Daily news - 4th February 2019

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UK news

Dry January: Does it lead to binge-drinking in February?

An estimated 4.2 million people in the UK said they were planning to abstain from drinking in January - and the official Dry January campaign says it's designed to "reset" people's relationship with alcohol | BBC, UK

Fake Valium is killing those who buy pills online, charity warns

Criminal gangs are selling fake Valium online at a fraction of the cost of genuine tablets, leading people to take potentially lethal doses of illicitly-produced drugs, according to a leading addiction treatment service | Guardian, UK

Street Valium (Glasgow)

Since mid-November in Glasgow, over 20 homeless people have died due to the availability of a high-strength street valium known as street blues—that is three deaths a week. Drug users have been warned that they are dicing with death | They work for you, UK

Ketamine use by young on rise, official figures for England reveal

Guardian analysis of data show police seizures of the drug increased by 30% last year | Guardian, UK

2019 surveillance of drug misuse in over 16s: opioid detoxification (NICE guideline CG52)

We will not update the guideline on drug misuse in over 16s: opioid detoxification. Although no new evidence impacts on the current guideline recommendations, we recognise a need to clarify the broader care pathway for the management of drug misuse. We are therefore engaging with system partners with the aim of developing NICE guidance that is comprehensive and accessible | NICE, UK

Going to Work Drunk Every Day - video

Many people see alcohol as a way to relax and socialise. But for some, it becomes the only way they can get through the day | BBC, UK

Inside the World of the Class A Student - audio

Tom Wright investigates the normalisation of drug taking amongst Britain’s students. A recent graduate, he says Class A drugs like MDMA are bought and sold with impunity by students across the country. The student bubble, like a music festival, has become an almost decriminalised space - where the chances of getting caught are perceived to be almost non-existent | BBC, UK

Free InLinkUK phone kiosks used for thousands of street drug deals

[Free registration required] Police warn that addicts are ordering crack cocaine and heroin in the new wi-fi and phone hubs springing up in cities across Britain | Sunday Times, UK

Former drug addict who found himself homeless on the streets of Stoke-on-Trent auditions for the X Factor

Nick Pyatt, who says his baby son Hendrix has saved his life, auditioned for the hugely popular TV show at The Square Shopping Centre in Birmingham | Stoke on Trent live, UK

Bedfordshire PC Ellie Watts committed gross misconduct

A police officer who resigned over passing information to her drug-user boyfriend committed gross misconduct, a hearing has concluded | BBC, UK

'Vicious' drug dealer jailed for killing Enfield teenager

A man viewed by the Met Police as one of London's most dangerous criminals has been jailed for killing another man over a county lines dispute | BBC, UK


International news

Welcome moves by the WHO to reclassify cannabis under the UN treaties, undermined by concerns about political interference

The World Health Organisation’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) has recommends the reclassification of Cannabis under the UN drug treaties, following a lengthy review process. In a letter yet to be made public, the ECDD key recommendations are that... | Transform, UK

Cannabis and Family Law in Canada

Miller Thompson's Joanna Harris reviews implications of cannabis use in family law matters, primarily custody and access of children. It follows the introduction of the Cannabis Act, which came into force in Canada in October last year | Family Law, UK

How it all got started: Prohibition America and the modern craft cocktail

fter alcohol was banned in the 1920s, Americans got creative with their drink choices and the modern-day cocktail was born | Independent, UK

Denver to vote on whether to decriminalise magic mushrooms

'There are a lot of people throughout our country that want to see the drug policy laws change around psychedelics' | Independent, UK

'We've been to too many funerals': Study shows one third of homeless deaths linked to drugs or alcohol

A new study looked at the deaths of over 200 homeless people in Dublin over five years | Journal, Ireland

‘Family support needed’ as drug deaths top 700

A drug-support group has called for family co-ordinators to be appointed as new figures reveal more than 700 drug-related deaths in 2016 | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Codeine overdoses down 33% since 2010 painkiller restrictions

Drop could be used to support even stricter curbs on such products, study authors argue | Irish Times, Ireland

Governor of Ireland's biggest jail admits staff face 'constant battle' to stop prisoners getting drugs

Governor Gavin says it's a constant battle to stop prisoners from getting their hands on drugs | Irish Mirror, UK

CBD: Miracle or Menace?

