Daily news - 4th January 2019

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UK news

Drug misuse claims life 'every other day'

The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) has warned of the dangers of taking drugs and mixing them with alcohol following the deaths of four people in Belfast during the Christmas holidays | BBC, UK

Vaping by young people remains a burning issue among health experts

Sifting through contradictory evidence is common when it comes to choosing the right thing to do to improve our health, not least at new year when many of us promise to leave old habits behind and make a fresh start | Guardian, UK

Trying to quit smoking? New research suggests higher levels of nicotine may help

Allowing smokers to determine their nicotine intake while they are trying to quit is likely to help them kick the habit, according to an early study in 50 people led by Queen Mary University of London | EurekAlert, UK

Attitudes to E-Cigarettes and Cessation Support for Pregnant Women from English Stop Smoking Services: A Mixed Methods Study

Smoking in pregnancy remains a public health problem. In the UK e-cigarettes are the most popular aid to quitting smoking outside of pregnancy, but we don’t know the extent of e-cigarette use in pregnancy or how English Stop Smoking Services (SSS) respond to pregnant women who vape | IJERPH, UK

One session of shisha smoking could be as dangerous as whole packet of cigarettes

A single shisha session could have the same negative effects as smoking more than a packet of cigarettes, new research has found | Independent, UK

How Not To Die From Ecstasy - video

When Lewis and his best friend Luke were 16, they decided to celebrate their last day of school by going on a big night out | BBC Three, UK

Criminal gangs apply for jail jobs to smuggle drugs, say police

Police say there is growing evidence that members of organised criminal gangs are getting prison service jobs to smuggle banned items | BBC, UK

New Leeds prison scanner catches drug smuggling

An 'X-ray' body scanner to detect drugs in prison has been installed at Leeds jail, and caught an inmate attempting to smuggle in substances on its first day in use | BBC, UK

'Cuckooing': When drug gangs take over your own home

A man who said his home was taken over by drug dealers has described his experience as "terrifying" | BBC, UK

HED Matters: Cognitive enhancers (PDF)

In this edition of HED Matters we put cognitive enhancers, or ‘smart drugs’, in the spotlight. This topic is getting more attention from all corners of the enhancement world and raising questions about the role of cognitive enhancement in the workplace, education, sport, and everyday life | Human Enhancement Drugs, UK

Mobile van to offer needle exchange in Glasgow to tackle HIV outbreak among drug injectors

A mobile van will distribute needles and provide healthcare out of hours to the city centre's drug injecting community in a bid to tackle Glasgow's HIV outbreak | Evening Times, UK

Unique conference examines current novel drug trends – charity and NHS in partnership

At the end of 2018, on 29th November, The Forward Trust co-hosted the UK’s first Novel Drug Trends conference, in partnership with Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust (C&I), which attracted an audience of 130 professionals from a range of fields related to the management of drug misuse | Forward Trust, UK

Student drug dealers spared jail as judge says he was impressed by their grammar as they messaged customers, court hears

Two young drug dealers were praised by a judge for the high standard of grammar in their text messages to customers | Telegraph, UK

Ex-Leeds prison officer Jade Hicks jailed over drug smuggling

A former prison officer has been jailed for eight months after being caught trying to smuggle drugs into a jail | BBC, UK

Police in Hartlepool uncover £350,000 cannabis farm

About 400 plants were found in a house in Nesham Road that was equipped with a sophisticated heating and lighting system | BBC, UK

'Drug dealer ran' after fatal park fight, trial hears

A drug dealer ran in fear after hearing a violent fight break out between two of his associates in a Huntingdon park, a murder trial heard | BBC, UK


International news

Drug addicts need more than simply harm reduction

[Requires registration for free access] Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Drug and Alcohol Taskforce recently published a report detailing the experiences of long-term methadone users. Some participants described how the stability of methadone had saved their life, but they were still imprisoned by a drug over which they felt they had no control…… | The Times, UK

Colombia coca production: US 'deeply concerned' by rise

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he is "deeply concerned" about the increased production of coca leaf, the raw material for cocaine, in Colombia | BBC, UK

The women who banned alcohol

In northern India, some women had long complained that they were fed up with their husbands being drunk | BBC, UK

Cannabis control and the right to privacy

In 2018 the highest courts in countries across three continents have asserted that state intervention in the private life of their citizens who wish to (grow and) use cannabis is not always justified | EMCDDA, Portugal

