Daily news - 30th May 2017

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UK news

Stockton drugs alert: Fourteen overdoses recorded in 24 hours

A "particularly dangerous" batch of heroin has left a man dead and 13 others being treated for overdoses in the space of 24 hours, police said | BBC, UK

Anytime, anyplace, anywhere?

Shorter hours of sale for alcohol could ease the pressure on ambulances, emergency departments, hospitals and the police, suggests a study (PDF) of licensing laws in Australia and the UK| IAS and FARE, UK and Australia

Bigger wine glasses make us drink too much, says researcher

Today’s glasses, 450ml compared with 65ml 300 years ago, encourage consumption, Cambridge scientist tells Hay festival | Guardian, UK

Scientists find that smoking harms livers of unborn babies

The impact of cigarette damage to unborn babies has been revealed in a new stem cell study | BBC, UK

Is it safe to take magic mushrooms?

Psilocybin mushrooms have been found to have minimal harmful effects and could potentially benefit those with depression. But they remain illegal, and there is a big risk if you eat the wrong type | Guardian, UK

Misuse of drugs update 31st May 2017

The following unlicensed benzodiazepines become Class C on 31/05/17 in the UK: Etizolam, Diclazepam, Flubromazepam, Pyrazolam, Deschloroetizolam, Flubromazolam, Nitrazolam, Nifoxipam, Clonazolam
4'-Chlorodiazepam, Bromazolam, Meclonazepam, Adinazolam
Metizolam, 3-Hydroxyphenazepam, Fonazepam | Legislation.gov.uk, UK

Alcohol, drug, violence and self harm among teens need similar attention

It's obvious that youngsters who harm themselves need psychiatric care, but drugs, alcohol, and violent injuries should set off similar mental-health alarm bells, researchers say | Reuters, UK

Five Things We Learned From The Global Drug Survey 2017

The findings of the 2017 Global Drugs Survey were released this week, which gathered data from 115,000 people around the world. Although, by looking at the demographics (and additionally considering that taking the survey requires having Internet access), we can see that this by no means represents the experiences of all drug users, worldwide, the results provide many interesting insights into drug use and the differences between different types of drugs | Volte Face, UK

Academics take smart drugs prescribed to help ADHD to keep up with university work

One in five academics are taking smart drugs to help them write difficult grant applications, a leading academic has claimed | Telegraph, UK

BEAD (Bereaved through Alcohol and Drugs) Peer Support Group (London)

The BEAD project is a partnership between Cruse Bereavement Care and Adfam, providing practical and emotional support and information specifically for anyone bereaved through a loved one’s drug or alcohol use | Adfam, UK

Sheffield smokers needed to take part in university's e-cigarette study

A Sheffield university is looking for smokers trying to give up the habit to take part in a study | Star, UK

The Real ‘Gateway’

Of all the attempted justifications for drug prohibition, perhaps the most thoroughly absurd, easily debunked, and yet stubbornly persistent is the gateway theory | Volte Face, UK

Why father whose two sons died of an MDMA overdose wants drugs to be decriminalised

Ray Lakeman's sons Jacques and Torin died after taking MDMA six times higher than the lethal dose. Now, he's fighting for drug regulations to be re-written | Independent, UK

A Significant Day For Cannabis Law Reform In The UK

Thursday, 25th May 2017, was the inaugural general meeting of the Cannabis Trades Association UK (CTAUK) | Clear, UK

19 crimes recorded in West Yorkshire in year since 'legal highs' ban

West Yorkshire Police have recorded 19 crimes in the year since so-called legal highs were banned | ITV, UK

Man caught with 80% pure heroin

A man who was caught with heroin worth up to £600,000 has been jailed for three years | BBC, UK

'People are gambling with their lives' Fears after DIY recipes for highly addictive zombie drug Spice found online

Homemade versions of the dangerous drug have been responsible for putting users into zombie-like states | Daily Record, UK

Twenty-nine charged after Newport drugs raids

Twenty-nine people have been charged following drugs raids in Newport, Gwent Police has said | BBC, UK

Jail 'inevitable' for drug driver after Mold biker's death

A drug driver has been warned "custody is almost inevitable" after admitting causing the death of a motorcyclist by careless driving in Flintshire | BBC, UK

A Reading homeless charity gives pub new lease of life - video

A derelict pub in Reading is getting a new lease of life by becoming a shelter for the homeless | BBC, UK

