Weekly news - 18th May 2018

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BMJ calls on more doctors to support legalisation of drugs

The BMJ has again called for the legalisation of drugs in an editorial by the journal’s editor-in-chief which calls for more doctors to support its stance. Fiona Godlee says the UK is now the world’s largest exporter of legal cannabis, yet recreational and medicinal use are criminalised | i news, UK

High time to rehash drug policy, think tanks say, as legalisation could save taxpayer £900m

The TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) argue that legalising the drug would reduce spending by police, prisons, courts and the NHS and put a huge amount of money back in taxpayers' pockets | BBC, UK

Spiraling drug deaths blamed on swingeing funding cuts to services

New figures suggest £117m less being spent on treatment now than five years ago | Independent, UK

Special Section: Naloxone

Special edition including open access papers | Drug and Alcohol Review, UK

Vaping industry figures reject e-cigarettes on prescription

Leaders of the vaping industry told MPs that while it may help some smokers switch from cigarettes, smokers would not want to view e-cigarettes as a medicine and they should not be provided on prescription | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

Notification of tobacco or herbal products for smoking

Guidance for businesses needing to notify the government that they are placing a tobacco or herbal smoking product on the market | PHE, UK

Rise in drug arrests among teenagers prompts 'county lines' concerns

Urban gangs are using children as young as 12 to help move drugs in out-of-town locations | Guardian, UK

Britain's first ever city centre recreational drug testing facility opens in Bristol

The UK's first ever drug safety testing facility has opened following successful pilots at several British music festivals | ITV, UK

Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England: Consultation

Thank you to all respondents, the results of the consultation are now available | NHS Digital, UK

New alcohol strategy plans include further minimum pricing review

A recent surprise announcement that the Government are developing a new alcohol strategy has been made by The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, part of which includes commissioning Public Health England to undertake a further review of the evidence for minimum unit pricing (MUP) in England | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Twitter fails to take down Xanax adverts

Twitter and Instagram have been criticised by an MP for failing to remove posts advertising Xanax | BBC, UK

'Spice epidemic in jails risk to nurses'

An epidemic of a laboratory-created cannabis substitute in UK prisons is putting nurses called in to treat inmates at risk, union leaders say. See MoJ report | BBC, UK

Revealed: Why drug users prefer heroin at home, but cocaine while out

The findings demonstrate for the first time that the setting of drug-taking is an important factor in how the brain processes the experience, and could have important implications for the treatment of drug addiction | Medical Xpress, UK

Reducing the standard serving size of alcoholic beverages prompts reductions in alcohol consumption

[Open access] To test whether reducing the standard serving size of alcoholic beverages would reduce voluntary alcohol consumption in a laboratory (study 1) and a real‐world drinking environment (study 2) | Addiction, UK

The real dangers of self-medicating with Xanax

Benzos are on the rise, in rap music and on the dark net – we asked the experts why they’re one of the most dangerous highs [Our Director, Harry Shapiro, quoted] | Dazed, UK

New report shows successful hepatitis C testing pilot in pharmacies in London

A new report, published today by the London Joint Working Group on Substance Use and Hepatitis C (LJWG), shows the results of a successful four-month pilot project that offered hepatitis C (HCV) tests to people who use needle exchange services at nine community pharmacies across London | LJWG, UK

Royal College of Nursing votes to decriminalise cannabis for medical use, adding to mounting pressure to change the law

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has voted to decriminalise cannabis for medical use | Mail Online, UK

Entries for the 2018 Recovery Street Film Festival are now open!!

