Daily news - 24th February 2020

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UK news

Amazon to donate to drug charity linked to Scientology

Exclusive: experts have queried methods of Narconon, which has given talks in UK schools | Guardian, UK

Philip Morris drew up plan for £1bn tobacco transition fund

Exclusive: firm accused of hypocrisy after talking to anti-tobacco MP about helping smokers switch products | Guardian, UK

A ‘dignity first’ approach to homelessness, drugs, and alcohol

Some of the issues at the junction of homelessness and substance use problems are complex. However, there are also very ‘basic’ things that we know can improve and save lives: providing food, shelter, healthcare, protection from violence and abuse, and access to lifesaving advice and resources. What are the practical, financial, and ideological barriers to meeting these essential needs? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Lib Dems call for decriminalisation before Glasgow drug summits

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have called for sweeping changes in drugs policy – including partial decriminalisation and the creation of a “regulated cannabis market” | Press and Journal, UK

Plan for Oxfordshire to be first 'smoke-free' county by 2025

Oxfordshire could become England's first "smoke-free" county by 2025 under a plan unveiled by its county council | BBC, UK

Plans for tobacco-free vaping areas and a non-alcohol drink on draft in every Bristol pub

The idea is that punters will look like they're having a proper pint | Bristol Post, UK

Owen Kinghorn died after ecstasy overdose

A 15-year-old boy died when an overdose of ecstasy caused "cardiac arrhythmia", a coroner has concluded | BBC, UK

Scots killer hanged himself after failing cannabis test behind bars

Scott McMillan had served the 13 years punishment part of his life sentence for murder and was on course for release | Daily Record, UK

The Ugly Reality of Rural Prison for County Lines Drug Dealers

For some drug sellers who have "gone country", being locked up in a rural jail can be a ticket to non-stop abuse from the locals. For others, it can be a blessing in disguise | VICE, UK

Police force apologises for leaflets linking rape to drinking alcohol amid accusations of victim blaming

The flyers describe alcohol as "the number one date rape drug" and advise people to be wary of potential sexual assaults while drinking | Telegraph, UK

Police uncover £2m cannabis farm 'the size of a football pitch' in Team Valley

A £2m cannabis farm "the size of a football pitch" has been discovered in Gateshead. Northumbria Police say a farm containing an estimated 3,000 plants worth about £660 each were discovered in the Team Valley trading estate after a police officer noticed a strong smell | ITV, UK

Camborne man detained for giving cousin lethal drugs

A man who supplied the high-strength ecstasy that killed his 15-year-old cousin has been sentenced to a year in a young offenders institution | BBC, UK

Hull docks cocaine-smuggling lorry driver jailed

A lorry driver who admitted trying to smuggle £1.7m-worth of cocaine into the UK has been jailed | BBC, UK

Brierley Hill stabbing: Two more arrests over cannabis robbery deaths

Khuzaimah Douglas, 19, and Waseem Ramzan, 36, died after about seven men targeted an address in Pensnett Road, Brierley Hill, on Thursday | BBC, UK


International news

The Anabolic Androgenic Steroid Treatment Gap: A National Study of Substance Use Disorder Treatment

[Open access] nabolic androgenic steroid (AAS) use is associated with serious mental and physical health problems. Evidence indicates that AAS use among people who use psychoactive substances is higher than in the general population. This study aims to estimate lifetime AAS use among patients in substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, compare characteristics of AAS and non-AAS users and identify whether AAS use was addressed during treatment | Substance abuse: research and treatment, UK

Costs of vaping: evidence from ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Survey

[Open access] To compare the prices paid for nicotine vaping products (NVPs) and supplies among current NVP users to prices paid for cigarettes among current smokers | BMJ Tobacco Control, UK

What are the new alcohol restrictions for holidaymakers to Mallorca and Ibiza?

'Some of the measures introduced by the Balearic Islands authorities to limit anti-social behaviour have potential to cause confusion for UK holidaymakers,’ says Abta | Independent, UK

Irish drug dealer loses £46m bitcoin codes he hid in fishing rod case

Clifton Collins fears fishing gear was taken to dump by his landlord after he was jailed | Guardian, UK

Garda Commissioner signals new drive against drug dealing

New gardaí bring to 14,467 the number of sworn members in the force | Irish Times, Ireland

Cannabis Legalisation Has Arrived in Europe: Civil Society Should Not Be Silent

It is time for drug professionals, including the harm reduction community, to have a say about the upcoming regulation of the European cannabis market. If not, we miss an important historical opportunity to shape the future | Drug Reporter, Hungary

Trends in Alcohol-Induced Deaths in the United States, 2000-2016

In this serial cross-sectional study using US mortality data from 2000 to 2016, large increases in alcohol-induced mortality among both men and women were observed. Despite initial decreases among some groups, significant increases in mortality were observed among all racial/ethnic groups in the years 2013 to 2016 | JAMA Open, USA

