Daily news - 16th May 2017

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UK news

Police issue warning that deadly ‘100% pure’ cocaine is on sale in Britain

Most street cocaine is heavily cut with adulterants such as glucose (sugar) and benzocaine (a dental anaesthetic) – with a Vice report suggesting London cocaine is rarely more than 25 per cent pure. [DrugWise Director, Harry Shapiro, quoted] | Metro, UK

Sussex Police warning over super-strength drugs

An extra-strong batch of heroin and cocaine being sold in a seaside resort is said to have caused two deaths | BBC, UK

Alcohol Research UK studies: drinking cultures, A&E, hospital and local projects & more

Findings from a range of alcohol-related projects funded by Alcohol Research UK are available to access below | Alcohol Research UK, UK

Theresa May refuses to consider legalising cannabis despite desperate plea from anxiety sufferer

Emma wrote in to the Tory leader's Facebook Q&A, saying cannabis she has to be a criminal to get the only thing that helps her | Mirror, UK

New laws on vaping come into effect this week

Supporters say the rules are needed to dissuade people from picking up the e-cigarette habit | Independent, UK

Praise for new regulations but health experts urge caution over long-term use of e-cigarettes

Health campaigners have today praised new laws on e-cigarettes, claiming it could signal a significant breakthrough in helping people quit smoking, but share concerns over potentially unknown side effects | Oral Health Foundation, UK

Alcohol does not alter personality, say scientists as they debunk myth of 'happy drunk'

T here is no such thing a ‘happy drunk’ scientists have concluded after finding that alcohol does not radically change personality | Telegraph, UK

Why These People Stopped Drinking, and Starting Consuming Cannabis

Last week was ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’ in the UK, and while mental health awareness is for many an all-year-round concern, the initiative has succeeded in sparking interest and debate on a subject of vital importance | Volte Face, UK

How Scotland kicked its drink problem

Many fewer Scots are dying of alcohol, thanks to changes in the population and government efforts | Economist, UK

One homeless person dies a week in Glasgow figures reveal

One homeless person dies every week in Glasgow according to new figures from Glasgow City Council | Scotsman, UK

Here's what health chiefs are doing to stop pregnant women smoking in Stockton and Hartlepool

The rate of pregnant women smoking in Stockton and Hartlepool is one the highest in the country - but the local NHS are trying to help | Gazette Live, UK

'A light went on in my head': how charity helps veterans beat alcoholism

Just over a year ago, Mike spent New Year’s Eve on his kitchen floor. He was stuck there for 15 hours, with a broken shoulder. A few months earlier, he had broken a hip. Before that, he had ended up in hospital with hypothermia | Guardian, UK

More than 800 cannabis plants seized on Merseyside - police urge public to watch out for tell tale signs

Merseyside Police has recovered 878 plants at a cannabis farm in King Street, Wallasey following the execution of a warrant today The plants were growing in four rooms and were recovered alongside growing equipment | ITV, UK

Stone throwers attack police at Londonderry drugs raid

Police on a drugs raid in Londonderry have been attacked by a crowd of stone-throwing youths | BBC, UK


International news

‘Skid-row drunks’ take anti-drinking drug to avoid spell in jail

In the early 1960s in Atlanta in the USA, a pioneering trial tested whether faced with another spell in jail, repeat drunkenness offenders would instead take a drug which promotes abstinence by generating deterrent physical reactions to alcohol. Most did, belying their supposedly hopeless condition | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

International Day of Families 2017

To mark the International Day of Families on May 15th, we bring you a
selection of studies and hot topics from the Effectiveness Bank that
focus on the role of the family in addiction, prevention, treatment, and
recovery | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

US teen died after drinking caffeine too quickly, coroner says

A healthy teenager in the US state of South Carolina died from drinking several highly-caffeinated drinks too quickly, a coroner has ruled | BBC, UK

'They treated our son as roadkill': Parents address teenager's death after fraternity drinking ritual

The parents of US college student who died after fraternity hazing event have accused fellow members of treating him "as roadkill and a rag doll" | Independent, UK

The highs and lows of the cocaine trail in Colombia

Outside the busy bars of Bogota, men with American accents waxed lyrical about the powder they’d just scored. “That’s some good s**t right there,” snorted one, as though it were the most profound statement anyone had ever made about cocaine | Telegraph, UK

Drug money destroying swaths of forest in Central America – study

Cocaine traffickers’ efforts to launder profits by creating agricultural land results in loss of millions of acres, researchers say | Guardian, UK

Crusading Mexican journalist Javier Valdez shot dead in Sinaloa

Valdez founded and edited the weekly newspaper Ríodoce in Culiacán, the capital of the western state of Sinaloa and long a den of drug-cartel activities | Guardian, UK

Mexico: Secret tunnel found in Reynosa prison

A tunnel has been discovered in a Mexican prison, stashed with drugs, alcohol and sharp tools, according to local authorities | BBC, UK

People dying from ignorance of treatment for hepatitis C

People are suffering and dying needlessly because they are misinformed about a disease that is among the top five causes of premature death, research has found | Independent, Ireland

Branded tobacco tins ‘are a cynical wheeze to beat law’

