Daily news - 5th May 2017

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UK news

The Story of Spice, the Street Drug That's Not Going Away

It had humble beginnings, but the formerly legal high is now a runaway threat wreaking havoc on Britain's streets and prisons | VICE, UK

Statistics on Alcohol England 2017 & latest OPN drinking figures

The annual Statistics on Alcohol for England 2017 has been released, detailing national data for key alcohol-related indicators and health harms | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Kinship Care Week 2017

Video | Mentor, UK

'Social smokers' face same risk of heart disease as everyday users, research finds 

Smoking the odd cigarette when out with friends may seem relatively harmless, but a new study suggests it can be as dangerous for the heart as an everyday habit | Telegraph, UK

‘A Better Tomorrow’ for Ex-Convicts Seeking to Escape the Past

If you had unpaid drug debts at HMP Hewell, Trevor was the man you did not want to run in to. “I was number one hitman in Hewell,” he explains. “If someone didn’t pay a debt, I was the one going in there and smashing them up | Volte Face, UK

Imperial turns to caffeine as cigarette laws tighten and smokers quit the habit

From 21 May small packets will be banned in the UK and all tobacco must be sold in plain brown-grey packaging with prominent, graphic health warnings | Independent, UK

Intimate Partner Violence and Drug Use - podcast

This week, Rob, Elle and Lindsey find out what's the crack with Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and drug use. They talk to Karen Bailey from King's College London about her research and experience working with IPV and drug and alcohol use. We discuss some of the myths, prevalence and patterns of behaviour that are associated with IPV as well as some of the issues facing those seeking treatment and help following an abusive relationship | What's the crack?, UK

Steroid Use and Public Health: The Power of Visual Communication

Free event. Birmingham City University (BCU), the Public Health Institute (PHI) at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), in partnership with Aalborg Anti-Doping (Aalborg Municipality, DK) would like to invite you to
"Steroid Use and Public Health: The Power of Visual Communication"
on the 14th of June from 12.45-16.30 | Birmingham University, UK

Connecting Recovery in the Community Event 5 July

Free event. Join us on 5 July at Legacy Church, Unit 12 Shaw Wood Way, Doncaster DN2 5TB from 9am to 4.30pm | ASPIRE, UK

Wrexham Event: Anyone's Child could be a casualty of the drug war

Free event. Thu, May 11, 2017. 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM BST. Drugs are dangerous. But does banning them cause more harm than good? | Anyone's Child, UK

Geordie Shore star Aimee Spencer took drugs before death

A Geordie Shore star who died after falling from a first-floor window was under the influence of drugs at the time, a coroner has ruled | BBC, UK

Yorkgate station drug dealing fears prompt new safety measures

Translink has said it has made changes at Belfast's Yorkgate train station after a rise in anti-social behaviour | BBC, UK


International news

Tobacco industry suffers defeat as WTO upholds Australia's plain packaging laws

Formal ruling by World Trade Organisation not expected until July, but confidential draft defends laws as legitimate public health measures | Guardian, UK

Five alcohol companies paid no corporate tax for two years, analysis reveals

Analysis of 13 largest alcohol producers also finds two paid well below the statutory tax rate of 30% | Guardian, UK

High school chemistry teacher pleads guilty to making crystal meth in Breaking Bad-style case

John W Gose mimics Walter White after setting up meth lab at home | Independent, UK

Former Farc rebels kidnap UN official in Colombia from coca crop region

Arley Lopez, a Colombian, was seized on Wednesday by Farc gunmen in southern Guaviare province, where he was working to switch coca for legal crops | Guardian, UK

Colombia drugs arrest: Cassandra Sainsbury is innocent, says fiance

Lawyer confirms she had not gone overseas for six months before this trip, and had nothing tying her to South America that would cause her to travel there | Guardian, UK

Roosters star Kenny-Dowall charged with drug possession

Kenny-Dowall was allegedly found with 0.46 grams of cocaine at Ivy nightclub | Guardian, UK

More than half of suicides linked to alcohol, all-Ireland forum told

Suicides in young people and males most influenced by alcohol | Irish Times, Ireland

Fears 'risky new drug trend' could develop amid crackdown on prescription drugs

New rules tighten the restrictions around the possession of benzodiazepines and ‘z-drugs’ | Journal, Ireland

US opioid crisis at epidemic proportions

Many US communities are facing an epidemic of opioid and heroin abuse that is straining resources from police, to jails, to emergency medical personnel and treatment centers | Medical Xpress, USA

The latest opioid street mix causing concern: 'Gray death'

Investigators who nicknamed the street mixture have detected it or recorded overdoses blamed on it in Alabama, Georgia and Ohio. The drug looks like concrete mix and varies in consistency from a hard, chunky material to a fine powder | Medical Xpress, USA

Fighting the opioid scourge in American coal country

Ryan Brown grew up playing sports and the cello, shooting games of pool in his basement, surrounded by friends | Medical Xpress, USA

Social smoking carries same heart-disease risks as everyday habit

Social smokers’ risk for high blood pressure and high cholesterol is identical to those who light up every day, new research has found | Science | Science Daily, USA

Buprenorphine cuts neonatal abstinence syndrome treatment length by nearly half

Findings of a phase 3 clinical trial being presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting show that buprenorphine is just as safe and more effective than morphine when used to treat newborns suffering withdrawal symptoms after prenatal drug exposure | Medical Xpress, USA

Alcohol marketing in popular movies doubles in past two decades

Alcohol brand placements in popular movies of all ratings nearly doubled during the past two decades, new research shows, but particularly in child-rated movies. Researchers presenting these findings at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in San Francisco found the alcohol brands on the movie set are often those young people report drinking the most | Medical Xpress, USA

ER visits related to marijuana use at a Colorado hospital quadruple after legalization

Research at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting finds more than half of teens' marijuana-related visits also involved psychiatric evaluations | EurekAlert, USA

Smoking decreases MAIT cells, implicated in the pathology of autoimmune diseases

New research published in the May 2017 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology provides another reason why smoking tobacco is harmful. In the report, researchers from Denmark show that smokers have reduced levels of mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells, a cell type involved in autoimmune diseases | Medical Xpress, USA

The Drug Policy Alliance Releases Four New Videos About MDMA, Cocaine, Heroin and Methamphetamine

Today, the Drug Policy Alliance released four videos that provide information about MDMA, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. Each video is approximately two minutes long and informs the viewer about where the drug comes from, its history, and best harm reduction practices for anyone who may choose to use the drug | DPA, USA

Australia wins landmark WTO tobacco packaging case - Bloomberg

A landmark Australian law on restrictive tobacco packaging has been upheld at the World Trade Organization after a five-year legal battle, Bloomberg news reported on Thursday, citing two people familiar with the situation | Reuters, USA

Can the Pain Medication Ketamine Also Relieve Depression?

Ketamine, a drug that is used primarily as an anesthetic and pain reliever, may show some promise as a potential treatment for depression, a new study suggests | Live Science, USA


Blogs, comment and opinion

Summary of the #ActOnTobacco week of action

After a successful week of social media campaigning to draw attention to the global harm caused by tobacco, we are now wrapping up our Week of Action | ASH, UK