Daily news - 21st September 2018

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UK news

Huge rise in ambulance callouts to deal with spice users

Figures prompt concerns from paramedics and police that some areas may be engulfed by synthetic cannabinoids | Guardian, UK

One person quits smoking every 80 seconds in England

PHE encourages people to join in the mass quit attempt, Stoptober, and get the right stop smoking support for them | PHE, UK

Smoking will be 'eradicated in England by 2030'

Smoking will be “eradicated” in England by 2030 as roughly a thousand people quit every day, health chiefs have predicted | Telegraph, UK

Public Health England backs review of alcohol charity's guidance

Industry-funded Drinkaware’s website needs full audit, says agency criticised for tie-up | Guardian, UK

What do we know about reducing alcohol-related harm among gay and bisexual men?

This review focuses on a cohort disproportionately burdened by ill health, yet often overlooked as subjects of substance use research and in the provision of healthcare. With an ‘alarmingly scarce’ evidence base to go on, the researchers draw parallels with the broader alcohol treatment literature, and suggest progress could be made with attention to specific theories of problem drinking for sexual minority groups | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Tobacco display ban linked to fewer children buying cigarettes

Removing displays of tobacco products from shops may have reduced the proportion of children buying cigarettes by 17%, according to new research | ITV, UK

Labour calls for ban on gambling ads during live events

Labour is calling for a ban on gambling advertising during live sporting events in a bid to tackle problem gambling | BBC, UK

One in five Brits think it’s ok for MPs and CEOs to smoke cannabis

Three in ten Brits believe having previously smoked cannabis should prohibit you from holding high level roles | YouGov, UK

‘Recovery rocks’ hidden across Wakefield

Hand-painted rocks which share positive messages have been hidden around Wakefield to raise awareness around mental health, addiction and substance misuse | Wakefield Express, UK

Glasgow university installs bins in toilets after 'illegal' steroid needles found in gym changing room

The University of Glasgow has warned that people caught using the illegal needles will have their membership revoked | Daily Record, UK

Bristol's homelessness 'at crisis point after shelters shut'

Homelessness in Bristol has reached crisis point after the temporary closure of two emergency support centres, a charity has warned | BBC, UK

Fearful children question council over Fenham Library drug and alcohol rehab centre

Newcastle City Council were met by more than 100 residents with questions over the Fenham library plans | Chronicle, UK

Local prison inmates to be given free vaping kits

The governor of Perth Prison has given his backing to the controversial move to offer vaping kits to inmates | Evening Telegraph, UK

FA Cup: Ex-Everton midfielder George Green on self-destruction and depression

"The first time I took drugs I'd gone to watch football in a pub with mates. I was offered cocaine and it changed my life." | BBC, UK

Spurs stadium workers were 'off their heads on cocaine and alcohol' during construction

Tottenham Hotspur have been hit with fresh allegations over their delayed new stadium that workers on-site have been drinking and drug-taking and that the problems with the 60,062-capacity project have in part been caused by chaotic management of a workforce that peaked at 4,000 | Telegraph, UK

Manchester drugs gang jailed over £100m operation

Eight members of a "sophisticated" £100m drug-dealing ring have been jailed for up 24 years | BBC, UK

Drugs worth £1m burned by Cleveland Police

Drugs worth more than £1m which were seized by police over the last three months have been destroyed | BBC, UK

Three arrested in drugs supply and money laundering probe

Three people have been arrested by police investigating the seizure of cocaine and herbal cannabis with an estimated street value of £750,000 | BBC, UK

Southend cannabis grower James Brooks jailed after appeal

A man who grew cannabis in a "secret room" has been jailed after his "unduly lenient" sentence was overturned | BBC, UK

Cocaine 'worth £450,000' seized at Harwich port

Cocaine with an estimated street value of £450,000 has been seized after a lorry was stopped at Harwich International Port | BBC, UK


International news

Opioid addiction: can the UK curb the looming crisis? – Science Weekly podcast

The US has been in the grip of an ‘opioid epidemic’ since the 1990s, and now a rise in opioid prescriptions and deaths is being seen across the pond. Ian Sample investigates and asks: what can we do the curb the looming crisis? | Guardian, UK

