Daily news - 2nd January 2019

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UK news

PHE Health Harms campaign encourages smokers to quit

The Health Harms campaign encourages smokers to quit, by demonstrating the harms to health that come from every cigarette | PHE, UK

Public Health England maintains vaping is 95% safer than smoking

As scepticism rises, PHE says e-cigarettes could help more people quit smoking | Guardian, UK

Smoking v vaping: Watch lab test results

Video. If you're going to try to quit smoking in the new year, try vaping, a UK government advisory body says | BBC, UK

Vaping kits for prisoners to cost £150,000

It follows a nationwide ban on smoking in prisons which came into force at the end of November | BBC, UK

Dry January

Dry January is the UK's one-month booze-free challenge. Sign up. Save money. Feel great | Alcohol Change UK, UK

How ‘Dry January’ is the secret to better sleep, saving money and losing weight

New research from the University of Sussex shows that taking part in Dry January – abstaining from booze for a month – sees people regaining control of their drinking, having more energy, better skin and losing weight.  They also report drinking less months later | University of Sussex, UK

Doctors see huge rise in drug abuse by over 50s

Requires registration for free access. The number of people aged above 50 receiving hospital treatment after taking drugs has more than quadrupled in the past decade, The Times can reveal | The Times, UK

England's unexpected World Cup progression behind record-high alcohol poisoning cases, NHS says

England's unexpected progression to the football World Cup semi final led to a record-high number of people going to hospital with alcohol poisoning, according to NHS England | Telegraph, UK

Airline double standards over violent, drunken passengers

Disruptive incidents on flights have doubled, with Ryanair worst affected | Which, UK

Police investigating four possible drug deaths in Belfast

All four people lost their lives during the Christmas holidays | BBC, UK

Magic mushrooms will bloom in the UK on New Year's Day due to rising temperatures

January is usually a frosty month, but a warming climate means that January 1 will be unnaturally balmy | Mirror, UK

Weak, small and free: How no and low alcohol is finding power without strength - audio

As people cut down and cut out booze, no and low alcohol drinks are pouring onto the market. Brewer Jaega wise explores this show against strength that's shaking up alcohol sector | BBC radio, UK

Brewery apologies after use of Hindu symbol on beer bottle sparks protest

A Hindu group who launched a fight against 'offensive' alcohol branding has had an Om beer label scrapped by a British brewery | Telegarph, UK

Blake Leeper interview: How an alcoholic drug addict became the fastest man on no legs

The impassioned speech Blake Leeper gives after detailing one of the most astonishing stories in sport is so powerful it almost makes you want to stand up and cheer. It is lucky the American is not a cult leader or else he would have a dangerously devoted following | Telegraph, UK

George Kruis & Dominic Day: Why rugby players are taking cannabis oil products

At Saracens, England international George Kruis and his Wales club-mate Dominic Day take cannabis oils, capsules and balms which they say help "put our bodies back together" | BBC, UK

Doncaster prison drug mule jailed for 21 months

A woman has been jailed for 21 months for attempting to smuggle heroin, crack and cocaine in to a prison | BBC, UK


International news

Cannabis strength doubles across Europe in 11 years

A study tracking increased potency of both herbal and resin types of the drug points to greater dangers for users | Guardian, UK

Belgium to brew first non-alcoholic 'abbey beer' as monks tipple threatened by healthy living revolution

ABelgian brewer will make history in the new year when it produces the first ever non-alcoholic version of one of the country’s celebrated and powerful abbey beers | Telegraph, UK

Long-acting buprenorphine an advance on daily doses

What could prove a technical advance in the medication-based treatment of opiate dependence was rigorously tested and partially vindicated among hundreds of patients at over 30 US clinics. Perhaps the puzzle was why extended-release buprenorphine injections only modestly bettered the standard daily regimen | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

New York pharmacies to ban sales of cigarettes and tobacco products in 2019

The ban will take effect on Tuesday | Independent, UK

Wristwatch for drug addicts alerts medics when they overdose

A wristwatch which detects if the wearer has suffered an opioid overdose and sends a text message to the emergency services has been developed by students in the US | Telegraph, UK

Drug use during pregnancy not child abuse: Pennsylvania top court

A divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled on Friday that mothers who use illegal drugs during their pregnancies are not committing child abuse against their newly-born children | Reuters, UK

'Dangerous orange pill' warning after man's death at Lost Paradise music festival

Warning from organisers of Falls Festival comes comes as NSW Labor opens the door to pill testing | Guardian, UK

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian softens stance on pill testing after more drug deaths

Victoria says it has no plans to introduce pill testing, but the issue looks likely to feature in the NSW election | Guardian, UK

Thailand approves medicinal cannabis

Thailand's parliament has voted to approve cannabis for medical use, with a key lawmaker calling it a "New Year's gift" to the Thai people | BBC, UK

Afghanistan: How does the Taliban make money?

