Weekly news - 3rd January 2020

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Consider decriminalisation to tackle drug death ‘crisis’, say treatment providers in unprecedented plea

Frontline services demand end to ideology-driven policy to save ‘thousands of lives’ | Independent, UK

Conservatives to launch new plan to tackle addiction

A Conservative majority Government will launch a new initiative to drive down drug related deaths and tackle addiction head on, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced | Conservative Party, UK

How Edinburgh became the Aids capital of Europe

In the mid-1980s Edinburgh became known as the Aids capital of Europe. A new deadly disease, cheap heroin and the hardline attitudes of the authorities were the ingredients for a public health disaster | BBC, UK

More than a dozen US school districts sue Juul and other vape companies

Districts in states across the country sue to recoup money seek on fighting widespread use of e-cigarettes | Guardian, UK

National Alcohol Strategy 2019–2028

A framework to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm. It highlights possible actions at the local, state or territory and national levels | Australian Government, Department of Health, Australia

Domestic abuse: findings from the Crime Survey for England and Wales: year ending March 2018

Section 8 considers the role of alcohol and drug use | ONS, UK

Drugs Analysis: SNP Manifesto 2019

The release of the SNP manifesto is a clear demonstration of the current tension that exists between Holyrood and the UK Government | Volte Face, UK

Global State of Harm Reduction 2019

The 2019 update to Harm Reduction International’s flagship publication, the Global State of Harm Reduction, includes updates to some of the key data in the report, including the opening of new drug consumption rooms, availability of needle and syringe programs, and references to harm reduction in national policy documents, among many other things | HRI, UK

Alcohol-specific deaths in UK: registered in 2018

There were 7,551 deaths registered in the UK in 2018 that related to alcohol-specific causes, lower than the previous year’s 7,697 deaths but still the second highest since the time series began in 2001 | ONS, UK

Alcohol death rates dropping in Scotland

Death rates caused by alcohol have dropped in Scotland in the past 10 years, according to new figures | BBC, UK

Local Alcohol Profiles for England: December 2019 data update

Update of Indicators in the Local Alcohol Profiles for England (LAPE) interactive tool | PHE, UK

Health Survey for England 2018 [NS]

Includes sections on smoking, alcohol consumption and gambling | NHS Digital, UK

Drug seizures and arrests in Northern Ireland, period ending 30 September 2019

Six-monthly update of class A, B and C drug seizure incidents and arrests by PSNI | Police Service of Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, UK

'Bad' ketamine and ecstasy warning after Liverpool clubbers hospitalised

The men, aged 18 and 19, were taken ill at Invisible Wind Factory in Liverpool at about 02:30 GMT on Saturday. Merseyside Police said officers were working to identify what the men had taken "and who supplied it" | BBC, UK

The Rise and Rise of GHB, the Most Dangerous Club Drug in the World

Take a millilitre too much and you'll put yourself into a coma. So why does it keep getting more popular? | VICE, UK

University researches will lead study at Glasgow's £1.2 million heroin-assisted treatment centre

Researchers from a Glasgow university are to spend 30 months leading a study to evaluate the city’s £1.2 million heroin-assisted treatment service – the first in Scotland | Evening Times, UK

Billy Caldwell: Home Office asked to break medicinal cannabis deadlock

The Home Office is to be asked to try to break the deadlock over securing a medicinal cannabis prescription for a severely epileptic boy | BBC, UK

Staff at Glasgow winter shelter used overdose prevention drug to save lives 17 times

Workers at Glasgow’s Winter Night Shelter had to revive people with the overdose prevention drug Naloxone 17 times in four months last year, it has been revealed | Herald, UK

Barlinnie prison 'issues safe drug use guidelines' to inmates

Prison bosses have reportedly issued inmates at Glasgow's Barlinnie jail with official guidelines on how to safely take drugs behind bars | BBC, UK

Terrorism and drugs in Europe

Despite much speculation and conjecture over potential crossovers between terrorists and the drug trade in Europe, no study has examined the issue. This paper fills this gap by empirically examining such crossovers in the European Union between 2012 and 2017 | EMCDDA, Portugal

Seizures of illegal diazepam tablets double in a year

The number of illegal diazepam tablets seized entering the UK has more than doubled in a year, figures obtained by the Victoria Derbyshire programme show | BBC, UK

City air pollution is equivalent of smoking 150 cigarettes a year

Living in the UK's most polluted cities and towns increases the risk of an early death by the equivalent of smoking three cigarettes a week, a charity has warned | Telegraph, UK

Wedinos: new samples added

WEDINOS is a harm reduction project, and reflects trends in substance use. It is therefore important that samples are submitted with a completed 'Effects Record' and correct postcode information, including samples from outside of Wales | WEDINOS, UK

European health body ‘cannot back vaping as safe way to quit smoking’

The European Respiratory Society (ERS) said it cannot recommend tobacco harm reduction strategies and that there is no evidence alternative nicotine products are safe | ITV, UK

Seizures of drugs in England and Wales, financial year ending 2019

Contains figures for seizures of drugs made by local police forces and the UK Border Force. | Home Office, UK

Cocaine seizures in England and Wales at highest level since 1973

Official statistics show almost 10,000kg of class A drug confiscated in 2018-19 | Guardian, UK

Roadmaps to Regulation: MDMA

As we enter the fourth decade of MDMA’s widespread use, new thinking is needed on how to better control production and distribution, and on how to reduce the risks associated with its consumption | Beckley Foundation, UK

I watched friends needlessly die from drug addiction

Hundreds of wooden crosses will be planted in memory of people who have died from drugs in Scotland | BBC, UK

Wales cocaine deaths 'quadruple in five years'

Thirty-one people died from cocaine poisoning last year - compared to seven in 2014, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said | BBC, UK

Scotland Yard sets up 'social media squad' to monitor internet for gang crime

Scotland Yard has set up a team of millennial detectives to scour social media for signs of gang crime, violence and drug dealing | Telegraph, UK

6.2 Million middle and high school students used tobacco products in 2019

About 6.2 million U.S. middle and high school students were current (past 30-day) users of some type of tobacco product in 2019, according to new National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) data released in today’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The survey found that about 1 in 3 high school students (4.7 million) and about 1 in 8 middle school students (1.5 million) are current tobacco users | CDC, USA

Substance deaths are soaring – will this election signal the beginning of the end for the war on drugs?

Rarely do politicians act ahead of public opinion so we all have to consider how radical we are willing to be on this issue | Independent voices, UK

Patterns of alcohol and other drug treatment service use in Australia, 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2018

Clients accessing alcohol and other drug treatment services across Australia commonly have multiple episodes of treatment spanning several years. This report categorises 3 client groups based on their patterns of service use between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2018. While there were subtle differences in principal drug of concern and some aspects of service use between the 3 groups, overall there were many similarities. This highlights the complexities of characterising alcohol and other drug service users | AIHW, Australia