcohol harm

The Government committed to reducing the impact of cheap alcohol in a 2012 Coalition Government strategy, but Lord Brooke says this has not happened | Politics Home, UK

Media portrayal and prescription drugs - BBC radio iplayer

How does the media portray women and are you addicted to prescription drugs? | BBC Radio LOndon, UK

Tobacco display ban hits sales at Budgens and Londis owner

Booker, target of a £3.7bn takeover by Tesco, reports sharp fall after ban on displaying cigarette packets | Guardian, UK

Return of the booze cruise: ferry chiefs plan to slash wine and beer prices after Britain leaves the EU

Brexit will lead to the return of the "booze cruise" with ferry passengers enjoying duty free wine and cigarettes for the first time in nearly 20 years | Telegraph, UK

'Zero waste' beer made from leftover rolls

Leftover bread rolls have been used to create a beer in a partnership which aims to turn waste into a resource | BBC, UK

Faking It: This Is What Movie Drugs Are Actually Made Of

What makes a good drug scene so memorable? Is it the dramatic way in which Penny Lane ingests a handful of quaaludes? Or the glamorous appeal of Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz celebrating their nuptials with a coke fest in Blow? Or even Mia Wallace's dainty snorting of copious amounts of heroin in Pulp Fiction? | Refinery29, UK

Brighton drug gang's arrest filmed by police

All nine members of a drugs gang have been jailed for their part in large scale conspiracy to supply class A drugs across Brighton and Hove | BBC, UK

Saido Berahino claims he failed drugs test because his drink was spiked in a nightclub

The Stoke striker missed a number of games for his then club West Brom with what was initially attributed to fitness issues and depression | Telegraph, UK

Terrifying sabre-toothed fish that pumps OPIUM into predators gives scientists hope for powerful new painkillers

A professor has said that the fish injects other fish with opioid peptides that act like heroin or morphine, inhibiting pain rather than causing it | Mirror, UK


Intenatioal news

March 31 is the first ever International Drug Checking day

Promoting harm reduction initiatives and educating | MixMag, UK

World's leading marijuana expert says he has never smoked a joint 

Raphael Mechoulam discovered THC, the psychoactive substance found in cannabis | Independent, UK

US Kabul embassy fires staff over drugs

Six people working at the US embassy in the Afghan capital, Kabul, have been fired for using or possessing illegal drugs, officials say | BBC, UK

I grew up on a narcotics farm - BBC iPlayer

Marjorie Senechal had an idyllic childhood on a farm in Kentucky in the 1940s, surrounded by 1200 acres of bluegrass, cows, and crops. This was no ordinary farm however, it was a Federal prison farm, described in the New York Times in 1929 as a “narcotic farm… where scientific methods of cure and treatment of drug addicts will be studied and tested” | BBC3, UK

Concern over street use of epilepsy drug in Dublin and Limerick

Pregabalin – a prescription drug – is being sold by street dealers as ‘Gabbies’ or ‘Budweisers’ | Journal, Ireland

How Iceland's teens cleaned up their act

Fifteen-year-old Kristjan Johannesson says he has never had a drop of alcohol or touched a cigarette | Medical Xpress, USA

Natural chemical helps brain adapt to stress

The study suggests that deficiencies in natural cannabinoids could result in a predisposition to developing PTSD and depression | Science Daily, USA

Methadone Accounted for 23% of Opioid OD Deaths in 2014

Methadone-related overdoses accounted for nearly one in four deaths related to prescription opioids in 2014, despite a recent decline in drug overdose deaths involving methadone, said researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | MedPage Today, USA

Health and Public Policy to Facilitate Effective Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders Involving Illicit and Prescription Drugs: An American College of Physicians Position Paper

Substance use disorders involving illicit and prescription drugs are a serious public health issue. In the United States, millions of individuals need treatment for substance use disorders but few receive it | AIM, USA

Are Supervised Injection Facilities an Answer to Saving Lives in the Opioid Epidemic?

