Daily news - 23rd February 2018

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UK news

Model-based appraisal of the comparative impact of Minimum Unit Pricing and taxation policies in Wales: Final report (PDF)

This report was commissioned in June 2017 by the Welsh Government. It uses newly available datasets to update our previously published analyses of the potential impact on the population and population subgroups of different levels of minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol in Wales | Gov.Wales, UK

Drugs: Misuse

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to convene an advisory panel to develop substance misuse guidance, focused specifically on older adults; and what lessons they have learned from the Welsh Government regarding the benefits of such a panel | They work for you, UK

Alcohol price rises 'didn't affect me at all'

A former alcoholic has said alcohol price rises did not have any affect on her drinking problem and she would cut back in other areas to afford drink | BBC, UK

Advice on alcohol in pregnancy ignored

[Requires free registration] More than half of women in Scotland were drinking alcohol at about the time they became pregnant, despite advice warning against consuming any when trying to conceive, a survey found | The Times, UK

Painkiller drug prescriptions in Wales jump up by 300%

A sharp rise in strong painkiller prescriptions is partly being driven by inconsistent pain services across Wales, a leading clinician has said | BBC, UK

Down the local: A qualitative case study of daytime drinking spaces in the London Borough of Islington

Recognising the lack of research on daytime drinking practices in areas with managed night-time economies (NTEs), this qualitative study explores the phenomena in the London Borough of Islington; a rapidly gentrifying area with a highly regulated night-time economy (NTE) | IJDP, UK

It's High Time to Legalise Medicinal Cannabis in the UK

Ahead of tomorrow's debate in Parliament, the case of six-year-old Alfie Dingley has thrown the need for a sensible appraisal of our medical weed laws into sharp relief | VICE, UK

Needles on the streets - Manchester city centre's heroin addiction

As heroin use becomes more visible in Manchester, we investigate why - and what could be done about it | Manchester Evening News, UK

Is vaping safe?

They say there's no smoke without fire, but the jury is still out on the long-term effects of e-cigarettes | Science Focus, UK

Brit Awards 2018: Kendrick Lamar's drug and sex references were muted by ITV

Brit Awards viewers were left baffled after parts of rap star Kendrick Lamar's performance were muted by ITV | BBC, UK

Four arrested after £500,000 drugs seized in house raid

Detectives have seized drugs with a street value of £500,000 after a raid on a house in Glasgow | BBC, UK


International news

The Modernization of Treaty Regimes: The Contrasting Cases of International Drug Control and Environmental Regulation (PDF)

Effective international regimes are not static constructs. While there remains definitional variation concerning exactly what constitutes a regime – a situation that exists not only across but also within the increasingly synergistic disciplines of International Relations (IR) and International Law | GDPO, UK

Impact of tobacco control policies on smoking prevalence and quit ratios in 27 European Union countries from 2006 to 2014

Tobacco use is still highly prevalent in Europe, despite the tobacco control efforts made by the governments. The development of tobacco control policies varies substantially across countries. The Tobacco Control Scale (TCS) was introduced to quantify the implementation of tobacco control policies across European countries | BMJ, UK

Laura Plummer case: Police end drugs source investigation

Police have dropped an investigation into how a British woman convicted of drug smuggling in Egypt obtained the banned painkillers | BBC, UK

Debunking Two Claims about US Medical Marijuana

Debunking Two Claims about US Medical Marijuana: Increased Recreational Use among Teens and Decreased Opioid Deaths | Addiction Journal, UK [See also item below]

Experts challenge claims about medical marijuana's impact on teen recreational use and opioid deaths

Two papers published today look at the current evidence of the effects of medical marijuana laws and conclude there is little support that such laws increase recreational marijuana use among adolescents or reduce opioid overdose deaths | Science Daily, UK

Dutch effort to charge tobacco firms with attempted murder fails

Prosecutors refuse to open criminal investigation into firms as it ‘would not succeed’ | Guardian, UK

Popular push for Austrian smoking ban gathers pace

More than 200,000 Austrians have signed a petition calling for a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, campaign organisers said - using one of the new right-wing government’s signature policies to undermine another | Reuters, UK

Argentina foils diplomatic luggage cocaine plot

Argentina's security ministry says it has foiled a plot to use the Russian embassy's diplomatic courier service to smuggle cocaine to Europe | BBC, UK

