Daily news - 15th May 2017

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UK news

GPs warned as gabapentinoids are linked to heroin overdose deaths

GPs should consider alternatives to the prescription drugs pregabalin and gabapentin, according to a new study that suggests a recent substantial increase in prescriptions is closely correlated with a rise in the number of overdose deaths in England and Wales | Pulse, UK

Lib Dems to back a 'regulated cannabis market' in UK

The Liberal Democrats would legalise selling and growing cannabis if elected, the party has confirmed ahead of publishing its manifesto | BBC, UK

'Cannabis should be legalised to protect young people and push criminals out'

Steve Rolles, a senior policy analyst at Transform, reveals why cannabis should be legalised | Mirror, UK

One million hours of police time a year 'wasted enforcing cannabis prohibition'

Research by the party drawn from official figures shows a total of 87,247 police caseloads relating to the drug were opened in 2015, with the average cost to the taxpayer per case estimated at £2,256 | Independent, UK

Quit smoking to save the NHS: Treating smokers costs THIS much every year

Quitting smoking could save the NHS millions of pounds a year by preventing thousands of related illnesses, according to new research | Express, UK

Why you could be breaking the law by driving on prescription drugs

Cops are allowed to prosecute people who have been prescribed certain medicines by their GP | Mirror, UK

Recovering alcoholic reveals the questions you should never ask her

However well-meaning, some questions can make the situation worse for someone dealing with an addiction | Independent, UK

An interview with Victoria - Lead Nurse at Gateshead Evolve

Nurses play an integral role within CGL. The overall aim being to improve the health and wellbeing of our service users in a holistic way, providing clinical interventions and decision making, to a high standard. Holistic care implies that a whole person is more important than the sum of their parts | CGL, UK

Help Us Carry Out the World’s First Scientific Study on LSD Microdosing

For years, the world has been crying out for a proper scientific study to validate the thousands of anecdotal reports about the benefits of microdosing with LSD | Beckley Foundation, UK

Leeds drug service hands out life saving kit in bid to reduce heroin overdose deaths

Drug and alcohol service Forward Leeds has started handing out potentially life saving kit as part of an innovative new policy | Yorkshire Evening Post, UK

Homeless not Voiceless

Services across Plymouth are helping people without permanent accommodation register to vote in the upcoming general election | Harbour, UK

Toddler bitten by drug dog during Belmarsh Prison visit

A toddler was bitten by a sniffer dog while she was visiting a relative in a high security jail in east London, it has emerged | BBC, UK


International news

Irish Parliament Passes Legislation to Permit Supervised Injecting Facilities

Wednesday, the Irish Seanad passed the Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017. Once signed into law by the President, it will establish a legal framework for the Minister for Health to licence the operation of facilities where people can inject drugs under the supervision of trained professionals | Volte Face, UK

Inside Myanmar's Surprisingly Harsh Heroin Rehab Centres

One person per household uses heroin in Myanmar's most northernly region, and a coalition of religious types have banded together to tackle the problem | VICE, UK

Peace in Colombia spells boom time for cocaine users in the US

After two decades of US eradication efforts and a peace accord on the horizon, Colombia’s cocaine production has more than tripled. Cocaine overdose deaths in US are at a 10-year high and the number of Americans who say they've used the drug for the first time has risen by 61 per cent | Independent, UK

Jeff Sessions orders toughest possible sentences for drugs offences, rolling back Obama policies

Video | Independent, UK

More people dying from opioid overdoses than crashes

GP highlights urgent need for injecting centres, which a recent Bill has paved way for | Irish Times, Ireland

Irish alcohol excise 'second highest in EU'

Ireland has the second highest excise duty on alcohol overall across the European Union, the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) has said | Independent, Ireland

'It takes me away from this world for the day': Life as a homeless drug-user on the streets of Dublin

What’s the day-to-day experience like for people injecting drugs in the city? | Journal, Ireland

