Daily news - 8th May 2017

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UK news

'Unnecessary' painkillers could leave thousands addicted, doctors warn

Prescriptions for powerful opioid painkillers have doubled from 12m to 24m in past decade, NHS Digital figures reveal. Our director, Harry Shapiro quoted in this article | Guardian, UK

More than half of UK vapers 'have given up smoking'

For the first time, more than half of the UK's electronic-cigarette users have since given up smoking tobacco, a study suggests | BBC, UK

South Yorkshire drug deaths: Warning of contaminated heroin

Police are warning drug users over possible contaminated heroin after seven people died in the Barnsley area over the last three weeks | BBC, UK

Drug-related deaths 'continue to rise' - video

Speakers from the USA and Spain attend the Swansea conference to discuss how to cut drug deaths | BBC, UK

High security prisons on alert after telling inmates they must give up smoking by September

Some of the country’s most notorious jails are braced for violence and unrest after it emerged that they will have to implement a complete smoking ban by the end of the summer | Telegraph, UK

More than a quarter of young adults in the UK do not drink alcohol – in data

New survey results on UK alcohol use show levels of teetotalism rising among young people, but falling in older age groups | Guardian, UK

Additions to the Effectiveness Bank 5 May 2017

What causes substance use issues to take hold in some young people, and what can be done to prevent or treat? Three studies look at this from
different standpoints: starting with whether personality-relevant coping
skills can delay or reduce cannabis use; to the moderating potential of
telling students ‘your peers don’t drink as much as you think they do’;
and finally, to the apparent edge of family therapies over other
non-residential programmes for already substance-using teenagers | Drug
and Alcohol Findings, UK

Launching our new strategy – Confident about Recovery

Developed over the last 12 months with input from people in addiction and recovery, volunteers and staff, Phoenix launch their new strategy as the charity that is confident about recovery | Phoenix Futures, UK

FA 'considering' relationship with gambling and alcohol firms - Greg Clarke

The Football Association is "considering" its relationship with gambling firms and alcohol companies, says the governing body's chairman | BBC, UK

Cheap alcohol easily available in poor areas

Cheap booze is easier than ever to buy despite the dramatic surge in pub closures - especially in deprived areas, according to new research | Derbyshire Times, UK

Meth: Prison and Rehab Aren’t Working, So How Do We Keep the LGBT Community Safe? (Part 4)

General practitioner Nason Tan works with LGBTQ people, sex workers and intravenous drug users in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a conservative, predominantly Muslim country whose colonial-era laws harshly punish queerness, sex-work and drug use | Unicorn Booty, UK

Harm Induction

‘Spice’ is a growing problem in the UK. Although harm reduction messages are starting to circulate in drug treatment, its unpredictable strength and effects are forcing users in prison to find alternative education methods | Volte Face, UK

Cardiff pro-cannabis march calls for drugs cafes

Hundreds of people gathered in Cardiff city centre to march in favour of legalising cannabis clubs | BBC, 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 | Volte Face, UK

How the Ex-Smuggler Caught with 37 Tons of Weed Went Legit

After his 'Weediquette' appearance, author and cannabis activist David Victorson talks about his new book and the future of legal cannabis sales | VICE, UK

Another two people sent by London drugs gangs to sell in Swansea have appeared in court

A judge said heroin use was at 'epidemic proportions' in Swansea as he jailed London cousins who had been sent to the city to deal | Wales Online, UK

Dundee doctor on trial over drug death charge

A Dundee doctor has gone on trial accused of killing a woman by allegedly giving her prescription drugs at a tattoo parlour | BBC, UK

Tredegar school worker used charity cash to pay drug dealer

A teaching assistant stole money raised at her school for charity to pay off her son's drug debt, a hearing has been told | BBC, UK

Six more 'sharps disposal boxes' for drug users

Belfast City Council has said it plans to install six more needle bins to allow injecting drug users to safely dispose of used syringes | 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

Three ways to escape French city 'ghettos' - video

A former drug dealer from a deprived suburb in Lyon gives his tips for youths wanting to escape poverty in France's banlieues | BBC, UK

E-cigarette companies fined over false claims about toxic chemicals

In world-first case, Australia’s consumer watchdog finds three retailers claimed products did not contain harmful carcinogens, when this was not the case | Guardian, UK

