Daily news - 21st May 2018

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UK news

Minor drug users 'should not be charged'

A Scottish government adviser has said people caught with small amounts of illegal substances should no longer be prosecuted | BBC, UK

How likely is your e-cigarette to explode?

A man in America died when his vape pen exploded, but how dangerous are e-cigarettes? | BBC, UK

More than half of patients using needle exchange pilot tested positive for Hepatitis C

More than half of those using a needle exchange programme were positive for hepatitis C antibodies, and just under half of these were previously unaware that they were positive for the virus | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

Brine: 'I need legislation' to change 'sluggish' pharmacy contract

The pharmacy minister has said he needs legislation to change the “sluggish” national pharmacy contract for England | Chemist and Druggist, UK

Why Cannabis could hold the key to giving up smoking

A chemical found in cannabis plants – that is safe to ingest and doesn’t make you high – could hold the key to giving up smoking, scientists have claimed | i news, UK

Drugs: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the level of substance abuse by teenagers | They work for you, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to provide (a) support and (b) assistance to the families of chronic alcoholics | They work for you, UK

Cannabis oil may help treat rare type of epilepsy

This story relates to a rare, severe form of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome | They work for you, UK

Sobriety Orders

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to expand the reach of the Alcohol Abstinence Monitoring Requirement | They work for you, UK

Further labelling insights: TARG & Global Drugs Survey 2018 findings

Further media attention to the issue of consumer alcohol labelling has followed the release of further insights from the Bristol Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group (TARG) and the Global Drugs Survey (GDS) 2018 | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Spar told to ditch the phrase 'everyday wine'

The Portman Group has upheld a complaint about two Spar press releases promoting a new ‘Everyday Wine’ range | Drinks Retailing News, UK

Drug seizures and arrests in Northern Ireland, period ending 31 March 2018

Finalised statistics relating to class A, B and C drug seizure incidents and arrests by PSNI for the period 1 April 2017 - 31 March 2018 | PSNI, UK

Drug-users fuel London killings, Met chief Cressida Dick warns

Londoners who “splash the cash” on cocaine are helping to fuel gang  violence and murders on the streets, Scotland Yard chief Cressida Dick said today | Evening Standard, UK

Zak Hardaker warned Wigan Warriors move is 'final opportunity' after drugs ban

Zak Hardaker has been warned his move to Wigan is his “final opportunity” to get his career back on track | Telegraph, UK

Doping in sport: Criminalising drug cheats again ruled out by government

Drug cheats will not face criminal prosecution after sports minister Tracey Crouch ruled it out again | BBC, UK

A devastating and brilliant adaptation of the “Patrick Melrose” series

Benedict Cumberbatch is outstanding as a member of the upper class struggling against trauma and addiction | The Economist, UK


International news

Obesity linked to increased risk of taking up smoking and smoking frequency

Findings strengthen the idea that obesity influences smoking behavior | Science Daily, UK

Great, a Teen Got Something Called 'Wet Lung' After Three Weeks of Vaping

The 18-year-old landed in the ER due to stabbing pains in her chest, according to a new case study | VICE, UK

Punishment for cocaine use while taking part in sport does not fit the crime

No one disputes the drug should be on the banned list but the current rules have many in anti-doping circles shaking their heads | Guardian, UK

Meghan Markle's nephew sells new cannabis strain for the royal wedding

Meghan Markle’s nephew has announced details of the special strain of cannabis he has created to celebrate the upcoming royal wedding | Independent, UK

Cannabis used to grow wild in Europe but went extinct before first farmers arrived, research finds

Scientists now believe plant was commonplace on continent in prehistoric period | Independent, UK

Estonia's Kanepi town adopts cannabis leaf flag after online poll

Kanepi, a south-eastern town and region, derives its name from the Estonian word for marijuana, "kanep" | BBC, UK

Mozart was not an alcoholic, British surgeon claims 

In Johann Georg Edlinger’s final portrait of Mozart from 1790, a year before his death, the composer is painted as puffy and bloated, his face seemingly ravaged by the effects of alcoholism | Telegraph, UK

Podcast: What is the future of pill testing in Australia? – Australian politics live podcast

Australia’s first pill-testing trial in the ACT was hailed a success. Guardian Australia’s Katharine Murphy talks to leader of the ACT Greens, Shane Rattenbury, on how the trial worked, the resistance among many groups and the future of testing | Guardian, UK

MP blames Pacific 'failed states' for New Zealand's drug problems

Tonga spokesman says comments by assistant finance minister border on racism and that his country is not the ‘wild west’ | Guardian, UK

Put It To The Testo

There were splashes in the media last year about harm reduction advice being dispensed at Electric Picnic for the first time. Lazy hacks ushered a sigh of relief – here was a new element to add to well worn column inch filling codology about bog roll and fashionable wellies | Rabble, Ireland

Our life, our voice, our say: applying a public sector equality and human rights duty approach to the human rights and equality issues identified by service users of opioid treatment services (PDF)

Service Users' Rights in Action is a coalition of opioid treatment service users, service user representatives and community activists, facilitated by Community Action Network (CAN). For some years now we have been concerned about human rights violations in relation to the treatment of people in Opioid Substitution Treatment (OST) | CAN, Ireland

FDA requires additional e-cigarette makers to provide critical information so the agency can better examine youth use and product appeal, amid continued concerns around youth access to products

