Daily news - 20th March 2019

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UK news

Drug Seizures and Offender Characteristics, 2017-18

This bulletin presents Official Statistics on drug seizures made by the police in Scotland and the characteristics of those found in possession of drugs. These statistics relate to drugs controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, which divides drugs into three classes, namely A, B and C | Scottish Government, UK

Heroin seizures in Scotland 'more than double'

The amount of heroin seized by police in Scotland in the last financial year was more than double that recovered the previous year, new figures have shown | BBC, UK

Charities want consumption room for drug users in Glasgow

The UK Government has been urged to devolve drugs legislation to Scotland so that a consumption room can be created in Glasgow | Evening Telegraph, UK

Drug deaths inquiry to be considered

Green MSP calls on First Minister to “end the tragedy” of rising drug deaths in Scotland | Healthandcare.Scot, UK

Consultation on: Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 - Section 142 Draft Revised Guidance for Licensing Boards

The first guidance for Licensing Boards has not been substantially amended since it was issued in April 2007. The current guidance has been reviewed and a draft of revised guidance has been prepared | Scottish Government, UK

Homelessness kills: Study finds third of homeless people die from treatable conditions

Nearly a third of homeless people die from treatable conditions, meaning hundreds of deaths could potentially have been prevented, a major new study shows | Bureau of Investigative Journalism, UK

UK modern slavery cases involving children doubles

Rise attributed to criminal gangs exploiting children in ‘county lines’ drug dealing | Guardian, UK

Polydrug use and polydrug markets amongst image and performance enhancing drug users: Implications for harm reduction interventions and drug policy

[Open access] Over the past two decades, the use of image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs) has increased significantly. Once largely confined to professional athletes, IPED use has transcended the elite sporting arena and is now predominantly found among non-elite, recreational gym users | IJDP, UK

Medicinal cannabis: 'patients still in limbo'

Most patients seeking medicinal cannabis on the NHS will not be able to get it soon, despite recent changes in regulation that allow doctors to give it, a committee has heard | BBC, UK

Aberdare mum's drug testing call for clubs after son's death

A mother who lost her son to drugs is calling for testing facilities to be introduced in clubs and festivals in Wales, so that people are more informed about what they are taking | BBC, UK

A lethal drugs loophole: Debbie, 41, took painkillers for a bad back. But when her doctor tried to wean her off, she turned to online pharmacies who sold her 3,700 codeine pills in the months before she died. How CAN that be legal?

‘Debbie had started taking over-the-counter codeine for back pain about ten years ago,’ says Mike, 54, a Post Office worker from Ipswich | Mail Online, UK

Mo Farah unhappy with vaping firm after bald ‘lookalike’ is used on bus advert

The four-time Olympic champion is unhappy with banners that have appeared on London buses advertising Diamond Mist menthol e-Liquid | Metro, UK

Birmingham school objects to off-licence over 'drunk' parents

A headteacher objected to a shop being able to sell alcohol over fears parents will stand outside and drink | BBC, UK

Mulberry Academy schoolgirls 'sold vodka' before classes

A shop has lost its licence after pupils were said to have bought vodka and drunk it before going to school | BBC, UK

'I carry a saw and wear a stab-proof vest' - video

On the day reporter Noel Phillips met "Jordan" (not his real name) in Coventry he was hiding the saw under his coat. Other days he carries a knife or machete | BBC, UK

"Foolish" nurse blew up kitchen while trying to make cannabis oil to relieve chronic spinal pain

A "foolish" and frail nurse blew up his own kitchen while trying to make cannabis oil to relieve his chronic spinal pain | ITV, UK

Vulnerable Bristol man died after £10,000 benefit payment drugs binge

Jamie Rosengren from Bristol, who had a history of mental health and drug problems, died weeks after getting a £10,000 backdated disability payment | BBC, UK

Drug dealer fled Stockport hospital attached to drip

A drug dealer who escaped police by fleeing a hospital in his underwear with an intravenous drip still attached has been jailed | BBC, UK


International news

Potent cannabis increases risk of serious mental illness, says study

Smoking potent 'skunk-like' cannabis increases your risk of serious mental illness, say researchers. They estimate around one in 10 new cases of psychosis may be associated with strong cannabis, based on their study of European cities and towns | BBC, UK

The contribution of cannabis use to variation in the incidence of psychotic disorder across Europe (EU-GEI): a multicentre case-control study

[Open access] Cannabis use is associated with increased risk of later psychotic disorder but whether it affects incidence of the disorder remains unclear. We aimed to identify patterns of cannabis use with the strongest effect on odds of psychotic disorder across Europe and explore whether differences in such patterns contribute to variations in the incidence rates of psychotic disorder | Lancet, UK

National Portrait Gallery drops £1m grant from Sackler family

Artist Nan Goldin welcomes move, which comes after firm’s alleged role in US opioid crisis | Guardian, UK

