Daily news - 12th April 2019

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UK news

How deadly crack cocaine can be bought and delivered on Britain’s streets quicker than it takes to deliver a pizza

[Harry Shapiro of DrugWise quoted] A Sun investigation found it took just three minutes and 48 seconds from phoning an order for the Class A drug to it being delivered by bicycle in East London | The Sun, UK

Scots are drinking more despite minimum pricing

[Free subscription may be required] Scots have bought more alcohol since minimum pricing laws came into force, an analysis has found | The Times, UK

The couple who drink together, stay together: Gene linked to alcohol consumption influences who you choose to marry, study of 47,000 couples suggests

Lovers that mirror each other's drinking habits are more likely to stay together, research on 47,000 couples has revealed | Mail Online, UK

Access to Medicinal Cannabis - Statement

My Lords, with permission, I shall now repeat the response to an Urgent Question on medicinal cannabis originally made by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care | They work for you, UK

Students at Welsh Annual Professional Debate vote against OTC sale of medical cannabis products

Pharmacists should not sell cannabis-derived medical products over the counter (OTC), according to pharmacy students at the 2019 Annual Professional Debate | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

My Lightbulb Moment: a collection of short films from the Recovery Street Festival

Free event. Thu, 16 May 2019, 17:00 – 19:30 BST. King's College, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, 16 De Crespigny SE5 8AF. Join us to watch six powerful and deeply personal films that each tell the story of someone’s recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, and hear from some of those involved in making them | NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre, UK

Man who helped others overcome addictions found dead in bath from heroin overdose

David Odell's body was in the bath at his Bristol flat | Bristol Live, UK

Two men jailed over 'cocaine debt' acid attack in Cumbernauld

Two men who sprayed acid on three victims at a flat party over an alleged drugs debt have been jailed | BBC, UK


International news

Death penalty in 2018: Facts and figures

At least 98 executions were known to have been carried out for drug-related offences in 4 countries – 14% of the global total and down from 28% in 2017. At least 226 of such death sentences were known to have been imposed in 14 countries | Amnesty International, UK

Patient choice as a means of empowerment in opioid substitution treatment: a case from Sweden

[Open access] Patient choice of treatment provider was introduced within opioid substitution treatment in the southern Swedish county of Skåne in 2014. Substitution treatment has often been criticised for being strict, rule-based, and driven by an ethos of discipline | DEPP, UK

“Game-changer” opiate addiction medication proves effective in US trial

Medication of the type heralded as a possible “game-changer” by a leading UK addiction treatment clinician/researcher proved its worth in a US placebo-controlled trial. Buprenorphine injections with effects lasting a month are now available in the UK, offering a new option for treating dependence on heroin and allied drugs. But should we be sceptical of results from industry-led trials? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

On Today’s Menu: Fresh Delights for Harm Reduction Training and Advocacy

Too often, the materials that projects produce are eventually hidden somewhere, forgotten and unused as the project ends. That is a pity, not to mention a waste of resources. To avoid this, we have tried to preserve our materials in places which stay alive and kicking after our project has ended, and the people who worked on it have moved on to new | Drug Reporter, Hungary

Poppy Cultivation and Potential Opium Production in Afghanistan

The annual United States Government estimate of “Afghanistan Poppy Cultivation and Potential Opium Production” found poppy cultivation decreased in 2018 compared to 2017, but remained at a near record high | The White House, USA

How Helpful—Or Harmful—Are Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs?

Before admitting new patients to his practice, Dr. Miguel Diaz checks their prescription history. Diaz, a family medicine physician with Community Care Physicians, PC in Clifton Park, New York, logs onto the state’s prescription drug monitoring program, or PDMP | Filter Magazine, USA

Drug Tests Show Marijuana Use at 14-Year High Among Workers

More American workers are testing positive for marijuana, a new report finds, as lawmakers in New Jersey and Illinois push to join nearly a dozen more states where recreational use of the drug is now legal | Wall Street Journal, USA

Forcing a smile for customers linked with more drinking after work

Employees who force themselves to smile and be happy in front of customers -- or who try to hide feelings of annoyance -- may be at risk for heavier drinking after work, according to researchers | EurekAlert, USA

Study: Drinkers value a beer less if they think it’s brewed by a woman

As a woman writing about beer, I’m acutely aware of gender dynamics within the industry and among the larger community of drinkers | Takeout, USA

Researchers creating the most advanced 3D human lung to test e-cigarettes and hookah

CU Anschutz awarded $3.4 million by FDA to investigate the harm of emerging tobacco products | EurekAlert, USA

Herbal supplement kratom is tied to more US deaths

U.S. health officials say overdose deaths involving the herbal supplement kratom are more common than previously reported | Medical Xpress, USA

Ketamine May Relieve Depression By Repairing Damaged Brain Circuits

The anesthetic ketamine can relieve depression in hours and keep it at bay for a week or more | npr, USA

In Vancouver, front-line workers are facing ‘a different kind of overdose’ in new synthetic drug

A drug chemically similar to medication for anxiety and sleep disorders that is being cut into heroin and fentanyl is suspected of contributing to a spate of overdoses that leave some users unconscious for hours at a time | Globe and Mail, Canada

Recent use of ‘capsules contents unknown’ among a sample of people who frequently use ecstasy and other illicit stimulants in Australia

This bulletin examines trends in the national and jurisdictional use of capsules with unknown contents (e.g. lifetime and recent use), alongside trends in patterns of use (amounts being used, frequency of use, route of administration) and sociodemographic profile of people who use capsules with unknown contents among a sample who regularly use ecstasy and other illicit stimulants | NDARC, Australia

Melbourne researchers trial laughing gas to treat severe depression

Depression is no laughing matter. But a group of Melbourne researchers believe nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, may hold the key to treating severe depression in people who have not responded to standard therapies | Age, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Our letter to the Editor of Birmingham Live regarding the protection of people at risk of overdose

Alice Cachia and James Rodger’s article (‘The tragedy of Brummies at risk of overdoses who are 'failing' to be protected’, Wednesday 27 March) highlights the important role of take-home naloxone kits in preventing overdoses in Birmingham and beyond, as well as the challenges in increasing their use | Change Grow Live, UK

Smoking cessation for people with severe mental illness? “Oh yes they can!” SCIMITAR+

An important study is set to challenge an entrenched belief in many practitioners that people with severe mental illness (SMI) neither can, nor indeed wish, to stop smoking (Gilbody et al, 2019) | Mental Elf, UK

People of Color Were Targeted by the War on Drugs. They Must Benefit from Marijuana Legalization

I'm often asked why I link the legalization of adult-use cannabis with social and economic justice for communities of color | Newsweek opinion, USA

Virtuous Drinking and States of Intoxication

Today’s post comes from John O’Brien, a Lecturer in Sociology at the Waterford Institute of Technology in Waterford, Ireland. His research has focused on alcohol policy, political leadership and social memory | Points blog, USA


And finally...

Coffee not essential for life, Swiss government says

The Swiss government wants to put an end to its emergency stockpile of coffee after declaring that it is "not essential" for human survival. Switzerland began storing emergency reserves of coffee between World War One and World War Two in preparation for potential shortages | BBC, UK