Letters to four companies follow initial request to JUUL Labs as part of an ongoing effort to address youth use under the agency’s Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan | FDA, USA

FDA approves non-opioid treatment for opioid withdrawal

Lucemyra, an oral selective alpha 2-adrenergic receptor agonist, limits the body's output of norepinephrine, the hormone believed to play a role in symptoms of opioid withdrawal, the FDA said | Medical Xpress, USA 

Inpatient opioid use and insufficient weaning pre-discharge may increase outpatient opioid prescript

According to the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine scientists who conducted the study, theirs is the first large-scale evaluation of the impact of in-hospital opioid prescribing on post-discharge opioid use | EurekAlert, USA

Public bathrooms become clandestine epicenter of opioid crisis

It was just before 2 a.m. when Catherine Altop, a 32-year-old woman with a history of drug problems, entered the bathroom at a south suburban White Castle restaurant, locked the door and injected herself with fentanyl-tainted heroin | Chicago Tribune, USA

K2 Eyed as Culprit After 14 People Overdose in Brooklyn

Investigators were trying to determine the source of a drug that caused the victims to faint and vomit | NYTimes, USA

What You Should Know About Drug Cocktailing

If you check Reddit, you’ll find threads of messages filled with people planning on attending music festivals and asking for help on their “festival drug schedule” — that is what order and in what combination to do your drugs. A typical response involves some combination of substances on different days | Teen Vogue, USA

How A Former Heroin Addict Helps Others Avoid Overdosing

Steve Kamenicky, known on the street as “Ponytail Steve,” is fully aware of the harsh truths about the opioid epidemic having been a heroin addict for four decades. Now that he’s kicked the habit, he helps addicts gain access to a drug called naloxone | WBEZ, USA

The interaction between attachment styles and substance use

The DRAM recently reviewed a study indicating that spousal substance use behaviors (SUB) might influence an individual’s alcohol and marijuana use behaviors and alcohol-related problems | BASIS, USA

Despite Legalization, Marijuana Black Market Hides In Plain Sight

On a big-sky plateau on the eastern slope of the Cascades, a 10-acre parcel of land has been trashed by illicit pot farmers. Abandoned equipment rusts and jugs of chemicals molder | npr, USA

Here's How Much Marijuana Costs in the United States vs Canada

A tidal wave of change is hitting the cannabis industry in both the United States and Canada | Forbes, USA

Drug Trafficking Within the Venezuelan Regime: The ‘Cartel of the Suns’

In Latin America, criminal entrepreneurs in the form of cartels, have traditionally run drug trafficking. In Venezuela, it is managed from within government, and if Nicolás Maduro wins another term in office, Venezuela’s position in the global cocaine business will solidify | Insight Crime, USA

I Was a Cocaine Kingpin's Ride-or-Die

"When he came home, I would wake up and help him count the money." | VICE, USA

Report: workplace substance-use policies could help Canadians and employers

In an effort to bring awareness to workplace practices and regulations in preparation for 2018’s legalization of cannabis, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction has published a report that reveals not enough Canadian companies have instituted comprehensive substance-use policies, and those that are in existence inadequately help struggling employees | ATAC, Canada

Cannabis—it matters how young you start

Canadian researchers find that boys who start smoking pot before 15 are much more likely to have a drug problem at 28 than those who start at 15 or after | Medical Xpress, Canada

Parents buying teenage children alcohol with a meal to be banned in Victoria 

Parents will soon be unable to buy their teenager a beer or a glass of wine with their restaurant dinner in Victoria, as the Andrews Government moves to ban the practice | abc.net.au, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Drinking in pregnancy: how should the guidance work?

How should advice on alcohol and pregnancy be communicated? This seems like a simple question: just tell expectant mothers what the science says, and suggest how they should act on that information. But a new study, funded by Alcohol Concern Cymru, has found that the reality is more complex | Alcohol Concern blog, UK

Elena Ferrante: ‘Writing while smoking was a deceptive pleasure’

Cigarettes, alcohol and cocaine give users the illusion of coping with reality better | Guardian, UK

How common is alcohol and drug dependency across the world?

In this blog post I distil and summarise the trends presented in our entries on Substance Use and Alcohol Consumption into five short but key facts which help us understand the global prevalence of substance use disorders | Our world in data blog, USA

America’s 150-Year Opioid Epidemic

What can the country learn from the opium crisis of the 19th century? | NYTimes opinion, USA

Treat Addiction Like Cancer

Two years ago, I spent a week in Houston helping my stepbrother while he underwent treatment for Stage 4 lymphoma at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center | NYTimes opinion, USA

My Turn: Patrick J. Kennedy: Marijuana is the wrong answer to children’s stress

During my time in Congress, I had the honor of authoring the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which requires insurance companies to cover mental health treatments no more restrictively than they cover treatment for physical health | Providence Journal, USA

End the war on pot: We welcome the push to legalize and regulate marijuana

After many decades of treating as a crime the personal possession and use of a drug that is a negligible threat to public safety, New York is awakening to the folly of — and racial disparities widened by — its approach | NYDaily News opinion, USA

Evidence supports more pill testing

The trial of pill testing at a recent music festival in Canberra was declared ‘‘a great success’’ by ACT police chief Justine Saunders. Testing illicit substances for life-threatening impurities has long helped harm minimisation elsewhere, but the trial was unprecedented in Australia | The Age editorial, Australia