Daily news - 16th January 2020

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UK news

Revised drug sentencing guidelines proposed to reflect changes in offending

The Council is proposing to revise five of the current drug offences guidelines, which came into force in 2012 and cover offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) 1971 to bring them up to date with modern drug offending, and to introduce four guidelines for new offences created by the Psychoactive Substances Act (PSA) 2016 | Sentencing Council, UK

Investigating the association between an offender’s sex and ethnicity and the sentence imposed at the Crown Court for drug offences (PDF)

The Sentencing Council has conducted analysis of sentencing data to consider the association between an offender’s sex and ethnicity and the sentence imposed at the Crown Court for supply, possession with intent to supply and conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of classes A and B. In 2018, these offences accounted for around 12 per cent of all adult offenders sentenced at the Crown Court | Sentencing Council, UK

Minorities more likely to be jailed for drug dealing, study suggests

Black and Asian men are more likely to be jailed for drug dealing offences in England and Wales than white men, a study of 14,000 people suggests | BBC, UK

humankind and edp to join together

We are delighted to announce that the innovative Devon-based alcohol and drug charity EDP will be joining Humankind on 1st April 2020. EDP will form a subsidiary within Humankind, a national organisation which takes an innovative approach to addressing health and social inequalities. Combined, we will employ over 1,500 staff who are committed to pursuing their vision for people of all ages to be safe, building ambitions for the future and reaching towards their full potential | humankind, UK

Can prescribed medical cannabis use reduce the use of other more harmful drugs?

There is growing recognition of the potential utility of medical cannabis as a harm reduction intervention. Although used for this indication in other countries, there is an absence of UK clinical guidelines that supports such an approach. We administered a short survey to gain a better understanding of the potential role of medical cannabis by 39 people who were currently using illicit cannabis and accessing a specialist substance misuse treatment service | Drug, Science, Policy and Law, UK

New study shines light on genetic risk factors for high alcohol intake

In an effort to identify the specific genes responsible for high levels of alcohol consumption a team of international researchers, led by Dr. Andrew Thompson and Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed from the University of Liverpool, conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) using the UK Biobank to pinpoint the genes responsible | University of Liverpool, UK

Share a pint or glass of wine to drink safely, says expert

Former government advisor David Nutt says alcohol is more damaging than harder drugs | Guardian, UK

Why are opioids still given for chronic pain?

One reason for the massive rise in opioid prescribing is of a mistaken belief people in pain are very unlikely to become addicted. This is certainly what I was taught at medical school in the 1980s | BBC, UK

The UK's Ketamine Capital Has Been Confirmed

According to the Home Office's new seizure of drugs statistics, every stereotype about British cities and their drug of choice is true | VICE, UK

Funding row set to delay publication of Scotland's shameful drug deaths figures

Provisional figures show 2019 was worst year ever in spiralling drugs crisis but cash wrangle over toxicology services means the full stats look likely to be delayed | Daily Record, UK

Londonderry: Coroner concerned over drug-related deaths

A coroner has said he is "deeply concerned" about the growing number of drugs-related deaths in Londonderry | BBC, UK

Glastonbury Festival could impose limits on alcohol brought to Worthy Farm under plans to improve security

Glastonbury revellers could face limits on the amount of alcohol they can bring to the festival under a council's attempts to improve security | Telegraph, UK


International news

Amsterdam's Green mayor looks to reform red-light district

As an MP, Femke Halsema helped make prostitution legal in the Netherlands. So why does she now want to overhaul an area where sex workers famously ply their trade? | Guardian, UK

Sky glows purple in light of medical marijuana farm

Ultraviolet light reflected off snow around farm and lit up sky | Independent, UK

Drug epidemic likely 'killing more Americans than we think'

As the drug epidemic began to unfold in the United States, deaths classified as drug-related for 15- to 64-year-olds hit 9% in 2016, up from about 4% seven years prior. But new research published in PLOS ONE from the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University suggests that drug-associated mortality in this country is actually more than double that | Medical Xpress, USA

Researchers discover novel potential target for drug addiction treatment

New University of Minnesota Medical School research discovers a novel potential target for treating drug addiction through "the hidden stars of the brain." | Medical Xpress, USA

Chemicals between us: Surprising effects of oxytocin on cocaine addiction

Researchers have discovered gender-based differences in response to therapeutic oxytocin treatment in cocaine-addicted individuals with a history of childhood trauma. Oxytocin has been shown previously to function as a potential therapeutic in cases of addiction by reducing cravings | Science Daily, USA

THCP: A newly discovered, potentially more potent, cannabis compound

A recently published article in the journal Scientific Reports has described the remarkable discovery of a previously unknown cannabinoid. Dubbed THCP, the molecule has been shown to be significantly more potent that its well-known counterpart THC, however, it’s still unclear how psychoactive it is in humans or how present it is in popular cannabis varieties | New Atlas, USA

911 calls for a drug overdose rose 8.8 percent in Vancouver last year, signalling the crisis continues with no end in sight

B.C. first responders are getting very good at preventing overdoses from ending in death, but that doesn't mean the province's opioid epidemic has gotten any less severe | Georgia Straight, Canada

Majority of cannabis in Australia taken by a small group of users

People who use cannabis every day account for over 80 percent of the total amount of the drug consumed in Australia, a University of Queensland study has discovered | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

Alcohol tax reform needed

La Trobe University researchers have found introducing a minimum unit price (MUP) of $1.30 per standard drink across Australia could dramatically reduce alcohol consumption | La Trobe University, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Comment: Why drug deaths in Wales are a National Emergency

Martin Blakebrough, CEO of Kaleidoscope Project & ARCH Initiatives, examines how in spite of government support of current initiatives and largely unaffected drug treatment budgets in Wales, drug related deaths continue to rise unabated. Martin argues that access to treatment and the enactment of evidence-based treatment for drug misuse is key | Volte Face, UK

Alcoholics Anonymous isn’t sexist – it’s supportive and free

Readers who have attended AA praise the service it provides | Guardian letters, UK

What Happened To My Mental Health After I Took Acid

Psychedelics scare many of us. Even people who pop pingers like smarties and start every sesh with a line of CK (that’s cocaine and ketamine mixed – not advisable if you want to live a long life) will often tell you that they draw the line at psychedelic drugs like LSD (aka acid), psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) and dimethyltryptamine (DMT) | Refinery29, UK

Have Restaurant Smoking Bans Gone Too Far?

In “The Rediscovery of Tobacco,” writer Jacob Grier argues that it’s become too difficult to find a place to smoke | Eater, USA

A Bitter Pill: Why The Future Of Festivals Relies On Pill Testing

With festival season upon us, so too is the debate over pill testing. And although the proposal has renewed support from experts and music fans alike, many politicians still remain far from convinced | GQ Magazine, Australia