DS Daily - 29th August 2013

DrugScope concern over sharp rise in PMA-related ecstasy deaths

The latest statistics on drug-related deaths in England and Wales for 2012 published today, reveal a sharp increase in the number of deaths involving the ecstasy-type drug PMA, from only 1 recorded in 211 to 20 in 2012 | DrugScope, UK

Statistical bulletin: Deaths Related to Drug Poisoning in England and Wales, 2012

This statistical bulletin presents the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics on deaths related to drug poisoning in England and Wales for the last five years. Data from 1993 are available to download, and are discussed in the commentary to provide context to the latest data. Figures are presented by cause of death, sex, age, substance(s) involved in the death, and by country and region | ONS, UK

Wales tops drug poisoning table

Wales and north-west England had the highest death rates for drug misuse in 2012, according to figures for England and Wales [DrugScope quoted] | BBC, UK

Fresh fears over ecstasy substitute PMA after rise in deaths

Significant increase in the number of deaths from 'legal highs' [DrugScope quoted] | Independent, UK

Alcohol-related fatalities fall 13%

The number of people in Scotland dying from alcohol-related diseases has fallen to its lowest level since the 1990s | Herald Scotland, UK

'Legal high' deaths increase sharply in a year

Fifty-two people died after taking drugs such as spice and mephedrone last year in England and Wales, up from 29 | Guardian, UK

Global burden of disease attributable to illicit drug use and dependence: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010

Attempts have been made to estimate the global and regional prevalence of amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, and opioid dependence, and quantify their burden | Lancet, UK

Substance abuse and mental disorders are now killing more people globally than HIV, diabetes and TB

More people are dying or falling ill as a result of substance abuse and mental disorders than from HIV, tuberculosis and diabetes, according to a new worldwide study | Daily Mail, UK

Alcohol before first pregnancy raises breast cancer risk, says study

Research finds women who drank more between first period and first pregnancy more likely to develop breast cancer | Guardian, UK

Health boss warns dieters of dangerous fat-burning pills

Dieters and bodybuilders in Scotland are being warned of the dangers of fat-burning pills that have caused three deaths in the UK this year | Herald Scotland, UK

Our drugs policy isn’t working. It’s time to change it

For all the policing and prosecuting, there is no effect on levels of drug use | Independent, UK

The War on Drugs is killing Martin Luther King’s dream

How would Martin Luther King feel if he were still alive today? Barack Obama may be President, but for millions of black Americans life is shockingly deprived: a black man today is more likely to be imprisoned than in apartheid South Africa | Telegraph, UK

Peru 'drug mule' Michaella McCollum confident story of coercion will be proven after arrest over £1.5m cocaine

British women claim they were threatened at gunpoint and forced to smuggle drugs by criminal gang | Independent, UK

Michaella McCollum solicitor returns from visiting her in Peru

The solicitor for one of the two UK women arrested in Peru over alleged drugs smuggling said his client is frightened and unsure of her future | BBC, UK

Peru drugs suspect could get two years for guilty plea, says lawyer

The lawyer of the Northern Ireland woman arrested at Lima airport with £1.5m worth of cocaine has confirmed his client would only spend two years in jail if she pleads guilty | Guardian, UK

Brain exercises help clients engage with and benefit from therapy

Some clients may have started life with relatively few intellectual resources and spent years daily numbing their brain. Perhaps they just don’t ‘get’ therapy and counselling. For the first time this US study has not only suggested this is a significant issue, but shown that psychological exercises to remedy cognitive deficits improve outcomes by helping patients get to grips with treatment | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Do people stop smoking if their doctor advises them to? Cochrane review says sometimes and it IS worth the effort

General Practitioners and other health professionals could play an important role if they simply advised their patients to stop smoking as a precursor to prescribing medication, or referring them to local Stop Smoking services. In this Cochrane review, Stead et al. (2013) looked at whether advice from doctors could help their patients to quit smoking | Mental Elf, UK

The commuting criminals: How London’s drug gangs turned to the Home Counties to beat the police

When the Met decided to crack down on them, the Woolwich Boys shifted their operations to Kent | Independent, UK

Colombia extradites top drug gang leader to United States

Colombia extradited Diego Perez Henao, one of the country's most wanted gang leaders, to the United States on Wednesday to face charges for alleged cocaine trafficking and involvement in hundreds of murders, Colombia's prison authority said | Telegraph, UK

Consultation on Highland off-sales limits

Highland Licensing Board is to hold a six-week public consultation on proposals to restrict numbers of off-licenses | BBC, UK

Nearly £500,000 invested in drink and drug schemes

Nearly £500,000 is to be invested in services to combat drug and alcohol problems in north Staffordshire | BBC, UK

New chance for drug and alcohol abuse sufferers

People recovering from drug and alcohol abuse are going back to the classroom thanks to a Dearne Valley scheme | Rotheram Advertiser, UK

Cannabis farm found in ex-Kent County Council offices

A cannabis factory has been discovered in a former council office building in Dartford | BBC, UK

US Air Force bans Chobani because it contains hemp seeds and could lead to positive drug test

The war on drugs has a new enemy, Greek yogurt.
The US Air Force has banned blueberry-flavored Chobani yogurt because it contains hemp seeds – which themselves contain THC, the active ingredient in marijuana – which could lead to positive results during drug testing | MailOnline, UK

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoked 'a lot' of marijuana

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has said he has smoked "a lot" of marijuana, as a national debate on legalisation of the drug builds | BBC, UK

Cannabis risks much higher for teenagers

Teenage brains may be especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of cannabis, experts believe | Independent, Ireland

Predicting wellbeing (PDF)

Subjective wellbeing analysis is sensitive to the measures used. Validated measures of wellbeing have only recently been included in surveys, so the opportunity to carry out longitudinal analysis is just beginning. This report contributes to an emerging evidence base on what predicts wellbeing | Natcen, UK

Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit

Equips communities and local governments with material to develop policies and practices to help prevent opioid-related overdoses and deaths. Addresses issues for first responders, treatment providers, and those recovering from opioid overdose | SAMSHA, USA

Study: Marijuana most widely used illegal drug but most deaths caused by painkiller addictions

Marijuana is the most popular illegal drug used worldwide, but addictions to popular painkillers like Vicodin, Oxycontin and codeine kill the most people, according to the first-ever global survey of illicit drug abuse | Washington Post, USA

Study rams home Australia's drug problem

Australia has one of the world's most serious drug problems, according to a major international study on the health burden caused by amphetamines, cocaine, cannabis and opioids | The Australian, Australia

International Overdose Awareness Day

International Overdose Awareness Day is held on August 31st each year. Celebrated around the world, International Overdose Awareness Day aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death, especially for those mourning the loss of family and friends. It also spreads the message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable | Overdose Day, Australia