Daily news - 22nd May 2018

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UK news

£4.5M innovation fund open to help children of dependent drinkers (PDF)

PHE announcement that local authorities (LAs) can now bid for funding. Alongside the call for bids is also published, for the first time, local prevalence data and advice on how best to meet the needs of children growing up in these situations and those of their parents and carers | PHE, UK

Drug addicts in Scotland 'waiting up to six months' for treatment

People addicted to illegal drugs are waiting up to six months for treatment including being given their methadone prescriptions, BBC Scotland has found | BBC, UK

Billy Caldwell: GP says 'ethical issue' in not allowing cannabis

A GP, who prescribed medicinal cannabis to a County Tyrone boy to treat uncontrollable epilepsy, has been told he cannot do so again | BBC, UK

Shock pregnancy pushed addict from heroin to homemaker

Just over a year ago, Azaria Faver was begging on the streets of Edinburgh and had progressed from smoking heroin to even deadlier crack cocaine | BBC, UK

The drug cop and the addict in recovery

Video.A police inspector and a recovering drug addict are working together to improve support services | BBC, UK

Colin McNair: 'I blew being a top footballer for drugs'

Promising footballer Colin McNair has been speaking to BBC Scotland about how he slipped into a world of drugs. But he has beaten his habit and is now back in the game he loves - as a volunteer helping others going through the scourge of alcohol and drug addiction | BBC, UK

My son was a 'victim of war', Terry Butcher says as inquest hears of soldier's struggle with PTSD and drugs 

Former England captain Terry Butcher has said his son was a "victim of war" after an inquest heard he struggled with drugs following a tour of Afghanistan | Telegraph, UK

DNA methylation in e-cigarette users versus cigarette smokers and never-smokers - survey

We are interested in investigating the impact of e-cigarettes on DNA methylation which will be compared with methylation profiles of smokers and non-smokers. Methylation refers to changes in DNA which serve as biomarkers that may predict cancer risk | University of Bristol, UK

Teenage driver on laughing gas jailed for killing two pensioners in crash

A teenage driver who killed a pair of pensioners, was inhaling laughing gas from a balloon as he drove between 80 and 100 miles per hour in the moments before he ploughed into their car, a court heard | Independent, UK

Raids across Oxfordshire seize 25,000 illegal cigarettes

More than 25,000 illegal cigarettes have been seized in raids on shops across Oxfordshire | BBC, UK


International news

Session cocktail? How Americans got 'the sesh' completely wrong

The US is falling for low-alcohol cocktails designed for all-day drinking, but British millennials still embrace the impromptu bender known as ‘the sesh’ | Guardian, UK

Why are so many people denied the painkillers they need?

The world is suffering from an invisible epidemic, an epidemic of pain | BBC, UK

Africa’s First Medical Cannabis Dispensary Opening in South Africa

The founder of Africa’s first legal medical cannabis dispensary hopes to undo the stigma around the drug, and educate the public on how to process the plant into therapeutic oil | Talking Drugs, UK

India police extract 106 cocaine capsules from woman's stomach

India police say they have successfully extracted 106 cocaine capsules from a woman who was allegedly trying to smuggle the drugs into the country | BBC, UK

Rival captains make case to Fifa for Paolo Guerrero's World Cup inclusion

The captains of the three teams drawn to play Peru at the World Cup in Russia next month have appealed to Fifa to lift a ban on Paolo Guerrero, who was suspended after testing positive for cocaine | Guardian, UK

'They've signed his death warrant' - mother of severely epileptic boy as medicinal cannabis prescription halted

The mother of a severely epileptic young boy has said the Government "have signed his death warrant" after halting his prescription for medicinal cannabis | Independent, Ireland

Prisoners are more prone to drug use and psychosis

Rates of psychosis, substance misuse, and homelessness are “significantly higher” among Irish prisoners than among the general population | Irish Examiner, Ireland

‘Alarming levels’ of methamphetamine trafficking in Asia’s Mekong, UN warns

Organized crime groups in Asia’s Mekong region have intensified the production and trafficking of highly-addictive methamphetamine, extending the illegal trade into countries such as Australia, Japan and New Zealand, senior drug policy leaders warned on Monday at a United Nations-backed regional conference | UNODC, Austria

