Daily news - 8th August 2017

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UK news

Government accused of 'squandering' £1.6bn a year on anti-drug policy

According to the official audit, a lack of robust evidence is also available to assess whether capture and punishment serves as a deterrent for drug use | Independent, UK

Fired Up: Why Are Ecstasy-Related Deaths Rising In The UK?

Based on the annual reports of three UK government departments, the total number of deaths associated with use of ecstasy (MDMA) in the UK in 2015 was 76, the second highest number ever recorded – after 79 in 2002, and equalling the number in 2001. Statistically, this means that there was an ecstasy-related death about every four days in 2015 | Volte Face, UK

Scotland’s drug strategy to be refreshed

Scotland’s drug strategy is to be “refreshed” as Scotland continues to face significant challenges including rising numbers of drug-related deaths. Work is also being done to look at ways to encourage older people with a drug problem into addiction services | SDF, UK

Alcohol linked to an increased risk of skin cancer

"Drinking just one glass of beer or wine a day could give you skin cancer, scientists have warned," the Mail Online reports | NHS Choices: behind the headlines, UK

Same insurance costs for vapers as smokers ‘just not fair’, says health expert

Insurance companies are still hitting e-cigarette users with a “smoker’s surcharge” despite mounting reports which claim vaping is far less dangerous than using tobacco, it’s claimed | Sunday Post, UK

Think-tank says smokers’ taxes and early deaths profit UK by £15bn

The free market Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) calculated the cost of smoking at £4.6bn, including treating diseases, tidying up dropped cigarette butts and putting out house fires | Herald, UK

How should we tackle the drug crisis? - video

In Britain the number of drug deaths has reached a record high – much of that down to opioids like fentanyl which are often mixed with heroin and other classified drugs to bulk out supplies | Channel 4, UK

Psychedelic drugs saved my life. So why aren't they prescribed?

A group of drugs long considered taboo is poised to transform the way we treat mental health. Recent research suggests that psychedelics - once regarded as a relic of the hippy-dippy 60s - could prove powerful tools not only to treat, but also potentially cure, many mental health problems regarded as chronic | WIRED, UK

Take part in the UK Recovery Walk

Join thousands of people in recovery and their families and friends for the biggest gathering of recovery people in Europe. This year's Recovery Walk starts at The Solaris Centre South Promenade, Blackpool, FY4 1RW. Join us as we walk through Blackpool celebrating and advocating for recovery. The event takes place on Saturday 9 September 2017, 12 - 7pm | CGL, UK

Drug deaths in Northumberland rise by almost 50% since protection of treatment budget removed

Drug deaths have risen by 48 per cent in Northumberland since the Government removed protection of the drug and alcohol treatment budget, new data has revealed | Northumberland Gazette, UK

999: What's Your Emergency? - video

Following criminalisation of once legal highs, crack and heroin are on the up and users and dealers are getting younger as organised gangs flood small local communities with drugs | 4oD, UK

Cautions for passengers vaping or with feet on seats

A train operator has launched a campaign to stamp out anti-social behaviour on its services | BBC, UK

Burnley cannabis food supplement store 'will be first in the UK'

A shop thought to be the first in the UK dedicated to a cannabis compound with claimed health benefits is due to open in East Lancashire | Lancashire Telegraph, UK


International news

Green Planet

Instead of helping us become ‘one with the world,’; is drug taking actually contributing in some way to destroying our planet? | Volte Face, UK

Is Doping So Bad?

At the weekend, Justin Gatlin sprinted to victory in the 100m at the World Athletics Championships, beating fellow American Christian Coleman and the famous Usain Bolt into 2nd and 3rd place respectively. Gatlin received a distinctly frosty response from the crowd however, who booed him as he celebrated his win | Volte Face, UK

A chilly blast up your nose to stop it running: Laughing gas delivered via a balloon destroys tissue that causes symptoms

Firing laughing gas up the nose could be a radical new treatment for those with blocked and runny noses | Mail Online, UK

Labor to oppose Coalition's plan for drug testing of new welfare recipients

Government plans to drug test 5,000 Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients, but proposal has sparked opposition from civil libertarians and welfare sector | Guardian, UK

The Canadian city where addicts are allowed to inject

As the opioid crisis spreads across North America, the Canadian city of Vancouver is pioneering a radical approach to drug treatment - let addicts use | BBC, UK

Secret supervised drug injection facility has been operating at US site for years

Lives have been saved at site run by a social service agency in an undisclosed city, according to newly released data, in an effort to battle the overdose epidemic | Guardian, UK

US Government’s Plans to Tackle Opioid Crisis Seem Set to Worsen It

A US government commission has urged President Donald Trump to implement a set of health-oriented measures to tackle the country’s opioid crisis, but his administration’s plans seem set to worsen it | Talking Drugs, UK

