Daily news - 9th January 2019

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UK news

Drugs policy: medicinal cannabis inquiry

As the first part of a wider inquiry into the impact of drugs policy on public health, the Committee is seeking evidence on the usage of medicinal cannabis products - the deadline is Friday 8 February 2019 | parliament.uk, UK

Scottish drug crisis sparks national emergency alert as deaths top 1000 for 2018

Shameful figures show areas seeing DOUBLE the amount of drug deaths between January and July compared to last year | Daily Record, UK

Discovered: different brain areas linked to smoking and drinking

In new research the areas of the brain that are different in those who smoke and those who drink have been identified: the tendency to drink alcohol is associated with increased connectivity of brain networks associated with reward processing; and the tendency to smoke is associated with low connectivity of systems that respond to not receiving rewards | University of Warwick, UK

National project to build connections in recovery

Addaction will deliver a national peer support project to combat loneliness in recovery, thanks to an award of nearly £100,000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Building Connections | Addaction, UK

Dry January in 2019: still in vogue, but still facing questions

It seems 2019 is to be another strong year for Dry January, with over four million people expected to take part according to Alcohol Change UK. However the campaign continues to face criticisms from some perhaps unexpected quarters | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

I Was Injecting Heroin in the Bogs While Working at One of the UK's Biggest Papers

Joel Lewin worked at one of the world's most prestigious financial newspapers. But while he was writing about Tesco's shares he was also shoplifting there to feed a heroin addiction | VICE, UK

Where pubs are bucking the trend of decline

Pubs in the Highlands appeared to be bucking a UK-wide trend of pub and bar closures. Since 2008, almost a quarter of pubs in the UK have shut according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) analysis | BBC, UK

Leaving the EU: Tobacco Products and Public Health

I beg to move, That the draft Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018, which were laid before this House on 1 November, be approved | They work for you, UK

This is why a huge projection of a vape pen appeared on the Forth Bridge yesterday

The company want to raise awareness about National Cigarette Amnesty Day, which is set to take place on 14 January. VPZ have launched the initiative to help more smokers across the country quit | Edinburgh Live, UK

Electronic cigarettes Priority Setting Partnership Survey

Survey. We are asking for your help so that we can identify priority areas for research in electronic cigarettes, in order to identify the top 10 unanswered questions on electronic cigarettes. This will help guide funders and make sure that researchers focus on the most urgent questions within this area | Nottingham University, UK

West London crooks convicted of conspiracy to supply illicit meds

Jagdiep Dhonsi, Amrin Mirza and Shirina Ali were sentenced yesterday at Southwark Crown court for their involvement in the illegal supply of potentially dangerous prescription-only medicines | MHRA, UK

Dark web dealers labelling drugs VEGAN and ‘ethically sourced’ to appeal to middle classes

Dealers are trying to market their 'sustainable' drugs to the growing number of eco-conscious and affluent buyers | The Sun, UK

Gus Davies murder: Simon Atherton and Amanda Butler sentenced for drug offences

Simon Atherton, 42, and Amanda Butler, 40, both of no fixed abode, admitted drug and money laundering offences | BBC, UK

Peter Anderson death: Drug runner 'murdered man day after robbery'

A drugs runner and his "protector" murdered a man in a "frenzied" knife attack the day after being robbed, a court heard | BBC, UK

Student jailed after hiding 10kg of cannabis in suitcase

An Edinburgh University art student has been jailed for two years for trying to smuggle drugs worth £100,000 into Scotland in a suitcase | BBC, UK


International news

What is the value of peer involvement in advancing tobacco harm reduction?

E-cigarettes are considered a disruptive technology, evidencing rapid growth in the financial market and attracting a distinct new customer base of would-be quitters, especially in Great Britain and the USA | Harm Reduction Journal, UK

‘Therapist know thyself’

‘Therapist know thyself’ is the Socratic injunction strongly suggested by findings amalgamated for the American Psychological Association. Across all relevant studies, counsellors and therapists with the self-awareness and abilities to recognise, understand and use their reactions to clients - even when these were driven by the practitioner’s own internal conflicts - conducted better therapy and had more satisfied clients | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Full transcript of Donald Trump's Oval Office address on border security

A transcript of President Donald Trump's Tuesday night address about security along the U.S. southern border, as provided by the White House | Telegraph, UK

Exposure to cannabis and stress in adolescence can lead to anxiety disorders in adulthood

The work carried out by the Neuropharmacology Laboratory highlight the influence of environmental factors such as stress on the harmful effects of the exposure to cannabis during early ages | EurekAlert, Spain

China Can’t Solve America’s Fentanyl Problem

At the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires in December, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, had agreed to tighten China’s controls over manufacturing fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that is orders of magnitude stronger than heroin | Foreign Affairs, USA

How a Famous IQ Study Revealed a Key Truth About Avoiding Addiction

What makes you live longer? What makes life more satisfying? What enables people to resist addiction? | Filter Magazine, USA

Strong tobacco retail licensing requirements reduce risk of teen e-cigarette use, study finds

Retail licensing requirements written with cigarettes in mind could be helping lower the risk of teenagers using other tobacco products such as e-cigarettes | CNN, USA

Is marijuana as safe as we think?

Permitting pot is one thing; promoting its use is another | New Yorker, USA

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

Rally in support of festival pill testing organized in Sydney

For well over a year, Australia has been entangled in a national debate about the legality and practicality of using on-site pill testing at music festivals as a method to prevent drug-related deaths | MixMag, Australia

There Have Been Countless Reports About The Monkey Dust Drug. Here's What We Actually Know

Is the Australian panic about monkey dust necessary? | BuzzFeed, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

The NHS Long Term Plan: 10 key public health points

The NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) aims to relieve pressure on services and ensure sustainability for future years. There are a multitude of aims and initiatives within the 136 page document; this blog gives a brief overview of the key public health priorities | PHE Blog, UK

Experience: I manage the drug service in the ‘drug death capital’ of Europe

Every week a person dies from drugs in Dundee. It has a massive impact on everyone | Addaction blog, UK

Ian Hamilton: Dry January is no match for the growing harms of alcohol consumption

Despite being in its seventh year, we still know little about the effectiveness of campaigns like Dry January, says Ian Hamilton | BMJ opinion, UK

Does schizophrenia influence cannabis use? How to report the influence of disease liability on outcomes in Mendelian randomization studies

The recent Nature Neuroscience paper by Pasman et al entitled “GWAS of lifetime cannabis use reveals new risk loci, genetic overlap with psychiatric traits, and a causal influence of schizophrenia” | TARG blog, UK

While law makers squabble over pill testing, people should test their drugs at home

As the festival season ramps up this summer, so has the ecstasy death toll. There have now been five deaths that might have been preventable if people knew what was in the drugs they were taking | Conversation, Australia

NZ to Implement Pill Testing, While Aussie MPs Bury Their Heads in the Sand

NZ police minister Stuart Nash said last week that he thinks independent pill testing tents are “a fantastic idea and should be installed at all our festivals”. He added that a “more compassionate and restorative approach” to illicit drugs should be taken, considering the drug war “hasn’t worked” | Sydney Criminal Lawyers blog, Australia