Daily news - 28th February 2018

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UK news

Pharmacy undergraduates work with drug misuse services

The charity Addaction is giving final-year MPharm undergraduates the chance to witness drug misuse services first-hand, as part of their degree | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

Most UK cannabis 'super strength skunk'

Most cannabis being sold illegally in the UK is super-strength skunk linked to a higher risk of psychotic mental health episodes, an analysis of 995 samples seized by the police suggests | BBC, UK

How hash and weed all but disappeared from Britain's streets, as high-strength ‘skunk’ took over

'Cannabis users, growers, dealers, drug workers, police I've talked to have been saying the market has been dominated by strong weed for the last decade', says drug expert | Independent, UK

Lord Rennard: Delays to minimum alcohol pricing cost 65 lives a day

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Rennard writes ahead of his parliamentary question today on the cost benefits to the NHS and police of minimum unit pricing for alcohol in England | Politics Home, UK

Beer in UK supermarkets 188% more affordable than 30 years ago, research shows

More than 1.2 million hospital admissions and one million crimes recorded each year relating to alcohol | Independent, UK

Alcohol Abuse

What recent assessment she has made of the effect of alcohol abuse on levels of crime and costs of policing | UK Hansard, UK

‘Chemsex’ and former legal highs drive dramatic shift in drug use

Former legal highs and “chemsex” drugs are driving a dramatic shift in substance abuse away from alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine, according to a study | i news, UK

Can medications make it *too* easy to recover?

Drug-based treatments dominate opiate addiction treatment but are far from universally accepted. Referring to chemical ‘solutions’ to addiction, this instalment of the online course on treatment research ends with the “curious possibility that precisely because a technology is (relatively) effortlessly effective, it is to that degree under suspicion”. As some patients thought likely, does recovery have to “hurt and cause pain”? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Family experiences of recovery, IBA mentors, cancer, older people & more: latest Alcohol Research UK reports

Understanding recovery from a family perspective: A survey of life in recovery for families and more | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

'Legal high' shop owners in court

Two Tayside "legal high" shop owners have admitted selling substances that left eight customers requiring hospital treatment | BBC, UK

Vaping and e-cigarettes have been banned in Swansea's main shopping centre

The managers said the decision had been taken for the 'comfort' of shoppers | Wales Online, UK

HMP Haverigg prison riot 'linked to smoking ban'

Hours of rioting at a prison last year are thought to have been linked to a smoking ban, a report said | BBC, UK

‘Coronation Street’ Pre-Watershed Heroin Scene Sparks Ofcom Complaints

The latest instalment of ‘Coronation Street’ sparked more than 80 complaints to Ofcom, from viewers who were unhappy with Billy Mayhew’s descent into heroin addiction | Huffington Post, UK

Lee Mack threatened to end Not Going Out over alcohol advertising

Comedian Lee Mack, who writes and stars in BBC One's Not Going Out, was so concerned over how it was being used to market beer that he considered ending the sitcom | Telegraph, UK

Should the UK Legalise Cannabis? - free event

March 9th. Leeds. The drug policy think-tank Volteface are going ‘on the road’ to debate cannabis legalisation at UK universities. Their next stop is the University of Leeds, in collaboration with Leeds Debating Union | VolteFace, UK


International news

Two ‘radically different’ treatments for heroin dependence

Researchers in Norway judge monthly injections of extended-release
naltrexone on a par with the standard daily opioid substitute for
maintaining abstinence from heroin. Clearly intended for different
purposes and different types of patients, naltrexone was the novel
treatment in this context, and was more likely to be recommended to
others than buprenorphine–naloxone | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

IDHDP January / February 2018 Newsletter

Latest international drug policy news and events | IDHDP, UK

Scientists are beginning to learn how vaping impacts your health — and the results are troubling

Smoking kills. No other habit has been so strongly tied to death | Business Insider, UK

Finland Health Experts Call for Decriminalisation of All Drug Use, Igniting Public Debate

Experts from the Finnish government’s leading health agency have called for the decriminalisation of all drug use, igniting a debate that has drawn in top politicians and police authorities | Talking Drugs, UK

Inside the drug capital of Spain – and the 'gateway' for illicit substances entering the EU

In an area where youth unemployment is as high as 80 per cent, trafficking offers young people an opportunity to make thousands of euros a day | Independent, UK

Was a Russian government jet used to smuggle cocaine from Argentina?

