Daily news - 26th June 2019

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UK news

New substances, new challenges

In May 2016 the Psychoactive Substances Act placed a ‘blanket ban’ on new psychoactive substances. While the national focus shifted to this legislation, relatively little consideration was given to developing a treatment response. Interviews with people who use drugs and treatment providers in Manchester (England) reveal emerging drug trends around ‘spice’ and ‘chemsex’, and how services may need to adapt to new substances | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Hard edges Scotland (PDF)

Hard Edges Scotland was commissioned by Lankelly Chase and supported by The Robertson Trust to bring separate datasets together to reveal how some harms interconnect in the lives of people in Scotland | Lankelly Chase, UK

New report and funding initaitive seeks to address severe and multiple disadvantages in Scotland

Coinciding with the launch of Hard Edges Scotland, £80,000 is being made available to communities and organisations across Scotland to encourage new conversations about severe and multiple disadvantage. Grants of up to £3,000 are being made available for organisations and communities to hold new conversations in response to the findings | SDF, UK

'Encouraging signs' as consumption falls one year after Scotland's MUP

The first official data on alcohol sales has been released since the introduction of minimum unit pricing (MUP) in Scotland on 1st May 2018, indicating a fall in consumption to 'the lowest level seen' in Scotland since 1994 when data collection began | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Sales

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department will work with the Home Office to include proposals for identity verification for the sale of alcohol as part of the proposed Digital Identity Unit | They work for you, UK

Drug Science Announce a 20,000 Patient UK National Medical Cannabis Pilot: Project TWENTY21

Drug Science’s newly formed medical cannabis working group, which includes the United Patients Alliance, several academic researchers and several medical cannabis companies, is launching the UK’s first national pilot for medical cannabis: Project TWENTY21 | Drug Science, UK

Make Music Day 2019

On Friday 21st June our recovery choir celebrated Make Music Day UK with live performances across Bristol | BDP, UK

What is it SDF do? Find out in our Annual Review!

Scottish Drugs Forum are delighted to share with you our Annual Review for 2018/19,  which includes various examples of the work that our teams have carried out over the past year | SDF, UK

Cannabis should be legalised within five years, says former Conservative Minister 

Cannabis will be legalised in the UK in the next five years, a former Tory minister chairing an influential parliamentary group on drug reform has predicted | Telegraph, UK

Cannabis oil smuggling mum visited by police

A Scottish mum who admitted smuggling cannabis oil into the country to give to her six-year-old son has been visited by police | BBC, UK

Met Commissioner looked at whether Tory leadership candidates should be investigated over drug taking admissions 

Cressida Dick, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, personally looked at whether there was enough evidence to bring charges against any of the Conservative Party leadership contenders following their drug admissions, she has revealed | Telegraph, UK

Chief Constable defends £7m cash injection to tackle knife crime amid growing concerns over long-term funding

Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, Dave Thompson, has defended Project Guardian - the scheme that has secured almost £8m to tackle knife crime and youth violence - amid growing criticism | ITV, UK

Guns, money and drugs seized in Liverpool and St Helens raids

Merseyside Police said five men were arrested on suspicion of drug and firearms offences after warrants were executed in Liverpool and St Helens. The North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROC) said they were "part of an ongoing investigation into suspected cocaine supply across the UK" | BBC, UK



International news

Support. Don't Punish - global day of action

26th June marks the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. Historically, this date has been used by governments to showcase “progress” in drug control in highly punitive terms | IDPC, UK

Eurostar's strict new wine rules: what you can – and can't – bring back from Paris

Many who travel to France bring a few bottles home so they can savour the fading memories of their holiday even in the grey British drizzle | Telegraph, UK

San Francisco becomes first US city to ban e-cigarettes

Officials on Tuesday voted to ban stores selling the vaporisers and made it illegal for online retailers to deliver to addresses in the city | BBC, UK

Dry July organisers urged to dump partnership deal with liquor chain BWS

Public health experts criticise cancer charity’s ‘ill-conceived’ arrangement with alcohol retailer | Guardian, UK

The drug route you've never heard of: a map of Pacific drug busts

Meth and cocaine are packed into boats in Latin America and the US, then sailed to Australia and New Zealand through the Pacific | Guardian, UK

Pacific nations are 'victims' of Australian and New Zealand appetite for drugs, experts say

Australia urged to take action to stop cocaine and methamphetamine trafficking from Latin America through Pacific region | Guardian, UK

Synthetic opioid use booms worldwide amid Africa 'crisis', UN says

Death in US are still rising due to fentanyl addiction, but report highlights alarming take-up of painkiller tramadol in Africa | Guardian, UK

Special Event commemorating the United Nations International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

Notice of the launch of the World Drug Report 2019 on 26th June at 10am in Vienna | UNODC, Austria