Last year's record opium production in Afghanistan threatens sustainable development, latest survey reveals

In 2017, opium cultivation in Afghanistan reached a record high with an estimated 328,000 hectares, up 63 per cent compared with 201,000 hectares in 2016. [Report below] | UNODC, Austria

Afghanistan opium survey 2017 Challenges to sustainable development, peace and security (PDF)

The Afghanistan Opium Surveys are implemented annually by the Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN) of Afghanistan in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The survey team collects and analyses information on the location and extent of opium poppy cultivation, potential opium production and the socio-economic situation in rural areas | UNODC, Austria

New study sheds light on the opioid epidemic and challenges prevailing views about this public health crisis

A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine sheds new light on the sharp rise in fatal drug overdoses in recent years, one of the most severe public health challenges of our time | Medical Xpress, USA

Higher formaldehyde risk in e-cigarettes than previously thought

The researchers who published an article three years ago about the presence of previously undiscovered forms of formaldehyde in e-cigarette vapor revisited their research and found that formaldehyde risks were even higher than they originally thought | Science Daily, USA

Complex price relationships influence nicotine product purchases

Changes in pricing of tobacco products affect sales of those products at varying rates, with demand for little cigars, cigarillos, loose "roll your own" tobacco, pipe tobacco and e-cigarettes more sensitive to price change than that of some other products, according to a study led by a researcher from the School of Public Health at Georgia State University | Medical Xpress, USA

De Blasio to tell NYPD to stop arresting New Yorkers for smoking pot in public

Mayor de Blasio will tell the NYPD to stop arresting people for public pot smoking — and launch a new group to officially prepare the city for the outright legalization of marijuana in New York | NYDaily Post, USA

Drug users got exploited. Disabled patients got hurt. One woman benefited from it all

Jennifer Warren has spent years recruiting the poor and desperate to her drug rehabilitation program in the mountains outside Asheville, North Carolina | Reveal News, USA

Queensland needs real-time prescription monitoring 'urgently', coroner says, amid opioid deaths

A prescription monitoring system to prevent "doctor shopping" in Queensland is needed urgently within the next two years, rather than the state waiting for a national scheme to come online, an inquest into four opioid deaths has found | abc.net.au, Australia

The road to Australia's first pill testing trial

For a long time the public has been ahead of politicians in knowing that we need to take a different approach to drug use—a health-focused approach a health-focused approach that makes keeping our young people safe the first priority | The RiotAct, Australia

NT looks at creating marijuana industry

Marijuana for recreational use could be decriminalised and legally grown for medicinal and industrial purposes in moves that would make the Northern Territory the most pot-friendly place in Australia | News.com.au, Australia

NZ Alcohol Beverages Council says education is the answer, not labels

Researchers are calling for compulsory labelling on alcohol bottles to help people understand the major health risks of drinking their favourite tipple | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Re: Illicit drug use should not be a crime, says Royal College of Physicians. Drugs policy will not change or progress as long as Government refuses to acknowledge the need for change

Perhaps emblematic of current Westminster drugs policy is the recent response from the Home Office to the Government’s own advisory committee bluntly refusing to contemplate the introduction of safe injecting environments for the most damaging drug use | BMJ letter, UK

Mental health review - an opportunity

This guest article by the team from Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) sets out a strong case for the way that people with alcohol and other drug problems are treated under the Mental Health Act, and sets out recommendations for the review team to consider | SMMGP, UK

Communicating research on anxiety and alcohol use at Research Without Borders

Maddy Dyer invites you to contemplate the relationship between both factors – at her mock pub | IAS blog, UK

How to Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics by Michael Pollan – review

Pollan’s illuminating history of hallucinogenic drugs reveals that their mystical and medical benefits are indivisible | Guardian, UK

Patrick Melrose captures heroin addiction perfectly – it brought my memories flooding back

A new TV drama based on Edward St Aubyn’s books captures the untold truth of heroin addiction – the blood, dirty hits and banality. For one former addict, it brought a harrowing decade back to life | Guardian, UK