It's the non-psychoactive sister of cannabis with a host of celebrity fans that's being incorporated into everything from face creams to beers. As the demand for CBD products rises, Regina Lavelle explores whether it's worth the hype or simply another snake oil, and if using it could put you in danger | Independent, Ireland

New WHO factsheets reveal Europe struggles to implement policies to reduce alcohol consumption

To better understand the seriousness of the problem, WHO/Europe released a series of factsheets on alcohol consumption, harm and policy responses for 30 European countries. The factsheets reveal that in European Union Member States as well as Norway and Switzerland, some 42% of all traffic deaths and 23% of all injury deaths were due to alcohol in 2016. During the same period, 1 in 5 deaths among those aged 15 to 19 was alcohol-related | WHO, Denmark

Drugnet Europe: January

Latest monthly news from the European monitoring centre | EMCDDA, Portugal

Real life Experience of Medical Cannabis Treatment in Autism: Analysis of Safety and Efficacy

[Open access] There has been a dramatic increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) worldwide. Recently anecdotal evidence of possible therapeutic effects of cannabis products has emerged. The aim of this study is to characterize the epidemiology of ASD patients receiving medical cannabis treatment and to describe its safety and efficacy | Nature, Israel

Psychiatric comorbidity and Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures of alcohol and other drug treatment initiation and engagement across 7 health care systems

Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) estimate that of the 20.8 million people who met criteria for an AOD use disorder during the past year, about 13% had both an alcohol use and another substance use disorder, and 41% met criteria for a psychiatric disorder | SAJ, USA

Switzerland fights heroin with heroin

This is the second in our series exploring how Switzerland has dealt with opioid addiction in different — and sometimes controversial — ways cutting overdose deaths and related infections | North Caroline Health News, USA

Worsening of overdose crisis predicted: Limits of focusing on prescription opioids

A study from investigators projects that the opioid overdose epidemic in the US is likely to increase in coming years, and that measures based on restricting access to prescription opioids will have a minimal impact in reducing overdose deaths | Science Daily, USA

California Doctors Alarmed As State Links Their Opioid Prescriptions to Deaths

About a year ago, Dr. Ako Jacintho of San Francisco returned home from traveling to find a letter from the state medical board waiting for him | npr, USA

A member of the Sackler family that owns OxyContin’s maker directed the company to put a premium on selling high dosages of its potentially addicting painkillers, according to new disclosures in a lawsuit | NYTimes, USA

Addiction is not a disease: A neuroscientist argues that it’s time to change our minds on the roots of substance abuse

The mystery of addiction — what it is, what causes it and how to end it — threads through most of our lives. Experts estimate that one in 10 Americans is dependent on alcohol and other drugs, and if we concede that behaviors like gambling, overeating and playing video games can be addictive in similar ways, it’s likely that everyone has a relative or friend who’s hooked on some form of fun to a destructive degree | Raw Story, USA

E-cigarette flavorings shown to be harmful to the human lungs

Scientists at Harvard University have discovered that two chemicals that are commonly used to flavor e-cigarettes can cause harm to the human lungs | News Medical, USA

Vaping may pose big risk for smoking in otherwise 'low-risk' kids

The kind of teenager least interested in smoking appears to be the type most likely to try a cigarette after they experiment with vaping, a new study indicates | Medical Xpress, USA

Underage marijuana use and impaired driving common in Colorado and Washington where marijuana is legalized

A new study by the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, shows law enforcement agencies in Colorado and Washington—states where marijuana is legalized—report common problems with underage marijuana use (under age 21) and driving under the influence of marijuana in their communities | Medical Xpress, USA

Philadelphia Cracks Down on Drug-User Camp, Creates More Suffering

Just after 5 am on January 31, a small army of police, city officials and outreach workers descended on the East Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia | Filter Magazine, USA

Tobacco companies are targeting children in India, says study

Advertising of tobacco products around educational institutions is specifically targeting children in India, a new study reveals | CNN, USA

'Just common sense': New court designed for people with FASD 

Lawyers and judges say a new court set to open in Manitoba specifically for people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder could be a game changer | CTV News, Canada

Push for vaping to be legalised in Australia continues

With so much confusion around whether e-cigarettes help you quit smoking or harm your health, the latest research is causing even more angst | news.co.au, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Harry’s blog 81: Supping with the Devil

The celebrity chef and healthy food activist Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall interviewed a director who was making a TV campaign to encourage kids to eat more vegetables | NSP blog, UK

With Dry January over, politicians could do with a sober reflection on how alcohol is taxed in the UK

Alcohol duty must be among the most incoherent and badly-designed parts of the UK tax regime. Political meddling in the face of various interest groups – the West Country cider producers, the Scotch whisky industry and the brewers – has led to vast differences in how alcohol products are taxed, and how these taxes have changed over time | SMF, UK

We’re fixated by giving things up. After Dry January, I’m saying yes to indulgence

Enough with modern-day abstinence – it’s simply a desperate bid for self-control | Guardian, UK

Who’s smoking now, and why it matters

Suppose you were told that there is something responsible for nearly 1 of every 5 deaths of Americans, and that it is completely avoidable. Would you believe – today – that “something” is cigarette smoking? | Conversation, USA

Why I quit the AMA over pill-testing hypocrisy

Are the lives of smokers less important than those of pill takers at music festivals? | SMH, Australia