Daily news - 20th November 2018

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UK news

Review of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016

This review sought to measure changes in outcomes before and after the implementation of the Act, to provide an indication of whether its aims are being achieved | Home Office, UK

'Legal highs': Street dealers now main source of supply after ban

The sale of so-called legal highs has gone underground after a blanket ban came into force, a report says | BBC, UK

Research and analysis: Shooting Up: infections among people who inject drugs in the UK

Updated - Added Shooting Up November 2018 update report; data tables; briefing; and added link to the slide set and infographic under the Details section | PHE, UK

Research and analysis: Forensic early warning system (FEWS) annual report

Annual report on the Home Office forensic early warning system, which identifies new psychoactive substances in the UK | Home Office, UK

The Alcohol Change Report

New report from the charity Alcohol CHange (formed from the merger of Alcohol Concern and Alcohol Research UK) in which we look at alcohol harm in the UK, and make the case for change being not only needed, but possible | Alcohol Change, UK

humankind and blenheim announce intention to merge

Pioneering health and social care charity Humankind and innovative London-based alcohol and drug charity Blenheim CDP have announced they are intending to merge in April 2019 to form a national organisation which takes a different approach to addressing health and social inequalities | humankind and Blenheim, UK

Targeted help needed to tackle the heaviest drinkers in the UK says alcohol watchdog

Analysis of drinking habits across England and Scotland shows that the majority of people are drinking either at or below the current guidelines, with drinking at harmful levels becoming most prevalent in middle aged people and in the most deprived areas | Portman Group, UK

How to curb your drinking on cold winter nights

A study has linked lower temperatures and less sunshine with increased boozing. Can it help us combat binge drinking? | Guardian, UK

SIM Ep 178, IMD 3: Alcohol with Jonathan Ashworth

Hannah went down to Westminister to talk to Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth about being the child of an alcoholic, how society views drinking and why it's good to talk, no matter how hard it seems | acast, UK

Booze and bad behaviour

The human love of alcohol – although not of its most destructive effects – has a long history, and we’ve always found ways round efforts to ban or control consumption. But after 9,000 years, there are signs that booze might finally be getting a little boring | Wellcome Institute, UK

MPs urge employers to make workplaces more vape-friendly

The Houses of Parliament should become a vape-friendly zone, as part of efforts to make vaping more acceptable around the workplace, MPs have said | ITV, UK

Call for urgent Commons debate on wider access to medical cannabis

Edinburgh West MP Christine Jardine has called for an urgent debate to be held in the House of Commons over the rigid guidelines governing the prescription of medical cannabis | Scotsman, UK

Cannabis Professionals. The Trade Association for the UK’s Cannabis, CBD and Hemp Businesses

"CannaPro will represent this fast-growing sector to the authorities, standing up to the Home Office, MHRA, FSA and Trading Standards. It will offer guidance and support to all businesses as well as inform and educate consumers about the benefits of CBD and the pitfalls." | Clear, UK

MDMA makes people cooperative, but not gullible

New research from King's College London has found that MDMA, the main ingredient in ecstasy, causes people to cooperate better—but only with trustworthy people. In the first study to look in detail at how MDMA impacts cooperative behaviour the researchers also identified changes to activity in brain regions linked to social processing | Medical Xpress, UK

Dartmoor prison staff 'woefully unaware' of drugs and bullying

Evidence heard at his inquest portrayed the prison as being rife with drugs, with Spice a particular problem | BBC, UK


International news

How the tobacco industry meddles with government attempts to stop people smoking

Evidence suggests that taxes can stop people smoking – but tobacco firms play price games such as cutting the number of cigarettes in a pack to disguise increasing prices | Independent, UK

'El Chapo' rival Héctor Beltrán Leyva dies in jail

Mexican drug lord Héctor Beltrán Leyva has died of a heart attack in a hospital to which he was transferred from jail, government officials said | BBC, UK

Almost half of Irish drinkers consuming alcohol at high-risk level

48% of Irish drinkers are consuming alcohol at a level that is putting their health at increasing or high risk, new research shows | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Huge heroin haul at Dublin Airport as gang uses ‘child ruse’

A massive haul of heroin at Dublin Airport — involving a female courier accompanied by a child — is believed to be part of a sophisticated trafficking system to bring consignments from Pakistan into Britain | Irish Examiner, Ireland

People under threat from drug dealers should tell us - Garda chief

A garda chief superintendent is urging families under threat from drug dealers in Drogheda to contact gardaí so they can help | Independent, Ireland

Monitoring drug use in recreational settings across Europe: conceptual challenges and methodological innovations

This report explores how data on drug use are captured through surveys of targeted populations in recreational settings. The benefits and challenges of monitoring drug use in recreational settings are identified, as are emergent data sources and methodological innovations. The report draws on cutting-edge debates within social research, sociology and critical drug studies to encourage dialogue between researchers and with monitoring agencies | EMCDDA, Portugal