Quantifying harms to others due to alcohol consumption in Germany: a register-based study

The consumption of alcohol increases the risk of drinkers harming others. The extent of alcohol’s morbidity and mortality harms to others in Germany in 2014 was estimated for (1) fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) among newborns, (2) road traffic fatalities, and (3) interpersonal violence-related deaths | BMC Medicine, UK

San Francisco officials look to ban sale of e-cigarettes

San Francisco officials on Tuesday proposed legislation that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes from companies such as Juul until a review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as part of the city’s efforts to tackle underage vaping | Reuters, UK

Police targeting drug ring discover homemade ‘ghost guns’ that cannot be tracked for sale

State attorney general warns homemade guns can be accessed by criminals and terrorists | Independent, UK

Drugnet Ireland (PDF)

In recognition of the 20-year anniversary of the Methadone Treatment Protocol in 2018, the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) has brought together a series of reflections of their Substance Misuse Programme.1 This comprises articles and extracts from Forum, the journal of ICGP, summaries of ICGP publications, pictures, and personal reflections from doctors and patients | Health Research Board, Ireland

Alcohol treatment in Ireland 2011 – 2017 (PDF)

In this bulletin, trends in treated problem alcohol use are described for the seven-year period from 2011 to 2017. The data are taken from the National Drug Treatment Reporting System (NDTRS), the national surveillance system that records and reports on cases of drug and alcohol treatment in Ireland | HRB, Ireland

International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy (PDF)

The International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy are a reference tool for policy-makers, diplomats, lawyers and civil society organisations working to ensure human rights compliance in drug policy. They aim to fill the gap in foundational standard-setting processes through which contemporary human rights norms have been applied to various aspects of drug policy | WHO et al | Switzerland

Drug Use in Nigeria 2018

This is the first comprehensive nationwide national drug use survey to be conducted in Nigeria | UNODC, Austria

WHO calls for ban on tobacco promotion at sporting events

Various tobacco companies' attempt to partnership with motor-racing teams has not gone down well with the World Health Organisation (WHO) which has asked the countries to enforce ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship at sporting events, including when hosting or receiving broadcasts of Formula 1 and MotoGP events | The Pioneer, USA

As FDA Cracks Down, CVS Expands Anti-Tobacco Push On College Campuses

CVS Health is escalating its effort to curtail smoking and use of tobacco products, announcing $1.4 million in “new giving” to 82 colleges and universities to make their campuses “smoke- and tobacco free.” | Forbes, USA

Breaking the stress and drug abuse connection

When people undergo stress, some turn to alcohol or other drugs to help them cope. Most of us, certainly, have had the experience of cracking open a beer to relax at the end of a tough day | Medical Xpress, USA

Potentially deadly and memory-killing effect of opioid abuse explored

Doctors treating drug-overdose patients should be on the lookout for abnormal brain swelling, a byproduct of a mysterious syndrome that can be fatal and may cause profound amnesia in survivors, a new study suggests | Medical Xpress, USA

Mindfulness could be a key to recovering from substance abuse, experts say

Mindfulness might offer more than relief from daily stress. Research now suggests it can boost recovery from addiction and trauma | Medical Xpress, USA

Equity and Expungement: Why Cannabis Activists Crashed SXSW

On March 15, cannabis activists protested outside the South by Southwest (SXSW) gathering at the Hilton Austin Downtown while former US House Speaker John Boehner presented on current cannabis business trends and the path to national legalization | Filter Magazine, USA

Inside Vancouver’s Drug User Union

The Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) is a member-driven organization that organizes to improve the lives of people who use drugs as well as others in the community. Over 20 years old, VANDU recently was the subject of a short film that won the Vancouver International Film Festival’s Community Impact Video Competition in September 2018 | Filter Magazine, USA

B.C. sets another depressing record with more than 1,500 overdose deaths recorded in 2018

It was the sixth year in a row that the province set a record for overdose deaths, according to a March 19 B.C. Coroners Service report | The Georgia Straight, Canada

New cannabis-amnesty bill could pardon 10,000 people, Ottawa says

Ottawa estimates roughly 10,000 Canadians will apply to get free pardons for their cannabis-possession convictions if the government passes a bill that gives redress to those left with criminal records from the decades of prohibition of the drug | Globe and Mail, Canada


Blogs, comment and opinion

Harnessing the power of meditation to quit smoking

Dr Lisa Thomas is a GP in South Wales who believes in the power of meditation to help smokers quit the habit. Having trained with the British School of Meditation she now prescribes meditation for her patients | ASH Wales blog, UK

The campaign for a 'drug-free world' is costing lives

Global policy on drug control is unrealistic, and has taken a harsh toll on millions of the world’s poorest people | Guardian opinion, UK

Breaking The Cycle: Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) In The Criminal Justice System

For persons with an opioid use disorder who are in the criminal justice system, the process of transitioning from jail or prison back to the community can be overwhelming | SAMHSA blog, USA