Even by South American standards, it was a sting of dramatic proportions. Twelve suitcases and 389 kilograms of cocaine — “the purest in the world;” an organised crime ring; the local Russian embassy; a government plane and a special operation, conducted under the cover of darkness, switching drugs for flour and GPS trackers | Independent, UK

'I was high as hell': Flea, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist, attacks prescription of OxyContin

The musician wrote about his drug addiction in Time magazine, and argued ‘it’s hard to beat temptation’ when doctors prescribe opioids | Guardian, UK

'You junkie, you addict' - How stigma can prevent drug users getting the help they need

Depression is often the root cause of drug addiction and abuse does not help | Journal, Ireland

Calls to extend Ireland's smoking ban to bus stops and school gates

The latest proposals include extending Ireland's smoking ban to bus stops, outside railway stations and within 100 feet of the front gates of schools | Irish Mirror, Ireland

Socio-economic inequalities in alcohol consumption and harm: evidence for effective interventions and policy across EU countries (PDF)

This report aims to increase understanding of socio-economic differences in alcohol consumption and harms in the European Union and what can work to reduce these inequalities | European Commission, Belgium

The Beckley Foundation Intends To Study Links Between Microdosing LSD And Creativity

Two years ago I wrote a post entitled, "LSD Microdosing Deserves More Serious Research." In it, I made the case that there is enough anecdotal evidence out there to conclude that LSD when taken in "microdoses" - doses that are a tiny fraction of a full-on trip - could not only improve our creativity but could improve the state of humankind | Forbes, USA

Cannabis compound reduces seizures

About one third of patients treated for epilepsy continue to have seizures. Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the many active compounds in the cannabis (marijuana) plant, has gained attention as a treatment for epilepsy. Purified CBD is being tested, but artisanal formulations of CBD (oils) are already available and being used by patients | Medical Xpress, USA

Inside the secret lives of functioning heroin addicts

They're not slumped over in alleyways with used needles by their sides. Their dignity, at least from outside appearances, remains intact. They haven't lost everything while chasing an insatiable high | CNN, USA

Failed osteoarthritis drug could help treat opioid addiction

A new study from Indiana University suggests that a drug proven safe for use in people may prevent opioid tolerance and physical dependence when used in combination with opioid-based pain medications | Science Daily, USA

DOJ to support lawsuits against companies selling opioids

The Justice Department says it will support local officials in hundreds of lawsuits against manufacturers and distributors of powerful opioid painkillers | Medical Xpress, USA

Fewer Americans think smoking a pack a day poses a great health risk

About 3 out of 4 Americans agree that smoking cigarettes causes health problems, but public perception of the risks posed by smoking may be declining, according to a Duke Health study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence | Medical Xpress, USA

Federal NDP, Liberals considering decriminalization of all drugs

Two of Canada's three major political parties are considering removing criminal penalties for the personal possession and use of all drugs – a step that health and drug policy experts say is critical in treating problematic substance use as a health issue | Globe and Mail, Canada

Imperial Tobacco wants chance to discuss proposed plain packaging laws in person

Canada’s largest tobacco manufacturer says it is being treated unfairly after a government health committee refused to hear its input in person on proposed changes to smoking laws | Global News, Canada

Northern Territory to be first jurisdiction in Australia with minimum floor price on alcohol

The Northern Territory will become the first Australian jurisdiction to put a floor price on alcohol, the Government has announced | abc.bet.au, Australia

Welfare drug tests face Senate rematch

Controversial plans to drug test welfare recipients face another difficult battle to get through the Senate after the laws were withdrawn last year | News.com.au, Australia

ACT adopts national approach to methadone treatment but programs still needs reform

The ACT Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Meegan Fitzharris, announced on Friday (23 February) that the ACT has fallen in line with other states and territories and has adopted the Federal Government’s National Guidelines for Medication-Assisted Treatment of Opioid Dependence | The Riot Act, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Nearly all cannabis seized by UK police ishigh-strength ‘skunk'– here’s why we should be worried

Fully 94% of the cannabis seized by British police in 2016 was high-potency cannabis known as “skunk”, our latest research reveals. By comparison, skunk comprised 85% of cannabis seized in 2008, and just 51% in 2005 | Conversation, UK

Expert Reaction: Study of cannabis potency in the UK

Ian Hamilton, Lecturer in Mental Health in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York, comments here about the potential impact of skunk and other powerful strains of cannabis on mental health | University of York, UK

How your brain is wired to just say ‘yes’ to opioids

The mid-1980s was the era of cocaine and marijuana, when “Just Say No” was the centerpiece of the war on drugs and the government’s efforts to stem drug use and addiction | Conversation, USA

The tobacco industry should be charged as criminals

Fifteen months ago, lawyers and advocates in the Netherlands filed a complaint with the Dutch Public Prosecution Service (DPPS), asking DPPS to file charges against the four major tobacco manufacturers that operate in the Netherlands (Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Tobacco Benelux) | The Hill opinion, USA

Apartment residents need better protection from secondhand smoke

People living in apartments are much more likely to experience secondhand smoke wafting into their homes and across shared areas. It’s an issue that can divide neighbours and leave strata managers overwhelmed | Conversation, Australia