Daily news - 8th January 2019

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UK news

Illicit and prescription drugs 'played role in ten deaths'

There have been 10 suspected drugs-related deaths in the greater Belfast area since December, police have said | BBC, UK

Alcohol consumption can damage oral health, warn dental surgeons

As people across the UK pledge to do “Dry January” following alcohol-fuelled Christmas and New Year celebrations, a leading dental surgeon is urging individuals to limit their alcohol consumption for another important reason – their oral health | Royal College of Surgeons, UK

Street drinking in Harehills 'leaves residents in fear'

The West Yorkshire force said many refused to walk around the area after dark, subjecting them in winter to a "very early curfew" | BBC, UK

Maxwell Bates-Spiers inquest: Journalist 'died after taking anxiety drug'

A journalist who dealt in conspiracy theories died after taking an over-the-counter anxiety drug during a stay in Poland, an inquest has heard | BBC, UK

Katie Price denies drink-driving charge

The 40-year-old was held after police found a damaged Range Rover at the roadside on Shooters Hill Road, Woolwich, at about 02:00 GMT on 10 October last year | BBC, UK

Man who hid drugs in Oxford court for murder gang jailed

A man who tried to deal cannabis in Oxford Crown Court while on trial over a murder has been jailed | BBC, UK


International news

How Vancouver is helping opioid addicts

In the past two years, more than 8,000 people in Canada have lost their lives due to opioid overdoses | BBC, UK

Belarus MDMA Death Case Highlights Danger of Prohibition

A high-profile criminal trial, involving a group of young people and a young woman’s tragic death following MDMA use, has gripped Belarus | Talking Drugs, UK

A mother on drug crime in Ireland: 'When the dealers called to my door and wanted me to settle his debts, I’d had enough'

Child protection expert Shane Dunphy on the cycle of drugs, violence and intimidation being experienced by vulnerable Irish families | Journal, Ireland

938 arrests for driving intoxicated in past month

It was “the morning after the night before” for one in 10 drivers arrested by gardaí on suspicion of drink- or drug-driving over the festive season, it has emerged | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Neural fingerprints ID those likely to abstain from cocaine

By measuring the strength of connections between different brain networks, Yale researchers successfully predicted who would abstain from cocaine during treatment, they report Jan. 4 in the American Journal of Psychiatry | Medical Xpress, USA

Opioids fueled a doubling of suicides and overdoses in the US

Turning the tide demands improvements to pain care, mental health care and medication-assisted opioid addiction care | Science Daily, USA

This Is How America Is Failing Its Young Opioid Generation

Jeremy was young and addicted. Over six years, he was let down over and over again by the very system that was meant to help him | VICE, USA

Judges and Lawyers Ignorant of MAT Require Urgent Education Efforts

When Jarrod* went before a Clinton County, New York judge in November 2017 to address a no-contact order violation, he didn’t expect his 13 years on buprenorphine to come into question | Filter Magazine, USA

New Study Shows Drug Users’ Positive Responses to Learning They’ve Been Exposed to Fentanyl

The health and social benefits of fentanyl testing were confirmed in a recent study. Most participants, on learning that they had tested positive for fentanyl despite not knowing that they had taken the drug, reported that they would subsequently warn other users about fentanyl while also taking more precautions when they use | Filter Magazine, USA

The common pill that's killing in the shadow of the opioid crisis

When benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax are combined with opioids, the consequences can be lethal | CBC News, Canada

NZ’s great drug debate

A perfect storm has led to New Zealand taking a serious look at how it deals with drugs. Laura Walters reports on last year’s great drug debate and what to look for in 2019 | Newsroom, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Harry’s blog 79: This above all: to thine own self be true

The blog title is a quote from Hamlet written by W. Shakespeare and set in Denmark because Bill ripped off an old Danish story for his plot. Even so, it’s a pity that the Danish authors of a paper basically alleging that all pro-vaping studies are compromised by associations with the tobacco industry, couldn’t have taken this quote to heart | NSP blog, UK

The benefits of festival drug testing

Many readers will know of the work of The Loop a a not for profit Community Interest Company which provides drug safety testing, welfare and harm reduction services at festivals. A new evaluation of the work, conducted by The Loop’s founder, Fiona Measham, provides testimony of its effectiveness | Russell Webster, UK

Reducing alcohol harm: where does Dry January fit in?

Some people say that Dry January is too extreme, meaning it can’t make a real, long-term impact| Alcohol Change UK blog, UK

Herald View: Provide the young with alternatives to alcohol

Manyof us hold presumptions about rural life being healthier than urban living. Perhaps, in general terms, it is. Our minds picture vast open spaces, fresh air, nature’s balm and a comparative lack of traffic, problem estates and dubious nightclubs | Herald opinion, UK

Jack Monroe's openness about struggling with alcohol is invaluable – we don’t talk about battling the early stages often enough

With so much stigma still around, peer support is perhaps the most powerful way to create a safe space in which to ask yourself whether or not you have a problem | Independent Voices, UK

Are you giving up crack, smack, or spice this January?

Will everyone please stop banging on about their month of abstinence? It’s hardly cold turkey | Guardian, UK

Demonizing ‘Crack Mothers,’ Victimizing Their Children

A mother who lost custody of her children because of her drug use describes how “racism and unjust treatment” led to her family’s being torn apart | NYTimes letter, USA

Updates on Mortality Rates and the Impact of Drug Deaths

A couple of years ago now, there was a lot of hubbub around a paper about mortality rates among white Americans. This paper purported to show that mortality for middle aged white people in the US were not decreasing (like other countries/races/ethnicities) were, but was actually increasing | Graph Paper Diaries blog, USA

Coroner's data released over the holidays shows B.C.'s opioid epidemic continues with 100 dying every month

The number of drug-overdose deaths in British Columbia remained well over 100 per month through October and November 2018 | Georgia Straight, Canada

Here’s why doctors are backing pill testing at music festivals across Australia

For many years experts in the field of drug policy in Australia have known existing policies are failing. Crude messages (calls for total abstinence: “just say no to drugs”) and even cruder enforcement strategies (harsher penalties, criminalisation of drug users) have had no impact on the use of drugs or the extent of their harmful effects on the community | Conversation, Australia