Daily news - 19th February 2018

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UK news

Home Office denies medical cannabis pleas for boy age six

Requests for a medical cannabis licence to help a boy whose rare form of epilepsy improved after taking the drug have been denied by the Home Office | BBC, UK

Mapping of specialist primary health care services in England for people who are homeless (PDF)

This report presents the findings of a systematic mapping exercise across England of specialist primary health care services for single people who are homeless. The mapping exercise was part of a larger study that is in progress which is examining the integration, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of different models of delivering primary health care to people who are homeless | KCL, UK

10 Takeaways from the Latest Statistics on Drugs Misuse

Last week the government released the Statistics on Drug Misuse: England, 2018. The report outlines the latest statistics (gathered in 2016/17) about drug use in adults and children, drug-related hospital admissions, drug-related deaths and drug seizures by the police. Here are the 10 main takeaways from the report | Volte Face, UK

Welcome to Crackpool: Blackpool revealed as Britain's drug capital as NHS figures lay bare "startling" North-South divide

A Sunday People investigation shows that hospital admissions of drug-takers are EIGHT times higher in Blackpool than London | Mirror, UK

Drug Consumption Rooms - podcast

As drug consumption rooms get the go-ahead in the UK and Seattle, Rob, Elle and Lindsey find out What’s the Crack? Why are they only now being introduced in the UK? Will these rooms provide free heroin? How can they help people who use heroin? And what is the problem with just injecting heroin on the streets? | What's the crack?, UK

E-cigarettes and the burning issues around vaping - Science Weekly podcast

Ian Sample asks: how safe is vaping? Can it help people stop smoking? And should it be available via a doctor’s prescription? | Guardian, 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 making integrated judgements difficult | IJDP, UK

“I Wouldn’t Be Friends with Someone If They Were Liking Too Much Rubbish”: A Qualitative Study of Alcohol Brands, Youth Identity and Social Media

[Open access] Levels of drinking among 15-year olds in the United Kingdom (UK) remain significantly higher than the European average | Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, UK

Student drug survey

Welcome to our survey on attitudes towards and use of drugs | NUS and Release, UK

Exclusive: shock figures reveal state of UK’s brutal prisons

Observer analysis of inspection reports shows two in five jails are unsafe and inadequate conditions prevail in over two-thirds | Observer, UK

Vaping voucher service launched across county

Quit4Life, Hampshire’s NHS stop smoking service, is offering innovative support to help smokers who are interested in vaping as a means to give up cigarettes, by helping them to access e-cigarettes effectively and safely | Basingstoke Gazette, UK

Britain's unlikely low alcohol beer revolution 

The ingredients contained in the longest surviving beer recipe found in a nearly 4,000-year-old Mesopotamian poem are essentially unchanged today | Telegraph, UK

Polish father who grew cannabis to 'fund daughter's cancer treatment' jailed and facing deportation

Andrzej Mazurek sentenced to three years after admitting producing cannabis valued at £41,000 | IBTimes, UK

Interview with a Birmingham drug dealer: Student reveals all about his life of crime

IT student is a freelance trapper - the name for frontline street level drug dealers | Birmingham Live, UK

Gloucester 'crime family' jailed over drugs network

The head of a "crime family" who ran a drugs ring from prison has been jailed for 10 years and six months | BBC, UK

Police in Partick seize £300,000 of cannabis in raid

The haul of cannabis was recovered after a raid in the Partick area of Glasgow on Saturday 10 February | BBC, UK

Help stop money laundering: act on your suspicions

With solicitors and accountants often targets for serious and organised criminals, providing quality Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) are a good way to disrupt criminals and protect potential victims | Independent, UK


International news

Michael Russell Award

The Michael Russell Oration is a key event within GFN, and the Russell family has now kindly agreed to the establishment an award in Mike Russell’s memory | GFN, UK

Australia rugby star Karmichael Hunt avoids drug conviction

Australian rugby union player Karmichael Hunt has avoided a conviction after a cocaine possession charge against him was dropped | BBC, UK

US states look to repair injustices against cannabis users

Virgil Grant is riding the high on California's cannabis legalization, with a burgeoning empire that already comprises three dispensaries, two plantations and a line of apparel | Mail Online, UK

El Chapo: Mexican drug lord struggling to pay legal fees, says lawyer

Joaquin Guzman 'wants to go to trial,' defence attorney says. 'He's not interested in cooperating. He's not interested in cutting a deal' | Independent, UK

'They still respect their priest':the Mexican bishop who negotiates with cartel bosses

In the country’s heroin-producing heartland, Bishop Salvador Rangel Mendoza is attempting a radical solution to drug violence | Guardian, UK

How legal marijuana could save California’s wildlife from toxic pesticides

Legalisation of cannabis provides opportunities to regulate overuse of toxic chemicals on farms, but experts express concern that state lacks capacity to sufficiently regulate burgeoning industry | Independent, UK

