Daily news - 2nd May 2019

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UK news

MDMA: Why it's 'impossible' to know how the drug affects you

More than 650 seized ecstasy tablets were tested in a study by Queen Mary University and experts at St George's University in London. It found that levels of MDMA, the active drug in ecstasy, varied by more than 250% in the same batch | BBC, UK

Minimum Unit Pricing for Alcohol: How will we know if it works?

Today marks the first anniversary of the introduction of minimum unit pricing for alcohol. The policy had a stormy journey through Parliament and questions are now being asked about what it is achieving | SPICe, UK

Drinkers pass their verdict on minimum pricing one year on

Video.The Nine's social affairs correspondent Chris Clements has been speaking to people about their experiences of higher prices for alcohol | BBC, UK

Still seldom heard and hard to reach. Still drinking? NEET young people and alcohol consumption in a Northern town

In 2008 the researchers undertook a study exploring the drinking careers of young people who are not in education, employment and training (NEET) in a small post-industrial town in England... This report presents research which repeated the study with the same cohort of young people described as NEET, in the same geographical location, to see if anything has changed over the ensuing 10 years, and to further investigate this under researched group | Alcohol Change UK, UK

NHS smoking cessation services: October to December 2018

3,391 Welsh resident smokers were treated by smoking cessation services | Welsh Government, UK

Why I campaign for children like my son Alfie Dingley to be able to get medical cannabis

The high profile case of Alfie Dingley’s intractable epilepsy was key to last year’s law change. His mother, Hannah Deacon, explains why she now campaigns for the many families still fighting for access | BMJ, UK

Why medical cannabis is still out of patients’ reach—an essay by David Nutt

Cannabis has been used as a medicine for millennia, writes David Nutt, who charts its relatively recent prohibition, the effect on patients such as Billy Caldwell, and the failure of legal reform to make much difference | BMJ, UK

Scientists find cocaine in shrimps in Suffolk rivers

Scientists found cocaine in freshwater shrimps when testing rivers for chemicals, a study said | BBC, UK

May 2019 – Current Issue

This is a quick summary of the main discovery for each research paper we have published in the May edition of Addiction | Addiction, UK


International news

329 NGOs call on world leaders to address the global health and human rights crisis among people who use drugs on the occasion of the 26th International Harm Reduction Conference

As civil society and global experts gather in Porto for the 26thInternational Harm Reduction Conference, 329 NGOs are calling on the international community to address the ongoing global health and human rights crisis among people who use drugs | IDPC, UK

Fentanyl use could end the opium era in Mexico: 'the only crop that paid’

The market price for opium has plummeted as addicts in the US have swapped heroin for fentanyl, and could force Mexico’s impoverished farmers to abandon the narcotics trade | Guardian, UK

Police drug detection dogs encourage festivalgoers to preload, study finds

RMIT research finds dog squad is triggering dangerous behaviour and strip searches are traumatising patrons | Guardian, UK

Family's joy after Saudis drop drug charges against Nigerian Zainab Aliyu

A Nigerian student whose arrest for drug trafficking in Saudi Arabia sparked protests has been freed and the charges against her dropped | BBC, UK

The drug economy and youth interventions: an exploratory research project on working with young people involved in the illegal drugs trade (PDF)

This study stems from a report produced by Citywide in 2016 on the issue of drug-related intimidation. The report identified the need to look closer at the issue of early intervention with young people who become involved in drug distribution | Citywide, Ireland

Drug dealers make communities 'insecure, fearful and subordinate', study finds

People in positions of power need to go out to communities battling drugs, crime and neglect and put resources into them and give people living there “a chance”, a conference on young people and gangs has heard | Irish Examiner, Ireland

New York Bans Alcohol Ads on Most City Property

Citing the health risk to young people and vulnerable populations, the city announced the ban that could lead to a loss of $3 million in yearly advertising fees | NYTimes, USA

