Daily news - 17th May 2018

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UK news

Gangs, Murder and Teenage Drug Runners - BBC iPlayer

As street gangs move into Wales, the programme speaks to those involved and follows the police as they tackle a growing threat. Is a line being crossed as children are groomed to carry drugs into Welsh towns and cities, and is enough being done to shut it down? Wyre Davies investigates | BBC, UK

“I rented a cheap hotel room and cut my own throat”: Inside Britain’s opioid epidemic

Rachel Britton, the lead pharmacist at addiction charity Addaction, told me about how addictions to prescription pain relievers, heroin and synthetic opioids like fentanyl are becoming a bigger problem here | ShortList, UK

Police say powerful fentanyl-based drug known as 'China White' being sold in Newport

Police say a powerful fentanyl-based drug, which is 100 times more powerful than street heroin, is being sold in Newport | ITV, UK

Bristol becomes first UK city to allow people to test their drugs before taking them

[Updated to include pictures of actual drugs tested] The Loop carried out a successful pilot on Saturday night and will now run a regular service in the city | Bristol Post, UK

UK’s first not-for-profit cannabis oil shop opens in Edinburgh

The UK’s first not-for-profit shop for cannabis supplements has opened its doors in Edinburgh, with the aim of changing people’s perceptions of the drug and its medicinal properties | i news, UK

2018 UK Convention of Narcotics Anonymous

Event. £10 for the day. 5th July - 8th July. Hilton Birmingham Metropole | NA, UK

Suspended chemsex barrister sells £4,000 ‘legal advice for life’ on Facebook

A junior barrister who is currently suspended from the profession following a conviction for drug offences is flogging “legal packages for life” via Facebook, Legal Cheek can reveal | Legal Cheek, UK

Fixed-odds betting stakes 'to be cut to £2'

The government is set to announce new rules to govern fixed-odds betting terminals later, with the maximum stake expected to be cut to £2 | BBC, UK


International news

The relapse prevention effects of extended-release naltrexone

Monthly injections of ‘opioid-blocking’ naltrexone helped prevent
relapse to opioid use among people involved in the US criminal justice system while they were in treatment, but its effects waned after the injections stopped. How do the findings of this study relate to the UK context where extended-release naltrexone is not currently licensed, and is there scope to maintain benefits in the long-term for people who prefer (or are more suited to) opioid-free rather than opioid-maintenance treatments? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Could modafinil be the ‘methadone’ for cocaine dependence?

Like methadone for heroin dependence, modafinil is an oral medication with similar effects to cocaine but milder, slower in onset and longer-acting. A US trial found it promoted abstinence from cocaine, but others have not, and side effects are a concern | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

More Americans try vaping, says study, but fewer take it up

More adults are trying e-cigarettes but fewer are sticking with the habit, suggests US research | BBC, UK

Vape pen explosion pierces Florida man's cranium killing him

A US man died when a vape pen blew up and projected fragments into his skull, a post-mortem examination has found | BBC, UK

Examining perceptions about IQOS heated tobacco product: consumer studies in Japan and Switzerland

To examine consumer perceptions, attitudes and behaviours regarding the heated tobacco product, IQOS, as well as to document the product’s marketing strategies to determine its potential for appealing to youth and young adults | BMJ Journal, UK

Spanish police call for reinforcements to curb drug violence

More guardia civil officers and money-laundering experts are required in south, says union | Guardian, UK

Philippines Prison Chief Says People Convicted of Minor Drug Possession Should be Executed

The Philippines correctional system chief has said anyone convicted of a drug offence – including personal possession - should be executed, as a bill reintroducing the death penalty gains overwhelming support in the House of Representatives | Talking Drugs, UK

Gaspar Noé on why his orgiastic Cannes sensation Climax should be shown to kids: 'It’s very educational'

Awoman soils herself on the dance floor, a young dancer wasted on drugs cuts herself, and a single mother locks her own young child in a store room so she can continue the party. Welcome to the world of Gaspar Noé | Telegraph, UK

Total of 22 motorists caught drug driving in Cork so far this year

A total of 22 motorists have tested positive for driving under the influence of drugs so far this year in Cork, with cannabis and cocaine the most common drugs detected | Irish Examiner, Ireland

FutureNeuro and GreenLight Medicines partner to develop treatments for epilepsy

Novel cannabinoids could provide new therapy options for patients with drug-resistant epilepsy | EurekAlert, Ireland

Activity-Based Detection and Bioanalytical Confirmation of a Fatal Carfentanil Intoxication

Carfentanil, one of the most potent opioids known, has recently been reported as a contaminant in street heroin in the United States and Europe, and is associated with an increased number of life-threatening emergency department admissions and deaths | Frontiers in Pharmacology, Belgium

Philip Morris device knows a lot about your smoking habit

Unlike a conventional cigarette, the iQOS is an electronic device with circuitry that enables it to collect user information. A teardown analysis shows this could give the tobacco giant remarkable insight into people's smoking habits. Philip Morris says it only uses the data to fix malfunctions | Reuters, USA

Adolescents Who View More Medical Marijuana Advertising Are More Likely to Use Marijuana, Have Positive Views About the Drug

Adolescents who view more advertising for medical marijuana are more likely to use marijuana, express intentions to use the drug and have more-positive expectations about the substance, according to a new RAND Corporation study | RAND, USA

