Daily news - 31st January 2020

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UK news

Substance misuse treatment in secure settings: 2018 to 2019

Statistics for alcohol and drug misuse treatment in prisons and other secure settings from PHE’s national drug treatment monitoring system (NDTMS) | PHE, UK

Statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services in England April 2019 to September 2019

This report includes information on the number of people setting a quit date and the number who successfully quit at the 4 week follow-up. It also presents in depth analyses of the key measures of the service including pregnant women, breakdowns by ethnic group and type of pharmacotherapy received | NHS Digital, UK

Smoking cessation in drug and alcohol services – slides and notes from a national workshop

PHE recently hosted a national workshop in Birmingham on smoking cessation in drug and alcohol services. Speakers addressed the urgent need to improve stop smoking interventions for a client group that is doubly damaged by smoking and drug/alcohol use, and in whom smoking rates still massively exceed those in the general population. Services from across the country gave examples of how they have tackled the issue and PHE will be doing further work to support local areas | PHE, UK

Alcoholic Drinks and Drugs: Death

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) alcohol and (b) drug-related deaths have there been in the last five years in (i) Preston, (ii) Lancashire and (iii) the North West | They work for you, UK

Study identifies reasons for drinking in UK serving and ex-serving military personnel

A study, led by the University of Liverpool and King’s College London, has identified the reasons why UK serving and ex-serving military personnel drink, in research based on military personnel self-reporting a stress or emotional problem | University of Liverpool, UK

New lung cells may replace tobacco-damaged cells after people stop smoking

Researchers examined lung cells from children, adults who had never smoked, smokers and ex-smokers to look for DNA mutations. As expected, they found thousands of mutations in cells of smokers and ex-smokers, including mutations known to lead to cancer | NHS Behind the Headlines, UK

Cannabis haul 'worth £1m' seized in Gateshead and Newcastle

Cannabis with a street value of £1m and weighing a quarter of a tonne (550 lbs) has been seized by police. Officers found 3,000 plants and £3,000 during raids at six cannabis farms - one of which police described as "industrial-sized" - in Gateshead | BBC, UK

Cardiff police raid finds hundreds of cannabis plants in city house

South Wales Police found 276 plants spread over six rooms and three floors at the house in Tewkesbury Street, in Cathays, Cardiff | BBC, UK

Gang jailed for couriering cocaine into Lincolnshire

Members of a gang responsible for bringing cocaine with a street value of more than £1m into Lincolnshire have been jailed | BBC, UK


International news

Spanish police bust largest ever performance-enhancing drugs gang

At least 250 athletes in sports like cycling, triathlon and motor cross, in Spain and across Europe, bought the drugs | Telegraph, UK

The rise in non-fatal and fatal overdoses involving stimulants with and without opioids in the United States (PDF)

[Open access] While increases in cocaine-involved deaths in the United States from 2006 seem to be driven by opioids, particularly synthetic opioids, increases in non-fatal and fatal overdoses involving psychostimulants are occurring with and without opioids | Addiction, UK

Fentanyl is used in Mexico’s northern border: current challenges for drug health policies

[Open access] Results from a recent study among 750 heroin users in three Mexico’s northern border cities revealed an increase in white powder availability (also known as China white) and preference for this product among heroin users, as well as a general perception of increased overdose cases among this population | Addiction, UK

Vaping crackdown costs Juul investor more than $8bn

A major investor in leading e-cigarette-maker Juul has seen its stake in the company drop by more than two-thirds | BBC, UK

Colombia’s new cocaine war

Michael Buchanan gets rare access to Colombia’s cocaine producers and smugglers | BBC, UK

Cannabis vaping devices reimbursement approval for Canadian veterans

Medical cannabis vaping devices have received reimbursement approval for Canadian veterans | Health Europa, UK

Doctors say taxpayers should pay more to subsidise quit-smoking medications like nicotine gum to make them accessible to poor people

Doctors have called on the Australian government to further subsidise nicotine replacement therapies to help people quit smoking | Mail Online, UK

A quarter of a century providing evidence for better policies and actions on drugs in Europe

This year, the EMCDDA celebrates 25 years of monitoring the drug situation in Europe. In the quarter of a century since the agency embarked on its first work programme in 1995, we have seen revolutionary changes, both in the extent and nature of the drugs problem, and in the world in which we live | EMCDDA, Portugal

Just 1% of providers prescribed half of all opioid doses in 2017

In 2017, a mere 1% of providers were responsible for 49% of all opioid doses and 27% of opioid prescriptions in the United States, according to research published in BMJ. | Healio, USA

Discrepancy found between empirical evidence and cannabis users' beliefs about medical marijuana

"There is a big discrepancy between what the empirical evidence is saying and what people believe," said Daniel Kruger, PhD, the lead author of the study, which was published this month in the American Journal of Health Promotion | News Medical, USA

Ketamine use is underreported—likely due to unknown exposure—among EDM partygoers

Nearly 37 percent of electronic dance music (EDM) party attendees test positive for ketamine use when samples of their hair are tested—despite only 14.6 percent disclosing that they have used the drug in the past year | Medical Xpress, USA

Cannabis possession now legal in ACT

Canberrans are now able to possess up to 50 grams of cannabis and grow two plants | Canberra Times, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Video: A more rational alcohol tax

On the eve of Brexit and the Budget I talked with Scott Corfe, research director of the Social Market Foundation think-tank about his proposals for a more rational form of alcohol tax | Phil Cain, UK

Silicon Valley's cocaine problem shaped our racist tech

Silicon Valley in the 1980s was the hub of an international drug trafficking network that fueled technological innovation and criminalized black people | Guardian opinion, UK

The highs and lows of the opium trade in southern Africa

The reach of European empires and of Indian Ocean trade networks drew southern Africa into the global politics of opium around the turn of the twentieth century. Between the late 1880s and early 1920s and there was a shift from economies of supply to regimes of control | Conversation, South Africa

It’s Now Legal to Smoke Cannabis in Australia’s Capital: An Interview With HEMP’s Michael Balderstone

As of today, 31 January 2020, it’s legal to smoke a joint in your lounge room in Canberra. Possessing up to 50 grams for personal use is absolutely nothing to worry about. And you can grow up to two plants in your backyard if you live in the Australian Capital Territory | Sydney Criminal Lawyers blog, Australia