Daily news - 5th January 2018

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UK news

Quit smoking your way

A poster highlighting free NHS stop smoking services will be in every community pharmacy in Scotland from next week | Scottish Government, UK

Expert reaction to a mechanism in mice for blood stem cell damage from alcohol

Publishing in Nature, researchers have reported that a metabolite of alcohol, acetaldehyde, causes damage to the DNA of blood-forming stem cells, in a mouse model | Science Media Centre, UK

Alcohol causes DNA damage in mice

"Alcohol can cause irreversible genetic damage to the body’s reserve of stem cells," reports The Guardian | NHS Choices: Behind the Headlines, UK

Fake booze and the festive spirit

Alcohol consumption rises dramatically during the festive season but will more people be reaching for cheap counterfeit booze in the future? | BBC, UK

Increased amygdala responses to emotional faces after psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression

Recent evidence indicates that psilocybin with psychological support may be effective for treating depression | Science Direct, UK

What's The Hidden Link Between Missing Children and the UK Drug Trade?

The connections between teen disappearances and the growing trend of "going country" are impossible to ignore | VICE, UK

Researchers expect London to be named as city where cocaine is delivered faster than pizza

London is expected to be named among global cities where cocaine can be delivered faster than pizza as smartphones revolutionise drug use, researchers say | Independent, UK

Waitrose bans sale of high-caffeine energy drinks to under-16s

Waitrose is to ban the sale of high-caffeine energy drinks to children aged under 16 | BBC, UK

Man jailed over Lincoln Prison drug bid to pay loan shark

A man caught throwing packages of drugs over the wall into Lincoln Prison in a bid to clear his debts has been jailed for two years | BBC, UK


International news

Jeff Sessions to crack down on legalized marijuana, ending Obama-era policy

Attorney general to end lenient enforcement of federal marijuana laws, days after new legalization measure took effect in California | Guardian, UK

Breakthrough brings non-addictive opioid alternatives a step closer

Key discovery around brain’s receptor proteins could help develop painkiller substitutes, raising hopes of an eventual end to global opioid addiction crisis | Guardian, UK

Canadian cannabis grower Aurora heads to Europe

A Canadian marijuana maker is set to sell cannabis in several European countries after striking a deal with Denmark's biggest tomato producer | BBC, UK

Turkey minister Soylu tells police to break drug dealers' legs

Turkey's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu has been criticised for saying police should break the legs of drug dealers who are seen outside schools | BBC, UK

Spanish Supreme Court Bans Emblematic Cannabis Social Clubs

On 19 December 2017 the Spanish Supreme Court ruled that the emblematic Cannabis Social Clubs are not in compliance with the Spanish Penal Code articles on illicit drugs, and therefore illegal | Volte Face, UK

Mexico's most-wanted: A guide to the drug cartels

More than 200,000 people have been killed or have disappeared since Mexico's government declared war on organised crime in December 2006 | BBC, UK

Backpackers in Perth overdosed on travel sickness drug they thought was cocaine

The drug that caused a mass overdose among nine backpackers who were taken to hospital in Perth has been identified as a common prescription drug called hyoscine, which is used to treat travel sickness | Guardian, UK

Everything that’s wrong with Polish war on legal highs

It was bound to happen. The Polish Ministry of Health has decided to target ‘legal highs’ and it is doing it in the worst imaginable way. If the Ministry’s ideas are implemented in their current form, mere possession of new psychoactive substances may send people to prison for up to three years | Political Critique, Poland

Introduction to the Special Series on Addiction and Homelessness

Throughout the U.S. and the world, people who experience homelessness are stigmatized to the extreme, ranging from criminalization (i.e., hostile architecture) to cruel attitudes and unspeakable hate crimes | BASIS, USA

U.S. Marijuana Market: The Grass Is Getting Greener

January 1st was an important date for the North American marijuana industry with the drug becoming legal in California. Shares in cannabis-related companies across the state increased sharply since the start of the year, adding almost $2 billion in value | Statista, USA

As Vets Demand Cannabis for PTSD, Science Races to Unlock Its Secrets

Curbs on studies have limited understanding of marijuana’s therapeutic mechanisms, but political pressure and a shift in research could soon shed light | Scientific American, USA

Click bait ads are tied to teen smoking

Teens who engage with online tobacco ads are more likely to start smoking than their peers who aren’t lured by digital marketing campaigns, a U.S. study suggests | Reuters, USA

We Must Treat Opioid-Related Deaths As A Public Health Issue 

We've had little success in dealing with this crisis because we focus on it in terms that fail to see it as something other than an illegal drug problem | Huffington Post, Canada

U.S. looking to Canada for approach to opioid crisis

This is the second installment of a two-part series looking at one of the many innovative ways different communities are fighting the opioid crisis | Warwick Adviser, Canada

Mass drug overdoses the new norm, says David Caldicott (video)

Dr David Caldicott, emergency doctor and senior lecturer in medicine at the Australian National University, discusses the suspected overdose of nine people in Perth | ABC news, Australia

There are more positive ways to engage an effective community response to methamphetamine

On the 18th of December 2017, Colin James had an opinion piece published in The Advertiser entitled “I’m sick of meth-heads overrunning Adelaide so we must form an army to fight SA’s ice scourge” | AOD MediaWatch, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Opiate substitution therapy: supervised-consumption vs take-home doses

There are currently 146,00 individuals in treatment for opiate dependency (OD) in England. That is 52% of all individuals in drug and alcohol treatment. The first-line treatment for OD, as recommended by NICE (2007) and WHO (2009) is opiate substitution therapy (OST) | Mental Elf blog, UK

Drug & Alcohol treatment in prison

60,000+ receive substance misuse treatment inside | Russell Webster, UK

Dry January: Is it worth giving up alcohol for a month?

Reducing your drinking should be about regular breaks, not only big ones at the beginning of the year | Independent voices, UK

Alcohol and cancer: This is how booze damages DNA inside cells

Every January, people across the UK make New Year’s resolutions. And cutting down on alcohol often appears on the list | Cancer Research Blog, UK

How I let drinking take over my life

Five years after his last taste of alcohol, William Leith tries to understand its powerful magic | Guardian, UK

If cannabis can be legal in LA, why not do the same in Britain?

When I returned from Los Angeles last summer, I said goodbye to two dear friends with a heavy heart. One was a small jar of Mondo powder, a cannabinoid-infused coconut oil product I had acquired at a cannabis tupperware party | Evening Standard comment, UK

North American opioid crisis: decline and fall of the war on drugs

The death toll among opioid users in the USA and Canada is substantial and increasing at an alarming rate.1,2 Putative factors include increasingly pure and potent street drugs owing to the addition of fentanyl and considerably reduced prices | Lancet comment, UK

Legal cannabis in California is a very big deal

Another huge milestone was passed in drug law reform this new year as the first legal non-medical cannabis retail outletss opened in California on 1st January, 2018 | Transform blog, UK

Why an alcohol tax cut is a bad idea for the US

Sometimes governments don’t simply ignore public health evidence; they run in the opposite direction | IAS Blog, USA


And finally...

You can now buy a beer made for drinking in the shower

Two Swedish companies have joined forces to create the first ever shower beer | Independent, UK