Daily news - 19th April 2018

Weekly subscribe button

UK news

Alcohol availability 'boosts crime rate'

Crime rates soar in areas where there are a large number of pubs, clubs and shops selling alcohol, according to a new report | BBC, UK

Prisons could get new powers to test for NPS

Prisons could be handed new powers to test for psychoactive substances not currently prohibited by law – but one prisons expert has said the move was “based on a complete misunderstanding of reality” | Converse Prison News, UK

Prisons (Substance Testing)

Drugs in our prisons are a major problem, which we need to do more to tackle. A recent review by Her Majesty’s inspectorate of prisons in 2015 showed that 52% of prisoners had used drugs in the two months before they went to prison | They work for you, UK

Drugs leave 12 dead since December in a Cumbrian town

Drugs have killed 12 people in one Cumbrian town since December, making the death rate far higher than that of many cities | BBC, UK

What is the value of the illegal drugs market in Scotland?

It was a bold claim heard by thousands of listeners on the BBC’s flagship morning news show. “We are the drugs market of Europe,” Labour MP David Lammy told the Today programme earlier this month | Scotsman, UK

Alfie Dingley's family apply for licence for medical cannabis

The family of a six-year-old boy with epilepsy has applied to the government to be able to use cannabis oil | BBC, UK

75% of Drug Offences in England & Wales are Cannabis Possession

New data shows that the vast majority of recorded drug offences in England and Wales are for drug possession, with cannabis possession offences making up the bulk | Talking Drugs, UK

What is chemsex? The sex parties for gay and bisexual men where drugs are injected or snorted

Messages such as “P&P” (party and play) are the alternative opening lines for a niche community of gay and bisexual men on dating apps | Pink News, UK

Electronic Cigarettes

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the use of electronic vaping devices on smoker mortality levels | They work for you, UK

Tobacco, E-cigarettes & Cannabis - podcast

Eyup! This week Elle is joined with Danielle Smith from Roswell Park and the University of Buffalo, United States to discuss tobacco, e-cigarettes and a little bit of cannabis! | What's the crack, UK

Midlands health visitors in new smoking cessation drive

Health visitors and smoking cessation experts at Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust have joined forces to launch a new service for pregnant women and their families | Nursing Times, UK

Energy Drink Sales to Children

To many of us, the sight of a child drinking a can of energy drink might not be something that we would even take a second look at... | They work for you, UK

Cash-strapped council set to cut methadone prescriptions for hundreds of heroin addicts

Stoke-on-Trent City Council hopes to save £751k | Stoke Sentinel, UK

Gang jailed for Heathrow Airport drug smuggling

Video. Members of a gang have been jailed for their role in a £16m drug smuggling operation at Heathrow Airport | BBC, UK

Darron Gibson warned to expect custodial sentence after being caught nearly three times over drink-driving limit

Former Sunderland midfielder Darron Gibson has been warned he faces a jail sentence after he was found to be nearly three times over the drink-drive limit following a crash last month | Telegraph, UK

Thames Valley Police arrest 16 in drug raids

Police have arrested 16 people after more than 100 officers raided homes in England earlier | BBC, UK

Teenager admits killing nurse with acid during drugs fight

Reading Crown Court heard the 19-year-old was trying to take a bicycle from another young man who he accused of selling him the former “legal high” spice instead of cannabis | Independent, UK


International news

Cannabis harm to teenagers' brains 'overstated', finds study

Marijuana’s impact on adolescents’ brain development and mental health remains a major concern | Independent, UK

Canadian Melina Roberge jailed over cruise ship drug scheme

A Canadian woman who helped smuggle cocaine into Australia on a cruise ship has been jailed for eight years | BBC, UK

Rebel groups fight over coca-growing region in Colombia

The governor of a province in north-eastern Colombia has declared a state of emergency over fighting between rival rebel groups | BBC, UK

The Inside Story of Sex Money Murder, NYC's Most Brutally Violent Drug Gang

The set was headed by "Pistol Pete" Rollock, who remains a sort of twisted deity in American crime lore | VICE, UK

Matthew Mellon dead: Billionaire banking heir and cryptocurrency backer dies, aged 54

Tycoon was undergoing treatment at drug rehabilitation centre in Mexico | Independent, UK

Synthetic Cannabinoids

As of April 17, 2018, IDPH has received reports of 138 cases, including three deaths, linked to an outbreak, since March 7, 2018; cases report using synthetic cannabinoid products before suffering from severe bleeding | IDPH, USA

