Daily news - 1st May 2019

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UK news

Has new alcohol law changed drinking habits?

Ministers are hopeful that new statistics will show Scotland's drinking habits have changed after a new law pushed up the price of cheap, high-strength alcohol | BBC, UK

Alison Douglas busts myths on first year MUP data - podcast

This episode focuses on data released ahead of the first anniversary of the Scottish Government's flagship health policy of minimum unit pricing. You might be mistaken in thinking the issue is a simple one – has minimum unit pricing led to a rise or fall in consumption? | IAS, UK

Volteface Publish New Report ‘Making the Grade’ in Partnership with Mentor

The report considers how the UK’s education system responds to drugs by examining the approaches taken to preventing, identifying and responding to illegal drug use and selling in schools. It looks at the policy frameworks that these responsibilities operate within and considers how efficacious they are in safeguarding children and young people from drug-related harm | Volte Face and Mentor, UK

NHS England strikes world leading deal to help eliminate hepatitis C

The NHS will find and cure tens of thousands more people with hepatitis C as part of a ground-breaking deal that could help England become the first country in the world to eliminate the deadly virus | NHS England, UK

Alcohol-free beer being rolled out on TAP across Britain to quench growing thirst of ‘dry drinkers’

Sales of booze-free beers are surging as health-conscious drinkers guzzle alcohol-free options | Sun, UK

Brits pay some of the highest tax in Europe for cigarettes, alcohol and junk food

Smokers are hit by the most expensive duty on tobacco across the Continent, while drinkers have to pay the second-highest rates on wine and beer | Sun, UK

The man who became Britain's biggest crystal meth dealer

Richard Lubbock was a middle-class coin dealer when, in 2003, he separated from his wife and swapped his quiet life for clubbing and drugs. He ended up being imprisoned for possessing crystal meth worth more than £1.5m | BBC, UK



International news

Tobacco products and e-cigarette cross-border sales registration

How businesses that supply tobacco products and e-cigarettes via cross-border distance sales can register with the UK government | PHE, UK

Ashes to ashes: How British American Tobacco avoids taxes in low and middle income countries

Tobacco companies have made a lot of noise about being important tax contributors in developing countries, but research conducted by the Tax Justice Network tells a very different story: for every dollar BAT paid in tax in the countries it operates in, the giant multinational shifted more than half a dollar that would have been taxed locally to a UK subsidiary | Tax Justice Network, UK

Why 'fix rooms' are answer to Scotland's drug problems

STV News visited Denmark to understand the benefits of drug consumption facilities | STV, UK

The Changing Face of the Death Penalty for Drug Offences: An Interview with Aurélie Plaçais

Drug offences are punishable by death in at least 35 countries and territories worldwide, and that number may grow | Talking Drugs, UK

Rage Against the Dying of the Light: In Search of Justice in the Philippines

Principles of justice and human rights in the Philippines have been deeply eroded by President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called drug war, but a group of human rights defenders are intent on changing that | Talking Drugs, UK

Indian business heir Ness Wadia arrested over cannabis possession at Japanese airport

Wadia found with 25g cannabis resin but 'says it was for personal use' | Independent, UK

Disney parks to ban smoking and big buggies

If you are lucky enough to be planning a trip to Walt Disney World with your family this summer then you might be pleased to know it will be a smoke-free zone | BBC, UK

Gardaí say drink driving cases 'struck out' due to lack of clarity over use of handcuffs

Gardaí are calling on the Commissioner to provide clear protocols on the detention of drink drivers | Journal, Ireland

Young people see drug dealing as ‘work’ to buy consumer goods

Intimidation and violence drives local drug markets and enables drug bosses to keep communities “insecure, fearful, and subordinate”, research shows | Irish Examiner, Ireland

“Liquid Handcuffs”—A Documentary to Free Methadone

There’s nothing greater than living,” says Ellis (above), who takes methadone. “We all want to live.” | Filter magazine, USA

Why Worldwide Drug Policy Progress Is Driven From the Ground Up

In many places across the world, progress toward harm reduction, decriminalization and legalization is happening. But it’s typically driven from the ground up | Filter Magazine, USA

