Daily news - 2nd January 2020

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Happy New Year to all our readers!


UK news

Dry January

Dry January is the UK's one-month booze-free challenge that helps millions reset their relationship with alcohol every year | Alcohol Change UK, UK

Back to work blues? The problem may be alcohol withdrawal 

Andrew Brown, senior programme manager, Alcohol Team, Public Health England, said: "For those people who are trying to reduce their intake of alcohol, we support any campaign, like Dry January, designed to help people reassess their relationship with alcohol and live healthier lives | Telegraph, UK

Why is cutting down on alcohol so tough? - BBC radio 4

January has become the month where people who want to cut back try to stop completely for Dry January. But why is it so difficult? | BBC, UK

How giving up alcohol for new year and beyond could bag you a ‘free’ holiday

People giving up alcohol during “dry January” and beyond could save enough money to splash out on far-flung holidays, according to research | ITV, UK

Stop smoking campaign in England axed after health budget cuts

Charity decries government’s ‘foolhardy’ decision to reduce anti-smoking budget by 24% | Guardian, UK

Smokers past and present 'live in more pain'

People who smoke, and even those who have given up, report living in more pain than those who have never picked up the habit, a report suggests | BBC, UK

From the Darknet to Snapchat Dealers: This Was the Decade of Internet Drugs

Since the 2010 mephedrone craze, buying drugs online is easier than ever | VICE, UK

Treatments for people who use anabolic androgenic steroids: a scoping review

[Open access]  In this scoping review, we identify and describe what is known about interventions that aim to support and achieve cessation of AAS, and treat and prevent associated health problems | Harm Reduction Journal, UK

'Heroin-assisted treatment - New service, new hope' with Danny Ahmed and Dr Carole Hunter - podcast

The new 'Enhanced Drug Treatment Service' in Glasgow has opened it's doors and offers Heroin-Assisted Treatment (HAT) - the prescribing and distribution of injectable diamorphine - as one of it's main provisions.In this episode, we talk about the merits of the new service and hear from two key individuals in the delivery of HAT in England and Scotland | SDF, UK

'Why I stuck by my drug addict son' - video

Martin Hopkins has been a drug addict for most of his adult life. The BBC filmed him in Plymouth two years ago when he was last seen heading off to buy heroin | BBC, UK

Wokingham drink and drug clinic open through January

SMART, a charity helping those with addictions, will be setting up a free drop-in clinic on Wednesday evenings to help those who are worried they may be developing, or already have, and addiction to drink or drugs | Bracknell News, UK

Inside the family farm turned cannabis lab in Somerset with hopes for future medicines

A laboratory in rural Somerset is pioneering medical uses for the plant. Alys Key went to see the green shoots of a growth market | i news, UK

Drug death spike warning as police log 60 suspected overdoses in Dundee

Provisional figures provided to the Tele by Police Scotland show that at least 27 deaths have been officially confirmed as drug-related in Dundee up to November 11 | Evening Telegraph, UK

Police take over drug dealers’ phone numbers and text users in new fight against county lines gangs 

Police are seizing control of drug dealers' phone numbers and texting users themselves in an attempt to combat county lines gangs | Telegraph, UK

From a church to sheltered flats for OAPs: the most unlikely cannabis farms seized by police in 2019

Police have seized cannabis farms across the region this year as officers attempt to crack down on the multi-million pound operations | Daily Record, UK

Cannabis plants worth over £100m seized on Merseyside during 2019

Cannabis plants with an estimated annual yield of over £100 million have been seized from across Merseyside during the past 12 months | ITV, UK



International news

Battersea murder victim may have been shot in 'retribution' for past criminality in Sweden, Scotland Yard suggests

Afather shot in front of his family on Christmas Eve may have been targeted as part of a feud between two rival drug lords, Swedish investigators believe | Telegraph, UK

