Daily news - 18th June 2018

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UK news

Epileptic boy, 12, will get cannabis oil

A severely epileptic boy whose mother fought for him to be treated with cannabis oil has been granted it by the Home Office | BBC, UK

Billy Caldwell: Senior MP urges reform over medical cannabis

Sir Mike Penning MP has called for "fundamental reform" of the system | BBC, UK

Interview with Conservative MP campaigning to change the law to permit medicinal cannabis oil

Video | Channel 4 [Also BBC news story video on history of the case with an interview with Peter Reynolds of Clear - 16th June 2018 | BBC ]

UK Home Office to launch consultation on regulating airside alcohol sales

The UK government is about to begin a consultation period with stakeholders connected with alcohol consumption at airports. The aim is to determine whether regulation of airside drinking is required following a sharp rise in alcohol-related disorder on flights | Moodie Davitt, UK

One in four adults have cut down on alcohol purchases

Just over a quarter of adults in the UK have cut down their spending on alcohol to save money and lead healthier lives, new figures reveal | The Drinks Business, UK

Cannabis: The Evidence for Medical Use

Practising Consultant of Neurology, Professor Mike Barnes completed an analysis of the 20000 best and highest quality medical and scientific research and trial publications and has graded the efficacy of cannabis against a number of conditions | UP Alliance, UK

Is cannabis use rising in middle-aged people?

"Cannabis addiction rising among women and over 40s," BBC News reports | NHS Choices: Behind the headlines, UK

Warning over blotters potentially being sold as LSD

Following a recent recovery of the hallucinogenic substance 25i-NBOH potentially being sold as LSD in Greater Glasgow and Clyde and incidents involving this substance elsewhere in the UK which resulted in hospitalisations – Scottish Drugs Forum are advising people to be cautious if considering using hallucinogenic substances... | SDF, UK

Incidents of domestic violence increase by 38% during the World Cup

As the 2018 World Cup kicks off and as the excitement and anticipation rises across the world there is a much darker side that needs to be addressed | Blenheim, UK

Effects on abstinence of nicotine patch treatment before quitting smoking: parallel, two arm, pragmatic randomised trial

To examine the effectiveness of a nicotine patch worn for four weeks before a quit attempt | BMJ, UK

Charter Optical Practices

Optical practice teams are well placed to inform patients that stopping smoking is the best move they can make in support of their general wellbeing | ASH Scotland, UK

See how Carl transformed his life after seventeen years of crack and heroin use - video

Two years ago Carl was sleeping rough in a car park and using heroin and crack. He’s now built an amazing new life in recovery, with a loving family, a home and a successful career. See how he did it | CGL, UK

'The devil of all drugs'

[Audio] A listener, who heard our series with a mother and daughter whose lives were changed by heroin, tells us about his experience with drug abuse. He lost his job and was admitted to rehab. But now things are looking better | BBC radio iPlayer, UK

Heroin and a Welsh town: Addiction, violence and tragedy in a small corner of Wales

It's the part of Wales with one of Britain's highest heroin death rates - from overdoses to seeing friends die and being targeted by ruthless criminal gangs, those addicted to the drug are not afraid to describe what they go through | Wales Online, UK

Dedicated clinic for users of 'zombie drug' spice being launched in Sheffield

The new walk-in clinic, due to open in July, is part of a wider action plan by Sheffield Council to tackle the alarming impact of the illicit substance | Star, UK

'Devastating' impact of 'Spice' shown in Bridgend street

A widely-shared photo appearing to show three men slumped over in the street after taking Spice has prompted police to urge the public to "take a stand against drugs" | BBC, UK

'Smoke and mirror' tactics of drink-drive defence teams criticised

Paul Williams, a forensic scientist who led the development of one of the most widely used breath alcohol tests, said some experts have “shopping lists” of spurious technical data they request, including engineer and service logs for breathalysers, calibration certificates and the readouts from hundreds of previous tests | Guardian, UK

'Smart drugs' epidemic as one in 12 adults admit taking them - with most trying them at work

