Daily news - 15th May 2019

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UK news

Harm reduction policy in Britain

On International Harm Reduction Day (7th May) we covered the roots of harm reduction in Britain. As promised, each week throughout the rest of the month we will be adding another layer of understanding to the topic.
This week’s bulletin examines how harm reduction has been variously enshrined, marginalised, and excluded in British policy | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

NHS England cannabis access review to speak with families paying £40k for private prescriptions

As part of a review into medical cannabis prescribing on the NHS, 22 families who have had problems accessing the drug since its reclassification will speak to NHS England | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

What helped and hindered implementation of an intervention package to reduce smoking in pregnancy: process evaluation guided by normalization process theory

Smoking in pregnancy causes harm to mother and baby. Despite evidence from trials of what helps women quit, implementation in the real world has been hard to achieve. An evidence-based intervention, babyClear©, involving staff training, universal carbon monoxide monitoring, opt-out referral to smoking cessation services, enhanced follow-up protocols and a risk perception tool was introduced across North East England | BMC, UK

Habitual coffee drinkers really do wake up and smell the coffee

Regular coffee drinkers can sniff out even tiny amounts of coffee and are faster at recognizing the aroma, which could open the door to new ways of using aversion therapy for addiction | Science Daily, UK

A practical approach to making representations to a licensing authority

This is a guide to help all responsible authorities (RAs) to: identify the applications that may have a negative impact on the promotion of the licensing objectives and apply a stepped approach to making a representation | PHE, UK

HMP Kirkham: 'Easy access' to drugs and rise in cocaine use, report finds

Inmates at an open prison in Lancashire find it "easy" to smuggle drugs into the jail after work or day release, a report found | BBC, UK

First county lines drug dealing gang jailed using modern slavery laws

Three drug dealers have become the first gang to be jailed under modern slavery laws for using children to traffic crack cocaine and heroin in so-called county lines operations | Telegraph, UK

'Laughing gas' stolen from Prince Charles Hospital

Cylinders of nitrous oxide - also known as laughing gas - were stolen from a hospital | BBC, UK

Diet pills sold to teenager by UK stores, BBC report finds

Boots, Superdrug and Holland & Barrett have broken their own policies by selling diet pills to a 17-year-old without checking for ID, the BBC has found | BBC, UK


International news

The truth about Ireland's complex relationship with alcohol

Believe the stereotype, and it would be hard to imagine Dublin as one of the first cities to spearhead the new trend of alcohol-free pubs | Telegraph, UK

The Drugs Information and Monitoring System (DIMS). Factsheet on drug checking in the Netherlands

Is drug checking a valuable tool to reduce the harm of drug use? In many countries this is still an ongoing debate, one often hampered by lack of empirical evidence and practical experience. In the Netherlands, government-licensed drug checking has occured for over the past two decades and has grown from a small scale project into a nationwide scientific monitor | Trimbos, Netherlands

Penalties for drug law offences in Europe at a glance

Updated. On this page you can examine and compare the penalties, or rehabilitative responses, for the core offences of drug use, possession for personal use, and supply-related offences, across countries in Europe. It also allows you to see how those penalties vary according to the type or quantity of the drug, and the addiction or recidivism of the offender | EMCDDA, Portugal

Historically 'safer' tramadol more likely than other opioids to result in prolonged use

Surgical patients receiving the opioid tramadol have a somewhat higher risk of prolonged use than those receiving other common opioids, new research finds. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies tramadol as a Schedule IV controlled substance, meaning it's considered to have a lower risk of addiction and abuse than Schedule II opioids, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone | Science Daily, USA

Prevalence of Awareness and Use of JUUL E-cigarettes in a National Probability Sample of Adolescents in the United States (PDF)

[Open access]  In this study, we estimate the prevalence of awareness and use of the JUUL e-cigarette among adolescents in the United States | American Journal of Health Behavior, USA

How Technology Is Rapidly Advancing Overdose-Resistant Bathrooms

As the US harm reduction community grapples with the legal, cultural and political challenges to implementing the nation’s first legal safe consumption space, some innovative designers are playing their part to help mitigate historic overdose levels right now | Filter Magazine, USA

Coercion Into Addiction Treatment Is Ubiquitous: Five Ways It Happens

The range and intensity of coercion in addiction treatment isn’t well recognized. Yet coercion through Alcoholics Anonymous is long-established in America, and is now expanding to fight the opioid-involved death crisis. Both of these existential intrusions are built on the disease theory of addiction | Filter Magazine, USA

The Ethics of Taking the Drugs You Study

Should psychedelic scientists trip on the drugs they research? | Motherboard, USA

Incarceration for low-level drug crimes rapidly spreading TB in Brazil

Increasing rates of drug-related incarcerations are perpetuating tuberculosis (TB) infection among Brazil's general population, a new report, Reservoirs of Injustice, from the Yale Global Health Justice Partnership (GHJP) at the Yale School of Public Health and Yale Law School finds | Medical Xpress, USA

New online program offers innovative solutions for long-term substance use recovery

​Breaking Free Online, a new online program at the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction, is helping clients with substance use challenges stay on their recovery journeys | BCMHSUS, Canada

Impossible to escape: The need for stronger restrictions on the placement of alcohol marketing in Australia (PDF)

This report highlights the extent of community concern around the placement of alcohol marketing, and calls on Australian governments to introduce stronger restrictions to better protect children and young people from exposure to alcohol marketing | Alcohol Advertising Review Board, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Prof on UK Drug Deaths: 'Year on Year, We Just Keep Seeing that Number Going Up'

One of the world's leading economists has warned of a rise of "deaths of despair" in Britain, revealing that suicide, drug abuse and alcoholism are now claiming more middle-aged lives than heart disease. Ian Hamilton, Lecturer and Researcher at the University of York, explains what future holds for the United Kingdom amid these warnings | Sputnik News opinion, UK

Cannabis Legalization in New York: State of the State

Back in January of this year, legalization of adult-use cannabis seemed inevitable in my home state of New York. Last month, during a recent public talk at Utica College, which we celebrated the stoner-holiday of 4/20 (on 4/25), I commented on the possibility of next year’s talk occurring under a legal system | Points blog, USA

Ketamine: The illicit party psychedelic that promises to heal depression

It’s been 50 years in the making, but the anaesthetic and illicit party drug ketamine is now having a clinical comeback. New studies show that this commonly used anaesthetic can provide quick relief of core symptoms associated with severe depression, including suicidal ideation | Conversation, Canada

Cannabis legalization must include cannabis equity

Canada’s federal government is currently working to pass a bill that would provide pardons for people convicted of minor cannabis possession. With a federal election around the corner, it may be too little, too late | Conversation, Canada