Daily news - 12th April 2018

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UK news

Substance misuse-related poisoning deaths, England and Wales, 1993–2016

In recent years there has been an increase in the availability of ‘novel psychoactive substances (NPS)’ or ‘legal highs’. In turn, there is concern as to the risks these compounds pose as compared to those posed by traditionally misused substances such as illicit diamorphine (heroin), methadone, cocaine, and amfetamines | Drug Science, Policy and Law, UK

The economic impact of changes in alcohol consumption in the UK (PDF)

The alcohol industry (both manufacturing and sales) is important to the UK Economy as it supports thousands of jobs (IAS, 2017a; Oxford Economics, 2016). However, there are many well documented adverse effects of high alcohol consumption, most notably on public health | Fraser of Allander Institute, UK

Is it all smoke without fire? (PDF)

Welsh Primary School Children’s Perceptions of Electronic Cigarettes | PHI, UK

Dangerous diversion of Diazepam down by potentially more than 60%

Analysis indicates trading in top strength 10mg Diazepam is down by 64% as MHRA and partners work hard to stop illegal diversion of medicines to the black market | MHRA, UK

A new approach to formulating and appraising drug policy: A multi-criterion decision analysis applied to alcohol and cannabis regulation

[Open access] Drug policy, whether for legal or illegal substances, is a controversial field that encompasses many complex issues. Policies can have effects on a myriad of outcomes and stakeholders differ in the outcomes they consider and value, while relevant knowledge on policy effects is dispersed across multiple research disciplines | IJDP, UK

Up to 50 offenders challenged to tackle drug abuse

A new scheme aimed at challenging offenders to tackle their drug and alcohol abuse is being introduced in Northern Ireland | BBC, UK

Spice And Cannabis Consumption Study (SACCS)

Survey. There are currently many stories in the news regarding both “Skunk” and “Spice”. These are almost entirely negative. They also tend to focus on either one substance or the other. We are investigating the differences that both herbal (grown from seed) and synthetic (made in a laboratory) cannabis have on their users. We are looking at both the positive and the negative aspects of using these to see how those who have used both drugs would compare their useage and effects | Nottingham University, UK

Inverclyde mum crowdfunds to buy illegal cannabis oil drug for daughter

A Scottish mother is asking strangers to help to buy her terminally-ill daughter illegal drugs to prolong her life | BBC, UK

‘Cannabis’ drop that treats glaucoma while you sleep developed

An eye drop that treats glaucoma while you sleep has been developed by scientists | Scotsman, UK

Recovering alcoholic Stuart Pascoe beats the bottle to go from three months from death to British judo champion

Stuart Pascoe has seen off the threat from the bottle and younger competitors to be crowned British Judo Council National Championship under 81kg | Cornwall Live, UK

All alcohol bought at airport shops to be placed in sealed bags under plans to crackdown on drunk passengers

All alcohol bought at airport shops will be placed in sealed bags under Government plans to crackdown on drunk passengers who disrupt flights | telegraph, UK

Trade concerns about alcohol health warnings on labels

Northern Ireland brewers and distillers have raised concerns that proposed changes to alcohol labelling in the Republic of Ireland will make it more expensive to export across the border | BBC, UK

Four in 10 Beer Buyers Never Check Alcohol Content

With awareness levels of alcohol units not as high as one might expect, it is perhaps no surprise to find over 4 in 10 (43%) beer buyers claiming they never check the alcohol content of the beer they are purchasing | Checkout, UK

Sportswear firm Puma accused of glamourising crime after holding a gang and drugs-themed party

Puma has been criticised for hosting a drug and gang themed party in central London during a time of increased murders on the capital city’s streets | Telegraph, UK

5 Live science podcast - Dr Karl - BBC radio iPlayer

Dr Karl explains how people can get sick from smoking marijuana | BBC, UK

Knowsley teen 'murdered in Deeside drugs dispute'

Matthew Cassidy, 19, from Merseyside, died after he was knifed nine times in the stairwell of a block of flats in Connah's Quay, Flintshire, on 29 May | BBC, UK


International news

Americans going abroad for illegal heroin treatment

As America's opioid and heroin crisis rages, some struggling with addiction are turning to a drug illegal in the US. Jonathan Levinson went to one clinic offering the treatment in Mexico | BBC, UK

How Bad, Really, Is Cocaine?

For the environment, not for you personally. We know it is quite bad for you personally | VICE, UK

John Boehner: Ex-Republican speaker joins marijuana firm despite previously being 'unalterably opposed' to legalisation

'My thinking on cannabis has evolved' | Independent, UK

Legal marijuana could soon be a bigger market than fizzy drinks

If marijuana is made legal nationwide in the US by 2030, the legal weed industry could generate $75bn (£53bn) in sales by that year, according to a new note from the investment bank Cowen | Independent, UK

U.S. Expands Airstrikes on Afghan Opium Labs: Military Justifies Killing Civilians for Alleged Drug Offences

The U.S. is using airstrikes to destroy opium labs, and kill any people who happen to be present in them, as part of its counter-terror military policy in Afghanistan | Talking Drugs, UK

E-cigarettes: NSW bans vaping in public places with $550 fine for offenders

Health officials say vapours can contain cancer-causing substances as ban brings state in line with Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and ACT | Guardian, UK

Expats say Australian woman on drug charges in Cambodia criticised Hun Sen

Rachel Prins had openly and publicly criticised prime minister and that could have been catalyst for her arrest, expats post on blog | Guardian, UK

The health, poverty, and financial consequences of a cigarette price increase among 500 million male smokers in 13 middle income countries: compartmental model study

[Open access] Higher prices of cigarettes provide more health and financial gains to the poorest 20% than to the richest 20% of the population. Higher excise taxes support the targets of the sustainable development goals on non-communicable diseases and poverty, and provides financial protection against illness | BMJ, UK

