Daily news - 27th June 2019

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UK news

Addiction deaths are soaring as support is slashed

[free registration may be required] The UK is experiencing a surge in fatalities from drug and alcohol misuse. Over the last five years overdose deaths from heroin and other opioids are up 50 per cent, though there has been no rise in heroin use. This is a public health crisis requiring a complete rethink of drug strategy to focus on reducing the harm to individuals and society | The Times, UK

Medical cannabis should not face usual regulatory checks, says former health minister

Medical cannabis products should not be subject to the usual regulatory checks before patients can use them, as cannabis is “the oldest medicine of all”, Sir Norman Lamb has said | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

E-cigarettes: How safe are they?

San Francisco has become the first US city to ban sales of e-cigarettes. Yet in the UK they are used by the NHS to help smokers quit - so what is the truth about the safety of e-cigarettes? | BBC, UK

How dangerous is vaping? - audio

As San Francisco bans e-cigarettes, we ask an expert how harmful they actually are | BBC Newsbeat, UK

Smokers who switch to e-cigarettes could save more than £780 each year as well as lowering their risk of heart and lung disease

Ditching tobacco could, as well as reducing the risk of cancer, improve the health of someone's wallet by saving it £13 each week | Mail Online, UK

We Found Evidence of Cocaine Use in the House of Commons

Our coke swabs – which turn blue when they detect the drug – picked up traces of coke in four of the nine locations we tested | VICE, UK

Prisons: Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 13 June 2019 to Question 260706 on Prisons: Drugs, which 20 prisons are included in the post-exposure testing programme | They work for you, UK

Yousef Makki: Pupil 'killed by friend' was 'good kid'

Yousef Makki, 17, was killed after he and two friends arranged to buy cannabis and intended to rob the dealer, Manchester Crown Court heard | BBC, UK

Reading police cell death caused by heroin

Leroy Junior Medford was arrested in April 2017 on suspicion of assault and taken to Loddon Valley police station in Reading, jurors heard | BBC, UK

Dutch man cleared of smuggling cocaine into Newlyn

The Dutch registered Marcia was escorted into Newlyn harbour by UK Border Force last July | BBC, UK

2018/19 Enforcement Report – operator failures lead to tough action

Gambling businesses and those who lead them need to improve the support they offer consumers who are at risk of harm and do more to guard against money laundering, a new report by the Gambling Commission has revealed today | Gambling Commission, UK


International news

Illegal drugs less harmful than alcohol and tobacco and should be reclassified, finds major report

‘The current distinction between legal and illegal substances is not unequivocally based on pharmacological research but in large part on historical and cultural precedents’ | Independent, UK

Soldier with Brazil's G20 delegation held over drug trafficking

Spanish police discover cocaine in luggage of soldier en route to Tokyo summit | Guardian, UK

Sri Lanka president signs four death warrants to end decades long moratorium

“I would like to announce today, on International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, that I am completely committed to carrying out the capital punishment for drug related offenses | Telegraph, UK

Legislation allowing limited access to medical cannabis signed

Doctors may prescribe drug to treat conditions such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy | Irish Times, Ireland

World Drug Report 2019: 35 million people worldwide suffer from drug use disorders while only 1 in 7 people receive treatment

Improved research and more precise data have revealed that the adverse health consequences of drug use are more severe and widespread than previously thought. Globally, some 35 million people are estimated to suffer from drug use disorders and who require treatment services, according to the latest World Drug Report | UNODC, Switzerland

Switzerland aims to legalise medical marijuana

The Swiss government aims to make it easier for patients to get medical marijuana, proposing on Wednesday to allow prescriptions for cannabis to treat people suffering from cancer or other serious conditions | Reuters, USA

The Harm Reductionist Imprisoned by Ukraine Separatists for Carrying Bupe

For 10 months now, a Ukrainian harm reduction activist has been illegally detained by the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), an illegitimate Russian-allied occupation “government” in eastern Ukraine, for alleged large-scale drug trafficking | Filter Magazine, USA

Dual Use of Vapes and Cigarettes—Harmful or Harm Reduction?

Mixing use of vapes and combustible cigarettes, known as “dual use,” is seen as a win by some—especially those who are working towards quitting smoking—while others view it as an absolute health threat | Filter Magazine, USA

Experts want doctors to add vaping to youth prevention pitch

Doctors should add electronic cigarettes to their efforts to prevent young people from using tobacco, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says | Medical Xpress, USA

From simple tools to high-level buy-in, how doctors can help cancer patients quit tobacco

Penn study shows Moonshot-funded program is making an impact | EurekAlert, USA

FDA warns two kratom marketers about false claims

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday took two kratom marketers to task over false claims that their products can treat or cure opioid addiction | Medical Xpress, USA

'Significant number' of Canadian children needed care after ingesting edible cannabis, pediatricians say

16 reported cases of harm involving those under 18 between September and December | CBC News, Canada


Blogs, comment and opinion

Support. Don’t Punish – Global solidarity grows to end the drug war

Today, thousands of people from over 240 cities all over the world will unite in solidarity for the 7th Support. Don’t Punish Global Day of Action to call for an end to the so-called ‘war on drugs’. Diverse and beautiful actions taking place include a pop-up mock ‘drug store’ installation in Lille, a series of flash-mobs in ten cities in Ukraine, and a public debate in Sierra Leone, artistic events in Mexico City, among many other activities | IDPC blog, UK

Catastrophic failure of the war on drugs

This vast unethical trade is co-created by politicians, including President Duque of Colombia, who back a policy of global prohibition, writes Danny Kushlick | Guardian letters, UK

I took drugs recently and colours danced on the insides of my eyelids

I’ve only had two encounters with cannabis, and both left me feeling so unwell that I’ll never repeat the experience | Guardian opinion, UK