Cannabis-based medicine may reduce seizures for children with difficult-to-treat epilepsy

Taking a pharmaceutical formulation of cannabidiol, a cannabis-based medicine, cut seizures nearly in half for children with a rare and severe type of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome... | Medical Xpress, USA

US sales OK'd for cigarette alternative that heats tobacco

U.S. health officials on Tuesday said Philip Morris can sell a cigarette alternative that heats tobacco without burning it, opening the door for the company's effort to shift smokers toward newer products | News Medical, USA

Diabetes drug could help smokers kick the habit

Phillip Robinson has gone from 10 cigarettes a day to one or two every other day after enrolling in a smoking cessation clinical trial launched by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) | Medical Xpress, USA

What predicts college students' drinking habits? How much they think others are drinking

Students' perception of how much their peers are drinking is one of the most important predictors of whether their alcohol use will increase in college—even more so than the actual drinking habits of their randomly assigned roommate, according to a new study by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University | Medical Xpress, USA

The new 'runner's high'? MJ users often mix weed, workouts

Eight out of 10 marijuana users in states where cannabis is legal say they partake in the drug shortly before or after exercise, and most report that it motivates them to work out, helps them enjoy exercise more and improves their recovery, according to surprising new University of Colorado Boulder research | Medical Xpress, USA

Alcohol ads in sport fuel drinking culture

Repeated exposure to alcohol advertising in sport - either at venues or during media coverage of matches - can have long-term effects on drinking attitudes, according to a new international study | EurekAlert, Australia

The end of prosecutions for drug use and possession?

The Government says its bill to make drug use a health issue is not default decriminalisation, even though a select committee was told today that prosecutions for drug use or possession will seldom if ever be brought under the bill | NZHerald, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Smokers are hit by the most expensive duty on tobacco across the Continent, while drinkers have to pay the second-highest rates on wine and beer

On November 1, 2018, the UK changed the law on medicinal cannabis. Medicinal cannabis products were moved from schedule 1, meaning they have no medicinal value, to schedule 2, which allowed doctors to prescribe them under certain circumstances | Conversation, UK

PHE’s partnerships with gambling and alcohol industry-funded charities: time to put the cards on the table

Social determinants of health (such as income, social status, educational level, and physical or social environments) are firmly in the mainstream of health policy, exemplified by their inclusion in the government’s “Prevention is better than cure” policy paper | BMJ opinion, UK

This should change everything: using the toxic profile of heat-not-burn products as a performance standard to phase out combustible cigarettes

Cigarettes are inherently unsafe and no amount of tinkering and product modification over decades has made them safe or even less hazardous. Indeed, evidence suggests they have become more hazardous. But as there are now new substitute nicotine products available, it has been suggested that the viability of phasing out cigarettes should be re-assessed. This paper proposes one way this could be done | BMJ editorial, UK

Why we’re using our webchat service as the starting point for our new content

Our webchat service is often the first point of contact for people looking for help — providing the insights we need to start creating reassuring, easy to use online advice | Addaction blog, UK

Britain is one of the worst nanny states in Europe

Regular readers won’t be surprised to hear that Britain is one of the worst nanny states in Europe and the new edition of the Epicenter Nanny State Index proves it. The league table of the best and worst places in the European Union to eat, drink, smoke and vape, which I edit, has been charting the slide towards coercive paternalism since 2016 | Spectator, UK

Why Hong Kong is wrong to ban vaping and heated tobacco

Hong Kong health authorities are planning to ban alternative smoking products, with the threat of harsh penalties (up to six months in jail) for those who violate the proposed law | Adam Smith Institute blog, UK

Canberra’s Second Pill Testing Trial Hailed a Resounding Success

Despite initial hurdles, it can now be said that two government-sanctioned pill testing trials have taken place in the ACT. And by all accounts, the second, held last Sunday, was a resounding success. Not only did it prove that the first was no one off, but it showed that services are set to improve | Sydney Criminal Lawyers blog, Australia