Woman arrested for attacking two people after dog eats her marijuana and owner refuses to pay

Police say she flew into a rage and assaulted two women in front of officers | Independent, UK

Liver cirrhosis mortality in the United States

This surveillance report, prepared biennially by the Alcohol Epidemiologic Data System (AEDS), National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), presents trends in liver cirrhosis mortality in the United States | NIAAA, USA

Netflix Says It’s Up To Viewers To Decide Whether A New Show Glorifies A Brutal Drug War Or Not

Critics say “Amo,” which has been described as the Philippines’ answer to “Narcos”, normalizes a brutal war on drugs that has seen thousands of Filipinos gunned down by police and vigilantes | Buzzfeed, USA

Studies show hookah also plays critical role in tobacco product landscape

The findings of two recently published studies on the emergence of hookah use indicate that public health officials may need to consider broadening their tobacco prevention efforts beyond traditional cigarettes | Medical Xpress, USA

Tiny juul device getting U.S. teens hooked on vaping

Tiny e-cigarette devices that look like USB drives are making it tough for parents and educators to keep their kids from vaping | Medical Xpress, USA

Vaccines to treat opioid abuse and prevent fatal overdoses

Heroin and prescription opioid abuse and fatal overdoses are a public health emergency in the United States. Vaccines offer a potential new strategy to treat opioid abuse and prevent fatal opioid overdoses | Medical Xpress, USA

The next naloxone? Companies, academics search for better overdose-reversal drugs

Dr. Nora Volkow has heard a frightening scenario play out around the country. People are administering naloxone to synthetic opioid drug users who have overdosed | STAT news, USA

The law on the streets: Evaluating the impact of Mexico’s drug decriminalization reform on drug possession arrests in Tijuana, Mexico

[Open access] In 2009, Mexican Federal Government enacted “narcomenudeo” reforms decriminalizing possession of small amounts of drugs, delegating prosecution of retail drug sales to the state courts, and mandating treatment diversion for habitual drug users | IJDP, USA

Post opioid overdose outreach by public health and public safety agencies: Exploration of emerging programs in Massachusetts

[Open access] Opioid overdose is a significant public health problem. Collaborative programs between local public health and public safety agencies have emerged to connect overdose survivors and their personal networks with harm reduction and addiction treatment services following a non-fatal overdose event | IJDP, USA

Assessing market competition and vendors’ size and scope on AlphaBay

[Open access] This study assesses market competition and the size and scope of drug vendors’ activities on one of the largest cryptomarkets, AlphaBay, in order to better understand the challenges that drug vendors face when selling on this venue | IJDP, USA

Examining social supply among nonmedical prescription stimulant users in the San Francisco Bay Area

[Open access] We explore intersecting factors, including life stage and social location, that contribute to decisions to use prescription stimulants nonmedically, motivations to use, knowledge about risks and benefits of prescription stimulant use, any adverse health or social consequences experienced, availability, acquisition and diversion of prescription stimulants, and differences in attitudes and behaviours | IJDP, USA

Longitudinal injecting risk behaviours among people with a history of injecting drug use in an Australian prison setting: The HITS-p study

[Open access] HCV transmission remains high in prisons globally. Understanding injecting risk behaviours in prisons is crucial to effectively develop and implement HCV prevention programs in this setting including treatment as prevention | IJDP, USA

Quebec signs marijuana supply deals with six Canadian companies

Hydropothecary Corp, Canopy Growth and Aphria Inc are among six companies that have signed agreements with Quebec’s liquor board to supply the province with marijuana when Canada legalizes its recreational use this year, the companies said in separate statements on Wednesday | Globe and Mail, Canada

New safe injecting room to accept ice users, adding to local fears

A new safe injecting room in inner-Melbourne, which will assist users of ice and other drugs including heroin, will bring more trouble to the drug-riddled area, some locals fear | Age, Australia

New figures reveal just how many people are drug driving on WA roads

More than 250 people per month are being charged with drug driving on WA roads, new figures have revealed | Age, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Drug and alcohol charity Addaction response to government action on dark web

The Home Secretary today pledged £9m to tackle illegal activity on the dark web, including the sale of drugs. Drug and alcohol charity Addaction welcomed the announcement but cautioned that some form of the dark web is here to stay | Addaction, UK

The benefits of taxing cigarettes in middle income countries

Here, we review some economic arguments for cigarette taxation. These are useful to justify these taxes, particularly to those who eschew government paternalism, and they inform the thornier discussion on how high the tax should be | BMJ editorial, UK

The Opposite of D.A.R.E – DPA Launches New High School Drug Education Curriculum in a NYC School

How many years have we known that abstinence-based programs like D.A.R.E. fail to truly educate young people about drugs, and that we need a replacement? The answer: too many. But happily, now there’s an alternative: DPA’s Safety First: Real Drug Education for Teens | DPA blog, USA

Daphne Bramham: Harm reduction not enough to end B.C. overdose crisis

As in many other jurisdictions, there are no regulations in B.C. for addictions treatment centres, no standards for addictions services and no requirement for outcomes to be reported or monitored | Vancouver Sun opinion, Canada

Beyond a binary approach: why WA must legalise vaping now

In the George Orwell classic Animal Farm, there was a binary notion that the animals lived by – “four legs good, two legs bad” | Brisbane Times opinion, Australia



And finally...

Cops who claimed mice ate missing marijuana fired

Eight Argentinian police officers have been fired after half a ton of marijuana went missing from a police warehouse | NYPost, USA

Stiff drink: the cocktail that's made with a frozen human toe

The Sourdough Saloon in Yukon territory offers tipples containing a digit – and a British man has promised to donate three frostbitten body parts to the cause | Guardian, UK