FDA approves drug to help with opioid withdrawal symptoms

The drug Lofexidine, marketed as Lucemyra, will be the first nonopioid treatment for managing withdrawal symptoms | The Hill, USA

Walmart's Dumb New Opioid Policy Could Cost Lives

The retail giant is joining other big pharmacies in setting seven-day caps on new opioid scripts. This is extremely dangerous, and may end in death | VICE, USA

Drug companies bought doctors fancy meals — and then those doctors prescribed more opioids

A new study reveals a correlation between drug companies’ payments to doctors and opioid prescriptions | Vox, USA

Predicting what drives people to seek, stay in substance-use treatment

About 22 million Americans are substance dependent (illicit drugs and alcohol), which interferes with routine life and requires treatment. Yet, only 2.5 million of these Americans participate in treatment services. The severe gap between the number of people who need treatment and the number of people who seek it poses a serious public health concern | EurekAlert, USA

This Will Change Your Mind About Psychedelic Drugs

For years, the field of mental health has been largely barren of meaningful treatment advances. But now, scientists have new hope in the least likely of places: psychedelic drugs | TIME, USA

My adventures with the trip doctors

My first psilocybin journey began around an altar in the middle of a second-story loft in a suburb of a small city on the Eastern Seaboard | NY Times Magazine, USA

Australia on brink of prescription painkiller epidemic, doctors say

Tony is HIV positive and takes opioid medication, like fentanyl, for chronic pain relief | ABC News, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Why does alcohol make us drunk? You asked Google – here’s the answer

Every day millions of people ask Google life’s most difficult questions. Our writers answer some of the commonest queries | Guardian, UK

The spice epidemic in UK prisons is putting nurses at risk

Nurses and healthcare workers are reporting health problems from exposure to the psychoactive drugs so common in UK prisons | Guardian opinion, UK

Taking care of your mate on their first trip or pill

A friend tells you they want to try a drug for the first time and or asks you to get them some LSD or MDMA for example. What should you do? If you agree to their request, we think you should take responsibility for your decision | Global Drug Survey blog, UK

Thinking of using LSD for the first time? Here are some things to think about

The risks are likely to be higher if you are on your own, take the wrong dose, are in the wrong place or time, or are already under the influence of something else – usually and probably most dangerously, alcohol | Global Drug Survey blog, UK

Thinking of using MDMA for the first time? Here are some things to think about

A person’s first drug experience can be particularly risky. The risks are likely to be higher if you are on your own, take the wrong dose, are in the wrong place or time or are already under the influence of something else – usually and probably most dangerously, alcohol | Global Drug Survey blog, UK

Cokeinoes! Cocaine delivered faster than pizza

OK, at first glance, this does not seem to fit in with the usual areas that Global Drug Survey chooses to explore. After all, we are a serious bunch of academics and we research things that we hope will help people use drugs more safely and to help craft optimal public health policies | Global Drug Survey blog, UK

GHB : 1 in 5 Pass out each year (& women are more at risk than men)

GHB (and the closely related GBL and 1.4 butane-diol) have been part of the drugs scene in many Western countries since the 1980s. Perceived us being more commonly (but not exclusively) used by gay men, GHB has prosocial (mood elevating and disinhibiting – a bit like alcohol) and sexual promoting and enhancing effects. It’s big on the chemsex scene in many cities | Global Drug Survey blog, UK

When will politicians quit the war on drugs?

Few dispute that drugs can damage lives, devastate families and are linked to criminality. All the evidence indicates it is prohibition that fuels the deaths, the violence, the misery and the gangsterism that accompanies the trafficking of narcotics | UnHerd blog, UK

Let’s Nail the Home Office’s Latest Smokescreen About Medical Cannabis

This government prefers that people should continue in pain, suffering and disability than that they should do what science and medicine says is right | Clear, UK

Differences in tobacco product depiction in a movie’s promotion material: the case of I, Tonya

Based on true events, the movie I, Tonya is an American black comedy that follows the life of figure skater Tonya Harding and her alleged association with the attack of her fellow Olympic competitor Nancy Kerrigan | BMJ blog, UK

The curse of low recovery expectations

Inebriate, dipsomaniac, drug addict, drunkard, alcoholic, dope fiend, wino, junkie, crackhead, speed freak, dirty, strung out, blitzed, bombed, ripped, and on and on for more than two centuries | William White Papers, USA

Nevada Records Show 'Opioid-Related' Deaths Usually Involve Illicit Drugs or Mixtures

People who want to attack the "opioid crisis" by restricting access to pain medication often cite recent increases in opioid-related deaths as evidence that doctors have seriously underestimated the dangers that drugs like hydrocodone and oxycodone pose to patients | Reason blog, USA

Despite scare tactic, dogs will not be euthanized if pot is legal

The head of a police canine training academy in Illinois recently told the Bloomington Pantagraph that if the state goes forward with a marijuana-legalization bill, police would have to euthanize some of their less-social drug-sniffing dogs | The Hill opinion, USA

The Rights of People Who Use Drugs: An Interview With INPUD’s Judy Chang

The war on drugs has failed. This is a reality that’s increasingly being acknowledged around the globe, as communities start to realise that the outcomes produced by this intensification of drug law enforcement have been overwhelmingly destructive | Sydney Criminal Lawyers blog, Australia