'It took six officers to restrain him': Psychotic legal highs are creeping into Irish prisons

In one case in recent weeks, it took six prison officers to restrain one man who was convulsing on the ground and attacking officers who tried to come to his aid | Journal, Ireland

EMCDDA renews accord with ISCTE-IUL

The EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) and the University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL) will be strengthening their cooperation in future thanks to a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two bodies today in Lisbon | EMCDDA, Portugal

Personality may change when you drink, but less than you think

People typically report substantive changes to their personality when they become intoxicated, but observations from outsiders suggest less drastic differences between "sober" and "drunk" personalities, according to research published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science | EurekAlert, USA

New York State Adds PTSD To Medical Marijuana Program, Will Menstrual Cramps Be Next?

New York State has one of the most restrictive medical marijuana programs in the country, but it may be starting to loosen up. A bi-partisan bill that would add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition passed the Senate Health Committee and now waits on Senate approval | Forbes, USA

Seattle could be first city to give heroin users 'safe spaces'

Seattle is on track to become the first place in the country where heroin addicts can legally shoot up at a supervised healthcare facility, hoping that the controversial move can reduce the number of overdose deaths and decrease the spread of disease through dirty needles | washington Examiner, USA

These Women Are Fighting Sexism in Psychedelic Research

The movement has always been mostly white and male, but 'psychedelic feminists' are making sure the so-called renaissance doesn’t repeat mistakes of the past | VICE, Canada

Drugs and New Technologies Issue 8, May 2017

This bulletin is the eighth in a series and provides analysis of trends over time in the availability and type of substances sold via the internet on the darknet | NDARC, Australia

2017 Alcohol and Other Drug Excellence and Innovation Awards

The 2017 Alcohol and Other Drug Excellence and Innovation Awards encourage, recognise and celebrate the achievements of the incredible people and organisations that do exceptional work to reduce the harm and impact of alcohol and other drugs in Australia | ADF, Australia

False hope driving claims medicinal cannabis is magic pill

Prescribing medicinal cannabis for patients with chronic non-cancer pain is not going to revolutionise their treatment and should not be supported until there is substantial proof of its effectiveness, according to a leading pain specialist | Scoop, New Zealand

The Chills' dying frontman Martin Phillipps is given miracle reprieve from Hepatitis C

Phillipps, the driving force behind The Chills, had been suffering with Hepatitis C since the 1990s. The virus attacked his liver for almost two decades, and in 2016, the 53-year-old musician was told he had barely a year to live | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Punitive Drug Policies Fuel Human Rights Abuses

In December 2016 five year old Francis Mañosca was shot dead by masked gunmen in Manila. His death is a result of the Philippines ‘war on drugs’; a war that was escalated by President Rodrigo Duterte in June 2016 when he came to power and called on citizens and the police to kill those who use drugs and those involved in the drug trade | Bright Blue, UK

Our young are sleepwalking into addiction

Community activist ​Davy Sorbie says politicians are misplacing the emphasis on Scotland's battle against substance misuse and alcohol addiction | Third Force News Blog, UK

Alcohol use in retirement: A silent epidemic?

I was on a course recently and someone mentioned that her parents, since retiring were all about the “three Gs – Gardening, Grandchildren and the Grape”. Laughter ensued from other colleagues, then a sadness dawned on me | Fuse Open Science blog, UK

Drug war policies: Jeff Sessions orders tougher drug crime charges

The Trump administration is taking a harder line on drugs. Research shows that is the wrong approach | The Economist, UK

Drug use disorders: impact of a public health rather than a criminal justice approach

The Outcome Document of the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on drugs (UNGASS 2016), unanimously approved by the 193 Member States, has recognized “drug addiction as a complex multifactorial health disorder characterized by chronic and relapsing nature” that is preventable and treatable and not the result of moral failure or a criminal behavior | World Psychiatry Letters, USA