Daily news - 9th September 2019

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UK news

Policy paper - Drugs policy and medicinal cannabis report: government response

The government's response to the Health and Social Care Committee's report | DHSC, UK

British vapers are safe, claim health experts after deaths in US

Outbreak of respiratory disease in the US, where five people have died, is blamed on lax controls and illicit fluid | Guardian, UK

DM for Details: Selling Drugs in the Age of Social Media

In this report, Volteface aims to bridge the gap in understanding of how social media is being used as a marketplace for illicit drugs and the impact this is having on young people – social media’s primary user group | Volte Face, UK

Call for new law as quarter of youths have seen drugs including cocaine and heroin advertised on social media

The Government has been urged to force Instagram and Snapchat to report drug dealers on its platform to the police, after a quarter of young people said they had seen cannabis, cocaine or other drugs advertised while browsing social networking apps | Telegraph, UK

Pour Decisions: The case for reforming alcohol duty

This report explores the case for reforming alcohol duty in the United Kingdom, and the principles which should underpin a new, improved alcohol duty regime. This includes consideration of alcohol duty reforms that could be implemented following Brexit | SMF, UK

Advertising watchdog accused of giving 'green light' for alcohol brand to 'blast' children with social media promotions

The advertising watchdog has been accused of giving the "green light" to alcohol brands to "blast" children with social media promotions following a groundbreaking ruling on an Instagram 'influencer' | Telegraph, UK

Causes of hospital admission and mortality among people who use heroin: a cohort study comparing relative and absolute risks

[Open access] Mortality in high-risk groups such as people who use illicit drugs is often expressed in relative terms such as standardised ratios. These measures are highest for diseases that are rare in the general population, such as hepatitis C, and may understate the importance of common long-term conditions | Drug and Alcohol Dependence, UK

These are the 10 strongest pills tested by The Loop at festivals this summer

The Loop have issued an autumn update to their list of the strongest pills tested at festivals this summer, saying: “with university, clubbing & party seasons just around the corner, please take care of yourselves & each other.” | The Festivals, UK

Dozens more kidneys could be donated after doctors successfully cure transplant organ with hepatitis C

Dozens more kidneys could be donated after doctors successfully transplanted an organ with hepatitis C | Telegraph, UK


To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps (a) Public Health England and (b) his Department are taking to ensure that smokers are aware that heated tobacco products are less harmful than cigarettes | They work for you, UK

'Spice Town': Fines in Wrexham drug crackdown unpaid

Fewer than one in 20 fines handed out in a drive to tackle drinking and drug-taking in a town dubbed "Spice Town" were actually paid | BBC, UK

County Lines: Drug gang that 'preyed on children' jailed for London-Exeter dealing

The group was selling up to £10,000 of drugs per week to local users in Exeter, Devon, and moving the money to London where they were from | BBC, UK

Student with stoma accused by Wetherspoons staff of taking drugs

A student who was accused of taking drugs while using a disabled toilet at a Wetherspoons pub is calling for better awareness of invisible disabilities | BBC, UK


International news

Oil found in cannabis vaping products linked to mystery lung illnesses in US

The chemical derives from vitamin E | Independent, UK

Vaping debate rages in Australia as critics accuse government of smokescreen

The e-cigarettes debate ranges from abstinence to pragmatism: ban it or deal with a device that’s just not going away | Guardian, UK

Sydney lockout laws to be scrapped except in Kings Cross

Controversial lockout could be lifted in most of the CBD, with Gladys Berejiklian hoping to boost the night-time economy | Guardian, UK

World's largest research centre to look into surprising health benefits of psychedelic drugs 

The world's largest pyschedelics research centre has been launched to examine whether the drugs can treat conditions such as depression and opioid addiction, after tech entrepreneurs helped fuel a renaissance of interest in the field | Telegraph, UK