Italy court rules home-growing cannabis is legal in landmark decision

Italy's supreme court has ruled that cultivating cannabis on a small scale for personal use is legal, in a landmark judgment expected to provoke controversy | Telegraph, UK

Illinois governor pardons 11,000 for low-level marijuana convictions

Democrat JB Pritzker says pardons represent first wave of thousands expected under state’s new marijuana legalization law | Guardian, UK

Why Canada's cannabis bubble burst

More than a year ago, Canada made recreational cannabis legal. So why are people still buying it on the black market? | BBC, UK

Record cocaine haul worth more than $1bn seized in Uruguay after drugs found in flour containers

Navy says bust is ‘biggest blow to drug trafficking in Uruguay’s history’ | Independent, UK

Ireland needs more resources to tackle trafficking and drugs crisis

In his Christmas homily Archbishop Eamon Martin made timely reference to the scourge of human trafficking for which Ireland now appears to be a significant route | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Loyalty cards and other drinks promotions to be banned in 2021

Planned introduction of minimum unit pricing for alcohol is also being delayed | Irish Examiner, Ireland

The tobacco and vaping industries and conservative allies intensively lobbied against a ban on popular flavored e-cigarettes | NYTimes, USA

CDC, States Update Number of Hospitalized EVALI Cases and EVALI Deaths

As of December 27, 2019, 55 deaths have been confirmed in 27 states and the District of Columbia | CDC, USA

12 million U.S. residents drove under influence of marijuana in 2018

In 2018, 12 million U.S. residents reported driving under the influence of marijuana in the previous 12 months, according to research published in the Dec. 20 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report | Medical Xpress, USA

How to Travel With Medical Marijuana

Even as more states allow medical marijuana, traveling between states with cannabis can leave patients in legal limbo | NYTimes, USA

Association of State Opioid Duration Limits With Postoperative Opioid Prescribing

Early evidence suggests that opioid duration limits had a variable association with postoperative opioid prescribing and should only be part of a larger, multifaceted effort to reduce excessive postoperative opioid prescribing | JAMA Open, USA

Want OxyContin in China? Pain pill addicts get drugs online

China has some of the strictest regulation of opioids in the world, but OxyContin and other pain pills are sold illegally online by vendors that take advantage of China's major e-commerce and social media sites, including platforms run by tech giants Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu, the Associated Press found | News Medical, USA

Quebec raising legal age for cannabis to 21 but policy experts warn law won’t have intended effect

Quebecers under the age of 21 won’t be able to buy or possess recreational cannabis as of Wednesday, ushering in the toughest age restrictions in the country since pot was legalized 14 months ago | Global News, Canada


Blogs, comment and opinion

E-cigarettes are still safer than smoking, scientists find

Scare stories abound but the evidence remains consistent | Guardian blog, UK

As a veteran with PTSD, cannabis helps me fight for myself in ways other treatments fail to

Post-traumatic stress is not permanent. I know that statement probably makes a lot of people uncomfortable, with arguments of “you don’t know me or what I’ve been through” often ringing out | Indepenedent, UK

I studied neuroscience to understand my addictions. Now I know it’s not the cure

Substance misuse is not a simple problem of brain chemistry. The most powerful influences lie outside our heads | Gurdian CIF, UK

Decriminalization is not a radical solution to the opioid crisis. And it would work

 If you don’t already know someone who has lost a loved one because of an accidental opioid overdose, it’s only a matter of time until you will | Macleans, Canada

What causes hangovers, blackouts and ‘hangxiety’? Everything you need to know about alcohol these holidays

With the holiday season well underway and New Year’s Eve approaching, you might find yourself drinking more alcohol than usual | Conversation, Australia



And finally...

How the dogs of the Downtown Eastside bring hope, cheer – and save lives

As the opioid crisis continues and the death toll rises, the animals have brought a sense of calm and hope. Having a dog to care for has given owners the routine they were lacking in order to make positive changes in their lives. Some have taken steps to reduce their drug intake and seek help for their addiction | Globe and Mail, Canada