The submission window is officially open so now is the time to get making your wonderful films about your recovery journey, tackling the stigma of addiction and inspiring others to seek support and tell their own story too | RSFF, UK

County Lines: Why drug phenomenon has hit Wales so hard

There is rising violence in towns across Wales as drug gangs from the UK's big cities fight for control of the market. BBC Wales Investigates has discovered there are now over 1,000 so-called County Lines drug networks across the UK - a four-fold increase in four years - recruiting children as young as 13. So why is Wales being hit so hard? | BBC, UK

Gangs, Murder and Teenage Drug Runners - BBC iPlayer

As street gangs move into Wales, the programme speaks to those involved and follows the police as they tackle a growing threat. Is a line being crossed as children are groomed to carry drugs into Welsh towns and cities, and is enough being done to shut it down? Wyre Davies investigates | BBC, UK

Taking care of your mate on their first trip or pill

A friend tells you they want to try a drug for the first time and or asks you to get them some LSD or MDMA for example. What should you do? If you agree to their request, we think you should take responsibility for your decision | Global Drug Survey blog, UK

Thinking of using LSD for the first time? Here are some things to think about

The risks are likely to be higher if you are on your own, take the wrong dose, are in the wrong place or time, or are already under the influence of something else – usually and probably most dangerously, alcohol | Global Drug Survey blog, UK

Thinking of using MDMA for the first time? Here are some things to think about

A person’s first drug experience can be particularly risky. The risks are likely to be higher if you are on your own, take the wrong dose, are in the wrong place or time or are already under the influence of something else – usually and probably most dangerously, alcohol | Global Drug Survey blog, UK

Cokeinoes! Cocaine delivered faster than pizza

OK, at first glance, this does not seem to fit in with the usual areas that Global Drug Survey chooses to explore. After all, we are a serious bunch of academics and we research things that we hope will help people use drugs more safely and to help craft optimal public health policies | Global Drug Survey blog, UK

GHB : 1 in 5 Pass out each year (& women are more at risk than men)

GHB (and the closely related GBL and 1.4 butane-diol) have been part of the drugs scene in many Western countries since the 1980s. Perceived us being more commonly (but not exclusively) used by gay men, GHB has prosocial (mood elevating and disinhibiting – a bit like alcohol) and sexual promoting and enhancing effects. It’s big on the chemsex scene in many cities | Global Drug Survey blog, UK

Losing your Drug Virginity

Thinking of using cocaine, LSD or MDMA for the first time? Here’s what GDS2018 tells us about people’s very first experiences and how the risk of harm can be reduced | Global Drug Survey, UK

Cannabis : how to cut down or stop using

For me the development of the Safer Using Limit guidelines is a natural follow up to the GDS Highway Code (HWC). Safer Using Limit guidelines was developed from data collected from 40,000 people who used cannabis and who took part in GDS2015 | Global Drug Survey, UK

Vape pen explosion pierces Florida man's cranium killing him

A US man died when a vape pen blew up and projected fragments into his skull, a post-mortem examination has found | BBC, UK

Minister signs order to extend pub opening hours for the Royal Wedding

Alcohol licensing hours will be relaxed in England and Wales to mark the Royal Wedding, the Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability confirmed today | Home Office, UK

Devising and communicating public health alcohol guidance for expectant and new mothers: a scoping report (PDF)

The aim of this research was to understand how the new CMO guidance on pregnancy was received by the target audience | Alcohol Research UK, UK

Shortage of lofexidine hydrochloride tablets 200 microgram (Britoflex)

Lofexidine is licensed for the management of symptoms of opioid detoxification. Britannia Pharmaceuticals has advised that the current batch of product expires end of May 2018, and due to change in manufacturer it is unlikely that the product will be available for several months. This memo provides advice on management of patients during the shortage | Specialist Pharmacy Service, UK

Tobacco update: Draft scope consultation

Tobacco suite: prevention, cessation and harm reduction (update): Draft scope.You can now comment on this draft scope | NICE, UK

Northern Ireland drug offences rise by 20%

The number of drug offences recorded by the PSNI increased by 20% last year, reaching their highest level since current records began | BBC, UK

Dutch researchers find ecstasy and cocaine are getting stronger

A new report from Dutch addiction centre Trimbos Institute has found that ecstasy pills are getting stronger and street-sold cocaine is becoming more pure | MixMag, UK