Daily news - 22nd August 2017

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UK news

Drug deaths surge in Surrey and Hampshire

A record number of people were killed by drugs in England and Wales last year, with huge rises in Surrey and Hampshire. [Harry Shapiro from DrugWise cited] | Eagle Radio, UK

The science of high-potency cannabis

What is in cannabis that can make it dangerously powerful? And what about claims of medical benefits? | BBC Newsbeat, UK

Lib Dems under Vince Cable still want to legalise cannabis

Vince Cable says the Liberal Democrats will keep pushing for the legalisation of cannabis | BBC Newsbeat, UK

Cannabis: Time For a Change? - BBC iplayer

As countries across the world look to decriminalise cannabis, Newsbeat reporter Jim Connolly asks whether it's time to change the law on the UK's most popular illegal drug | BBC Newsbeat, UK

Legalising Cannabis - BBC iPlayer

Tina Daheley and Newsbeat reporter Jim Connolly take a look at the arguments for and against the legalisation of cannabis with a panel of expert guests and Radio 1 listeners | BBC Newsbeat, UK

Psychedelic medicine: the potential, the people, the politics

It was quite a comedown in the 1970s when research into psychedelic medicine was virtually shut down in the West. Many countries were beginning to classify psychedelics as “schedule 1”, making them illegal, on the grounds that they were drugs of “abuse” with no agreed-upon medical use | New Scientist, UK

The Rise and Rise of Britain's Albanian Coke Dealers

The UK's Albanian mob has a reputation for being one of the most ruthless and violent of them all. They're best known for commandeering Soho's lucrative brothel trade, using trafficked women and weapons from the Kosovo War, but more recently Albanian gangsters have risen to become major players in another trade: Britain's highly profitable drug market | VICE, UK

Somerset Drug and Alcohol Service and Big Ben - BBC Radio Somerset

Somerset Drug and Alcohol Service says the numbers needing help for serious problems has nearly doubled in the past three years | BBC Radio, UK

Four charged over £20m heroin seizure in Salford

Four men have been charged after £20m of heroin was seized at an industrial unit in Greater Manchester | BBC, UK

Court hears prison officer ‘key drug trafficking player’

A prison officer charged with trafficking drugs into high-security Maghaberry Prison is alleged to be a “key player” in an organised crime gang | ITV, UK

Police object to Reading shipping container market plan

Plans to create a market and music venue from stacked shipping containers in Reading have been opposed by police | BBC, UK

Keep pets away from e-cigarettes over poisoning fears, vets warn

Pet owners have been warned to keep animals away from e-cigarettes after a spike in the number of poisoning cases linked to the devices | London Evening Standard, UK


International news

What Portugal's lenient drug laws mean for cannabis users

Andrea is at a residential rehab clinic in Portugal and says his drug problems began with cannabis | BBC Newsbeat, UK

Silk Road: Drugs, Death and the Dark Web - BBC iPlayer

Documentary looking at the black market website known as the Silk Road, which emerged on the darknet in 2011. This 'Amazon of illegal drugs' was the brainchild of a mysterious, libertarian intellectualoperating under the avatar The Dread Pirate Roberts | BBC, UK

China's New Silk Road - BBC iPlayer

China calls it the project of the century, a massive pathway of Chinese built infrastructure designed to drive trade across more than 60 countries. This new silk road, which echoes the trading routes of the past, could remake the global economy to China's advantage, and critics see it as a power grab by the communist state | BBC World Service, UK

Philippines drug campaign condemned by senior Catholics

The head of the Philippines Catholic Church has criticised the government's bloody campaign against drugs | BBC, UK

Welfare recipients in south-west Sydney first to be targeted by drug testing

New regime ‘all about love’, Malcolm Turnbull says as Canterbury-Bankstown named the first of three trial sites | Guardian, UK

Danish Crown Prince Frederik 'denied entry to Australian pub'

A Danish prince was temporarily denied entry to a bar in the Australian city of Brisbane because he did not have proper identification, local media say | BBC, UK

Airports try to ground drinks law

Ryanair continues in-flight alcohol sales despite calls for drinks cap in terminals | Independent, Ireland

What is the global prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder?

An article published by JAMA Pediatrics estimates the global prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) among children and youth | Science Daily, USA

Research reveals potential target for alcohol liver disease

Drinking too much alcohol can damage the liver, but investigators have discovered a protective response in the organ that might be targeted to help treat alcoholic liver disease | Medical Xpress, USA

Smokers 20 percent more likely to quit when cigarettes cost $1 more

Older smokers are usually more set in their ways, but a dollar increase in cigarette prices makes them 20 percent more likely to quit, a new Drexel University study found | Medical Xpress, USA

New vaccine could someday fight the effects of opioid combinations

Substance abuse is a continuing problem in the U.S., particularly with heroin and other opioids, to the point of being an epidemic. Treatments exist, but far too often patients relapse with devastating impacts on themselves and those around them | EurekAlert, USA

US health chief lauds China for help with opioid control

China has been an "incredible partner" in cracking down on synthetic opioids seen as fueling fast-rising overdose deaths in the United States, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said Monday during a visit to the country considered the source of many of the deadly substances sought by addicts | Medical Xpress, USA

GHB: Fuelling the flames instead of reducing the harm

On the 18th of August, The Age published an opinion piece by John Silvester entitled “It is legal to import but illegal to use – the drug flooding our streets”, which points out a loophole that allows people to import an industrial chemical that can be used as the recreational drug GHB | AOD Media Watch, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

English Harm Reduction Group Response to the 2017 Drugs Strategy

The Government has now published the 2017 Drug Strategy. We express great concern at the lack of focus on harm reduction – an evidence-based response that protects people and ultimately saves lives – at a time when drug-related deaths are the highest on record | Release Blog, UK

Representing the voice of early-career preventionists: introducing the new Lead of the EUSPR Early Careers Forum

In today’s blog post, we introduce Samuel Tomczyk, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Greifswald, who will be the new Lead of the Early Careers Forum (ECF) of the European Society for Prevention Research (EUSPR), starting in September 2017 | EUSPR Blog, UK

Unintended consequences: Black-market violence

Almost ten years ago, Antonio Costa shocked the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) with a speech that lifted the lid on the ‘unintended consequences’ of drug prohibition. As the director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, this was unexpected to say the least | Transform Blog, UK

Why lowering nicotine in cigarettes could change the course of health

The new commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently made a surprising and bold announcement that could potentially save more lives than if we ended the opioid epidemic today | Conversation, USA

The crucial opioid interventions Canada needs now

Canada is in the grip of an unprecedented opioid crisis. An estimated 2,458 Canadians died of opioid-related overdose deaths in 2016 – more than the national count of motor-vehicle accident and homicide deaths combined | Globe and Mail comment, Canada

Australia leads the world in hepatitis C treatment – what’s behind its success?

The Australian government has listed yet another drug to cure hepatitis C on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). The drug Epclusa® – a combination of sofosbuvir 400mg and velpatasvir 100mg – is the first of the direct-acting antiviral treatments effective for all types of the disease. | Conversation, Australia

How we can reduce dependency on opioid painkillers in rural and regional Australia

With more limited services in regional areas, how can we close the gap between rural and city dwellers' opioid dependence? | SBS, Australia