Daily news - 11th October 2019

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UK news

Revealed: How much cocaine Londoners are taking every day

The amount of pure cocaine being consumed in London on average is more than Barcelona, Amsterdam and Berlin combined | Sky News, UK

Alcohol duty cuts linked to 2,000 additional deaths in England

The report, Modelling the impact of alcohol duty policies since 2012 in England and Scotland, has found that recent reductions in alcohol duty have had a dramatic negative effect on public health | IAS, UK

Protecting Children and Young People from Harm

Last year, 1584 children were unnecessarily dragged through the courts for possession of cannabis, with four out of five being found guilty, resulting in criminal records that will haunt them for their whole lives | RADIX, UK

Self-inflicted deaths rise in prisons in England and Wales

Self-inflicted prison deaths in England and Wales have increased by 23% in a year, while drug abuse continues to plague facilities despite repeated recommendations to tackle the problems, the prisons watchdog has found | Guardian, UK

Ombudsman disappointed at continued failure to implement agreed recommendations

Psychoactive substances (PS) continued to present a significant challenge to prisons. The report noted: “It is difficult to give an exact figure for the number of drug-related deaths…as the term covers such a range of circumstances | Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, UK

HMP Hewell prisoner 'set himself on fire while smoking Spice'

A prisoner died of burns injuries after accidentally setting himself on fire while smoking the so-called zombie drug Spice, a report has revealed | BBC, UK

Scots urged to join forces with Wales to demand powers to implement radical drugs strategies

A combined approach could perhaps convince the Home Office to allow both countries to do things their own way | Daily Record, UK

Impact of the introduction and withdrawal of financial incentives on the delivery of alcohol screening and brief advice in English primary health care: an interrupted time–series analysis

[Open access] To evaluate the impact of the introduction and withdrawal of financial incentives on alcohol screening and brief advice delivery in English primary care | Addiction, UK

Policies for tobacco and e-cigarette use: a survey of all higher education institutions and NHS Trusts in England

[Open access] There is an absence of evidence regarding the impact of treating tobacco smoking and vaping equivalently in workplace policies. We aimed to describe and compare smoking and vaping policies in acute non-specialist NHS Trusts (n=131) and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) (n=131) in England | Nicotine and Tobacco Research, UK

Even a few cigarettes a day worsens lung health

"Smoking just a few cigarettes each day is just as bad for your lungs as burning through two packets," reports the Mail Online | NHS: Behind the Headlines, UK

Just say N2O – nitrous oxide misuse: essential information for psychiatrists

Nitrous oxide (N2O) misuse is widespread in the UK. Although it is well-known that it can cause devastating myeloneuropathy, psychiatric presentations are poorly described. There is little understanding of who it affects, how it presents, its mechanism of action and principles of treatment | BJPsych Advances, UK

Tobacco Advisory Group (TAG) Project Grants

The June 2020 funding call is now open, for which TAG is accepting proposals themed around youth uptake of electronic cigarettes. Applicants within the UK are eligible to apply for funding of around £400k | Cancer Research UK, UK

Drug addict to make history and become first person in UK to receive publicly-funded heroin

Over several nights my producer Nathan Lee, cameramen Tony Mewse and Tony Bennison and I followed the 38 year old homeless drug addict on his night time movements around Middlesborough | ITV, UK

Glasgow homeless units issued with Naloxone anti-overdose nasal spray to help prevent drug deaths

Frontline staff in Glasgow's homeless units will be trained to use life-saving Naloxone sprays as rate of fatal overdoses soar to record high | Glasgow Live, UK

Police Scotland unveil new drug-driving detection kits

Officers will be able use DrugWipes - dubbed "drugalysers" - to check for cannabis and cocaine | BBC, UK

Inquest finds teenager who died at Leeds Festival had multiple drugs in system

An inquest into the death of a 17-year-old who died at Leeds Festival has found she had MDMA, cocaine and ketamine in her system at the time, according to toxicology results | ITV, UK

County Lines — this film about drug mules must be seen

[Free registration may be required] Henry Blake, the director of the film County Lines, believes that this quote by the American writer James Baldwin is highly relevant to the insidious growth of county lines across the UK | The Times, UK

'County Lines' Is About More Than Just Drugs

We spoke to director Henry Blake about his new film on the "going country" phenomenon | VICE, UK

Exeter county lines drugs gang member jailed

A member of a county lines gang that used teenagers as young as 13 to deliver drugs has been jailed | BBC, UK

Belfast drug busts land £1.2m cannabis haul

A 45-year-old man has been arrested after police seized 32kg of suspected herbal cannabis worth an estimated £600,000 in Belfast on Thursday | BBC, UK


International news

Do safe-injection sites work?