Report Documents Limited Access to OUD Treatment in Medicare Population

Despite steep increases in prescription opioid overdose deaths among older adults, the topic of Medicare coverage for opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment has received considerably less attention than trends in Medicaid and private insurance coverage | Psych Congress, USA

Cardiovascular and neuropsychiatric safety of smoking cessation pharmacotherapies in non‐depressed adults: a retrospective cohort study

[Open access] Pharmacotherapies for smoking cessation are widely prescribed, despite substantial concerns being raised regarding the potential increased risk of cardiovascular (CV) and neuropsychiatric adverse events associated with these treatments. This study aimed to assess the relative CV and neuropsychiatric safety between varenicline and bupropion compared with nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) in adults without a recent history of depression | Addiction, USA

State and Territorial Laws Prohibiting Sales of Tobacco Products to Persons Aged <21 Years — United States, December 20, 2019

Raising the minimum legal sales age (MLSA) for tobacco products to 21 years (T21) is a strategy to help prevent and delay the initiation of tobacco product use. On December 20, 2019, Congress raised the federal MLSA for tobacco products from 18 to 21 years | CDC, USA

Trump’s Good Idea: Get Drug Regulators Out Of Vaping

“I should never have done that f- - -ing vaping thing,” President Trump said in January on a phone call with Health and Human Services, HHS, Secretary Alex Azar. Mr. Trump was likely referring to having publicly pushed for a ban on flavored electronic cigarettes, rather than leaving the matter to the Food and Drug Administration, FDA | Forbes, USA

This Is What Happens When You Take 550 Doses of LSD At Once

Accidental LSD overdoses are not fun. But for some, they can have a bizarrely beneficial effect | VICE, USA

Microdosed LSD: Finally A Breakthrough For Alzheimer’s Disease?

After decades of effort and untold millions invested in the search for an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s, the disease remains unchecked and rampant | Forbes, USA

Children face 'potentially unlawful' and 'invasive' drug and alcohol testing at festival

One in 10 children at a Sydney under-age music festival faced random drug testing that has been labelled by legal experts "potentially unlawful" and an infringement on civil liberties | SMH, Australia

Booze home delivery a cinch for minors

It's too easy for under-age teenagers to get their hands on cheap liquor dropped-off at their doorstep, warn researchers calling for tougher laws to regulate the booming online alcohol delivery market | SMH, Australia

Vaping laws crackdown: New legislation to regulate age, advertising

New legislation to regulate vaping will be introduced to Parliament tomorrow in an effort to balance helping smokers quit while not encouraging new users. The move to regulate the industry has been welcomed but there are fears some rules are too restrictive and could result in "losing people back to cigarettes" | NZ Herald, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opnion

Agenda: Why Glasgow needs safer drug consumption facilities

The  spotlight is firmly on Glasgow as the city wrestles with an HIV outbreak and faces some the highest number of drugs deaths in Europe. It’s therefore fitting we are playing host to two major drugs summits this week | Herald opnion, UK

The Volteface Interview with Antony Loewenstein: ‘Pills, Powder and Smoke’

Five years ago, Jerusalem-based, Australian investigative journalist, author and film-maker Antony Loewenstein turned his attention from Disaster Capitalism, his book and film, to the war on drugs | Volte Face, UK

Labour’s next leader must support better drug policies

I’ve been watching the leadership debates with interest — as I’m sure many of you have. Obviously, what with my background in Criminology and Criminal Justice (yawn, I know, it’s all I ever talk about), I spend most of my time hoping a question on that very topic arises | Medium, UK

UK’s Leading Cannabis Doctor Criticises FSA’s “Heavy Handed” Move On CBD

Professor Mike Barnes: "I’m very disappointed at the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) heavy handed intervention in the market. Its claim that there are potential adverse health effects only applies where massive doses of pure CBD are taken. Over-the-counter CBD products are very safe and there is no evidence at all of liver problems or any other adverse effect at normal doses." | Clear, UK

I'm into health food and hot yoga. I'm also addicted to vaping

Smoking e-cigarettes felt like a harmless habit. But the damage began as soon as I started | Guardian opinion, UK

How going on an LSD trip with my family brought us closer than ever before

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who dread family gatherings, and those who eagerly look forward to them | Metro, UK

Graeme Armstrong: ‘When I stopped taking drugs, I felt a kind of loneliness’

Graeme Armstrong, 28, grew up in Airdrie, east of Glasgow. He was involved with gang culture from a young age. Expelled from school in his mid-teens, he transferred to Coatbridge high school, and went on to study English literature at Stirling University | Guardian, UK

Boomers have a drug problem, but not the kind you might think

Baby boomers – that’s anyone born in the U.S. between 1946 and 1964 – are 20% of the population, more than 70 million Americans. Decades ago, many in that generation experimented with drugs that were both recreational and illegal. Although boomers may not be using those same drugs today, many are taking medications, often several of them. And even if those drugs are legal, there are still risks of interactions and side effects | Conversation, USA