Daily news - 1st March 2018

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UK news

Alfie Dingley: Home Office considers medical cannabis trial

The Home Office says it is considering allowing a medical cannabis trial to treat a six-year-old boy with a rare form of epilepsy. It previously turned down requests by the family of Alfie Dingley, from Warwickshire, to legally take the drug | BBC, UK

The rising affordability of alcohol (PDF)

It is increasingly recognised that the affordability of alcohol has risen dramatically over the last 30 years. What is less widely appreciated is that this trend has been overwhelmingly driven by cheap alcohol in the off-trade (primarily supermarkets) – the very products that would be affected by a minimum unit price | IAS, UK

Alcohol (Minimum Unit Price)

To ask the Scottish Government what minimum price it recommends setting for a unit of alcohol | They work for you, UK

UK cannabis market dominated by high-potency 'skunk'

The first comprehensive survey of cannabis strength published in the UK for almost 10 years finds that high-potency varieties made up 94% of police seizures in 2016. The study, co-authored by King’s College London researchers, highlights the potential threat posed to mental health by a market dominated by strong cannabis | KCL, UK

Cannabis: The science behind super-strength skunk

Most of the cannabis sold illegally in the UK is super-strength skunk that is linked to a higher risk of psychotic mental health episodes, says a new report | BBC Newsbeat, UK


To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what applications have been received by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to recommend use of drugs to treat addiction | They work for you, UK

Overcoming A Childhood Surrounded By Drugs | Callum's Story - video

Callum grew up with parents who were addicted to drugs and he witnessed massive amounts of fights and random people taking drugs in front of him. Now, Callum is moving on from his difficult childhood and focusing on vlogging and his clothing company | BBC Scotland, UK

'Drugs, alcohol and LGBT communities'

This webinar will explore the role that drugs and alcohol services can play in tackling LGBT health inequalities. It will focus on the causes and consequence of misuse, as well prevention and treatment. 
The presentation is primarily aimed at colleagues working in mainstream drug and alcohol services in the statutory and voluntary sectors | London Friend, UK

Bestival death: Louella Michie 'died after drug use'

A 25-year-old woman found dead at a music festival had been taking recreational drugs, an inquest heard | BBC, UK

Prostitution 'was easy money for drugs', says former sex worker

Sex workers are not reporting attacks and rapes because they fear they will not be taken seriously, an advisor to the Welsh Government has warned | BBC, UK

Grenfell Tower survivor faces jail after police combing wreckage found remains of his cannabis oil factory

A survivor of the Grenfell Tower fire is facing jail after investigators found the remains of his cannabis oil factory in the wreck of the building | Telegraph, UK

Why the snow is not good news for anyone running a cannabis farm

Warmth from the heaters can give the game away during a cold snap | Wales Online, UK

'Breaking Bad' type dad made over £430,000 of steroids in 'underground lab' to buy overseas properties

A dad of two who made more than £430,000 worth of anabolic steroids in an underground laboratory used the proceeds to buy properties abroad, a court heard | ITV, UK


International news

Magic mushrooms evolved hallucinogenic chemicals to stop insects eating them, say scientists

The hallucinogenic substance that puts the “magic” in magic mushrooms may have originally evolved as a protection against insect attack, according to a new study | Independent, UK

US man who 'outed suspected drug dealers' captures own murder on Facebook Live video

A US man captured his own murder on Facebook Live when a gunman opened fire on him as he walked along a North Carolina street | Telegraph, UK

Mexico police charged with using death squad tactics on drug suspects

Veracruz police picked up youths and turned them over to specialized interrogation and torture squads, according to indictment | Guardian, UK

Stop the stigma campaign (PDF)

Stigma experienced by people who use drugs prevents many from seeking help and support, making it extremely difficult for people to move beyond their addiction and pushing them into further isolation and danger, according to research underpinning Ireland’s first campaign to address drug related stigma. This Citywide campaign aims to break down stigma, to shift attitudes and to move towards a situation where people who use drugs are treated with respect and dignity | Citywide Drugs Crisis Campaign, Ireland