Poor, crowded cities lack access to opioid reversal drug, study finds

People living in the most populous, low-income areas in New Jersey with the highest risk for opioid overdoses have less access to the potentially life-saving opioid reversal drug naloxone, Rutgers researchers find | Medical Xpress, 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, according to a phase 3 study | Science Daily, USA

Study of teens with eating disorders compares substance users and non-users

This period is especially risky for teens who are born with certain genetic vulnerabilities. When combined with poor coping mechanisms and low self-esteem, they can lead to the development of serious eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Given these risk factors, teens with eating disorders may also be more likely to use substances like alcohol, tobacco or other drugs, such as cannabis and methamphetamines | Medical Xpress, USA

How the World’s Oldest Drug Checking Service Makes High-Risk Pills “Unsellable”

Don’t sit on your day job,” Daan van der Gouwe advised people who operate drug checking services. By which he meant, getting information out there greatly amplifies the public health benefit of what you’re doing | Filter Magazine, USA

New Study: Syringe Service Providers Could Have Prevented the Scott County HIV Outbreak

In the wake of the unprecedented outbreak of HIV among people who inject drugs in Scott County, Indiana 4 years ago, public health officials, politicians and researchers have spent a great deal of time seeking out the causes of the outbreak and identifying ways in which it could have been prevented | Filter Magazine, USA

Sri Lanka President Uses Easter Attacks to Fuel Duterte-Inspired Drug War

For Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena, the War on Drugs and the War on Terror go hand-in-hand | Filter Magazine, USA

The Recovery Bulletin

Latest recovery news including Alcohol Awareness Month, Suboxone, opioid treatment race inequities and brain games for rehabilitation | Recovery Institute, USA

Data show the first supervised injection site in the U.S., although illegal, prevented overdose deaths

American advocates calling for supervised injection sites as a life-saving measure to prevent overdose deaths have been forced to rely on data from Canada and elsewhere to show that the sites are a valid public health intervention – until now | Globe and Mail, Canada

Canada’s black market for weed is thriving—even after legalization

The consumption and sale of cannabis was legalized in Canada, the first rich country to do so, in October. But a little more than six months after the historic step, the black market isn’t just alive—it’s also well, and towering over the legal stuff | Quartz, Canada

Bulletin No. 27: Mandatory alcohol and drug treatment: What is it and does it work?

Mandatory (or compulsory) treatment is a tool often reached for by governments during moments of alcohol and/or illicit drug crises. It has come to the fore as a potential policy panacea in recent times in response to ongoing concern about the rise of crystal methamphetamine (“ice”) use, regional concerns over alcohol abuse, and the desire to address alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems in young people | NDARC, Australia

Young people shift the ‘soft stigma’ of alcohol abstinence in Finland and Australia

A cross-cultural analysis of young non-drinkers in Finland and Australia has found both groups employed similar methods to manage the ‘soft stigma’ of abstinence | Griffith University, Australia

Can addiction services cope with drug law change?

The Government has made mental health and addiction a priority for its first Wellbeing Budget, due later this month. Laura Walters reports on experts' reservations about whether it will go far enough | Newsroom, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

MDMA use is more risky than we thought

We have known for some years that MDMa (Ecstasy) has regained its popularity and that the much higher strength of modern tablets creates health risks. MDMA use tends to go up in the summer with many people attending music festivals seeing Ecstasy use as an integral part of the experience. So new research from ASI and Queen Mary University of London based on detailed testing of 650 MDMA tablets seized by the police is particularly timely.| Russell Webster, UK

DHI statement on school exclusions

As a charity working with disadvantaged and vulnerable young people, we are shocked to discover that school exclusions for drug/alcohol incidents in the West of England have risen by 65% in just five years | DHI, UK

As a QC, I believe the time has come to legalise drugs

There is one simple thing that lies behind almost every court case | Spectator, UK



And finally...

Chinese man fails breathalyser on eating durian fruit

He failed his breathalyser test, but was filmed by police protesting: "I've just eaten durian fruit!" A follow-up blood test proved that there was no alcohol in his system, putting the man in the clear | BBC, UK