Daily news - 28th February 2019

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UK news

Vaping in England: an evidence update February 2019

Annual update of Public Health England’s e-cigarette evidence review by leading independent tobacco experts | PHE, UK

Home Office grants Addaction first licenced drug checking service

People who are taking drugs can come into the service and have a sample checked. While there, Addaction staff will talk to them about the support available to make changes to their lives, and, once they know what’s in the substance, give targeted harm reduction advice | Addaction, UK

Generation Z teenagers have more mental health problems despite drops in smoking, drugs and antisocial behaviour

‘This study is a wake-up call to the different pressures today’s teenagers are under,’ says Royal College of Psychiatrists | Independent, UK

Gangs: 27,000 children in England say they are members - report

There are 27,000 children aged between 10 and 17 in England who identify as being part of a gang, according to a report by the Children's Commissioner | BBC, UK

Children’s Commissioner for England warns the same mistakes that led to child sexual exploitation failings are being repeated with gangs

Today’s report, Keeping kids safe: Improving safeguarding responses to gang violence and criminal exploitation, estimates there are 27,000 children in England who identify as a gang member, only a fraction of whom are known to children’s services | Children's Commissioner, UK

Drugs: Death

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the adequacy of funding for (a) opioid substitution therapy and (b) other health programmes to reduce drug-related deaths | They work for you, UK

Call for greater representation of GPs in bid to tackle Dundee drugs deaths

An Edinburgh doctor who is widely respected for his work with the homeless has lamented the absence of GPs on the Dundee Alcohol and Drug Partnership (ADP) | Courier, UK

The Great British Mephedrone Craze of 2009

Ten years on, one small-time drone dealer remembers the month the drug hit his university | VICE, UK

An evening with Professor Carl Hart, Columbia University, New York City

Date: Wednesday 13th March 2019. Time: Refreshments at 17.30 / Event 18:00 – 20:00. Location: Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Glasgow Central, 30 Cambridge Street, Glasgow | SDF, UK

Online gambling: Labour promises tougher limits

Limits on how much internet gamblers can stake and spend online would be introduced if Labour was in power, the shadow culture secretary has promised | BBC, UK


International news

Sugar high: the yeast that can be used to brew cannabis, not beer

Scientists develop GM strain that can produce cannabinoid compounds with addition of sugar | Guardian, UK

Good Samaritan who spent $540 on cookies to help a Girl Scout troop is ARRESTED on drug dealing charges

Detric Lee McGowan, 46, was held by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency yesterday on charges including conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and cocaine | Mail Online, UK

"Do as we say, not as we do?" the lifestyle behaviours of hospital doctors working in Ireland: a national cross-sectional study

This study was conducted to assess the lifestyle behaviours of a national sample of hospital doctors working in Ireland. We also sought to compare the prevalence of these behaviours in doctors to the general Irish population | Lenus, Ireland

Prevalence of Drug Use and Gambling in Ireland and Drug use in Northern Ireland 2014/15 Drug Prevalence Survey: Gambling Results (PDF)

For the purpose of this survey, gambling includes the following activities: Buying a lottery ticket or scratch card, playing lottery games online, gambling in a bookmaker’s shop, gambling online or by telephone, placing a bet at a horse or dog race meeting, playing games at a casino, playing a gaming/slot machine, playing card games for money with friends/family and playing bingo | National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol, Ireland

Cannabis agency adopted almost unanimously in parliamentary committee

The parliamentary Health Committee almost unanimously adopted a bill facilitating the creation of a cannabis agency, enabling production of the drug for medical purposes | Brussels Times, Belgium

Drug treatment systems in the Western Balkans: outcomes of a joint EMCDDA-UNODC survey of drug treatment facilities

This report presents a summary of the key findings from drug treatment facility surveys carried out in 2017 in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and the territory of Kosovo. The results provide insight into the characteristics and capacity of the treatment systems, as well as the availability and provision of treatment interventions. The report also considers the implications for practice and policy | EMCDDA, Portugal

How a Paraplegic Drug User Became a Victim of Involuntary Commitment

Barely a day passes on my beat without my meeting someone with a harrowing story about the impact of zero-tolerance drug policies on their lives. But few of these stories have impacted me personally as much as that of a young man I’ll call “Jay.” | Filter Magazine, USA

Smoking and alcohol: Double trouble for the brain?

Along with many other harmful health consequences, smoking tobacco causes chemical changes, oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain. Excessive alcohol use can have similar effects | Science Daily, USA

Major life events and the natural course of gambling severity

Many people think of addiction as a disorder that is always progressive. However, as we described in our Special Series on Self-Directed Recovery, addiction, including Gambling Disorder, is more accurately characterized as an episodic condition; those who the condition affects move in and out of clinical thresholds, often without the aid of professional treatment | BASIS, USA

Why environmental cues make drug addiction extra hard to beat

Besides triggering the brain's emotional and stimulus-response systems, environmental cues activate areas where memories are processed, according to this study. Prompting these memory processing systems makes it extra difficult to counter addiction because the classic stimulus-response mechanisms are reinforced by the memory effects of environmental drug cues | Science Daily, Canada

New mothers reduce their alcohol intake, but this change is short-lived

Most women dramatically reduce their alcohol intake on learning they are pregnant, but by the time their child is five they are back to their pre-pregnancy drinking levels, a new international study has found. The research reported little change in the drinking patterns of men on becoming fathers | Science Daily, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

The Man who Mapped LSD

lbert Hofmann first synthesized LSD on 16 November 1938. it was not until five years later that he would discover its effects, however | OUP blog, UK

What are the vaping research priorities? Have your say…

I knew that retirement wouldn’t mean the ending of work, or indeed the end of my interest in tobacco harm reduction. Since leaving Leicester City Council, I’ve been keeping busy in many different ways | Conterfactual blog, UK

The Opioid Crisis Isn’t White

Contrary to media portrayals, overdose deaths are ravaging communities of color | NYTimes opinion, USA

Why we shouldn’t celebrate female empowerment with alcohol

Too many women are dying from alcohol-related breast cancer in Australia | DrinkTank, Australia

Overbearing laws don’t just throttle nightlife, they corporatise fun

Sometimes you don’t realise a way of life is gone until you get a taste of it in another place | Guardian, UK