Weekly news - 19th May 2017

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In date order, Monday to Friday

GPs warned as gabapentinoids are linked to heroin overdose deaths

GPs should consider alternatives to the prescription drugs pregabalin and gabapentin, according to a new study that suggests a recent substantial increase in prescriptions is closely correlated with a rise in the number of overdose deaths in England and Wales | Pulse, UK

Police issue warning that deadly ‘100% pure’ cocaine is on sale in Britain

Most street cocaine is heavily cut with adulterants such as glucose (sugar) and benzocaine (a dental anaesthetic) – with a Vice report suggesting London cocaine is rarely more than 25 per cent pure. [DrugWise Director, Harry Shapiro, quoted] | Metro, UK

Alcohol Research UK studies: drinking cultures, A&E, hospital and local projects & more

Findings from a range of alcohol-related projects funded by Alcohol Research UK are available to access below | Alcohol Research UK, UK

Theresa May refuses to consider legalising cannabis despite desperate plea from anxiety sufferer

Emma wrote in to the Tory leader's Facebook Q&A, saying cannabis she has to be a criminal to get the only thing that helps her | Mirror, UK

New laws on vaping come into effect this week

Supporters say the rules are needed to dissuade people from picking up the e-cigarette habit | Independent, UK

Alcohol does not alter personality, say scientists as they debunk myth of 'happy drunk'

T here is no such thing a ‘happy drunk’ scientists have concluded after finding that alcohol does not radically change personality | Telegraph, UK

Why These People Stopped Drinking, and Starting Consuming Cannabis

Last week was ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’ in the UK, and while mental health awareness is for many an all-year-round concern, the initiative has succeeded in sparking interest and debate on a subject of vital importance | Volte Face, UK

Labour Manifesto Launches But Drug Policy Remains Missing

The Labour Party launched their manifesto for the upcoming general election this morning at Bradford University | Volte Face, UK

Could psychedelics become an accepted treatment for mental health problems?

A few years ago, if you were to tell most people suffering from a serious mental health problem that their ills could be cured with a spot of Class A drugs, they might think you’ve, well, taken something | Telegraph, UK

Police unit backs new approach to cut alcohol-related crime

A respected police unit has given its backing to alcohol minimum pricing and called for tougher licensing laws to help tackle violent crime on Scotland’s streets | Scotsman, UK

Legal approaches to drugs and driving

Drug use can reduce the ability to drive a motor vehicle safely on the public road. European countries have developed various legal mechanisms to address this issue, using laws on road traffic or on drug control. This topic overview briefly describes the national laws in EU Member States and Norway, along with EU legislation, on drugs and driving | EMCDDA, Portugal

Increases in Illicit Drugs, Including Cocaine, Drive Workforce Drug Positivity to Highest Rate in 12 Years

Cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine use up broadly among United States workforce across multiple specimen types and testing populations. Marijuana positivity increases significantly in three years | Quest diagnostics, USA

Forensic scientists detect 27 new recreational drugs

Laboratory-made substances evading detection by gardaí and customs officials | Irish Times, Ireland

Reality Check: Could legalising cannabis raise £1bn?

The claim: The Liberal Democrat manifesto says that legalising cannabis would raise £1bn for the Exchequer | BBC, UK

Manifesto Challenge 1. Reducing Drug Related Deaths

Latest national figures from 2015 have seen the highest levels of drug related deaths ever reported in the UK, numbering 3674 in England and Wales, and translating as the highest ever mortality rate from drug misuse, at 43.8 deaths per million | Volte Face, UK

Project - Tackling alcohol misuse in NHS hospitals

An informative resource pack which takes a look at the impact of alcohol misuse in NHS hospitals | HIN, UK

Warning pregnant women over dangers of alcohol goes too far, experts say

Women are being unfairly alarmed by official guidelines that warn them to avoid alcohol completely during pregnancy, experts claim | Guardian, UK

This is why cocaine is so insanely strong in Britain right now – by an expert

Police issued a warning this week that some street cocaine in Britain was now up to 100% pure – and potentially deadly [Harry Shapiro of DrugWise quoted]| Metro, UK

Drug and alcohol charity Lifeline Project collapses

Shock failure of charity serving 80,000 people a year and employing 1,300 comes after allegations over financial controls | Guardian, UK

The Conservatives Launch General Election Manifesto with Focus on Mental Health

With the UK general election looming in June, the Conservative party have today launched their official manifesto in Halifax | Volte Face, UK

New cigarettes packaging rules due to come into force

Cigarettes must be sold in standardised green packaging with graphic warnings of the dangers of smoking from this weekend as part of new rules designed to prevent young people from taking up the habit | ITV, UK

Alcohol CLeaR self-assessment tool

The alcohol CLeaR self-assessment tool brings together all those working to reduce alcohol-related harm in a locality to think through what is working well and to identify the opportunities for further improvement | PHE, UK