One in 12 adults has taken "smart drugs" - with most trying them at work, a survey shows | Telegraph, UK

Computer game addiction: 'I spend 20 plus hours a week gaming'

[Video] Gaming addiction has been listed as a mental health condition for the first time by the World Health Organisation | BBC, UK

The Reader: ‘County lines’ crime shows the failure of current drugs policy

The simplest way to understand “county lines” crime is to see it as a contemporary version of bootlegging during alcohol Prohibition in the US | Evening Standard, UK

Man jailed after drugs found in suitcases at Prestwick Airport

A drug smuggler has been jailed for three years after he and his brother were caught with £200,000 worth of cannabis at Prestwick Airport | BBC, UK


International news

Threat to alcohol bill after U-turn by Labour

[Free article] Labour has opened the door for the drinks industry to undo a landmark alcohol bill by withdrawing its amendment about cancer warnings, a leading charity has claimed | Times, UK

Majority of Australians want vapes to be legalised – as thousands of former smokers are forced to illegally import nicotine to fuel their e-cigarettes

Most Australians want a ban on electronic cigarettes lifted, according to an Australian Retailers Association survey | Mail Online, UK

Rapid antidepressant effects of the psychedelic ayahuasca in treatment-resistant depression: a randomized placebo-controlled trial

Recent open-label trials show that psychedelics, such as ayahuasca, hold promise as fast-onset antidepressants in treatment-resistant depression | Cambridge Core, UK

US & UN Express Alarm at Bangladesh Drug War’s Mounting Death Toll

US authorities have urged Bangladesh to adhere to human rights principles, as the latter’s drug war has left almost 150 people dead in a month | Talking Drugs, UK

The unassuming Australian nun taking on Rodrigo Duterte

Exclusive: Sister Patricia Fox, who has been threatened with deportation for crossing the Philippine president, vows she won’t go quietly | Guardian, UK

Man asks police to test his meth then tries to press charges against his drug dealer

The man wanted to test the illicit drugs after smoking it and having 'violent reaction' | Independent, UK

Ryanair in hot water after Twitter post encourages binge drinking

Ryanair has been met with controversy following a recent Twitter post on Wednesday encouraging binge drinking that was targeted at students going on summer holidays | Irish Central, Ireland

Portugal's parliament legalises cannabis-based medicines

Portugal’s parliament overwhelmingly approved a bill on Friday to legalise marijuana-based medicines, after rejecting earlier proposals to allow patients to grow the drug at home | Reuters, USA

Major Study of Drinking Will Be Shut Down

An investigation at the National Institutes of Health concluded that the $100 million trial had been tainted by funding appeals to the alcohol industry | NYTimes, USA

Opioid prescribing guidelines frustrate cancer doctors as well as their patients

Opioids are a mainstay of pain relief for cancer patients, so it may not be surprising that many feel victimized by efforts to curb the nation's opioid addiction epidemic by limiting access to prescription painkillers | Medical Xpress, USA

Opioid overdose responsible for over 500,000 years of life lost in Ohio

More than 500,000 years of life expectancy were lost in Ohio during a seven-year period, according to a study conducted by The Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health | EurekAlert, USA

Kentucky Sues Walgreens For 'Dual Role' In The State's Opioid CrisisKentucky's Attorney General announced on Thursday that the state is suing the pharmacy chain Walgreens for allegedly exacerbating the "man-made" opioid crisis, by playing a dual role in in the supply chain as both the distributor and dispenser | npr, USA

First Ketamine Guidelines for Pain Released

New research shows that ketamine can be effective for treating pain, and could be an alternative to opioids | WebMD, USA

We Have The Best Evidence Yet That Psychedelic Drugs Can Repair Broken Neural Networks

Could psychedelic drugs one day play a part in the treatment of mental health conditions? The idea is getting less and less far-fetched, after scientists successfully used drugs including MDMA and LSD to repair neurons in animal tests and cultured cells | Science Alert, USA

Public Health Agency of Canada announces funding to help frontline workers communicate the health and safety facts about cannabis