'Industrial sized' cannabis farm found in Hartlepool

A "large-scale industrial sized" cannabis farm estimated to be worth about £400,000 has been discovered in Hartlepool, police said | BBC, UK

Angela Rippon tested positive for opiates after eating poppy seed bread

The 72-year-old's unlikely test result picked up the presence of morphine, derived from opium, after she ate a loaf of poppy seed bread and a poppy seed bagel over the course of three days | Telegraph, UK

Rare cigarette paintings up for auction

Original artwork of people smoking and children handing out cigarettes, which once hung inside England's last tobacco factory, are set to go to auction | BBC, UK


International news

The average number of cigarettes smoked per person, per year, mapped

China is the world's biggest consumer of cigarettes, adults there smoke a huge 4124 each a year (11-12 a day), according to data from the World Health Organisation | Independent, UK

France to Decriminalise Cannabis Possession within Months, Interior Minister Says

France’s newly-appointed interior minister has said that personal cannabis possession may no longer be prosecuted from as soon as September, although this change may be accompanied by unprecedented strict rules on people with convictions for selling drugs | Talking Drugs, UK

Countries Using Child Rights to Justify Executions for Drug Offences

International child rights are being used by some countries to justify the execution of people for drug offences, despite this practice being illegal under international law | Talking Drugs, UK

Uruguay, the first country where you can smoke marijuana wherever you like

A new law makes the South American country the first in the world to sell the drug over the counter | Guardian, UK

Australia's 'ganja queen'  returns home more than 12 years after being jailed in Bali for smuggling marijuana  

Australian drug smuggler Schapelle Corby, whose trial and imprisonment on Indonesia's tourist island of Bali mesmerized her country for more than a decade, returned home Sunday | Telegraph, UK

Cronulla Sharks: Damian Keogh pleads guilty to drug possession and resigns from board

Former chairman given 18-month good behaviour bond without conviction for possessing prohibited drug | Guardian, UK

Tiger Woods: Alcohol 'not involved' in arrest

The player, who was charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI), blamed "an unexpected reaction to prescribed medication" | BBC, UK

Mother charged with involuntary manslaughter after accidentally smothering son as she slept

Alissa Ward has been released on bail after admitting she had smoked marijuana and drunk alcohol before falling asleep | Independent, UK

HSE Data management report March 2017 (PDF)

Dtaa on Number of clients in receipt of opioid substitution treatment (outside prisons), number of unique individuals attending pharmacy needle exchange and more | Health Service Executive, Ireland

Council and Parliament agree on new mechanism to better protect Europeans from new psychoactive substances

On 29 May, the Council and the Parliament reached a political agreement on a package reforming the legislation on new psychoactive substances (NPS) used as alternatives to illicit drugs. The new mechanism will allow for a more effective and efficient EU response to new psychoactive substances, which are appearing on the EU market at an unprecedented pace, posing a risk to public health and safety | HRB, Ireland

Roadside drug tests may tackle prescription painkiller ‘epidemic’

The introduction of roadside drug testing may be having the inadvertent effect of tackling the “epidemic” of over-the-counter painkiller abuse in Ireland, according to a leading policy maker | Irish Times, Ireland

World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2017

The theme for World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2017, is "Tobacco – a threat to development." It will propose measures that governments and the public should take to promote health and development by confronting the global tobacco crisis | WHO, Switzerland

France announces law to eliminate prison terms for marijuana usage

The government of France, under its newly elected president Emmanuel Macron [official website], announced its intention on Friday to introduce [Inquirer.Net report] a law ending prison terms for marijuana usage by the end of the year, although marijuana consumption will remain a criminal offense | Jurist, USA

Cannabis harm prevention message a must, says study

Government, police and health agencies need clear guidelines for public campaigns on preventing harm from cannabis use, according to new research from Massey University | Medical Xpress, USA

Stopping drug abuse can reverse related heart damage

Quitting methamphetamine use can reverse the damage the drug causes to the heart and improve heart function in abusers when combined with appropriate medical treatment, potentially preventing future drug-related cases of heart failure or other worse outcomes, according to a study published today in JACC: Heart Failure | Medical Xpress, USA

'Heat-not-burn' cigarettes still release cancer-causing chemicals

A new type of "heat-not-burn" cigarette releases some of the same cancer-causing chemicals found in traditional cigarette smoke, a recent experiment suggests | Reuters, USA