A tobacco manufacturer is offering cigarettes for sale in durable branded tins, days before plain-packaging rules come into force | Irish Times, Ireland

Should drugs be decriminalised for personal use? Voters are split on the issue

A new poll found that a large proportion of voters would back the idea – but not everyone is convinced | Journal, Ireland

'Enough is enough': Gardaí to target teenage drinking in summertime crackdown

Operation Irene was such a success last year that it is to be implemented again from 1 June | Journal, Ireland

Ross to cut drink drive limit to zero

Transport Minister Shane Ross wants a total ban on alcohol for all drivers | Independent, Ireland

Irish Prison Service annual report 2016 (PDF)

This report contains information about the Irish prison service for 2016. Including: Offence group classified by sentence, total 3,077 - GP10 Controlled Drug Offences (350) p.29. Offence group, total = 12,163 - GP10 Controlled Drug Offences (671) p.33 |  Irish Prison Service, Ireland

Trying new marijuana products and edibles is associated with unexpected highs

Unexpected highs are a consequence of using new marijuana products and edibles, products that have flooded the marijuana market since legalization of recreational marijuana use | Science Daily, USA

Where you live may impact how much you drink

Neighborhoods with greater poverty and disorganization may play a greater role in problem drinking than the availability of bars and stores that sell hard liquor, a new study has found | Science Daily, USA

Making drug use a crime makes HIV prevention, treatment more difficult

The criminalization of drug use has a negative effect on efforts to prevent and treat people with HIV, suggests a review of published research conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of British Columbia | Medical Xpress, USA

Nonprescription use of Ritalin linked to adverse side effects, study finds

New research has explored the potential side effects of the stimulant drug Ritalin on those without ADHD showed changes in brain chemistry associated with risk-taking behavior, sleep disruption and other undesirable effects | Science Daily, USA

The tobacco giant behind Lucky Strike is spending billions on 'next-gen nicotine delivery systems'

The buzzword du jour in boardrooms globally is "innovation," with industries from banking to pharmaceuticals forced to contend with tech-driven disruption | Business Insider, USA

Psychedelics in the lab and clinic—making up for lost time

Nearly 50 years ago, psychiatrists lost access to one of the most promising tools they'd found to study consciousness and treat a range of refractory psychological conditions: psychedelic drugs. Psychedelics were banned in the United States in 1970 and by the United Nations the next year, classified as Schedule I drugs with a "high potential for abuse" and "no currently accepted medical use | Medical Xpress, USA

Nicholas Sand, Prolific LSD Chemist, Dies at 75

Mr. Sand earned a reputation in the 1960s for making some of the purest LSD on the market, including Orange Sunshine, before the law finally caught up with him | NYTimes, USA

Drug checks at B.C. supervised injection site found 80 per cent contained fentanyl

A pilot project to test street drugs for fentanyl at the Vancouver safe injection centre Insite has found that about 80 per cent were laced with the potentially deadly opioid | CTV News, Canada

An opioid addiction crisis is driving the trend of brutally honest obituaries

Friends and neighbours in his US hometown of Hamilton, New Jersey, knew Oswald as a gifted writer, a music buff and the kind of guy parents wanted their sons to hang around and their daughters to date | News.com.au, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Counting down to standardised “plain” packaging of cigarettes

There are now five days to go until all cigarettes on sale in the UK must be in standardised “plain” packaging. The legislation mandating the change came into force in May 2016, with a one year transitional period to allow retailers and manufacturers to sell old stock | ASH, UK

The United States must act quickly to control the use of e-cigarettes

The nation needs to end the long-running battle between regulators, lawmakers and industry | Nature editorial, UK

Energy drinks and alcohol, a risky mix… psychologically

People who add energy drinks to alcohol have a higher risk of injury from car accidents and fights, compared to those who drink alcohol straight | Conversation, USA

We need ecstasy and cocaine in place of Prozac and Xanax

What can doctors do to ease emotional pain? The physicians of ancient and medieval times found many plants and plant-derived substances (ie, drugs) that soothed mental as well as physical ills | Aeon, USA

Disrupting Standard Mode: A big picture story of family inclusion in substance use services

We hear a lot about patient-centred care in substance use services, but what about family-centred care? Family members are important sources of support for those accessing substance use services. However, family inclusion is not always regular or customary practice within substance use systems and services. In the midst of an unprecedented public health overdose … | CARBC, Canada

Helping drug users get back to work, not random drug testing, should be our priority

Drug testing people on welfareas proposed in this year’s federal budget, is a blunt way of tackling problems drug users face when looking for work | Conversation, Australia

Drug testing could have catastrophic consequences for welfare recipients

Scott Morrison's federal budget has declared yet another "war on drugs", announcing 5000 new welfare recipients will be required to undergo drug testing. Let's be clear, there is no evidence these measures, which would target some of society's most vulnerable people, would have any social benefit | Sydney Morning Herald comment, Australia

Drug testing: Has no Coalition MP a smidgen of empathy?

Letters | Age, Australia

Punitive drug testing of welfare recipients is not an act of love

In last week’s Budget the Federal Government announced a proposed pilotof drug testing 5,000 applicants for Centrelink benefits | Croakey Blog, Australia