EMCDDA International Cooperation Framework

This document is an update of the International Cooperation Strategy adopted in 2007. It sets priorities in the area of the international cooperation aligned with the Centre’s Strategy 2025 | EMCDDA, Portugal

Exploring new and emerging drug trends and developments in CELAC countries: joint report from the EMCDDA and COPOLAD workshop on trendspotter methodology

This report details the results of a two-day workshop on the EMCDDA’s trendspotter methodology held in Lisbon in November 2017. The workshop involved representatives from national drug observatories based in countries from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), along with experts from European countries and regional and international organisations active in the drugs field | EMCDDA, Portugal

Afghanistan Opium Survey 2018 Cultivation and Production (PDF)

[Press Release here] The total area under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan remains at very high levels despite a decrease by 20 per cent compared to 2017. The potential production of opium decreased by 29 per cent in 2018 compared to last year, while farm-gate prices hit an all-time low, according to the 2018 Afghanistan Opium Survey released today | UNODC, Switzerland

Stigma and Strip Searches: We Still Treat People on Methadone as Less Than Human

Have you ever noticed how quiet a cold morning feels? Something about the coldness works its way into the sound of things | Filter Magazine, USA

Teens increasingly choose pot over alcohol, cigarettes

The "gateway pattern" of adolescent substance use is changing, and marijuana is increasingly the first substance in the sequence of adolescent drug use, according researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health | EurekAlert, USA

Secondhand pot smoke found in kids' lungs

New research found evidence of secondhand marijuana smoke exposure in nearly half of children whose parents smoke the drug | Medical Xpress, USA

Supervised drug-use site for heroin, other substances wins support of Denver City Council

State legislators are ready to debate it again, too | Denver Post, UK

The stories of narco-violence piled up high on Monday as jurors at the trial of Joaquín Guzmán Loera heard gruesome testimony about six separate brutal drug war murders | NYTimes, USA

Hemp fields offer a late-season pollen source for stressed bees

Low-THC cannabis attracts a wide range of bee species collecting food for larvae | Science News, USA

Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms in the Provinces and Territories (2007–2014) (PDF)

In June 2018, the Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms Scientific Working Group released the results of a significant new study in a comprehensive technical report, Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms (2007–2014). The report presents estimates of the economic costs and harms of substance use in Canada for the years 2007 to 2014 | CCSA, Canada

Conditional probabilities of substance use disorders and associated risk factors: Progression from first use to use disorder on alcohol, cannabis, stimulants, sedatives and opioids

[Open access] Relatively little is known about factors that may lead to the development of a substance use disorder (SUD), across a range of drug classes. This study aimed to identify factors that predict the likelihood of transition from use to SUD and the speed with which this may occur at the population level, with a focus on the impact of pre-existing mental disorders | Science Direct, Australia

Non-medical prescription stimulant use to improve academic performance among Australian university students: prevalence and correlates of use

[Open access] Some university students consume pharmaceutical stimulants without a medical prescription to improve their academic performance. The prevalence of this practice has been well documented in the US, but less so in other countries. The potential harms of using prescription stimulants require a better understanding of the prevalence of this practice within Australian universities | BMC Public Health, Australia

Jacinda Ardern defends controversial synthetic cannabis fly spray claim

The Prime Minister is standing by her claim today that synthetic cannabis is being laced with fly spray, despite experts dismissing it as a myth | TVNZ, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Harry’s blog 75: Getting grown up about nicotine

In breaking news, alcohol is really not a safe drug. It is a major cause of non-communicable death and disease; for example, over time it can damage many of your vital organs in ways that no other drugs can, including heroin | NSP blog, UK

Alcohol Change: The Voice of Moderation?

Today the new charity formed out of the merger of Alcohol Concern and Alcohol Research UK has been launched.  You might remember that when this merger was first announced I was pretty sceptical that it could work | Thinking to some purpose blog, UK

Sarah's story - Alcohol Awareness Week 2018

The theme of this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week is ‘change’. In this story, Sarah talks about her problems with alcohol and her experience of change | CGL blog, UK

Support the Alcohol Charter during this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week

This week is Alcohol Awareness Week and the theme is “CHANGE”. Across the country, GPs, hospitals, community groups, shops, workplaces and more will be running events and campaigns raising awareness of alcohol and the thousands of lives damaged by it | Blenheim, UK

**PRESS RELEASE** Psychoactive Substances Act: Government Review Admits Extensive Failure

Today the Home Office released a review of its 2016 Psychoactive Substances Act (PSA) which introduced a blanket ban on the production, distribution, sale and supply of most psychoactive substances including former ‘legal highs’ | Transform blog, UK

‘It can rewire people’s brains’: how traumatised veterans turned to underground MDMA therapy

Dead Dog on the Left isn’t just a documentary about the use of ecstasy in treating PTSD, it’s a story of the lengths one former marine will go to for friendship | Guardian, UK

We need harm reduction drug education, not drug prevention education

The funding of new drug education programmes should be a national priority, but for these programmes to have their intended impact, it is important that they are grounded in education based on harm reduction, rather than education based on drug prevention | AOD MediaWatch, Australia