New cannabis public education projects will support health professionals, education stakeholders and community service providers | Government of Canada, Canada

Lack of evidence casts doubt on police claims of officers overdosing after accidental opioid contact

As first responders increasingly come into contact with opioids in their jobs, the dangers such drugs pose is generating different ways of handling the problem — and different views on whether there even is a significant danger at all | The Star, Canada

'Mysterious drug': Two hospitalised after suspected overdose at SEXPO

Two men have now been charged over the alleged incident | Age, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Rehab matters. The ‘cash for patients’ scandal damages addiction treatment

For the sake of their patients, addiction centres must be beyond reproach. These negative stories are a wake-up call for the sector | Guardian, UK

Alcohol withdrawal can be deadly – here’s why

Alcohol damages the brain, heart, liver and pancreas, and it increases the risk of some cancers, such as mouth and bowel cancer. It also weakens the immune system, making people more vulnerable to infectious diseases, such as pneumonia and tuberculosis. Taken in excess, it can kill | Conversation, UK

We need to treat people who take street drugs as patients, not criminals

Many of us will be able to identify our own ‘addiction’, whether it’s for tea, coffee, alcohol or nicotine. Most of these behaviours are socially acceptable, but for those that can be harmful — such as drinking and smoking — pharmacists provide support and treatment to minimise harm to users and those around them | Pharmaceutical Journal blog, UK

We need to offer safety drugs testing to users across society, not just at festivals and nightclubs

Jesus loves every 1 of U’ – that was the airplane message that circled above on Sunday afternoon as I stood in the middle of Prestwich’s Heaton Park taking in the sights and sounds of this year’s Parklife Festival | Metro opinion, UK

Medical marijuana – is it time to change the law?

Charlotte Caldwell’s fight to get her son’s cannabis oil medicine returned has implications for all of us | Sunday Telegraph, UK

Billy Caldwell and medicinal cannabis

Every few years, the plight of persons who have used ‘cannabis’ to alleviate pain and suffering due to a medical condition, has captured the attention of the public.  If there is to be a review of the laws relating to the medicinal use of cannabis then this is to be welcomed and long overdue | Rudi Fortson QC blog, UK

Sajid Javid could cement his legacy by legalising medicinal cannabis, and now is the perfect time to do it

It wouldn’t take very much effort by ministers to amend the law – yet it would have a lasting impact with minimal repercussions | Independent voices, UK

Response to the recent survey on students’ attitudes towards illegal drugs

This guest blog responds to HEPI’s recent survey on attitudes towards illegal drugs. It has kindly been contributed by Dr Keir Irwin-Rogers | Hepi blog, UK

My Justice First Fellow: Stephen Cutter

Stephen Cutter is a Justice First Fellow at drugs charity Release. He is due to complete his training and qualify as a solicitor in 2019 | Legal Voice, UK

The beautiful, beer-filled game

As the FIFA World Cup kicks off in Moscow on 14 June, the relationship between alcohol and football is again under scrutiny. Here, Andrew is specifically talking about alcohol and watching football | Alcohol Concern blog, UK

The resurgence of cocaine shows that, for millennials, ethics are a pick and mix

But there’s one issue where I seemingly stand against the grain. While twenty-somethings fight the cause during the week, ethics fly out the door on the weekend. I’m talking about cocaine. Once a preserve of the rich, the resurgent white powder has yet again become the party drug du jour | Telegraph, UK

The shocking story behind Richard Nixon’s ‘War on Drugs’ that targeted blacks and anti-war activists

This Sunday, June 17 will mark the 48th anniversary of a shameful day in US history — it’s when President Richard Nixon’s declared what has been the US government’s longest and costliest war | AEI blog, USA

Australia Pioneered Drug Harm Reduction and Must Continue

Programs, strategies and policies designed to prevent or reduce the harms associated with the use of illicit substances are collectively known as harm reduction. This approach to drug use has been a key pillar of Australia’s National Drug Strategy since its first iteration in 1985 | Sydney Criminal Lawyers, Australia