Daily news - 5thApril 2019

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UK news

Medicinal use of cannabis based products and cannabinoids

Until recently, cannabis and its derivatives were widely restricted under legislation which stated they had no medical value and carried a substantial risk of misuse. Policy is rapidly changing, and cannabis can now be prescribed for medicinal use in many countries, including the UK | BMJ, UK

First Minister announces expert group to focus on drug-related deaths in Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon has announced the establishment of an expert group to review what is being done to reduce drug-related deaths in Scotland. The announcement of the group was officially made during First Minster’s Questions on Thursday the 4th of April in response to a question from Miles Briggs MSP. Includes SDF comment | SDF, UK

More policy work needed to reduce use of smokeless tobacco, say researchers

Researchers at the University of York have shown that regulations on smokeless tobacco are still lacking, despite 181 countries agreeing to a common approach to controlling the demand and supply | University of York, UK

Have e-cigarettes renormalised or displaced youth smoking? Results of a segmented regression analysis of repeated cross sectional survey data in England, Scotland and Wales

[Open access]  To examine whether during a period of limited e-cigarette regulation and rapid growth in their use, smoking began to become renormalised among young people | BMJ, UK

Written Submission to the Health and Social Care Committee: Drugs Policy Inquiry

Release's written submission of evidence to the Health and Social Care Committee's Inquiry on Drugs Policy. The inquiry was launched on Monday 4 February 2019 | Release, UK

Drug consumption rooms in Scotland gain cross-party support

Calls for legal drug cons-umption rooms (DCRs) have garnered cross-party backing as MPs back efforts to cut deaths and crime | National, UK

Legalising cocaine unlikely to impact use - people already take it

Majority of Britons say they would not take Class A drugs even if they were legal – and most of those who would already have | YouGov, UK

Britain is a Nation of Under-informed Secret Drug Users

The Yahoo & YouGov deep-dive into very British behaviours is back. Join data journalist Victoria Waldersee from YouGov, along with the Head of News at Yahoo UK, Stuart Henderson, and editor Matilda Long as they unpack statistics around the theme of British drug habits with Ian Hamilton, addiction expert and researcher at York University | YouGov / Yahoo, UK

Craft beer trends: ‘Huge growth’ in lower alcohol brews and beer in cans

The UK craft beer market is seeing ‘huge growth’ in cans and no & low alcohol beers, according to online craft beer distribution marketplace EeBriaTrade | Beverage Daily, UK

Smokefree Councillor Network

[From February 2019] Through concerted evidence-based action at international, national, regional and local levels, adult smoking prevalence has been reduced by over a quarter in the last decade to its lowest ever recorded level of 14.9% in England, saving thousands of lives and years lived with disability | ASH, UK

Reinforcing Behaviour Change in Addiction Treatment

Free event today. London WC2B 4BG. 10am. This one-day conference will include presentations covering the existing scientific evidence base for Contingency Management, findings from two UK trials assessing the effectiveness of contingency management targeted at encouraging completion of hepatitis B vaccinations (CONMAN Trial) and abstinence from street heroin (PRAISE Trial), and consider the implications of these findings for practice and policy across the UK addiction service provider network | King's College London, UK

Scots drugs and alcohol 'recovery village' set up to help people escape grip of addiction

New residents are brought into the community every six weeks | Daily Record, UK

Two men arrested in raid on Liverpool cannabis cafe

A working cannabis cafe complete with set opening times and a "members only" sign at the door has been shut down by police in Liverpool | BBC, UK


International news

Even one drink a day increases stroke risk, study finds

Even light-to-moderate drinking increases blood pressure and the chances of having a stroke, according to a large genetic study in The Lancet, countering previous claims that one or two drinks a day could be protective | BBC, UK

Street cannabis 'contains dangerous amount of faecal matter'

Most cannabis sold on the streets of Madrid is contaminated with dangerous levels of faecal matter, a study says | BBC, UK