After long delays, access to cannabis for medical reasons is now allowed under new law

Simon Harris has today signed legislation to allow for the operation of the Medical Cannabis Access Programme on a pilot basis for five years | Journal, Ireland

New EMCDDA report highlights greater diversity of cannabis products, increasing potency and the need for close monitoring of health effects

Cannabis products have become increasingly diverse in Europe and close monitoring of their potency and potential health effects is essential. These are among the conclusions of a new report published today by the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) ahead of International day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking (26 June). The report — Developments in the European cannabis market — provides an overview of emerging and established cannabis products in Europe | EMCDDA, Portugal

Classification of Psychoactive Substances: when science was left behind

In Classification of Drugs: when science was left behind, the Global Commission on Drug Policy explains how the biased historical classification of psychoactive substances has contributed to the "world drug problem". It is the first-ever comprehensive report providing a political reading of the current evaluation and classification, or "scheduling" of drugs according to their harms | GCDP, Switzerland

Illegal drug classifications are based on politics not science – report

Global Commission on Drug Policy calls for a reclassification of drugs including cocaine, heroin and cannabis | Guardian, UK

Common antidepressants interact with opioid med to lessen pain relief

Common antidepressants interact with the opioid pain medication tramadol to make it less effective for pain relief, according to a new study. These findings have important implications for the opioid epidemic, suggesting that some patients suspected of drug-seeking may in fact be under-medicated and just are seeking more effective pain relief | Science Daily, USA

Italy’s Rocky Road From Harsh Prohibition to “Cannabis Light”

According to the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction, 10 percent of Italian adults (age 15-64) reported using cannabis in 2017. Amongst young adults (age 15-34), over one in five did so | Filter Magazine, USA

Individual preferences in support for reducing drinking

Worldwide, about one-third of drinkers report that they intend to reduce their drinking in the next year. Many of them, especially younger drinkers, might prefer to curb their drinking using digital tools, rather than seeking professional help. Emma Davies and her colleagues explored whether people’s intentions to reduce their drinking, and their preferred sources of support, are related to their drinking patterns and problems. We review their study here | BASIS, USA

Criminalizing E-Cigarettes Perpetuates the Spiral of Poverty

Forty-three million Americans live in poverty, and the numbers are not diminishing. Certainly poverty is complicated, and there are economic, social and cultural issues at play. But is there more government can do—or not do—to ease the burden? | Filter Magazine, USA

Illinois governor signs bill legalizing recreational marijuana use

Approval of the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act means Illinois joins 11 states and the District of Columbia in legalizing the drug. Illinois is the first state in which a legislature approved commercial sales | The Hill, USA

The ‘Euphoria’ Teenagers Are Wild. But Most Real Teenagers Are Tame

Kids these days are the “cautious generation,” the evidence shows | NYTimes, USA

“No Blank Check”⁠—Psychedelic Activists Tread Warily After Decrim Wins

In the past two months, both Denver, Colorado and Oakland, California decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms (and in Oakland’s case, other naturally-occurring psychedelics like ayahuasca and iboga) | Filter Magazine, USA

Health Canada announces funding for community-based cannabis public education and awareness initiatives

The Government of Canada has adopted a public health approach to the legalization and strict regulation of cannabis to better protect the health and safety of Canadians. Public education and awareness efforts are fundamental to reducing the risks and harms associated with cannabis use | Government of Canada, Canada


Blogs, comment and opinion

Ageing addicts are missing out on specialist mental health care

As our population ages, so are the people who use drugs. In fact, it’s the “Trainspotting generation” who are suffering the most from the damaging effects of drugs, particularly opiates such as heroin | Mental Health Today blog, UK

‘Safe’ rooms for drug users are just the start

[Free registration may be required] Beneath the surface and beyond Brexit and the Conservative Party’s grotesque leadership contest, politics continues. By which I mean the business of politicians trying to solve difficult problems in ways that do more good than harm goes on | The Times, UK

Scotland should ignore Big Booze scaremongers 

A crackdown on sport sponsorship is key to tackling Scotland’s alcohol problem, writes Stephen Jardine | Scotsman, UK

Do general hospital staff stigmatise people with mental illness?

The negative consequences that stigma can have on people living with mental health conditions has been acknowledged for almost two decades. People suffering with mental health disorders have to deal with public stigma, such as being thought to be dangerous or incompetent, which can lead to prejudice and discrimination | Mental Elf blog, UK

RCGP position statement on e-cigarettes - video

Dr Richard Roope and Professor Linda Bauld discuss the RCGP position statement on e-cigarettes | Cancer Research UK, UK

Cannabis and heroin tell a painful story about the world's irrational approach to drugs

Culture and politics have decided what is legal and illegal, not science. There is a need for fundamental reform to the way in which drugs are evaluated and by whom | Independent voices, UK