American troops are in the country to support the Afghan government's fight against the Taliban and other militant groups | BBC, UK

Inside Mother Camp: the woman tackling Afghanistan's drug problem

Laila Haidari risks her life to run the country’s only private rehabilitation centre, helping hundreds of addicts a year | Guardian, UK

Over 300 kids poisoned by household and illegal drugs in Ireland last year

Many ingested common household medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen and paracetamol | Irish Mirror, Ireland

More than two-thirds of drug OD deaths in 2017 involved opioids

Lawrence Scholl, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues examined state-level changes in death rates involving drug overdoses in 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC) and those involving synthetic opioids in 20 states for 2013 to 2017. The changes in death rates during 2016 to 2017 involving opioids and opioid subcategories were also examined | Medical Xpress, USA

After naloxone, when can opioid overdose patients be safely discharged?

Naloxone has saved thousands of lives. But can patients be safely discharged from the Emergency Department (ED) just an hour after they receive the medication that curtails drug overdoses? | Medical Xpress, USA

Reducing drinking could help with smoking cessation, research finds

New research has found that heavy drinkers who are trying to stop smoking may find that reducing their alcohol use can also help them quit their daily smoking habit. Heavy drinkers' nicotine metabolite ratio -- a biomarker that indicates how quickly a person's body metabolizes nicotine -- reduced as they cut back on their drinking | Science Daily, USA

Buzzed flies reveal important step to intoxication

The alcohol in beverages acts much like an anesthetic. It creates a hyper 'buzzed' feeling first, and then sedation. But how? It turns out there is an important intermediate step that wasn't previously known | Science Daily, USA

What can twins can tell us about cannabis dependence and IQ?

Adolescents who use cannabis often show signs of cognitive impairment. It could be that cannabis causes these impairments | BASIS, USA

The BASIS 2018 Roundup - Top 5 and Editor's Picks

Today, we look back on the year with our top 5 most-read science reviews of 2018, followed by top picks from our editorial staff | BASIS, USA

Legal marijuana industry toasts year of global gains

The last year was a 12-month champagne toast for the legal marijuana industry as the global market exploded and cannabis pushed its way further into the financial and cultural mainstream | Medical Xpress, USA

How a groundbreaking opioid tablet program will work in Vancouver, where overdoses have killed hundreds 

The medical director of the Portland Hotel Society says people will “stabilize” rapidly as they lose the need to take risky street drugs or engage in criminal activity | Tne Star, Canada

'Pill testing should not be off the table': NSW Labor leader

NSW Opposition leader Michael Daley has opened the door to pill testing at music festivals, in the wake of the suspected fatal overdose of a 22-year-old man at a festival on the Central Coast on the weekend - the fourth such death since September | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

40 people caught with drugs at Melbourne New Year's Day music festival

It comes as a man died from a suspected drug overdose at Beyond the Valley music festival, near Warragul | Age, Australia

State government’s firm stance on drug testing a bitter pill to swallow

Former Buninyong MP Geoff Howard calls for Victorian pill testing trial in the lead up to popular Rainbow Serpent Festival | Courier, Australia

Police Minister Stuart Nash wants drug testing kits at all music festivals by next summer

Police Minister Stuart Nash wants to see all New Zealand music festivals kitted out with drug testing kits by next summer | NZHerald, New Zealand

The worst drug addiction at New Zealand prisons isn't what you think

Shakes, sweats and hallucinations are not uncommon at Christchurch Men's Prison's compulsory detox | TVNZ, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

How a dry January ends up being a gift to the booze industry

Drinks makers will always protect their own interests, so you might think that they view a booze-free month as a threat | Independent voices, UK

From Brideshead to Bond: top 10 books on booze

Henry Jeffreys raises a glass to the best writing about alcohol, including the James Bond novel that inspired a cocktail and Roger Scruton’s guide to wine | Guardian, UK