Cocaine use in Sweden at 'record levels': investigation

The study, by journalists from Swedish state broadcaster SVT and four regional publications, indicates that cocaine use in Sweden has reached record levels, raising further questions over the country's zero tolerance drugs policy | Local, Sweden

Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., and Principal Deputy Commissioner Amy Abernethy, M.D., Ph.D., on FDA’s ongoing scientific investigation of potential safety issue related to seizures reported following e-cigarette use, particularly in youth and young adults

Over the last nearly two years, we’ve spoken often about both the opportunity for e-cigarettes to be an off-ramp for currently addicted adult smokers to completely switch to a potentially less harmful form of nicotine delivery, as well as the tremendous concern for – and series of actions we’re taking to forcefully confront – the recent epidemic level rises of youth e-cigarette use that’s threatening the commitment we’ve made to reduce tobacco use among our nation’s children | FDA, USA

Drug Paraphernalia Laws: The “Swiss Army Knife” of the Drug War

On June 7, 2018 Jessica* was sitting behind a church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, when two police officers walked by. Spying a syringe and a spoon lying near her, the officers proceeded to question her | Filter Magazine, USA

Severe psychological distress and daily cannabis use: Implications for mental health?

Daily cannabis use increased significantly from 2008 to 2016 among those with and without past-month serious psychological distress (SPD) and use among those with SPD was persistently higher compared to those without SPD. Research shows that in 2016, past-month daily cannabis use was about three times higher for SPD (8%) compared to those without SPD (2.7%) | Science Daily, USA

Tobacco and the environment

Billions of cigarettes — about 267 billion in 2015 — are smoked each year in the United States. They are the most littered item in the country. The waste from cigarettes can leach toxic chemicals into the environment, leading to land, water and air pollution | Truth Initiative, USA

Psychedelic drug MDMA may reawaken 'critical period' in brain to help treat PTSD

Johns Hopkins neuroscientists have found that the psychedelic drug MDMA reopens a kind of window, called a "critical period," when the brain is sensitive to learning the reward value of social behaviors. The findings, reported April 3 in Nature, may explain why MDMA may be helpful in treating people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) | Medical Xpress, USA

Ronald Siegel, drug expert who believed people naturally like to get high, dies at 76

Ronald K. Siegel, a leading authority on psychoactive substances who believed the war on drugs was futile because the pursuit of intoxication — drugs, alcohol, psychotropic plants — is permanently and deeply embedded in the psyche of every human being, has died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 76 | LATimes, USA

Do you plan your life around your fitness schedule? You could be addicted to exercise

The concept of exercise addiction is fairly novel and still requires more evidence to define its specific characteristics | Medical Xpress, USA


Blogs, comment and opinion

Drug use in seaside towns, views from the front-line

Seaside towns often rank highest for drug related harm. Three coastal drug and alcohol workers discuss the challenges and possibilities in their communities | Addaction, UK

Why is chemsex so popular? If we're too scared to talk about medicated sex, we'll never find out

Due to our collective reluctance to be open about it, people find their own chemically induced solutions to sexual problems, often by accident rather than design. But trial and error can be dangerous | Independent voices, UK

Vaping: A Guide for Stop Smoking Services

It’s official – electronic cigarettes are now the most popular way to quit. And when electronic cigarettes are combined with advice and support from stop smoking services, incredible quit rates are achieved | Ashtray blog, UK

The Other, Other Opioid Crisis: Tramadol in West Africa

For the past twenty years, a steady rise in opioid addiction and overdose rates across the U.S. has led to a “public health emergency,” declared by Donald Trump in October of 2017 | Points blog, USA

I ran a police force and I'm not soft on drugs. This is why I'm backing a pill testing trial

There is wide support for a pill testing trial and NSW Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame has added her voice to a chorus urging the NSW Government to commit to a drug summit| abc opinion, Australia