Daily news - 3rd January 2019

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UK news

Drug safety testing, disposals and dealing in an English field: Exploring the operational and behavioural outcomes of the UK’s first onsite ‘drug checking’ service

[Open access] In a year when UK drug-related deaths and festival drug-related deaths reached their highest on record, a pilot festival drug safety testing service was introduced with the aim of reducing drug-related harm | IJDP, UK

Dry January: What are the benefits and drawbacks?

Is giving up alcohol for a month good for long-term health, can it be harmful, and is there anyone who shouldn’t participate? We ask the experts | BBC Good Food, UK

Addiction January 2019 issue

Suzi Gage and Rob Calder discuss the January issue of Addiction | Addiction, UK

Woman given opiate painkiller for ‘muscle strain’ when she was pregnant ends up fighting for her life in a coma with a brain damaged baby

Kirsten McCallum was given dihydrocodeine which is not supposed to be taken by women in the late stages of pregnancy | i news, UK

Use low dead space: Driving uptake of safer drug injecting equipment

Free event. Thu 24 January 2019. Bristol. New posters, a booklet and an animation, co-designed by service users from Bristol Drugs Project, are being launched at this special event, which includes an exhibition of the materials | NIHR CLAHRC West, UK

Massive drugs find after disqualified driver stopped

A large haul of drugs was seized by police in Lisburn after they stopped a disqualified driver on New Year's Eve | BBC, UK


International news

Saudi Arabia Begins 2019 with Three Executions for Drug Offences

Authorities in Saudi Arabia executed three people for non-violent drug offences on the first day of 2019, highlighting the continuation of brutal drug policies under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman | Talking Drugs, UK

Where ordering cannabis is easy as booking a taxi

Click on an app, choose your preferred product, pay for it and then sit back and wait for it to be delivered to your door | BBC, UK

Bad news for football fans as World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar double tax on alcohol

It is news likely to be received badly by football fans planning to attend the next World Cup games in Qatar - the conservative Muslim Gulf state this week introduced a 100 per cent tax on alcohol | Telegraph, UK

2019 U.S. Alcohol Consumption To Increase While Population Growth Stagnates

In an abstract titled, Alcohol Consumption in the United States: Past, Present, and Future Trends” published in the Journal of Wine Economics Volume 13, Number 2, James Fogerty and Derby Voon examined “…long-run changes in alcohol consumption patterns for the United States, at the state level, and presents forecasts for per capita consumption of beer, wine, and spirits…” | Forbes, USA

What we learned about drinking alcohol in 2018

The truth about drinking is going to disappoint you. Not because it’s scary, but because it’s still inconclusive | Quartz, USA

Reducing alcohol use could help quit daily smoking habit

If quitting smoking is one of your New Year's resolutions, you might want to consider cutting back on your drinking, too | News Medical, USA

Brain scans predict stimulant drug relapse

Predicting who will remain drug-free and who will relapse following treatment for drug addiction has been impossible – so far. Now, Stanford psychologists think they've found a possible clue. For stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines, at least, activity in the brain's reward-processing circuits could be the key | Medical Xpress, USA

A billion dollars of tax revenue, the taming of the black market, the convenience of retail cannabis stores throughout the state — these were some of the promises made by proponents of marijuana legalization in California | NYTimes, USA

Philippines Harm Reductionists Share Their Vision Amid a Murderous Drug War

“It has never been about drugs. It has always been about people.” | Filter Magazine, USA

96 Percent of People Arrested for Weed in Baltimore from 2015-2017 Were Black

Decriminalization of cannabis is not enough. A recent analysis from the Baltimore Fishbowl and the Baltimore Institute for Nonprofit Journalism revealed that 1,450 out of the 1,514 people arrested by Baltimore police for cannabis possession during 2015, 2016 and 2017 were black | Filter Magazine, USA

Testing shows MDMA pills laced with bath salts

A drug-testing group has issued a warning about a potentially-fatal drug concoction found in party pills over the New Year | RNZ, New Zealand

'We would consider it': Premier softens her stance on pill testing

Premier Gladys Berejiklian says she would consider implementing pill testing in NSW if her government was shown evidence it saved lives | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

NDARC awarded $1.8 million to run text messaging smoking cessation trial

NDARC’s Dr Ryan Courtney was awarded $1.764 million for a trial of tailored text messaging treatment for smoking cessation among low-socioeconomic status smokers in the latest round of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grant funding | NDARC, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Dry January: a convenient distraction for the alcohol industry

Six years on and Dry January is more popular than ever, but does quitting booze for a month actually make a difference to your life? Looking at the Dry January website, managed by Alcohol Change UK, you’re left in little doubt: you can lose weight, save money, sleep better and have more energy | Conversation, UK

Dry January? This is the worst time to give up booze

With weeks of misery and bad weather to come, we need comfort and soothing, not military training in the park | Guardian opinion, UK

Figures on vaping safety need clarifying

Peter Ayton says Public Health England’s interpretation of recent research hugely understates the relative harm of smoking compared with vaping | Guardian letters, UK

Opinion: No one should be prosecuted for personal possession of drugs

People using drugs should be dealt with exclusively via the health system, writes Tony Duffin. Let’s make the change in 2019 | Journal, Ireland

Show some courage on pill testing and save young lives

Five deaths at music festivals in less than five months. And, if I listen to some critics, the one thing stopping pill testing is that it is seen as people like me giving the green light to drug use | The Age, Australia