Daily news - 18th April 2018

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UK news

Drug seizures and offending: Social Indicators page

In year ending March 2017, police recorded 136,352 drug offences in England and Wales, a decrease of 8% on the previous year. Around 83% of all drug offences recorded by the police were for drug possession. Just under 76% of total drug offences recorded were for the possession of cannabis | Parliament.uk, UK

Organised Crime: Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the oral contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State of 17 January 2018, on County Lines, when she plans to launch the nationwide awareness-raising campaign | They work for you, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the cost to the NHS of alcohol misuse in each of the last five years | They work for you, UK


To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of people who take up smoking | They work for you, UK

Acupuncture: potential value of a 'theatrical placebo'

Studies showing acupuncture can treat problem substance use and relieve symptoms of withdrawal are few and far between and tend to be
methodologically weak. Yet it’s been a popular alternative when
mainstream medication and psychosocial therapies haven’t shown
consistent success. Does offering something concrete like acupuncture
benefit the client, even if effects may be ‘placebo’ at best? | Drug and
Alcohol Findings, UK

'Massive' study supports unit guidelines - where next for consumer messaging?

A new study on alcohol consumption risk levels based on almost 600,000 drinkers has been published in the Lancet, reporting the risk of early death from drinking begin to rise at a level above 100g of alcohol per week (12.5 units) | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Alcoholics in Bristol are trialing MDMA therapy

Approval for world-first trial marks massive step forward for research into psychedelics as medicine | Bristol Cable, UK

Caroline Bird and Kaveh Akbar - BBC radio iPlayer, UK

Paul Farley brings together two poets working on opposite sides of the Atlantic whose latest work explores addiction and recovery with surrealism and dark wit | BBC, UK

139 years for Heathrow ‘airport insider’ cocaine smuggling group

A criminal network that used corrupt baggage handlers to smuggle at least £16 million worth of drugs through London’s Heathrow Airport have been sentenced to a total of over 139 years in prison | NCA, UK

HMP Humber: Photocopied post 'reduces prisoner drug use'

The photocopying of inmate mail at a prison in a bid to prevent drug-soaked letters being smuggled in has reduced on-site substance abuse, a report said | BBC, UK

Teenager lost drugs suitcase in bus mix-up

A teenager lost a suitcase containing £6,000 worth of cannabis on a bus - and was caught after trying to retrieve his missing luggage | BBC, UK

Oxford college forced to cancel 'cannabis themed' bop after being accused of cultural appropriation

Mansfield College was forced to cancel a "420 themed" bop scheduled for this Friday - April 4 - after students complained | Evening Standard, UK

Parsons Green stabbing: Omid Saidy died after 'chasing drug dealers'

A 20-year-old man was stabbed to death for confronting suspected drug dealers outside his home, a court has heard | BBC, UK


International news

UK is the world’s biggest exporter of legal cocaine and heroin, show new figures

Revelation triggers calls for government to regulate illegal drugs trade | Independent, UK

The untold story: Harms experienced in the Irish population due to others’ drinking (PDF)

What has been missing from the picture is the burden that occasional or regular heavy drinking imposes directly on others at the interpersonal level – whether in regular relationships such as in the family, at work, or among friends, or in chance encounters in public places | HSE, Ireland

Majority of people know a problem drinker, report says

Ireland’s drinking habit has become almost €1bn-a-year headache, with vast sums of money lost on caring for problem drinkers, cleaning up after their mistakes, covering for them at work, and taking over their child-rearing responsibilities | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Services sees more doctors seeking help for mental health and addiction issues

More doctors, dentists and pharmacists are seeking help for mental health and addiction problems | Irish Examiner, Ireland

EU issued warning to Government over alcohol Bill

European Commission said the proposed legislation may conflict with bloc’s law | Irish Times, Ireland

Senator Sanders introducing bill targeting opioid manufacturers

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders will introduce a bill on Tuesday that would fine opioid drug manufacturers for deceptive marketing and implement the harshest penalties yet on drugmakers found responsible for contributing to the drug epidemic | Reuters, UK

Text messaging tool may help fight opioid epidemic

A new automated text messaging service may curb opioid abuse and reduce the likelihood of relapse while also decreasing treatment costs, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine and Epharmix, a St. Louis-based digital health company | Medical Xpress, USA

Boosting employment rate is unlikely to curb opioid use

Improving job prospects for people in economically depressed parts of the United States is unlikely to help curb the opioid epidemic, according to a study by researchers at Princeton University. On the other hand, opioid use may actually help some women—but not men—stay in the labor force when they would otherwise leave because of chronic pain | Medical Xpress, USA

Opioid-related hospitalizations rising in Medicare patients without opioid prescriptions

A 2014 federal change that limited the dispensing of hydrocodone products may be indirectly contributing to the illegal use of some of those drugs, a study by University of Texas Medical Branch researchers has found | EurekAlert, USA

Cigarette smoking raises heart failure risk in African Americans

Cigarette smoking sharply increases the risk of heart failure in black men and women in the U.S., according to a new study | Reuters, USA

Origins in the USA in the 1980s of the warning that smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarettes: a historical, documents-based assessment with implications for comparative warnings on less harmful tobacco/nicotine products

[Open access] Before the 1980s in the USA, smokeless tobacco carried no health warnings, was not judged to cause disease, and was a declining practice | Harm Reduction Journal, USA

Marijuana use and perceptions among 12th graders in response to legalization

Medical and recreational marijuana have become increasingly available to American adults over the past two decades | BASIS, USA

Marijuana-based drug gets positive review from US agency

A closely watched medicine made from the marijuana plant reduces seizures in children with severe forms of epilepsy and warrants approval in the United States, health officials said Tuesday | Medical Xpress, USA

Medical marijuana push spreads to Utah, Oklahoma

The push for legalized marijuana has moved into Utah and Oklahoma, two of the most conservative states in the country, further underscoring how quickly feelings about marijuana are changing in the United States | Medical Xpress, USA

Justice Department takes down multi-state heroin and fentanyl network

The takedown was in Huntington, W.V. — a city U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart called the “epicenter of the opioid crisis." | Washington Examiner, USA

Opioid crisis having “significant” impact on Canada’s health care system

The opioid crisis in Canada is putting increasing pressure on the country’s health care systems, as new data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) shows that the number of emergency department visits and hospitalizations continues to rise | Canadian Institute for Health Information, Canada


Blogs, comment and opinion

UK is the world’s biggest exporter of legal heroin and cocaine

A report from the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board has revealed the UK is the world’s biggest exporter, importer and consumer of legal cocaine for medical use, and the world’s biggest manufacturer and exporter of heroin for medical use | Transform blog, UK