Tobacco company flags appeal over plain packaging

British American Tobacco has suggested an appeal is likely amid reports that the World Trade Organization (WTO) has upheld landmark Australian laws on cigarette plain packaging | BBC, UK

NRL plunged into cocaine scandal during representative round

The NRL has been plunged into a cocaine scandal during its representative round, with a club chairman and three players accused of being involved in three separate incidents | Guardian, UK

Police Department Offers To ‘Check Crystal Meth For Deadly Gluten’

They haven’t revealed if it has actually worked yet | Huffington Post, UK

Laws tackle booming trade in sedatives and sleeping tablets

Laws have been brought into force empowering gardaí to combat the booming trade in sedatives and sleeping tablets | Irish Examiner, Ireland

White House Proposes Cutting Drug Control Office Funding by 95%

When he campaigned for the presidency, Mr. Trump vowed to crack down on dealers and invest heavily in programs to get heroin and other opioids out of circulation | NYTimes, USA

Trump budget would effectively kill drug control office

President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget would cut about 95 percent of funding for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, effectively ending its mission as the lead agency in charge of combating the opioid crisis and other drug epidemics, according to an internal office email and two sources who spoke with POLITICO | Politico, USA

Republican health bill stirs fear in opioid-wracked West Virginia

Debra Bright said she battled for years with mental illness and addiction to pain pills and other drugs that were all too easy to find where she lives in West Virginia, one of the states hardest hit by the country's opiate epidemic | Reuters, USA

Trumpcare Will Make the Opioid Crisis Worse

Millions of Americans could see disruptions to their addiction treatment coverage | Mother Jones, USA

Investigating the Heroin and Prescription Opioid Epidemic: A Lesson Plan

For hundreds of years, medicinal opioids have eased human pain after medical procedures, injuries, illness and disease. Yet from the earliest civilizations, societies have also struggled to balance the medicinal benefits of pain killers with their highly addictive nature and with the death and devastation caused by their misuse and abuse | NYTimes, USA

Young adults' perceptions of marijuana, cigarette and e-cigarette safety may be based on mistaken beliefs

When young people consider the potential harm of tobacco and marijuana products, their assessment may be based on mistaken beliefs about the risks of various ingredients and methods of ingesting the substances, according to a study led by a tobacco researcher from the School of Public Health at Georgia State University | Medical Xpress, USA

El Chapo's wives, lovers and beauty-queen 'slaves': Women behind the notorious drug lord

Notorious drug lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman is now allowed to correspond with his current beauty-queen wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, via letters while in jail | IBTimes, USA

Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act Becomes Law in Canada

New law would provide immunity from simple possession charges for those who call 911 in the case of an overdose | CNW, Canada

Big tobacco is turning to ‘next generation’ cigarette alternatives — including caffeine powders — to woo back millennials

Panicked by plain packaging and terrified by tumbling sales in western countries, the big tobacco giants are diversifying out of traditional cigarettes into smokeless products and even caffeine supplements | news.com.au, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Nicotine in the news

“After all this time, we are still dealing with the same mentality within the tobacco control community. To them "tobacco" is the problem, not smoking... " | NSP Blog, UK

Behind closed doors, the hidden problem of baby-boomer addiction

Substance misuse by older people is a ticking health time bomb | Guardian opinion, UK

Blog: Partners sought to help develop new substance misuse recovery housing

Closing this gap between substance misuse treatment and homelessness benefits everyone in our communities. As both a homelessness provider and substance misuse charity Phoenix Futures Scotland have unique insight into both the problem and the solution | Scottish Housing News, UK

The stupidity of prison smoking bans

When you think of the principal threats to the health and welfare of prisoners in the UK, what comes to mind? Overcrowding? Severe staff shortages? | Spiked blog, UK

Radio DJs are suppliers of banal chatter, not health advice on partying

‘Nice one, Chris, but do remember two beers are four of your recommended 14 weekly units right there…’ | Guardian CIF, UK

We must empower communities blighted by drugs, not blame them

It is easier to blame communities for their problems than to risk helping them | Irish Examiner opinion, Ireland



And finally...

City's drug problem sees birds 'making nests out of needles'

A viral photo tweeted by a high ranking police officer in Vancouver purports to show a pigeon's nest made entirely from used hypodermic needles | Telegraph, UK

Rats 'drink seized alcohol in India's Bihar'

Police in the eastern Indian state of Bihar say rats have consumed thousands of litres of confiscated alcohol | BBC, UK