Daily news - 23rd October 2019

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UK news

Drugs policy: First Report of Session 2019–20

Every drug death is avoidable. However, the United Kingdom, and in particular Scotland, have amongst the highest drug death rates in Europe. The evidence we have heard leads us to conclude that UK drugs policy is failing | Health and Social Care Committee, UK

Radical change needed in approach to UK drugs policy

A health focused and harm reduction approach would not only benefit those who are using drugs but reduce harm to and the costs for their wider communities say the Health and Social Care Committee in its report on drugs policy | Parliament.uk, UK

Drugs: UK should consider legalising possession, MPs say

The government should investigate decriminalising the possession of all illegal drugs in a bid to prevent the rising number of related deaths, a group of MPs has said | BBC, UK

Grant awarded to improve the health of people sleeping rough

Funding awarded to 6 projects to test models that improve access to health services for people with both mental ill health and drug and alcohol dependency needs | PHE, UK

Prevention in focus: PCCs making a difference (PDF)

Addressing the root causes of crime - helping the vulnerable, children and young people move away from the risk factors that can lead to crime or victimisation | APCCS, UK

Cannabis dependency ‘wrongly labelled as a male issue’

The review claims that questions currently included in the criteria for diagnosing cannabis dependency such as 'have you ever been intoxicated while driving a truck or operating machinery’ are an example of a bias towards identifying and treating men with the problem | University of York, UK

Police roadside testing kits introduced ahead of new drug driving regulations

Police Scotland has unveiled new drug-detection kits ahead of updated drug-driving laws coming into force on the 21st of October. The ‘DrugWipes’ roadside kit uses a mouth swab, with an indicative blue line appearing if cannabis or cocaine are present | SDF, UK

The Volteface Podcast #15 Instant Gramz: Drugs and social media with Nick Hickmott

More young people are seeing drug adverts on social media, but what impact is this having on young people? And why has it taken us so long to catch on? Liz McCulloch, Director of Policy and author of DM for Details: Selling Drugs in the Age of Social Media, is in conversation with Nick Hickmott, Young People, Early Intervention & Harm Reduction Worker, and general expert on youth drug trends | Volte Face, UK

Premiumisation pouring an extra £380m into pub coffers

As people become more health-conscious, beer volumes have dropped but customers are prepared to pay more for what they do drink – here is the analysis of the latest beer statistics | Morning Advertiser, UK

Women offenders with substance dependence: Forward programme reduces re-offending by half

Forward is committed to assessing the effectiveness of our services through research and evaluation and is working closely with the Justice Data Lab (JDL), a unique service from the Ministry of Justice that helps organisations to assess the impact of their work on reducing re-offending | Forward Trust, UK

‘Is this the kind of Scotland the SNP wants to build?’ Catholic church slams SNP’s drug decriminalisation policy

The Catholic Church in Scotland has criticised the SNP for calling for the decriminalisation of the possession and consumption of drugs | Courier, UK

Queers Without Beers | Bristol Launch

Kick start Alcohol Awareness Week on 11th November with Bristol's first ever Queers Without Beers. Queers Without Beers are alcohol-free LGBTQI+ social nights that have been entertaining queers of all persuasions across London and Manchester for the past few years. Club Soda is excited to launch the first Bristol Queers Without Beers pop-up bar, in partnership with Prism and BDP | BDP, UK

The Truth About Psychedelics - event

Wednesday 13 November 2019, 19:00 | FEST - Camden Stables Market, London NW1 8AH. In this first EVER live Drug Science podcast recording, Professor Nutt invites you to join him in an evening of psychedelic discussion | Drug Science, UK

Byline Times Presents: 'What Should We Do About Drugs?'