International evidence suggests that letting addicts take drugs under supervision saves lives | Economist, UK

Malaysia: Unfair trials, secretive hangings and petty drug convictions reveal ‘cruel injustice’ of the death penalty

Malaysia must start to fulfil its promise to abolish the death penalty in forthcoming legislation by ending its use for drug-related offences and eliminating the mandatory death sentence, Amnesty International said today, as it launches a new report to mark the World Day Against the Death Penalty | Amnesty International, UK

Sesame Street to cover opioid addiction with new muppet Karli

US children's TV show Sesame Street is set to reveal that one of its muppets' mothers had an opioid addiction | BBC, UK

CDC, states update number of cases of lung injury associated with use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products

As of October 8, 2019, 1,299 confirmed and probable lung injury cases associated with use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products were reported | CDC, USA

NYC files federal lawsuit accusing 22 online sellers of targeting young with flavored e-cigarettes

The suit accuses the 22 of illegally selling to minors, targeting young people via social media, and luring them with flavors such as "Lemon Twist," "Freddy's Pebbles" and "Whipped Salted Caramel." | CNN, USA

Vaping fallout: Small stores suffer as vapers turn away

The thousands of shops that sprang up in cities and towns across the country over the past decade to sell vaping products have seen a stunning reversal of fortune, with their sales plunging in just two months amid news reports that vaping has sickened nearly 1,300 people and killed 26 | Medical Xpress, USA

US urges shared decisions with pain patients taking opioids

U.S. health officials again warned doctors Thursday against abandoning chronic pain patients by abruptly stopping their opioid prescriptions | Medical Xpress, USA

Combat's other toll on veterans: increased risk of addiction

In what is described as the first study of its kind, a UConn professor has found that combat service substantially increased the risk of prescription painkiller abuse and illicit heroin use among active-duty American servicemen | Medical Xpress, USA

Methamphetamine prices drop to record low

The price of a gram of methamphetamine has dropped to record lows in three North Island regions, while many South Island regions are also reporting substantial declines in prices for the drug | Medical Xpress, USA

Cannabis: a remedy for the soil?

The internet has been awash in new health apps to improve sleep and wellness and an enormous amount of information on CBD oil, a product derived from cannabis, also commonly known as the source of marijuana | Ecologist, USA

UC San Diego's CMCR announces research grants to explore cannabis for medical applications

The Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, the nation's oldest research center for scientific inquiry into the safety and efficacy of cannabis, has announced $3 million in research grants to explore new applications of cannabis for a number of novel medical applications | News Medical, USA

Oregon To Vote On Legalizing Shrooms, Decriminalizing All Drugs

The Psilocybin Service Initiative of Oregon (PSI 2020) would allow residents to legally access psilocybin-assisted therapy | The Fix, USA

Pressure Mounts on NY Gov. Cuomo to Authorize Safe Consumption Sites

New York safe consumption site (SCS) advocates have been fueled by last week’s landmark decision in Philadelphia, when Judge Gerald McHugh ruled that Safehouse, a nonprofit plans to open the nation’s first sanctioned SCS, would not be violating federal law | Filter Magazine, USA

New report - Finnish alcohol policy at the crossroads

In this report we present empirical evidence and analyses in order to inform public discussions regarding the future of alcohol policy in Finland, with particular attention to the role of the now partial government monopoly on retail sales of alcohol. We present estimates of the main health, social and economic consequences of alcohol consumption in Finland, applying methods developed in recent international studies | University of Victoria, Canada

UBC study finds siblings of problem gamblers also impulsive, prone to risk-taking

Biological siblings of people with gambling disorder also display markers of increased impulsivity and risk-taking, according to a new UBC psychology study. The findings, published in Neuropsychopharmacology, suggest people with gambling disorder – a psychiatric term for serious gambling problems – may have pre-existing genetic vulnerabilities to the illness | University of British Colombia, Canada

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern supports festival drug testing, New Zealand First support not ruled out

The Prime Minister supports drug testing at music festivals and says New Zealand First's support for legislative changes hasn't been ruled out | News hub, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

From HMP to NFA: swapping prison for pavement

Andy Burford, Criminal Justice Lead at the Oxfordshire Roads to Recovery service, writes about the challenges of supporting people coming out of prison with nowhere to live | Turning Point blog, UK

Nothing has changed since I was sacked. Drugs policy still doesn’t work

The loss of an expert from the advisory council underlines the harm done by political interventions in this crucial area | Guardian opinion, UK

First results of regulating alcohol marketing on social media in Finland

Emmi Kauppila chronicles the initial findings of the world's first case study in online alcohol marketing regulation | IAS blog, UK

A new public body is necessary to effectively regulate the UK video game industry

This week the NHS has opened the country’s first specialist clinic to treat children and young adults who are addicted to playing computer games after concerns that heavy use of computers games is causing health harms for young people | BMJ blog, UK

EOTT #7 Chris Thrall - Ex Royal Marine Commando - video

An honour and a privilege to share an extremely frank and honest account of Chris' experience in the depths of addiction | EOTT, UK

How the Drug User Became a Junkie

Four years before William Burroughs’ Junkie was published, Norma Lee Browning, a reporter for the Chicago Daily Tribune, described how a middle-aged housewife had gone from a “pretty woman” to “an old time incurable junkie.” | Points blog, USA