Synthetic cathinones related fatalities: an update (PDF)

Synthetic cathinones, more commonly known as “bath salts”, are synthetic drugs chemically related to cathinone, a psychostimulant found in the khat plant. They are the first most consumed products among new psychoactive substances, which cause psychostimulant and hallucinogenic effects determining a number of fatalities worldwide. In this paper, we have systematically reviewed cases of synthetic cathinones-related fatalities analytically confirmed, which have occurred in the last few years | ERMPS, Italy

EMCDDA–Europol Joint Report on a new psychoactive substance: N-phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl)piperidin-4-yl]cyclopropanecarboxamide (cyclopropylfentanyl)

In September 2017, the EMCDDA and Europol examined the available information on the new psychoactive substance N-phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl)piperidin-4-yl]cyclopropanecarboxamide (cyclopropylfentanyl), through a joint assessment | EMCDDA/Europol, Portugal

EMCDDA–Europol Joint Report on a new psychoactive substance: 2-methoxy-N-phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl)piperidin-4-yl]acetamide (methoxyacetylfentanyl)

In September 2017, the EMCDDA and Europol examined the available information on the new psychoactive substance 2-methoxy-N-phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl)piperidin-4-yl]acetamide (methoxyacetylfentanyl), through a joint assessment | EMCDDA/Europol, Portugal

Once It Was Overdue Books. Now Librarians Fight Overdoses

The opioid epidemic has turned librarians into emergency medical workers and prompted a debate over whether they should administer the anti-overdose drug naloxone | NYTimes, USA

Senators target physicians, drug manufacturers in opioid bill

A bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday introduced legislation that would waive limits on physicians treating addiction patients and place restrictions on how long a provider could initially prescribe opioids to patients | Medical Xpress, USA

States with strong tobacco control measures have fewer e-cigarette users

States with robust tobacco control policies and regulations, such as smoke free air laws and taxes on cigarettes, not only have fewer cigarette users but also fewer e-cigarette users, according to research from NYU School of Medicine and the NYU College of Global Public Health | Medical Xpress, USA

Magic Mushrooms Could Help Treat Depression With Hallucination-Inducing Chemical

Magic mushrooms have earned themselves quite the reputation for causing psychedelic hallucinations. Those of us who watched Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason will remember Renée Zellweger’s character dancing in rainbow-colored water after unknowingly eating an omelet laced with them | Medical Daily, USA

This scientist is testing a marijuana ingredient as a way to prevent relapse. It’s a daunting task

When she started collecting brains, neuroscientist Yasmin Hurd’s peers wondered what she could possibly be thinking | STAT news, USA

Results of Northland meth action plan 'encouraging', decision yet to be made on its future

Police and Northland DHB say Te Ara Oranga meth action pilot is producing encouraging results but it is unclear whether its funding will continue beyond June | NZHerald, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

THC rising: Failed war on drugs sees cannabis grow out of control

It is tempting to describe the government’s approach to cannabis as a spectacular failure. But that would be untrue: the government’s approach cannot fail, because the government has no approach. It has no goals, it has no aims, it has no policies | Politics.co.uk comment, UK

Experts React to King’s College New Study On High Potency Cannabis

Following the publication of a new study done by King’s College researchers revealing the cannabis consumed in the UK is highly potent, many experts expressed their views on the issue. One thing is clear: the debate around cannabis and what the government should do about it is involves very different, sometimes conflicting views | Volte Face, UK

Kings College almost make a logical conclusion from a cannabis study, but fail to

Another press release from Kings College London (KCL) about so-called “skunk” came out yesterday | Clear blog, UK

Minimum price on alcohol in the NT will likely reduce harm

The Northern Territory government this week made a series of announcements on alcohol policy, including a commitment to implement a minimum price for alcohol of A$1.30 per standard drink across the territory | Conversation, Australia