Resetting balance in reward centers may help treat alcohol addiction

The human brain functions on a delicate balance of reinforcing positive behaviors and suppressing negative ones, which takes place in the dorsal striatum, a brain region critical for goal-directed behavior and implicated in drug and alcohol addiction | Science Daily, USA

Stopping production and marketing of tobacco can be the only way to uphold basic human rights

Action on Smoking and Health and Unfairtobacco agree with the Danish Institute of Human Rights (DIHR) that Philip Morris International (PMI) should cease “the production and marketing of tobacco.” | News-Medical, USA

Reducing Drug Deaths: Heroin Injection By Appointment

The United States has been stymied in reducing drug-related deaths, which have continued to grow even in places where Naloxone and other anti-overdose medications have been made available, along with medication-assisted treatment (MAT), including methadone and buprenorphine | Psychology Today, USA

The global alcohol business is expanding in Africa and that’s bad news for health

The alcohol industry is doing exactly what the tobacco industry did several decades ago to ensure growth and increase profits: expanding into Africa as an underdeveloped market. As a result, exposure to alcohol in African countries is expected to increase in the next few years. With it comes alcohol-related health and social problems | Quartz, USA

Ottawa approves 4 new supervised drug consumption sites

Ottawa has approved four new supervised drug consumption sites in B.C. and Quebec | iPolitics, Canada

Inside the cocaine syndicate that kept Sydney's dirty habit going

A bumbling cocaine syndicate that delivered drugs to thousands of people across the eastern suburbs and city showed off about being untouchable while they were selling to undercover operatives and eating dumplings together in full view of surveillance officers | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

One in four drug users report run-ins with police but few are arrested, Global Drug Survey show

Drug users in Australia have a one in four chance of having a run-in with police, but only a tiny proportion copped an arrest, the world's largest drug survey suggests | Age, Australia

Welfare drug test: Which countries do it and has it worked anywhere?

When Australia launches its welfare drug testing trial in January, it will be joining an international club of just two other members - New Zealand (kind of) and the United States (some Republican states) | abc.net, Australia

Peter Dunne says 'Class C' drugs like cannabis should be made legal and regulated

Imagine a New Zealand where you could have any drug, without fear of running into trouble with the law | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Nicotine in the news

My attention was caught this week by a series of exchanges focussing on whether nicotine was less addictive when delivered via an e-cigarette than a cigarette or whether you were simply swapping one equally harmful addiction for another. The conversation was sparked by Professor Linda Baud seeking materials to use in addressing barriers among smokers to switching away from cigarettes | NSP Blog, UK

Guest blog: Tokko Youth Film Project

Mentor have been working with the Interact group at Tokko Youth Space to produce a short film to raise awareness about new psychoactive substances. Interact is a group of 13-19 year olds who deliver social action projects locally, nationally and internationally | Mentor Blog, UK

Recovery and rehabilitation – parallel processes

Addressing substance misuse and offending behaviour together | Russell Webster, UK

The very culture of drugs is addictive

Getting hooked is not just about chemical properties | Guardian opinion, UK

We have waged war on drugs for a century. So who won?

Extrajudicial killings in the Philippines show how prohibition has made a global problem far worse | Guardian, UK

Schapelle Corby and Cassie Sainsbury: it's not about drugs, it's about misogyny

It’s perhaps unfortunate for Cassandra Sainsbury and Schapelle Corby that the Australian media decided they held sex appeal for the mass market | Guardian, UK

Who Suffers the Most from the Drug War? Families

Angela Pryor, a 41-year-old woman from Ross County, Ohio, is not living the life she thought she would | Inside Sources Opinion, USA

6 things you can do to show solidarity with people who use drugs and help end the opioid crisis

At the opening of the recent 25th Harm Reduction International Conference in Montreal, the Minister of Health Jane Philpott announced that more people have died in the overdose epidemic in the past few years than died during the height of the AIDS crisis in the late 80s and early 90s | Castle Blog, Canada

Legalizing marijuana will harm health of youth in Canada, study shows

The federal government's bill C-45 to legalize marijuana in Canada will jeopardize the health of young people and Parliament should vote against it, argues the interim Editor-in-Chief of CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) in an editorial | Science Daily, Canada

Quitting my addiction was only the first step in rediscovering my identity

Being a child of the '80s, I had pictured my adult life unfolding like a Duran Duran video. Exotic climes, open-top Jeeps, gleaming hotel lobbies. I might thump boardroom tables and power through airports in my safari suit | Age comment, Australia