Weekly news - 13th April 2017


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In date order, Monday to Friday

Black Mamba death prompts lethal batch warning

The death of a homeless man after smoking Black Mamba has sparked fears of a potentially lethal batch of the former "legal high" | BBC, UK

Manchester police deal with 31 Spice-related calls in 24 hours

Concerns over an increase in anti-social behaviour fuelled by former legal high spice - said to leave users in a "zombie-like" state - has prompted a police crackdown in Manchester | BBC, UK

Undercover investigation finds 9 in 10 vape shops prepared to sell to non-smokers

RSPH is calling for UK vape retailers to adhere to a code of conduct, as it reveals results of an undercover investigation showing that almost nine in 10 stores (87%) are either knowingly or unwittingly prepared to sell e-cigarettes to people who have never smoked or vaped | RSPH, UK

Fire death risk cut by vaping rather than smoking, study finds

Analysis of London Fire Brigade figures found that in the last three years, only 14 fires were attributable to e-cigarettes. In comparison, smoking-related fires topped 3,500. These were fires cause by tobacco smoking, and not extinguishing cigarettes properly | ITV, UK

Newsnight 10th April 2017 - BBC iPlayer

Discussion on Spice featureing Harry Shapiro of DrugWise. Watch from 21.35mins | BBC, UK

Drugs and the homeless - BBC radio iPlayer

Chelsea speaks to a local homeless charity about the problem of the drug spice | BBC, UK

'"It was the worst 20 minutes of my life" - the reality of Spice

An increase in anti-social behaviour fuelled by the former so called legal-high 'Spice' has prompted a police crackdown in Manchester. The drug is said to leave users in a "zombie-like" state. Two homeless people in the city have told us what it's like to take the drug | BBC, UK

Controlling alcohol-related crime and disorder

How can governments curb excessive drinking and related disorder in the
night time economy without becoming vulnerable to the accusation of
‘nanny-state killjoy’? Two approaches are on the table in this hot
topic: minimum unit pricing and licensing | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

People on ecstasy feel loved-up because MDMA boosts trust

Ecstasy makes you feel like everyone’s your friend. Now an experiment in which people played a trust game after taking the drug is helping to explain why | New Scientist, UK

New chemical composition of 'poppers' linked to retinal damage

The new chemical composition of the legal high 'poppers' is linked to retinal damage at the back of the eye, finds a small study published online in the British Journal of Ophthalmology | Medical Xpress, UK

All Party Parliamentary Group for Dual Diagnosis and Complex Needs: call for evidence

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Dual Diagnosis and Complex Needs is working with the Office for Civil Society to gather evidence around how social action can drive better services for people with complex needs, for example by improving outcomes, preventing crisis, reducing stigma or developing more responsive joined up services | Turning Point, UK

Changing Scotland’s relationship with alcohol (PDF)

This report is intended to inform the next phase of the Scottish Government’s alcohol strategy. It has been produced collaboratively by Alcohol Focus Scotland, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems, Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs and the British Medical Association Scotland. It has been informed by the findings and recommendations from the evaluation of Scotland’s current alcohol strategy, MESAS | Alcohol Focus Scotland, UK

Campaigners call for target to cut Scots alcohol consumption by 10%

Health campaigners have called on the Scottish government to take bold steps to tackle Scotland's alcohol problem. A report by bodies, including Alcohol Focus Scotland and the BMA, examined the "devastating effect" alcohol has on drinkers, families and communities | BBC, UK

UK supreme court denies tobacco firms permission for plain packaging appeal

Final legal decision in UK means that all cigarettes sold after 20 May must come in standardised packaging | Guardian, UK

Former UK Government Drugs Minister announced as Patron of Medicinal Cannabis Organisation

The United Patients Alliance – a UK campaign group focused on improving access to medicinal cannabis form patients – has announced that Norman Baker, former UK government drugs minister, will be their first patron | Volte Face, UK

Former Spice addict: How I beat my addiction

An epidemic of Spice drug use in Manchester is putting pressure on public services, according to police | BBC Newsbeat, UK

Drug law reform and the three card trick

This year Addaction celebrates its 50th anniversary and to commemorate the event, they are holding a series of lectures, of which this, given by Professor David Nutt on why we should decriminalise personal possession of all drugs, is the first | DrugWise blog, UK

DDN April 2017

Anxiety is starting to be well documented, particularly among young people, and Xanax’s link with celebrity makes it difficult to deter experimentation with the drug. Kevin Flemen’s article explains the nature of the threat and what to look out for. Throughout the rest of this month’s issue we talk a lot about prison – including the perspective of a service manager, who until recently was working at the frontline of prison substance misuse services | DDN, UK

Annual Business Plan 2017

This plan sets out where we will focus our efforts over the next year, from building the case for investment in prevention, working to reduce the health gap between the richest and the poorest and continuing to invest in and promote our world class science in the UK and around the world | PHE, UK

Could 'love hormone' help drug addicts stay clean?

Experts say oxytocin, a key hormone made naturally by the brain, could hold the key to treating drug addicts and help them avoid relapse | Science Daily, UK

Manchester MP asks home secretary for help to tackle Spice 'crisis'

An MP has asked the home secretary for help with the issue of people taking former legal high Spice in Manchester | BBC, UK