Association of cannabis with cognitive functioning in young people

Frequent cannabis use by adolescents and young adults was associated with small reductions in cognitive function that appeared to diminish with abstinence over time | EurekAlert, USA

People who use medical marijuana more likely to use and misuse other prescription drugs

New study raises questions about cannabis to reduce opioid use | Science Daily, USA

Marijuana-related ER visits by Colorado teens on the rise

More visits to the emergency room by teens in Colorado are related to marijuana use than in the past, suggesting an impact of the drug’s legalization that needs closer attention, researchers say | Reuters, USA

Messaging System Helps Caregivers Keep Tabs on Growing Number of Patients with Substance Use Disorder

How do we best address growing opioid abuse nationwide? It’s a question that many health care organizations have been asking with increasing urgency | Catalyst, 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 | Medical Xpress, USA

Citing opioid crisis, feds seek rule change for drugmakers

According to the DEA, current regulations were issued in 1971 but need to be updated to reflect the nation's opioid abuse crisis and changes in the manufacture of controlled substances | Medical Xpress, USA

JUUL E-cigarettes Gain Popularity Among Youth, But Awareness of Nicotine Presence Remains Low

New Study from Truth Initiative® Raises Concerns over Lack of Education and Regulation of Popular E-cigarette/Vaping Devices | Truth Initiative, USA

Crackdown on e-cigarettes coming, FDA chief says

The Food and Drug Administration will step up its crackdown on e-cigarette sales to teens, the head of the agency said Tuesday | Washington Examiner, USA

COPD now afflicts more women than men in US

Joan Cousins was among a generation of young women who heard—and bought into the idea—that puffing on a cigarette was sophisticated, modern, even liberating. No one suspected it would make them more than equal to men in suffering a choking, life-shortening lung disease | Medical Xpress, USA

Discovering LSD: 75 years of experiences

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of Dr. Hofmann's discovery, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is proud to offer opportunities for education and participation throughout the month of April | MAPS, USA

Study: Wide distribution of naloxone can slash overdose deaths during epidemics

A new study in The Lancet Public Health shows the rapid expansion of British Columbia's Take Home Naloxone program significantly reduced the number of fentanyl-related overdose deaths in 2016 | Medical Xpress, Canada

Are we killing ourselves to look beautiful? - audio

In part one of our two-part investigation into the dangerous use of steroids and supplements, reporter Alex Mann finds a fascinating web of fake identities, encrypted messaging apps and dodgy backyard chemistry | abc.net.au, Australia

Australia's Medicinal Cannabis Patients Will Get 48-Hour Access...In A Few Months

There may be agreement among bureaucrats to streamline the access pathway for medicinal cannabis, but any hope of a single-approval, 48-hour turnaround process is still months away from becoming a reality | Buzzfeed, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Minimum Unit Pricing: a welcome and useful form of alcohol regulation

MUP is a welcome step in the right direction, says Steve Rolles | IAS blog, UK

Moderate and heavy alcohol consumption: what impact on later life brain and cognition?

The media portrayal of the “archetypical” person at-risk for heavy and harmful alcohol use is the young male involved in an aggressive brawl or the young women falling out of a nightclub | Mental Elf blog, UK

Chris Marshall: Scotland’s drug-death crisis is overdue an intervention

In the mid-1980s when the fear of Aids loomed large in the public consciousness, Glasgow recorded similar numbers of HIV diagnoses among both intravenous drug users and gay men | Scotsman comment, UK

Introduction to a new series on case studies on the addiction policy process

This issue of Addiction launches a new series which seeks to combine insights from theories of the policy process, case studies of addiction policymaking and a focus upon multiple levels of governance to answer key questions about how addiction policy is made and the role that researchers and their evidence can play in that process | Addiction editorial, UK

Hot debate, the right to vape, but I’d rather you stubbed out your prissy disapproval of my pretend fag

It was one of those semi open-air Tube platforms we were on — Kensington High Street, I think — and it was almost deserted. Nevertheless, this woman rolled her pushchair from the far end of it to right where I was in order to make her intervention | Evening Standard, opinion, UK

Legal highs: arguments for and against legalising cannabis in Australia

Greens leader Richard Di Natale wants Australia to legalise cannabis for personal use, regulated by a federal agency. This proposal is for legalisation of recreational use for relaxation and pleasure, not to treat a medical condition (which is already legal in Australia for some conditions) | Conversation, Australia