Daily news - 9th November 2018

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UK news

Seizures of drugs in England and Wales, financial year ending 2018

Contains figures for seizures of drugs made by local police forces and the UK Border Force | Home Office, UK

Cannabis seizures double in a year as critics say drug is flooding into UK because it is 'effectively decriminalised'

Cannabis seizures have more than doubled in a year amid claims that the drug is flooding into UK because it has effectively been decriminalised, official figures revealed today | Telegraph, UK

Why coke isn't vegan and other myths of the 'sesh'

When it comes to drugs, there's an endless supply of urban legends out there - whether it’s a tale about the best way to take a particular drug, a justification for taking them (even though they’re actually illegal), or a remedy users swear can help combat the after-effects | BBC, UK

Will making Spice Class A deter dealers or reduce demand? MPs debate reclassification

This week, MPs debated whether Spice should be reclassified as a Class A drug, in the wake of its devastating effects on those using it on the streets of towns and cities across the UK | Volteface, UK

Frosty Jack’s cider sales in Scotland plummets massive 70 per cent following minimum booze pricing laws

The sales value for the bevvy, which contains 22.5 units per three-litre bottle, fell from £148,605 between May and September 2017 to £46,289 in the same period this year | Scottish Sun, UK

Longer festive opening hours for Highland pubs proposed

Venues holding "significant entertainment" at Christmas, Hogmanay or New Year's Day could remain open until 04:00 the following morning | BBC, UK

Axing train guards could help 'county lines' drug gangs recruit youngsters, security minister fears

Ben Wallace is concerned that driver-only trains will mean guards can no longer spot children carrying heroin and cocaine | Mail Online, UK

Prison officer jailed for smuggling £10,000 of drugs

Claire Bennett, 44, also leaked prison intelligence to inmates at HM Young Offender Institution in Aylesbury | BBC, UK

Minibus driver jailed for drug-driving over A34 death crash

A minibus driver who caused a fatal crash while under the influence of drugs has been jailed for six years | BBC, UK

Dad jailed for 'cannabis-induced' baby murder attempt

A young father who repeatedly tried to smother his newborn son amid a cannabis-induced psychosis has been jailed for ten years | BBC, UK

Gosport child death: Accused 'had cocaine baby shower'

A man accused of causing or allowing the death of a three-week-old baby celebrated the birth with a "cocaine baby shower", a court has heard | BBC, UK

Fifteen arrested in Devon and Merseyside drugs raids

Fifteen people have been arrested on suspicion of drugs trafficking after Class As worth an estimated £5m were seized in a series of raids | BBC, UK

Eleven arrested during Newport drugs raids

More than 160 police officers raided 10 sites in the Alway and Lliswerry areas of Newport from about 05:00 GMT followed by a further four | BBC, UK


International news

Think more than twice before detoxifying from methadone

That was the message of a study based on the unusually detailed records kept by the Canadian province of British Columbia. It established what seemed the best way to taper from methadone but even then very few patients avoided the risky return to illegal opioid use - an argument say the researchers for careful consideration and informed consent before making the attempt | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Plain tobacco packaging, increased graphic health warnings and adolescents’ perceptions and initiation of smoking: DePICT, a French nationwide study

Plain packaging (PP) of tobacco products and increased graphic warnings may contribute to lower attractiveness of smoking, particularly among youths. In France, this policy was introduced on 1 January 2017. We examined changes in smoking-related perceptions and behaviours among a nationwide sample of French adolescents before (2016) and 1 year post (2017) implementation | BMJ, UK

FDA plans strict limits on sale of flavored e-cigarettes

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is planning on requiring strict limits on the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes, including age verification controls for online sales, in an effort to curtail their use among children and teenagers | Business Insider UK, UK

Mexico: president-elect Amlo's party moves toward marijuana legalization

Party has submitted legislation to legalize the possession, public use, growth and sale of marijuana | Guardian, UK

Pill-testing: budget office finds it would cost $16m to put services in major cities

Greens say hardline drugs policy ‘has destroyed thousands of lives and wasted billions of dollars’ | Guardian, UK

New legal maps capture important policy strategies for addressing the opioid epidemic

Two new legal maps released today on LawAtlas.org track key laws and other regulatory strategies related to managing access to opioid prescriptions in the United States | Medical Xpress, USA

Americans Love Weed, Midterms Suggest

During a bitterly divided election, red states and blue states both embraced cannabis measures | VICE, USA

The NIH is looking for someone to roll its joints

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking a contractor to manufacture “marijuana cigarettes.” In a posting from October 24, the United States’ premier health research organization requires applicants prove they are a small business capable of producing and shipping the wares | QZ, USA

The Marijuana Prohibition Movement Fails to Condemn Anti-Semitism in Its Ranks

Iam still reeling after the mass shooting targeting the Jewish community in Pittsburg last month. But perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised; since 2014 we have seen an increase in hate crimes across the United States. As others have noted, increasing use of  dog-whistle rhetoric by politicians and pundits has to bear part of the blame | Filter Magazine, USA

Centuries-old alcohol discovered in China

Chinese archaeologists have uncovered a 2,000-year-old bronze pot that contains an alcoholic liquid believed to be wine | CNN, USA

Opioid harm in Australia: and comparisons between Australia and Canada

Opioid use and its associated harms is an issue of great public health interest, both within Australia and internationally. This report shows that opioid harms are an issue in both Australia and Canada. Rates of opioid deaths and opioid poisoning hospitalisations in Australia increased in the last 10 years. In 2016, pharmaceutical opioids were involved in more opioid deaths and opioid poisoning hospitalisations than heroin | AIHW, Australia

The Government’s Amyl Ban has Been Shredded by LGBTIQ+ Health Advocates

Experts are championing the sexual health benefits of huffing amyl | VICE, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Another big rise in crack users seeking treatment

The adult substance misuse treatment statistics for 2017/18 were published last week (1 November 2018) and the headline findings are summarised below. I also include more detailed information from the report on the use of New Psychoactive Substances and the stubbornly high number of drug-related deaths underneath the graphic | Russell Webster, UK

The tobacco industry plays price games to make it even tougher to quit smoking

It is thought about two in three smokers want to kick their deadly habit, and with good reason – the same proportion of them are believed to die prematurely because of smoking. Around the world, the habit kills more than 6m people a year | Conversation, UK

It is hypocritical to demand Kate Osamor’s son loses his job

Some MPs have admitted taking drugs, so why do others want a man punished beyond what the courts decided? | Guardian opinion, UK

Magic Medicine review – making the case for mushrooms

This engaging documentary explores controversial research into the treatment of depression with magic mushrooms | Guardian, UK

Taking Opium in 1861: A Reporter’s Weirdly Funny Story

Newspapers are extraordinary historical sources in their sheer number and their accessibility. Recently I’ve been reading a lot of them as research on opium in the late 1800s. During this age of cheap print, high literacy rates, and early investigative journalism, much ink was spilled on the puzzling and alluring vice of opium in all its forms | Points blog, USA

No butts – it’s time to help people with mental health conditions quit smoking

Australians with mental health conditions are more than twice as likely to be smokers as the general population. About 22% of people with a mental health condition smoke daily compared to a national rate under 13%. And the more severe your illness, the more likely you are to smoke. For example, about 60-70% of people with psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia smoke | Conversation, Australia

Pain isn’t just physical: why many are using painkillers for emotional relief

Australians are increasingly using prescription or over-the-counter painkillers to ease emotional, rather than physical, pain. Our cultural understanding of pain is changing, and as a result it’s becoming more difficult to distinguish intoxication from relief | Conversation, Australia