Household spending on alcohol close to €130 billion

In 2017, households in the European Union (EU) spent 1.6% of their total consumption expenditure on alcoholic beverages. This represents a total expenditure of over €130 billion, equivalent to 0.9% of EU GDP or over €300 per EU inhabitant. It should be noted that this does not include alcoholic beverages paid for in restaurants and hotels | Eurostat, Belgium

UNODC Opioid strategy

The potentially deadly consequences of the non-medical use of opioids have been known since science discovered their huge medical potential. Over the past 150 years, humanity has experience several opioid crises but none as devastating as the present one affecting mainly North America with fentanyl and its analogues, and in parts of Africa and the Middle East with tramadol | UNODC, Switzerland

Slandering the Unborn

Legislative intrusion into the womb has a long history in the United States, and nowhere is this paternalism more forceful than when illegal drugs are part of the equation. If the country’s war on drugs functions as a system of social control, that control is doubly exercised when a fetus is involved | NYTimes, USA

Improved treatment for alcohol use disorders, chronic pain, mood disorders

Scientists are making drug discoveries to support millions around the world dealing with alcohol use disorders, chronic pain and mood disorders. They discovered that two peptides -- which are naturally metabolic products of Rubisco, a large protein found in many plants like spinach -- may aid in the development of new medications | Science Daily, USA

The opioid crisis: What we should learn from the AIDS epidemic

There are important lessons to be learned from the successes and failures of the AIDS response that could inform our response to the opioid epidemic, according to a new paper | EurekAlert, USA

Opioid-Related Harms in Canada

Canada is in the midst of an opioid crisis. A new CIHI analysis shows that opioid poisoning hospitalization rates continue to increase across Canada. Communities with populations between 50,000 and 99,999 are hardest hit, experiencing the highest per capita hospitalization rates in the country | CIHI, Canada

Canada needs better data on drug users with overdose-induced brain damage, doctors say

No nationwide statistics for people who have survived the brain-damaging effects of opioids | CBC News, Canada

Her husband invented naloxone, her son died from overdose, now she advocates for harm reduction

Joy Stampler Fishman says her connection to naloxone and her son's death is 'the irony of my life' | CBC News, Canada

An update on take-home naloxone knowledge amongst people who inject drugs

The Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) is an ongoing illicit drug monitoring system which has been conducted in all states and territories of Australia since 2000, and forms part of Drug Trends | NDARC, Australia

What is pill testing?

The recent deaths of young people after taking party drugs at festivals has prompted calls for organised pill testing at events. So what would that look like? And why is it so controversial? | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

New Zealand embraces pill testing as Australian politicians resist

A key member of the New Zealand government has called pill testing a "fantastic idea | SBS news, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

We Can’t Consumption Room Our Way Out of a Drug Deaths Crisis

When the scale of drug-related deaths in Scotland is revealed for 2018 it is expected that over 1000 people will have lost their lives to accidental and preventable overdoses in that year alone. Utterly appalling | Cuppa with Kirsten blog, UK

Vaping: smokers who switch could be less likely to use cigarettes again

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to stop smoking. Quite rightly so, considering smoking is the biggest leading, preventable cause of death, worldwide. In fact, tobacco is the only legally-available product that kills up to one in every two users, when used as intended | Conversation, UK

Being homeless is not a crime, so why are so many jailed?

[Australia] You cannot solve social problems like homelessness, mental illness and substance dependence with the heavy hand of law enforcement | Guardian opinion, UK

Marijuana Is More Dangerous Than You Think

As legalization spreads, more Americans are becoming heavy users of cannabis, despite its links to violence and mental illness | Wall Street Journal, USA

Six reasons Australia should pilot ‘pill testing’ party drugs

The death of 19-year-old Georgina Bartter at a music festival on the weekend from a suspected ecstasy overdose could possibly have been avoided with a simple harm-minimisation intervention. Pill testing, or drug checking as it’s known in Europe, provides feedback to users on the content of illegal drugs, allowing them to make informed choices | NDARC blog, Australia

Editorial: Testing drugs for safety can send the wrong message - New Zealand Herald

Police Minister Stuart Nash wants to set up drug-testing services at music festivals for young people next summer. This is not the drug testing of people as recently proposed for road safety, this is the testing of drugs for the safety of users | NZHerald editorial, New Zealand