Son of Mexican drug kingpin's 'right-hand man' indicted

Drug conspiracy charges for son of 'El Chapo' lieutenant | Independent, UK

Fears that potent drug fentanyl may take hold in Ireland

The drug is often sold as heroin but is far stronger, leading to accidental overdoses | Irish Times, Ireland

873 pints of' 'hooch' confiscated in Irish prisons last year

Homebrew is made in cells using ingredients including water, sugar, fruit and bread | Journal, Ireland

Garda auditors angry at being kept in the dark about existence of fake breath tests

Internal auditors at An Garda Síochána have vented their fury at being kept in the dark by senior gardaí about the existence of thousands of fake breath tests or unreliable fixed-notice convictions | Irish Examiner, Ireland

'They've more money in their pockets': Alarming rise in young people admitting to drink driving

Sixteen percent of people under the age of 24 say they have driven a car after consuming alcohol | Irish Examiner, Ireland

From poppy to heroin: Taliban move into Afghan drug production

The Taliban -- which banned poppy cultivation when it ruled Afghanistan -- now appears to wield significant control over the war-torn country's heroin production line, providing insurgents with billions of dollars, officials have told AFP | AFP, France

Geographic Variation in Opioid and Heroin Involved Drug Poisoning Mortality Rates

An important barrier to formulating effective policies to address the rapid rise in U.S. fatal overdoses is that the specific drugs involved are frequently not identified on death certificates. This analysis supplies improved estimates of state opioid and heroin involved drug fatality rates in 2014, and changes from 2008 to 2014 | AJPM, USA

Head of UN drug body urges greater access to treatment for women

Women continue to be disproportionately affected by drug use, and face obstacles in accessing treatment, compared to men, according to the President of the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) | UN News Centre, USA

Here, heroin spares no one, not even the sheriff's wife

Robert Leahy was sitting on his couch, watching TV, when his wife, Gretchen, walked through the front door | CNN, USA

Ohio foster care system flooded with children amid opioid epidemic​

On a winding trail in southeastern Ohio, four children symbolize the devastating consequences of the opioid epidemic, reports CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds | CBS News, USA

An immune regulator of addiction

Drug addiction is often thought of as neuron-centric, but in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, M.D./Ph.D. student Daniel Kashima and his mentor, Brad Grueter, Ph.D., show that the immune system also plays a critical role | Medical Xpress, USA

Landmark long-term study shows opioids no good for back pain

Got back pain? Think once, twice and then again before taking any opioid-based painkillers, warn international experts after the release of groundbreaking new research | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

Media Release, Minister for Health Jill Hennessy: Prescription Monitoring Legislation Introduced Into Parliament

The Andrews Labor Government is getting on with real-time prescription monitoring in Victoria today with the introduction of legislation into Parliament for its commencement in 2018 | VAADA, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Nicotine in the news

There has been much hum on the wires about the FDA seeming to put reduced nicotine cigarettes (or Very Low Nicotine Content -  VLNC) front and centre of its revised tobacco control strategy. Invariably there are arguments for and against. So here is my brief take on the debate | NSP Blog, UK

Which drinking practices are associated with violent behaviour?

Attempts to ameliorate alcohol-related violence ought to be context- and peer group specific, says Carly Lightowlers | IAS Blog, UK

If Political Parties Want To Pick Up Young Voters, They Need To Change The Way They Talk About Drugs

The General Election of summer 2017 saw an upsurge in the youth vote, widely credited for Labour’s unexpectedly good result. Both main political parties are now desperately seeking ways to attract the young to their ranks. Perhaps now they will query whether the tired old soundbite that ‘all drug use is harmful’ might in fact be harmful to them | Huffington Post Blog, UK

Philippines’ ongoing war on drugs shatters hopes of peace for a generation

When he was elected president of the Philippines in July 2016, President Rodridgo Duterte promised to negotiate peace agreements with the major insurgent groups that have destabilised much of the country for decades | Conversation, UK

Alcohol addiction: 'How could I explain to my friends that our house was different?'

Addiction is not just suffered by those going through it. It is also suffered by those who see their family members or loved ones going through it. #StillJustMe is an anti-stigma campaign launched in 2017 by St Patrick’s Mental Health Services | Journal, Ireland

The War on Drugs Is Holding Science Back

Alcoholism is a relentless condition—90 percent of patients suffer a relapse within three years. But Dr. Ben Sessa believes he’s identified a substance that could help improve these outcomes. There’s just one problem: current drug policy makes it exceedingly difficult for him to conduct research into the treatment | OSF voices, USA

Ross Bell: Police are not telling us enough about this killer drug

It's been a tragic month. Nine people have lost their lives in Auckland after using what is commonly known as "synthetic cannabis" (better described as dried leaves sprayed with any of a range of untested psychoactive substances) | NZHerald opinion, New Zealand



And finally...

David Cameron smoking: Another U-turn?

It is a struggle many former smokers experience | BBC, UK