Daily news - 3rd December 2018

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UK news

Statistics on drug misuse - November update (PDF)

This report presents a range of information on drug use by adults and children drawn together from a variety of sources | NHS Digital, UK

NHS sees spike in older people hospitalised with drugs side effects

Psychiatrist claims the findings should be a ‘wake-up call’ on the dangers of using drugs | Guardian, UK

Continuity of care for prisoners who need substance misuse treatment

An audit toolkit and guidance on data recording, for prison and community treatment providers and commissioners | PHE, UK

Briefing Statement to Health Professionals on the Management of Opioid Medications (PDF)

There is considerable and continuing public concern related to an increase in the use of opioid painkillers in the United Kingdom. There is also professional and governmental concern regarding misuse of prescription medicines and the number of prescriptions of opioid analgesics. The backdrop are the serious public health concerns in the USA. This document sets out the issues and recommendations for action locally | ROCA, UK

Drugs Debate - BBC video

Scottish Conservative-led debate calling for a new approach to tackle Scotland's drugs crisis, from Wednesday 28 November | BBC, UK

Six months on from the implementation of MUP, what can we say about changes in alcohol sales in Scotland?

Minimum unit pricing (MUP) was implemented in Scotland on 1 May 2018. The purpose of this briefing is to • describe some of the available data sources, the measures available from those sources and what they show in the 6-month period post-MUP • describe the data that will be used in the evaluation of MUP being led by NHS Health Scotland | NHS Health Scotland, UK

Change in alcohol and other drug use during five years of continuous opioid substitution treatment

[Open access] English national prospective, observational cohort study of patients continuously enrolled for five years in opioid substitution treatment (OST) with oral methadone and sublingual buprenorphine. This is a secondary outcome analysis of change in use of alcohol and other drug use (AOD) following identification of heroin use trajectories during OST | Science Direct, UK

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: The effect on children

Campaigners are calling for more research into how many children may be affected by the Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) condition | BBC, UK

Publicans trained in protecting children from sexual exploitation and 'county lines'

Licensees in Nottinghamshire have received training on safeguarding children from child sexual exploitation and drug dealing | Morning Advertiser, UK

North Wales drug driving 'becoming as common as drink-driving'

Officers have made 865 drink-drive arrests and 656 for driving under the influence of drugs in 2018, compared to 882 and 600 respectively in 2017 | BBC, UK

Drugs: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of drug testing at festivals, nightclubs and other large gatherings of young people on the health and safety of those people | They work for you, UK

Precursor chemical licensing

Updated with multiple changes to update out-of-date content, correct email addresses, add contact details and update the thefts and losses form | Home Office, UK

Notification of tobacco or herbal products for smoking

Updated product list. Guidance for businesses needing to notify the government that they are placing a tobacco or herbal smoking product on the market | PHE, UK

Have legislative changes curbed use of ‘legal highs’?

While the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 appears to have controlled circulation of novel psychoactive substances, formerly known as ‘legal highs’, on the high street, a Home Office review has proved what many experts predicted — that the legislation would drive sales onto the streets and the dark web | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

Ten top tips on e-cigarettes for smoking cessation

There is growing evidence to support the use of e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to smoking.1 Simply put, switching to vaping from smoking tobacco can reduce exposure to toxic chemicals that can lead to cancer in cigarette smokers | Nursing in Practice, UK

This Is How Coke, Ecstasy and Meth Would Be Legally Sold

It's happening with cannabis. But how would a world of legal stimulants work? | VICE, UK

Vaporized ranked top Scots firm in sales growth list

Edinburgh-based Vaporized was 24th in the Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Top 100, which ranks UK companies by sales growth | BBC, UK

UK’s first vegan and vegetarian cannabis restaurant set for launch

The founders of what is being dubbed Britain’s first vegan and vegetarian cannabis restaurant dreamed up the idea in a bid to “redress outdated stereotypes” about the plant | ITV, UK

Tom Kerridge is "still dependent on alcohol and misses its 'chaos'"

The Michelin-starred TV chef has revealed he would order a pint of Negroni after work "just as a starter" and would always be the last man standing in any bout of drinking | Telegraph, UK

Labour MP Kate Osamor resigns amid row over son's drug conviction

Shadow cabinet member’s son Ishmael is employed by her office in communications role | Guardian, UK

Nepalese Drug Users in Hong Kong

Free event. December 10th. 70 Oxford St, Manchester. Over the past decade in Hong Kong, the Nepalese community has been dealing with a heroin use problem that is disproportionate to its size. There has been an attempt to quantify the scale of the issue but there is a gap in a qualitative understanding of this complex situation | Manchester Met, UK

Portland drug-use detainee died after 'lax monitoring'

A poorly-monitored detainee hanged himself after repeatedly taking "widely available" drugs at an Immigration Removal Centre, a report has found | BBC, UK


International news

Dark web dealers voluntarily ban deadly fentanyl

Suppliers, fearing police crackdown, decide opioid is too high-risk to trade | Guardian, UK

The client-therapist relationship

Sensing its centrality to effective counselling and therapy, drug and alcohol treatment workers and their clients prioritise help with forming therapeutic relationships. This customised collection brings together Effectiveness Bank analyses on how to relate to a typically heavily stigmatised and socially excluded treatment population | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Can a harm reduction ethos restore drug education's effectiveness credentials?

