Daily news - 7th February 2020

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UK news

Dry January boosts low-alcohol sales for UK supermarkets

Food industry estimates 4.2 million Britons took up the challenge of cutting out booze | Guardian, UK

Experimental fingerprint test can distinguish between those who have taken or handled cocaine

An experimental fingerprint detection approach can identify traces of cocaine on human skin, even after someone has washed their hands | EurekAlert, UK

Activist Training: South West Wales - free event

Come to our Drug Policy reform training workshop and equip yourself to become an active campaigner for safer drug laws. Thursday 27th February 9.30am-3.00pm. St Peter’s Civic Hall, Nott Square, Carmarthen, SA31 1BA. Saturday 21st March 9.30am - 3.00pm. The Quay Centre, Coracle Way, Carmarthen SA31 3LN | J Slater, UK

Spotlight on Science: The Great Vape Debate - free event

E-cigarette use continues to grow, with 3.6 million people in Great Britain currently vaping. The devices can help people to stop smoking conventional cigarettes but what do we really know about the health effects of vaping? Should there be more regulation of vape solutions and e-cigarette use? Mon, 10 February 2020. 18:00 – 19:30 GMT. The Curve Lecture Theatre, Ground Floor, Hunter Wing, St George's, University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE | St George's, University of London, UK

Police raid £4m county lines cannabis farm and discover three Vietnamese 'slaves' locked inside after ruthless gang left them with just grains of rice to eat while they cultivated crop

Three Vietnamese 'slaves' were shockingly locked inside a huge, secret drugs farm by a ruthless county lines gang with only grains of rice to eat | Mail Online, UK

Drug dealer jailed for sending class A drugs disguised as protein powder in post

He used special delivery for packages, police say | Independent, UK

Three men jailed for drug exchange at Essex Miller and Carter

Three men whose steakhouse cash and drug exchange led to £1m worth of cocaine being seized have been jailed | BBC, UK


International news

Challenges for a world where drugs are legally regulated: a consultation report from St Georges House and Transform Drug Policy Foundation

One of the striking things about working in drug policy is the realisation that almost no-one thinks the current system is working. Rather like climate change, most people with more than a passing interest agree things are badly wrong | Transform, UK

Drug lord Escobar's hitman Jhon Velásquez dies in Colombia

A notorious murderer who worked for Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar has died of stomach cancer, Colombian officials say | BBC, UK

The Worst Places in the World to Get Busted with Weed

For people who smoke weed, finding a reliable source is essential to having a good vacation. No one wants to be stuck desperately scouring the beach for a dealer, only to spend $50 on a couple grams of shake | VICE, UK

Shock after alcohol flows from kitchen taps in Kerala

Residents of an apartment building in southern India were left in shock after a mix of beer, brandy and rum started gushing out of their taps | BBC, UK

Meet the cannabis chef leading a culinary revolution - video

The legal cannabis market in the US is booming and edibles - food that contains cannabis - are becoming increasingly popular | BBC, UK

The paradox of illicit economies: survival, resilience, and the limits of development and drug policy orthodoxy

The illicit drug crops opium and coca are conventionally regarded as sources of instability, an ‘evil’ that breeds fragility and violence. Fragile states are supposed to be most vulnerable to their production and consequent harms | Journal of Globalizations, Netherlands

Just Say No to Shame

Many people know the story of the drunkard from Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince, who drinks because he is ashamed, and is ashamed because he drinks. This article is about how ancient wisdom and modern science teach us to avoid shaming as a tool to change people | Drug Reporter, Hungary

Bursaries for Western Balkan students for the 2020 European Drugs Summer School

Professionals, academics and experts from the Western Balkan region will have an opportunity to participate in the European Drugs Summer School (EDSS) this year, thanks to three bursaries being offered through the EMCDDA Instrument of Pre-accession Assistance 7 project (IPA7), which kicked off in July 2019 | EMCDDA, Portugal

Europe dodges US fentanyl crisis but for how long?

When 18-year-old Joseph bought a pill at a fun fair in the French Riviera resort of Cannes, he was convinced it was morphine | Medical Xpress, USA

FDA crackdown on vaping flavors has blind spot: disposables

The U.S. government on Thursday began enforcing restrictions on flavored electronic cigarettes aimed at curbing underage vaping. But some teenagers may be one step ahead of the rules | Medical Xpress, USA

Juul Employees Say “Morale Is At An All-Time Low” After Its Worst Year Ever

The billion-dollar e-cigarette startup is fighting for its life. Employees are calling out the chaos and considering jumping ship, according to internal documents and audio obtained by BuzzFeed News | BuzzFeed, USA

Child Reunification May Soon Be Impossible for Pregnant Drug Users in North Carolina

North Carolina state representatives have approved a bill that would make it easier for courts to keep families permanently separated on the grounds of a pregnant person’s drug use | Filter Magazine, USA

As Trump’s Vape Flavors Ban Kicks In, What Will It Mean on the Ground?

It’s 11:59 pm on a Wednesday night in America. Just the wrong time for your watermelon-flavored vape pod to run out | Filter Magazine, USA

Is vaping a scourge on your skin?

Burns on the face, arms and hands that require skin grafts. Acne boils and ugly rashes. Black hairy tongue and other oral lesions | Filter Magazine, USA

Fatal overdoses are down—possibly because so many B.C. drug users have already died

Epidemiologists, health officials, and people who use drugs consider whether the opioid crisis has reached a saturation point and is beginning to burn itself out | Georgia Straight, Canada

Health experts warn Aussie drinking culture is causing hidden epidemic in children

Fetal alcohol specialists on the Sunshine Coast say the syndrome has become a hidden epidemic, with the number of children affected by prenatal alcohol exposure now believed to outnumber those diagnosed with autism and cerebral palsy | abc.net.au, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Cash from cannabis companies creates conflicted researchers

Imagine that scientists charged with doing research on tobacco’s health implications were funded by tobacco companies. (In fact, the tobacco industry used this tactic for decades to cast doubt on the adverse health effects of smoking.) | STAT News opinion, USA

Asklepieion and the Transformation of Therapeutic Communities in a Time of Duress

Most of those who study the history of drug treatment are probably already aware of the troubled story of Synanon, the first therapeutic community (or TC) for the treatment of drug addiction | Points blog, USA