Daily news - 16th May 2018

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UK news

The real dangers of self-medicating with Xanax

Benzos are on the rise, in rap music and on the dark net – we asked the experts why they’re one of the most dangerous highs [Our Director, Harry Shapiro, quoted] | Dazed, UK

The first recreational drug testing facility in Britain has opened in Bristol

Following a series of pilots across UK music festivals, the countrys’ first ever recreational drug safety testing facility has opened in Bristol | i news, UK

New report shows successful hepatitis C testing pilot in pharmacies in London

A new report, published today by the London Joint Working Group on Substance Use and Hepatitis C (LJWG), shows the results of a successful four-month pilot project that offered hepatitis C (HCV) tests to people who use needle exchange services at nine community pharmacies across London | LJWG, UK

Royal College of Nursing votes to decriminalise cannabis for medical use, adding to mounting pressure to change the law

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has voted to decriminalise cannabis for medical use | Mail Online, UK

Analysing the latest data on UK alcohol trends

So what do the latest data sets from the ONS and NHS Digital tell us about UK alcohol consumption? | Portman Group, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Alcohol Research UK and Alcohol Concern's report, The hardest hit | They work for you, UK


To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to prohibit smoking on publicly owned property not covered by the Health Act 2006 | They work for you, UK

Entries for the 2018 Recovery Street Film Festival are now open!!

The submission window is officially open so now is the time to get making your wonderful films about your recovery journey, tackling the stigma of addiction and inspiring others to seek support and tell their own story too | RSFF, UK

Aneurysm screening: Ignoring it 'is like passive suicide'

A man who could have died from a weakness in a blood vessel if a screening programme had not detected it has urged other people not to "commit passive suicide" by ignoring testing | BBC, UK

County Lines drug deals explained

As BBC Wales delves into the world of the gangs bringing drugs on to Welsh streets, we look at what the so-called County Lines phenomenon is | BBC, UK

County Lines: Why drug phenomenon has hit Wales so hard

There is rising violence in towns across Wales as drug gangs from the UK's big cities fight for control of the market. BBC Wales Investigates has discovered there are now over 1,000 so-called County Lines drug networks across the UK - a four-fold increase in four years - recruiting children as young as 13. So why is Wales being hit so hard? | BBC, UK

County Lines: Face to face with the drug gangs

As part of a BBC Wales Investigates programme gang members agreed to speak anonymously about what they do. This video is part of a more in-depth examination of the so-called County Lines drug phenomenon | BBC, UK

County Lines: Children used 'like pawns' in drug gangs

Jermaine Lawlor was recruited by a gang in east London when he was 13 | BBC, UK

‘Warehoused Prisoners Are Killing Themselves Over Huge Drug Debts’

Inmates are killing themselves after racking up huge drugs debts inside prison, the trade union for prison officers has warned | Volte Face, UK

Drugs suitcase mix-up teenager sentenced

A teenager who lost a suitcase containing £6,000 worth of cannabis on a bus has been given a community payback order | BBC, UK

Simone Grainger death: Husband's £240 a week cocaine habit

A man accused of murdering his wife has described in court his battle with spiralling drug use in the months before her death | BBC, UK


International news

Global Prison Trends 2018

Global Prison Trends 2018 is the fourth edition in PRI’s annual flagship Global Prison Trends series, which identifies topical developments and challenges in criminal justice and prison policy and practice | Penal Reform International, UK

Canada to test first needle exchange program in a North American prison

Program aims to stop the spread of infections such as HIV, Aids and hepatitis C among inmates who are drug users | Guardian, UK

More Americans are trying e-cigarettes - but fewer are taking it up as a long-term habit, new figures show

New research shows one in seven US adults have tried electronic cigarettes - a significant climb in the last few years. But that increase is offset by a decline in the amount of people using the devices habitually | Mail Online, UK

Responding to excessive alcohol consumption in third-level (REACT): a study protocol

Problem alcohol use is an ongoing, worldwide phenomenon of considerable concern. Throughout the past 20 years, national policies have noted the importance of students when tackling alcohol consumption | BMC Health Services Research, UK

E-cigarette makers call on HSE to prescribe products to smokers

The NHS in the UK already prescribes vaping products to people who want to quit and now there are calls to do the same here | Irish Examiner, Ireland

EMCDDA Director addresses Lithuanian drug policy conference

EMCDDA Director Alexis Goosdeel will address a conference hosted by the Lithuanian Drug, Tobacco and Alcohol Control Department (NTAKD) in Vilnius today, as the organisation prepares to present a new strategy (2018–2028) to the Lithuanian parliament and government | EMCDDA, Portugal