Longer term alcohol-related findings of a large-scale Australian trial argue strongly for harm reduction to be the basis for substance use education in schools. That might be accepted for alcohol, but with national UK policies prioritising drug-free outcomes, would it be a step too far for illegal drugs? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Small doses of psychedelics might help you solve problems

Research led by Luisa Prochazkova of Leiden University in the Netherlands indicates that ingesting tiny amounts of magic mushrooms could enable people to experience their reputed creativity-boosting effects, without the risk of ‘bad trips’ associated with higher doses | BBC, UK

Five children taken to hospital after being given cannabis-laced sweets at school, police say

Several children at a school in Florida overdosed on THC-laced gummies after a 12-year-old student handed them out in class, authorities said | Independent, UK

How craft breweries are combining beer and cannabis

As certain US state regulations on marijuana relax, breweries have been looking for ways to use cannabis or its derivatives in beverages | Independent, UK

Elon Musk will not smoke cannabis on a podcast again, says Nasa boss amid concern over billionaire's behaviour

Space agency voices concern that drugs could put astronauts' safety at risk | Independent, UK

Colombian drug lord who hid identity with plastic surgery tells trial of El Chapo trafficking alliance

A former Colombian drug lord known for an extreme plastic-surgery makeover meant to hide his identity testified on Thursday at a US trial about his lucrative drug-trafficking alliance with notorious Mexican counterpart Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman | Telegraph, UK

Mexico's drug war: Has the tide been turned?

Mexico's new president Andrés Manuel López Obrador is promising a radical transformation of his country's policy to tackle the production of illegal drugs | BBC, UK

Vietnam sentences 9 to death for heroin trafficking

A court in northern Vietnam has sentenced nine people including three women to death after finding them guilty of heroin trading and possession | Mail Online, UK

'Chinese triad link' over £2m drugs find in Belfast

Police are investigating a link to a Chinese organised crime gang after drugs worth £2m were seized in Belfast | BBC, UK

1 in 8 drivers admit drink-driving in past 2 years; AA Ireland issue warning ahead of festive season

Ahead of the traditional Christmas party season, AA Ireland has warned motorists of the dangers of drink-driving | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Cannabis coffee shop allowed to reopen in Waterford

An Amsterdam-style coffee shop in Waterford City has been given approval to reopen | Irish Examiner, Ireland

‘The Numbers Are So Staggering.’ Overdose Deaths Set a Record Last Year

A class of synthetic drugs has replaced heroin in many major American drug markets, ushering in a more deadly phase of the opioid epidemic | NYTimes, USA

Bloomberg announces $50 million to fight opioid epidemic

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's charity has announced a $50 million donation to help fight the nation's opioid epidemic | Medical Xpress, USA

FDA warns company for selling e-liquids that resemble kid-friendly foods as part of the agency’s ongoing Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued a warning letter to Electric Lotus LLC for selling nicotine-containing e-liquids used in e-cigarettes with labeling and/or advertising that cause them to resemble kid-friendly food products, such as cereal, candy and peanut butter and jelly | FDA, USA

Vaporized pot means a higher high

Marijuana vaporizers heat pot to a temperature just below combustion, allowing people to inhale the intoxicating chemical THC from the plant material without breathing in any smoke | Medical Xpress, USA

How a Kratom Ban Will Create Health Risks and Suffering—and Fuel Terrorism

In recent weeks Washington has been stepping up its efforts to delegitimize kratom—and a DEA source tells Filter that it’s only a matter of when, not if, the herbal supplement will be designated a Schedule I substance, putting it on par with heroin and various fentanyl analogues | Filter Magazine, USA

Are drug sniffer dogs incorrect 75 per cent of the time?

In support of their plan to legalise pill testing of party drugs in Victoria, the Greens have taken aim at drug detection canines, declaring: "Drug sniffer dogs are incorrect 75 per cent of the time." | abc.net.au, Australia

Synthetic drugs contributing to 'significant' mental health presentations

One in two forensic mental health patients in Christchurch are believed to have used synthetic drugs, which is contributing to significant numbers of mental health admissions | Stuff, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

What we’re doing about buprenorphine

How we’re tackling the rising cost of the vital heroin withdrawal drug | Addaction blog, UK

We ban cannabis but let people eat as much meat as they want. That makes no sense

If our goal is to limit social harm, we should reassess what we allow and what we ration | Guardian opinion, UK

A letter to… my used-to-be son

‘My pension cannot continue to increase the bank balance of drug dealers’: the letter you always wanted to write | Guardian, UK

Calling time on university initiation ceremonies

A Guardian reader saw the impact that a dangerous tradition had on her daughter and says action must be taken | Guardian letters, UK

What’s the real reason the Canadian government legalized weed?

The goals of legalizing cannabis in Canada are two-fold: reducing criminal involvement in the sale of cannabis and reducing its availability to youth | Conversation, Canada

Explainer: what is nitrous oxide (or nangs) and how dangerous is it?

Media reports last week linked the use of “nangs” to the death of a teenager at schoolies week on the Gold Coast. Hamish Bidgood died when he fell from a balcony. He and his friends had reportedly been using “nangs” that day | Conversation, Australia

Decriminalise Drug Possession: An Interview With Former AFP Commissioner Mick Palmer

Calls for reforms to the approach Australian governments take to illicit drugs are growing stronger. The idea that personal drug use and possession should be treated primarily as a health and social issue, and not a criminal offence, is starting to become commonplace | Sydney Criminal Lawyers blog, Australia