‘I’m a pot evangelist’: meet America's dope queens

As more US states legalise marijuana, more women are stepping up to meet the need for weed. Meet the entrepreneurs cutting through the stigma | Guardian, UK

Merchants Quay Project wins drug injection unit tender

The Health Service Executive has moved a step closer to opening a supervised drug injecting facility in Dublin, after it confirmed that Merchants Quay Ireland is the preferred bidder to operate the centre on a pilot basis | RTe, Ireland

Alcohol abuse costs Irish economy €2.3bn a year, Dáil hears

Fianna Fáil TD John Brassil says drinks should carry general health warning labels | Irish Times, Ireland

Revealed: How often gardaí have conducted new drug-driving test at checkpoints

Just 1pc of Garda checkpoints conducted over a nine-month period involved a new screening test for suspected drug driving | Irish Independent, Ireland

Former Health Minister calls for smoking to be banned 'where others are eating'

Fine Gael Senator and former Minister for Health Dr. James Reilly has called for the smoking ban to be extended outside to areas "where others are eating" | Buzz, Ireland

The Consumption of New Psychoactive Substances and Methamphetamine (PDF)

The abuse of new psychoactive substances (NPS) and methamphet - amine has severe adverse effects. Here we provide the first report of regional patterns in NPS and methamphetamine consumption in Germany, on the basis of epidemiologic data from six federal states | Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, Germany

Technology may be key to help patients quit smoking

For smokers considered at risk of developing lung cancer, a new technology-based clinical trial may help them quit once and for all | EurekAlert, USA

Expanding Hepatitis C testing to all adults is cost-effective and improves outcomes

Findings could be considered for future Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations | EurekAlert, USA

Inside the Mexican towns that produce America’s heroin

Journalists in Mexico, foreign and domestic, tend to keep drug cartels at arm's length. Narco bosses like to stay out of the news. Several Mexican reporters have been killed by drug gangs for trying to expose organized crime. Firsthand reporting from inside the Mexican underworld is rare | Washington Post, USA

Canadian facility offers answers on supervised consumption sites

As debate continues throughout the Eastside, Vancouver’s Insite sheds light on the real impact of giving people a place to safely take drugs | Bellevue Reporter, Canada

Radical harm reduction: coming out from under the radar

The practice of providing alcohol to people with severe alcohol dependence is a complex and sometimes controversial approach to harm-reduction, and it’s one that many communities in Canada have tried—some very publicly and some quietly under the radar | University of Victoria, Canada

Commissioner investigates drug & alcohol services

The HCC has announced an investigation into the private drug and alcohol sector while a banned drug addiction counsellor has been charged with allegedly practising in Victoria | HCC, Australia

Canberra inmates smuggling heavy-duty prescription drugs to get high

Inmates locked-up at the Alexander Maconochie Centre are getting high on heavy duty prescription drugs smuggled inside the jail | Age, Australia

Epilepsy Awareness In Australia Is Improving Thanks To Medicinal Cannabis

The CEO of Epilepsy Action Australia says the spotlight on the drug has raised the profile and understanding of epilepsy in the country | BuzzFeed, Australia

WA drink drivers flouting alcohol interlock rules

The number of drivers breaching alcohol interlock devices has more than doubled in three months, figures have revealed | perth Now, Australia

Government rejects calls for inquiry into synthetic cannabis

The Government will not hold an inquiry into synthetic cannabis, despite appeals from the family of a 22-year-old who died after taking the drug last year | Stuff, New Zealand

Methamphetamine set to overtake cannabis as biggest drug burden on our court system

New Zealand's most notorious drug, methamphetamine, is on the verge of overtaking cannabis to become the number one offender in our court system | Stuff, New Zealand

Talks begin on e-cigarettes and vaping advice

Ministry of Health (MoH) and Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ begin talks on e-cigarettes and vaping | SCOOP, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Psychedelics and the essential importance of context

Psychedelic drugs are making waves as modern trials support their therapeutic potential and various media continue to pique public interest. In this opinion piece, we draw attention to a long-recognised component of the psychedelic treatment model, namely ‘set’ and ‘setting’ – subsumed here under the umbrella term ‘context’ | Journal of Psychopharmacology, UK

Will fentanyl deaths be the tipping point for our broken drugs policies?

Synthetic opioids are an escalating tragedy, but treatment for addicts doesn’t have to be a dead end | Guardian opinion, UK

‘I strongly believe we can improve our prisons and make progress’

The prisons minister argues that basic reforms already in place will begin to address the crisis | Guardian opinion, UK

There are four types of drinker – which one are you?

It’s easy to see alcohol consumption being a result of thousands of years of ritual and a lifetime of habit. But have you ever stopped to consider why it is you choose to drink? | Conservation, Australia