Overdose 101: New York inmates trained to use opioid antidote kit

The inmates filed into a room at a New York prison, squeezed into classroom-style desks, and watched a guard demonstrate how a small plastic tube could help them save lives when they return to the streets of a nation gripped by an opioid epidemic | Reuters, USA

Mayor de Blasio Vows to Slash Marijuana Enforcement: ‘We Will End Unnecessary Arrests’

The mayor said that the police would make plans within 30 days to reduce marijuana arrests, though he did not offer details | NYTimes, USA

Millions try E-cigarettes, but many stop

E-cigarettes, which contain nicotine, have been marketed as a way to help tobacco smokers quit smoking and as an alternative to cigarettes. Although the number of U.S. adults who tried them between 2014 and 2016 soared, those who continued to use them dropped, researchers found | Medical Xpress, USA

American Cancer Society: E-cigarettes better than combustible tobacco, but not harmless

The American Cancer Society released a position statement that cautiously accepts electronic cigarettes as less harmful than combustible tobacco products for smokers who are unwilling or unable to quit using FDA-approved cessation aids | Healio, USA

Magnetic stimulation dampens brain response to drug cues in addiction

In a study investigating the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for drug addiction, researchers at Medical University of South Carolina are the first to demonstrate that the noninvasive brain stimulation technique can dampen brain activity in response to drug cues in chronic alcohol users and chronic cocaine users | Medical Xpress, USA

MDMA opens door for PTSD patients to work through trauma

When lasting trauma is caused by callous acts of violence, the key to recovery can be making meaning out of meaninglessness | Medical Xpress, USA

6 US states accuse opioid maker Purdue of fueling overdoses

Six U.S. states on Tuesday sued the maker of the opioid OxyContin of using deceptive marketing to boost drug sales that fueled opioid overdose deaths | Medical Xpress, USA

Japan is battling a severe whiskey shortage, so hold on to your most expensive bottles

Suntory, the Japanese drinks giant that owns both those makes of whiskey, will halt sales of the Hakushu starting next month and the Hibiki in September, according to Japanese media reports. The company said the reason was demand far outstripping supply and distillers not being able to produce enough of it | Quartz, USA

Drug dogs in schools: Premier Steven Marshall affirms campaign pledge

Premier Steven Marshall says his campaign pledge to allow for drug sniffer dogs to be sent into state schools will go ahead, even if a formal direction to police is required | news.co,au, Australia

A good example of curbing booze-related harm

Isn’t it about time we looked seriously at implementing effective measures to reduce alcohol-related harm? The University of Auckland's Peter Adams looks to Scotland as an example | Newsroom, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Eight things I learnt from the 2018 Global Drug Survey

The Global Drug Survey becomes more valuable every year; this year more than 130,000 people from ore than 40 countries completed the survey  including over 5,000 from the UK | Russell Webster, UK

Alcohol information: label vs. screen?

Modern life is increasingly hectic. Between work or studies, family responsibilities and everything in between, consumers can feel increasingly time-strapped. The majority do not spend any more time than they have to at the supermarket | BEUC, UK

How understanding pain could curb opioid addiction

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee unanimously approved a bill in April 2018 designed to address the opioid crisis. The bill called the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 covers much of the same territory as the 138-page report released in November 2017 by a commission appointed by President Donald Trump | Conversation, USA

Marijuana’s Effects on the Teenage Brain

The founder of the Phoenix House Foundation writes that “in the rush to legalize weed, we need credible, large-scale research | NYTimes, USA

A hangover pill? Tests on drunk mice show promise

“Civilization begins with distillation,” said William Faulkner, a writer and drinker. Although our thirst for alcohol dates back to the Stone Age, nobody has figured out a good way to deal with the ensuing hangover after getting drunk | Conversation, USA

What anti-smoking advocates can learn from the opioid crisis

Despite our best efforts, every year 480,000 Americans continue to die from smoking. And, for the majority of our citizens, including healthcare professionals and policymakers, the solution to this problem is singular: Tell people to quit smoking | Washington Examiner opinion, USA

The 19th century book that spawned the opioid crisis

In 1804, a 19-year-old Oxford University undergraduate named Thomas De Quincey swallowed a prescribed dose of opium to relieve excruciating rheumatic pain. He was never the same | Conversation, Canada

Multi-Commodity Drug Traffickers: A New Threat?

Fuelled by high demand, profits and the global nature of the illicit drug market(s), drug trafficking remains one of the most maligned forms of serious and organised crime | RUSI, Australia