I would recommend a perspective article by Sarah Wakeman in the New England Journal of Medicine as a “must read” for health care professionals wondering what still remains to be done in the dealing with the opioid epidemic. However, Dr. Wakeman’s view is not necessarily widely shared and might explain why the supervised injection facility (or site) idea hasn’t been widely adopted in the US | Lean Forward, USA

Treatment dilemma: No consensus on cure as demand for it explodes

In addition to woefully inadequate treatment resources to meet exploding demand in Maine, there is tension, too, among providers and policymakers over the best way to beat an opioid addiction | Portland Press Herald, USA

First-Ever International Drug Checking Day to be Held This Friday

A coalition of drug safety organizations is hosting the first-ever international drug checking day on March 31 to raise awareness of safer drug use | Thump, USA

A Brief Introduction to Drug Checking & Why It's Important - video

Drug checking encompasses a range of technologies, with the most accessible one being reagent tests. Different chemical mixtures (reagents) can be applied to drug samples in order to reduce your chance of taking the wrong drug. Based on the color reaction (or lack thereof) from a test, you’ll have a better idea of the likelihood that you have the correct drug | The drug classroom, USA

Underground labs in China are devising potent new opiates faster than authorities can respond

Miller Atkinson was an addict from the very first time he shot up with heroin. "I fell in love with it. Everything else fell to the wayside," says the 24-year-old. "There was nothing that could have stopped me from getting high." | Science Mag, USA

Marijuana Genome Mapping: Cannabis Strains Have Distinct Flavors Due To Different Genes, Study Finds

Even though federal laws in the United States still classify marijuana as an illegal drug, many states have formulated more lax laws surrounding cannabis, with varying acceptability of both medical and recreational marijuana use | IBTimes, USA

Marijuana Around The World: Argentina To Legalize Cannabis Oil For Medical Treatment

Lawmakers in Argentina this week unanimously voted to approve a bill that would legalize the use of cannabis oil for medical purposes and create opportunities for further research into its benefits in the country | IBTimes, USA

Fixing legal weed

Two Oregon congressman are introducing three bills to reform U.S. pot law | VICE, USA

Pot business is smoking hot in US, despite Trump

Walk into Brett Vapnik's medicinal marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles and the pungent aroma of pot is good and strong | Medical Xpress, USA

The War on Drugs Has a New General

During the past several years, both the federal government and many states took important steps toward reducing some of the harms caused by the War on Drugs | Huffington Post, USA

March of the white powder

After over two hundred thousand deaths, five million displacements, and countless war crimes on all sides, Colombia’s 52-year war with the Marxist guerrillas of the FARC has finally ended | VICE, USA

Australia: Senior police, prison officers and lawyers are standing side-by-side with drug users calling for law reform

Mick Palmer was convenor and Chair of the Roundtable and Deputy Chair of Australia21. He is a former Commissioner of both the Australian Federal Police and the Northern Territory Police. Since his retirement he has been actively engaged in consideration of illicit drug policy | LEAHN, Australia

Billboard warns: 'Shearing and drugs don't mix'

Animal rights group PETA is calling on shearers to report drug use following an investigation which exposed disturbing video footage | Age, Australia

Meet the fang blenny: the 'heroin'-injecting fish offering high hopes for new painkillers

A fanged coral reef fish that disables it rivals by delivering a dose of heroin-like venom could one day cure your pain, researchers say | SMH, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Opinion: Why it's important to just say no to bad drug policy

In all the discussions about the proposed health care law, it was easy to overlook a statement made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on March 15: "I think we have too much of a tolerance for drug use – psychologically, politically, morally… We need to say, as Nancy Reagan said, 'Just say no.'"| Medical Xpress opinion, USA

Donald Trump's Opioid Commission Is Stacked With Prosecutors and 12-Steppers

The Washington Post reports that President Donald Trump will announce today the creation of a federal opioid commission | Reason blog, USA

Editorial: E-cigarettes to get a sensible law

The Government has taken its time to decide e-cigarettes containing nicotine can be sold in New Zealand. The case for allowing them looked conclusive years ago. Nicotine, perhaps contrary to popular belief, is not the carcinogen in conventional cigarettes | NZHerald opinion, New Zealand