Tue, 12 November 2019. National Union of Journalists (NUJ), London. Join Byline Times, in partnership with the drugs policy organisation Volteface, for an evening of discussion about drugs, what's working, what's not, and what the best approach to take towards them might be. Does the current prohibition on drugs work? Should the UK follow Canada and legalise cannabis? Are our drug laws being enforced by the police? | Byline Times, UK

Richard Bacon: 'I think I am an addict'

Richard Bacon has said that there are "probably times I should have gone to rehab" because of his drinking | BBC, UK

Trafficked Vietnamese children at Rochdale cannabis farm

Three children have been discovered tending to a cannabis farm after being trafficked into the UK from Vietnam, police have said | BBC, UK

Drugs worth £65K seized in operation targeting UDA

Two people have been arrested and cannabis and cocaine worth £65,000 have been seized in an operation targeting the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) | BBC, UK


International news

Position of the European Society for Prevention Research on ineffective and potentially harmful approaches in substance use prevention

Prevention methods using shock tactics are proven to be ineffective. Nevertheless, strategies based on predominantly providing information about the dangers of substance use are widespread in Europe | EUSPR, UK

Why Mexico is losing its war against a parallel state of drug cartels

Even for Mexico, which has become synonymous with cartel violence and drug trafficking around the world, last week was unprecedented | Telegraph, UK


A documentary on the inspiring efforts of communities working on the streets of Russia to try and halt the HIV epidemic | Drug Reporter, Hungary

FDA grants first-ever modified risk orders to eight smokeless tobacco products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that, for the first time, it has authorized the marketing of products through the modified risk tobacco product (MRTP) pathway | FDA UK

The role of flavors in vaping initiation, satisfaction, and addiction

For many e-cigarette users, flavors are essential to the experience of vaping. Most users prefer flavored e-liquids as opposed to non-flavored, and there are thousands of unique flavors to try, ranging from sweet flavors like fruit and candy to savory flavors like mint, spice, and tobacco | BASIS, USA

On a Mission to Show Up for Drug Users in West Virginia

In the driveway next to an old brick church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the type of building that punctuates neighborhoods throughout the Bible Belt, a few of us load a van full of supplies⁠—3,000 doses of naloxone, 10,000 syringes of various gauges, condoms, lube, and all kinds of other goodies | Filter Magazine, USA

The Militant Harm Reductionist Advancing Dan Bigg’s Legacy

Brandie Wilson has her work cut out for her: On October 3, the legendary harm reduction organization Chicago Recovery Alliance (CRA) announced that she would be joining them as their executive director | Filter Magazine, USA

A radical change in drug policy: Decriminalising drug use and possession

Senior police officers in NSW are making the case for decriminalising drug use and possession. But they're not alone — across Australia and internationally there's a growing realisation that the traditional approach to drug policy isn't working | abc.net.au, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Amphetamine-like stimulant use: what do we know about who uses them and how drug using careers develop?

In the UK, around 1 million adults use amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) each year (Home Office, 2019; Scottish Government, 2019), and the UN reports that globally, these are the second most popular group of drugs after cannabis (UNODC, 2019). This group of drugs includes amphetamine, methamphetamine, MDMA (ecstasy) and mephedrone, but also many less well characterised novel psychoactive substances (NPS) and cognitive enhancers | Mental Elf blog, UK

Life in the 'hairy underground': the lost history of Soviet hippies

It was a subculture shaped by communism, inspired by the west – and watched by the KGB. Now, a new documentary charts the movement’s charismatic leaders, conflicts and future | Guardian, UK

The next frontier of drug education? A Q&A on the antidote to D.A.R.E

We tried telling kids in our most serious voice that drugs are bad. It didn’t work. Now Drug Policy Alliance, whose mission is to end the War on Drugs, has “Safety First,” a brand-new curriculum for high school kids | NJ Opinion, USA

Points Bookshelf: “US of AA” by Joe Miller

Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the most successful social movements in history. It has exercised more influence over treatment of substance use disorder than probably any other non-state organization in history. AA programming is the foundation of upscale private rehabs and prison programs alike. Today almost two million people are believed to be AA members, with many more in the myriad of other 12-step fellowships created in its image. But for the great majority of people who go to AA, it doesn’t work | Points blog, USA

NT on track keeping Territorians safe and well

As the Northern Territory (NT) marks the one-year anniversary of the floor price on alcohol, it is also important to acknowledge – and never forget – that the community’s action to reduce alcohol-fuelled harm is saving individual lives and improving people’s health and wellbeing | Drink tank, Australia

How other countries have tackled cannabis law reform

While New Zealanders wait for the cannabis referendum in 2020, the government is working hard to draft a policy that will outline how legalisation would be carried out here | NewsHub, New Zealand