Steroid use among young prompts calls for new public awareness campaign

The Government has been urged to launch a new public awareness campaign about the dangers of steroid use amid new evidence of a surge in cases involving young teens and adults | Irish Examiner, Ireland

A Purdue bankruptcy would make opioids cases even messier

State and local governments have sought billions of dollars from Purdue Pharma as a way to hold the company and the family that owns it accountable for the nation's opioid epidemic, a potential payout that is now clouded in uncertainty after state attorneys general said settlement talks had broken down | Medical Xpress, USA

Varenicline and Nicotine Replacement Use Associated With US Food and Drug Administration Drug Safety Communications

This cross-sectional study observed a reduction in varenicline prescribing following the release of US Food and Drug Administration drug safety communications on the medication. Interrupted time series analysis showed a 68.7% decrease in Veterans Health Administration outpatient prescriptions and a 38.0% decrease in Medicaid prescriptions | JAMA, USA

“A Potential Public Health Disaster”—Experts Slam Michigan Ban on Flavored Vapes

On September 4, Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan announced an executive order banning the sale of flavored vape products in stores and online. While US cities like San Francisco and Boulder, Colorado have previously taken this step, Michigan is the first state to do so | Filter Magazine, USA

Fate of Philly Safe Consumption Site Now Hinges on Judge’s Ruling 

Nearly two years after Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said his office would not stand in the way of a safe consumption site (SCS) to help cut the city’s record overdose levels, the fate of Safehouse, which would be America’s first officially sanctioned SCS, is now in the hands of a federal judge | Filter Magazine, USA

'We don't have a choice': Experts call for the decriminalization and safe supply of drugs

Health care and addiction specialists say it is the only way to start saving lives | CBC News, Canada

Vancouver’s new overdose response team aims to deliver services to hard-to-reach victims

The only hint of disarray visible from outside is in the Venetian blinds, drawn shut to expose every bent and broken slat through the living-room window. But inside the two-storey home, the chaos is apparent: the clutter strewn across the floor, the stench of waste | Globe and Mail, Canada

Dangers of inhaling drugs lead to push for more supervised sites

Inhaling is just as dangerous as injecting, but specific consumption sites are more challenging to set up | CBC News, Canada

Govt looks to drug-test welfare recipients

Thousands of dole recipients could soon be tested for drugs, with those found positive shunted onto cashless welfare cards and into counselling sessions | InDaily, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Implementing the European Action Plan on Alcohol

8 years after the adoption of the WHO European Action Plan on Alcohol (EAPA),1, 2 the region has the highest prevalence of drinkers, heavy episodic drinking, alcohol consumption per capita, and the lowest proportion of abstainers, compared with other WHO region | Lancet correspondence, UK

Why black British parents should get their youth to enter the medical cannabis industry

One thing is clear: while those sitting in jail for weed may be black, when cannabis legalisation eventually hits our shores, it will be dominated by white men in suit | Independent voices, UK

The recycled drug testing plan is just one more cruel and pointless diversion

We should know by now that this is a government that never met a mistake it couldn’t make twice | Guardian, UK

From persecution to legalisation: what is the ethical way to end the war on drugs?

Antony Loewenstein visited six countries to find out who really profits from the illegal drug trade and the campaigns against it | Guardian, UK

Are deaths from drugs and alcohol and suicide a political, economic or spiritual crisis? | NYTimes opinion, USA

Readers debate whether the city’s focus on social services rather than prosecution is the right approach | NYTimes opinion, USA

Cameron James Pettit's arrest in Mac Miller's death is about expanding the drug war, not overdoses

Mac Miller’s death is a tragedy, but we must not use overdose deaths — high-profile or not — to escalate the failed war on drugs | nbc news, USA

There’s no such thing as a “functioning alcoholic”

Most likely, you have heard the term “functioning alcoholic,” or “functioning addict”—someone who consumes improbable quantities of alcohol or drugs, but manages to competently fulfill their general work, life, and family obligations. Perhaps they even excel | Quartz, USA