Daily news - 2nd July 2019

Weekly subscribe button

UK news

Smoking 'damages eyes as well as lungs'

Despite the clear connection, only one in five people recognise that smoking can lead to blindness, a poll for the Association of Optometrists (AOP) finds | BBC, UK

Cannabis Legalisation Poll (PDF)

Momentum is building behind cannabis legalisation but no poll has ever asked what messages would be most likely to sway public opinion. In May 2019, Volteface and the Evening Standard commissioned the polling agency Survation to find out which arguments would incentivise the British public to support the legalisation of cannabis and which would deter them | Volte Face, UK

The Cannabis Debate: 63 per cent of Londoners think UK should follow Canada and make drug legal

Major Evening Standard poll shows fast-changing attitudes  to legalisation of the drug. David Cohen investigates | Evening Standard, UK

Sales in beer fall by a third in 10 years as young people drive popularity in alcohol free drinks, report reveals

The volume of beer sold in Britain has fallen by more than a third in 12 years, with young people driving the popularity of alcohol-free drinks, a new report has revealed | Telegraph, UK

Making Hard Choices in Local Public Health Spending With a Cost-Benefit Analysis Approach

In 2013, public health moved into Local Authorities, but initial optimism has been overtaken by serious ongoing financial constraints and an uncertain future. Hard choices have become an everyday reality across local authorities and for their public health teams. Assessing the return-on-investment of public health interventions and possessing economic evaluation skills have become more critical than ever before | Frontiers in Public Health, UK

Homeless people are 60 times more likely to visit A&E, study shows

Just over 13% of homeless men have a substance dependence, compared with 4.3% of men in the general population. For women the figures were 16.5% and 1.9% respectively. In addition, more than a fifth of homeless people have an alcohol dependence, compared with 1.4% of the general population. Almost a third had visited A&E at least once in the past year, compared with 0.5% of the general population | Guardian, UK

Stirling academics awarded NHS research grant to tackle prescription opioid overdose

Substance use experts at the University of Stirling have been awarded a £30,000 research grant from NHS Fife to help reduce the risk of overdose in prescription opioid users | University of Stirling, UK

Warning over super-strength blue ‘punisher’ ecstasy tablets after 19-year-old’s death

Police are warning of the dangers of a type of ecstasy pill known as the “punisher” after the sudden death of a 19-year-old | Independent, UK

Nurses who work with people who use substances in Scotland views sought for short online survey

SDF recently facilitated an event for frontline nurses working with people who use substances across Scotland, where the potential for a nurse’s network was discussed | SDF, UK

Police to target money laundering by feuding drug gangs

Police are to crack down on bureaux de change and currency transfer businesses in London suspected of being used to launder drugs money - as part of a bid to stem the surge in street violence | BBC, UK

HMP Brixton - commendable success in reducing drugs and violence

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons has commended HMP Brixton for concerted and successful work to reduce drug use and violence, including a “bold” decision to stop release on temporary licence because this was being used to smuggle drugs in | HM Inspectorate of Prisons, UK

Drugs raids in Kettering target county lines 'lieutenants'

Co-ordinated drug raids have targeted "big city" organisers of drug gangs, and their rural county "lieutenants" | BBC, UK

Cafe gets premises licence for boozy desserts

The owner of Cowbee said she took precautions in case desserts accidentally exceeded the legal 0.5% content limit for food deemed to be officially alcohol-free | BBC, UK



International news

Big drug bust in Senegal - audio

Senegalese customs authorities have seized nearly 800kg (1,700lb) of cocaine on a ship, according to officials | BBC, UK

Alcohol Action Ireland notes government moves to commence minimum unit pricing of alcohol products

Alcohol Action Ireland today (Monday 1 July) noted the development, as reported yesterday (Sunday, 30 June), that government now intends to press ahead with implementation of minimum unit pricing for all alcohol products sold within the state | Alcohol Action Ireland, Ireland

Brexit Britain’s vaping paradise

Tobacco laws set to be first break with EU rules | Politico, Belgium

Electronic cigarettes produce stress response in neural stem cells, study finds

A research team at the University of California, Riverside, has found that electronic cigarettes, often targeted to youth and pregnant women, produce a stress response in neural stem cells, which are critical cells in the brain | News Medical, USA

Vermont Implements the Second Highest Vape Tax in the US⁠—Level With Cigarettes

On July 1, the cost of electronic cigarettes and associated liquids skyrockets in Vermont as legislation passed earlier this year takes effect. The tax hike was made in the name of public health, especially of children | Filter Magazine, USA

Study shows how cannabis could be effective for both pain relief and insomnia

A new study has shown how cannabis could be an effective treatment option for both pain relief and insomnia, for those looking to avoid prescription and over the counter pain and sleep medications -including opioids | News Medical, USA

A Natural Source of DMT Has Been Discovered in Mammal Brains 

Humans have cultivated a complicated relationship with DMT, labeling it as both a dangerous drug and “the spirit molecule.” Now, a growing body of evidence shows that mammals’ brains may manufacture significant amounts of DMT all on their own, indicating that we may be even more intimately tied to the molecule than we thought | Inverse, USA

West Virginia Will Now Provide Free Community College Tuition If Students Can Pass a Drug Test

The program is the first in the country to introduce drug testing as an eligibility requirement | Pacific Standard, USA

Royal College endorses cannabis masterclass

A New Zealand masterclass in medicinal cannabis has been formally endorsed by The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) – marking a significant first for the country | SCOOP, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Cannabis has great medical potential. But don’t fall for the CBD scam

The UK market for cannabidiol (CBD), a compound of cannabis, will soon be worth £1bn. But consumers are being conned | Guardian, UK

Evening Standard comment: Legalisation of cannabis – our major investigation; London’s new museum

Is it time to make cannabis legal in the UK? Today, the Evening Standard launches a major investigation to find the right answer | Evening Standard comment, UK

Howard Flight: Why the time has come for drug legalisation

Confessions of drug use in their youth by politicians raises the case for controlled legalisation of drugs – at least of soft drugs, if not yet of hard drugs | Conservative Home, UK

The Trip Report 01/07

Through the work of organisations such as WEDINOS, The Loop, and SaferParty, we know a little more about the drugs in circulation. The report provided below is a summary of their findings over the last week | Cameron Scally, UK

Local substance misuse services or national everything services

Whether it’s in relation to alcohol or opioid treatment, I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how people might need support specifically in relation to certain substances (as opposed to ‘substance use disorders’ or wider issues related to health or social care).  That sounds a bit cryptic, so let me try to explain | Thinking to some purpose blog, UK

Enhance your alcohol intuition

Remoulding intuitions about alcohol can deliver an enriched experience requiring less effort | Phil Cain, UK

The personal story conundrum

As someone writing about alcohol I am often asked to tell my own story. I find it very difficult to know how to respond | Phil Cain, UK

Chris Lalonde: Governments must find optimal regulatory balance with vaping

What is not mentioned is that both federal and provincial government vaping legislation already exists | Vancouver Sun, Canada