DS Daily - 6th November 2009


Keeping tabs on synthetic drugs

Globally, there are significantly more users of synthetic drugs than there are users of heroin and cocaine combined [UNODC]

Public hearing on harmful use of alcohol

340 contributions were sent in by individuals, civil society groups, WHO Member States and government institutions, academic and research institutions, economic operators and other interested parties [World Health Organisation]

Scientists urge respect on advice

A group of senior academics has called for reassurances from the UK government that it will respect the independence and freedom of its scientific advisers [BBC, UK]

MPs seek answers on Nutt sacking

MPs have asked Home Secretary Alan Johnson to explain his decision to sack the government's chief drugs adviser [BBC, UK]

The highs and lows of policy based evidence

In a sense, we owe Nutt a great debt. His problems have brought to a head the crisis in the relations between science and government [BMJ, UK]

Tripping over Nutt

The Nutt episode has revealed the limits of the Home Office's criminal justice approach to drugs policy [TDPF, UK]

After the drugs advice council collapses

David Nutt's dismissal looks set to destroy the council he chaired. Mature drugs debate will have to find another home [Guardian, UK]

Professor Nutt: 'If we want to reduce deaths, alcohol and heroin are the issues'

Having been removed from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, Professor David Nutt talks to Cassandra Jardine [Times, UK]

EU struggles to curb hard drugs

European efforts to curb cocaine and heroin use made little impact in the past year, the EU's main drugs watchdog says in its annual report [BBC, UK]

Britain named as European capital for 'legal highs'

Britain is the online capital of Europe for potent synthetic drugs which mimic the effects of illegal substances, according to a report published today by the European Union’s drug agency [Times, UK]

Understanding the ‘Spice’ phenomenon

Although advertised as an ‘exotic incense blend which releases a rich aroma’ and ‘not for human consumption’, when smoked, Spice products have been reported by some users to have effects similar to those of cannabis [EMCDDA]

2009 Annual report: the state of the drugs problem in Europe

The report on the state of the drugs problem in Europe presents the EMCDDA's yearly overview of the drug phenomenon. English PDF [EMCDDA]

Market innovation and sophistication challenge drug policies, says EMCDDA

Europe is faced with an increasingly complex and volatile synthetic drug market, says the EU drugs agency [EMCDDA]

Drug offences: sentencing and other outcomes

When comparing drug policies of countries in the European Union, the level of penalties set out in the national laws is a common feature in the discussion. 28-page PDF [EMCDDA]

Ed Balls: All children to learn about personal finance and healthier lifestyles

PSHE gives young people the information they need to make the right choices about their future. It covers a range of issues young people growing up today face such as: avoiding harm from alcohol and drugs [Department for Children, Schools and Families, UK]

Cannabis use among teenagers continues to fall

Change in attitudes among 15- to 16-year-olds behind decline, though UK tops Europe's cocaine league, says drug agency [Times, UK]

Radical scheme using ex-offenders to help prisoners is huge success

The first evaluation of the Scottish Government-supported scheme revealed that more than 2000 prisoners signed up to the pilot project, which uses reformed inmates to provide advice and support and ensure prisoners are put in touch with health and education services on release [The Herald, Scotland, UK]

Syringe sharing cut by two-thirds after injecting room opens

After showing that the safer injecting facility in Vancouver benefited the communityby reducing public injecting and injection-related litter, researchers have now shown that it also safeguarded its users by cutting the number who shared syringes. Print publication 2005 [Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK]

New programme launched to cut youth crime

A pioneering project dedicated to making London safer by helping young offenders turn their backs on crime was launched today by Justice Secretary Jack Straw and the Mayor of London Boris Johnson [Ministry of Justice, UK]

Two sozzled victims of modern hypocrisy

For decades politicians have been relaxing the licensing hours to keep the drinks industry sweet, and then wringing their hands at the ensuing social chaos and addiction [Times, UK]

Minimum pricing myths debunked

Independent research from the University of Sheffield, published on September 28 this year, showed how minimum pricing, combined with a ban on irresponsible off-sales promotions could save lives, reduce illness and cut crime, as well as reducing the burden on Scottish public services and the economy [Scottish Government, UK]

Minimum pricing for alcohol - joint letter to press

Controls on price and availability have been identified as one of the most effective measures that governments can implement to reduce harm caused by alcohol [Alcohol Focus Scotland, UK]

Minimum drink price plan will die without Labour backing

The fate of one of the Scottish Government's last flagship policies was in the balance last night, even though it won a debate on minimum pricing of alcohol [The Scotsman, UK]

Oldham gets tough on supermarkets with major crackdown

Controversial council will try to ban stores selling alcohol in doorways [The Publican , UK]

INEBRIA 2009 SIPS Presentations

The SIPS (Screening and Intervention Programme for Sensible Drinking) team presented some updates (available for download) on the IBA research at the 6th Annual Conference of INEBRIA [Alcohol Learning Centre, UK]

Evidence-based practice?

The National Probation Service’s work with alcohol-misusing offenders. 86-page PDF [Ministry of Justice, UK]

IARC finds more cancers linked to tobacco and alcohol

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has updated its assessments of several cancer-causing substances and behaviours [Cancer Research UK]

Minister hits back at drug strategy criticism

Coordinator at Citywide, Daithi Doolan, said he finds it totally unacceptable that the Government has “relegated the battle against the drugs crisis to that of a part-time job” ... Minister Curran said the Government has given him direct responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy, adding that he was determined to effectively fulfil that role [Dublin People, Ireland]

Latest drug trends across Europe. HRB compares Irish situation with European findings

This briefing note compares the situation here in Ireland with Europe [Health Research Board, Ireland]

Dutch among lowest cannabis users in Europe-report

The Dutch are among the lowest users of marijuana or cannabis in Europe despite the Netherlands' well-known tolerance of the drug [Reuters]

Drugnet Europe 68

The quarterly newsletter from [EMCDDA]

Research In Brief

October / November edition [Research Institute on Addictions, University of Buffalo, USA]

Female Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions Aged 12 to 17

Marijuana and alcohol accounted for 80 percent of all primary substances of abuse reported by adolescent female admissions [SAMHSA, USA]

Campaign Launches to Sound Alarm about the Misuse of Prescription Drugs Among Teens

New Resources Equip Parents, Teachers, Coaches, Health Professionals and Other Teen Influencers with Tools to Prevent Teens from Abusing Prescription Drugs [SAMHSA, USA]

UK Drug Advisor Sacked for Classifying Drugs Based on Science

It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds and, particularly, whether it receives attention in the U.S., because the Office of National Drug Control Policy is currently working on its own three-year drug policy strategy to be released early next year [DPA, USA]

A New Era for U.S. Drug Policy?

Jim Webb Says America's Justice System Is Broken and Drug Policy Is Largely to Blame; Is Portugal's Liberal Approach a Model? [CBS News, USA]

Amid Rising Violence, Mexicans Fight Back

Government Efforts to Control Drug Turf Wars Aren't Enough, Some Say; Mayor Promises to 'Clean Up' Organized Crime [The Wall Street Journal]

WADA Looks to Governments to Help Fight Drugs

A victory anti-doping crusaders once believed impossible is now within reach with the help of powerful new allies as the war on performance-enhancing drugs in sport moves on to new fronts [New York Times, USA]

Russia’s drugs problem: blame the West

Why is Russia resisting international help with its spiralling drugs problem [Open Democracy Network]

State Budget Submission 2010/11

The role of government in alcohol and drugs policy and funding for service provision is difficult and complex. But VAADA contends it is crucial that the Victorian Government provide the kind of political leadership that cultivates better understanding of complex issues [Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association]