Drug used by cosmonauts may have caused Queensland students' overdose

Police are investigating reports that the teenagers may have got the substance from the dark web | Guardian, UK

This is what the plain packaging for cigarettes will look like in Ireland

The Department of Health has released a photo of what the plain packaging will look like on cigarette boxes | Irish Examiner, Ireland

EMCDDA continues support for EU drug-related regional programme in Central Asia

The European drugs problem is increasingly linked to, and influenced by, global developments. The importance of identifying trends occurring in EU neighbouring countries and worldwide that could impact on the European drug situation is therefore underlined in the EMCDDA Strategy 2025 | EMCDDA, Portugal

Aligning Agendas: Drugs, Sustainable Development, and the Drive for Policy Coherence

Current drug policy too often has a negative impact on communities and runs counter to efforts to ameliorate poverty through sustainable development. However, this is often not captured by the metrics used to measure the impact of drug policy. One way to improve these metrics is to align them with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) | IPU, USA

Xanax, valium looking like America's next drug crisis

America is well aware of its opioid epidemic, but there's a hidden crisis brewing with prescription sedatives such as Xanax and Valium, a new review warns | Medical Xpress, USA

Why These People Took Drug Combinations That Nearly Killed Them

We asked overdose survivors about the dangerous trend of mixing opioids with depressants or stimulants, a key part of America's larger crisis | VICE, USA

More teens sneaking vaping devices that look like flash drives, markers into suburban high schools

moking in the bathroom has returned with avengeance and atwist at some Chicago-area high schools, where administrators worry that new ways to get a nicotine fix are making the illegal habit even more appealing to students, and harder for teachers to catch | Chicago Tribune, USA

Discovery of Huge Cache of Cocaine at Russian Embassy in Argentina Leads to Arrests

The 14-month investigation was triggered by the discovery of $60 million of cocaine at the Russian Embassy in Argentina | NYTimes, USA

This Las Vegas Airport Is Letting People Dump Their Marijuana Before Flying

Tourists catching a flight out of Sin City can now dump their leftover legal marijuana in metal containers set up at the airport | TIME, USA

More Canadians overall smoking pot than in 1985, says StatsCan

Use among younger people in past decade has actually remained stable or decreased | CBC News, Canada

Why telling people they could get sick in the future won't persuade them to be healthy now

Everyone knows smoking, consuming too much sugar and drinking too much alcohol will harm our long-term health – but many of us do these things anyway. Why? | The Age, Australia

Prescription drug addiction: Nicki Hari has hysterectomy to fuel addiction

A “crisis” in the war on drugs is going largely unnoticed, as otherwise law-abiding people quietly use a new tactic to fuel their obsessions | News.com.au, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Latest figures on drug treatment in prison

The report brings together information on people receiving specialist treatment interventions for drugs and alcohol misuse in all secure settings:  prisons, young offender institutions (YOIs), and immigration removal centres (IRCs), with a separate section on young people receiving treatment within the children and young people’s secure estate | Russell Webster, UK

Ian Marchant Talks Music, Drugs, And Politics

Last week Volteface met the writer, academic and raconteur Ian Marchant. Marchant’s new book A Hero for High Times is an elegy for wild times, a revolution that never quite occurred and a culture now half forgotten. Listen to him talk music, drugs and politics with our Director Steve Moore | Volte Face, UK

Re: Doctors should state clearly that vaping is much lower risk than smoking, says report

We fully agree with the view of Jacqui Wise(1) that vaping carries much lower risk than smoking. In addition, from the viewpoint of occupational medicine and toxicology, we would like to refer to further facts not mentioned in the reviewed report that clearly back this perspective based on the example of urinary bladder cancer | BMJ letters, Germany

Benzodiazepines: our other prescription drug epidemic

I got the call every addiction doctor dreads: A patient of mine nearly overdosed. He had a long history of addiction, starting with opioid pain pills in his teens after a sports injury and progressing to heroin by his early 20s. He had been in recovery for six months | STAT opinion, USA

How the Hippocratic Oath Drove This Doctor to Speak Up About Medical Cannabis

Dr. Michael Verbora spent six years in medical school, but in that time, only 30 minutes were devoted to learning about cannabis | Leafly, Canada