Canada cannabis stocks hit US highs

Canadian cannabis companies have hit new highs on Wall Street as US investors seek to catch the buzz from their northern neighbours | BBC, UK

Meth Testing in New Zealand Officially Revealed as a Sham

A Housing New Zealand report reveals the tenant evictions and millions of dollars of testing was all for nothing | VICE, UK

Bricks of Pure Cocaine Keep Washing Up on the Beach in Fiji

More than 100 packages have appeared throughout the Fijian islands in the past three months | VICE, UK

Maine restaurant sedates lobsters with marijuana

Charlotte's Legendary Lobster Pound, a restaurant in Maine, says the process is more humane as it lessens their pain before death | BBC, UK

The undersea and the ecstasy: MDMA leaves octopuses loved up

Normally antisocial sea creature becomes friendly and tactile after being given the drug, scientists say | Guardian, UK

Canal Communities and Dublin 12 Local Drug & Alcohol Task Forces: Invitation to Tender

Exploration of the relationship between alcohol related harm and availability in the Canal Communities and Dublin 12 areas | Activelink, Ireland

HHS Awards Over $1 Billion to Combat the Opioid Crisis

This week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded over $1 billion in opioid-specific grants to help combat the crisis ravaging our country. The awards support HHS's Five-Point Opioid Strategy, which was launched last year and enhanced this week | HHS.Gov, USA

Drug overdose epidemic has been growing exponentially for decades

Death rates from drug overdoses in the US have been on an exponential growth curve that began at least 15 years before the mid-1990s surge in opioid prescribing, suggesting that overdose death rates may continue along this same historical growth trajectory for years to come | Science Daily, USA

M-J Milloy: Can cannabis help with opioid addiction? Let the evidence—not police—decide

Last Friday, Sarah Blyth, director of the Overdose Prevention Society (OPS) in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, posted a video to social media showing officers from the Vancouver Police Department taking a small quantity of cannabis from a table in a local street market | Georgia Straight, USA

Opioid, amphetamine, and cocaine-induced deaths in Australia: August 2018

Each year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) makes available to Drug Trends in-depth data on drug-induced deaths in Australia. This year, we have produced a suite of products to summarise trends in opioid-, amphetamine-, and cocaine-induced deaths in Australia from 1997 to 2016 | NDARC, Australia

Britain's drug testing charity is ready to roll out in Australia

A UK organisation has been training Australian medical professionals to run pill testing at local music festivals | Age, Australia

Health minister Greg Hunt won't reconsider pill testing

Mr Hunt also referred questions about whether the Coalition government played a role in the National Capital Authority's decision not to allow the service at an upcoming Canberra music festival back to the agency | SMH, Australia

Bootleg alcohol death: Police warn against home-brewed booze in Sydney

Police have warned people not to drink a bootleg liquor following the death of a middle-aged man in Sydney's south-west | Age, Australia

High potency: 22 synthetic-drug ambulance callouts in a week

St John attended 22 synthetic-drug related call-outs across the country last week. The week prior the number was 23 - one of those patients was dead | NZHerald, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

E-cigarettes are almost certainly better than smoking

But “better than smoking” is not necessarily the same as “good for you” | Economist, UK

The Trip Report 17/09

Even if you know exactly what you’re taking, drug use is never safe—that said, it’s much saferwhen you do | Medium blog, UK

Alcohol must be recognised as a drug

To strengthen policy responses to harms caused by addiction industries | BMJ editorial, UK

One head rolling will do little to save our defective prison system

The government would be wise to commission a swift review in order to frame a new strategy for the service | Independent voices, UK

Special Response: Over 100 Researchers and Practitioners Respond to Rod Rosenstein on Safe Injection Sites

Today’s post is a letter coordinated by Kathleen Frydl, author of The Drug Wars in America, 1940-1973. In it, she and 101 signees respond to an op-ed published last month in The New York Times by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, in which Rosenstein argued against supervised injection sites | Points blog, USA

Drug response out of tune

Music festivalgoers need pill testing, not a punitive premier | Asia and the Pacific Society, Australia