Daily news - 3rd July 2017

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UK news

Pregabalin: Doctors call for 'new Valium' to be restricted amid sharp rise in abuse

Drug mentioned on 38 death certificates in 2014 but doctors warn this is 'tip of the iceberg' | Independent, UK

Alcohol-related deaths will take 'decades' to reduce

It will take decades to see the number of alcohol-related deaths fall significantly, a charity has warned | BBC, UK

Alcohol and cancer: knowing the risks (PDF)

Alcohol is a group 1 carcinogen and is linked to an increased risk of seven types of cancer. The latest alcohol consumption guidelines explain that there is no completely safe level of drinking, and therefore any amount of alcohol you drink increases your risk of developing cancer. But the less alcohol you drink, the lower the risk | AHA UK, UK

Smokefree: The First Ten Years

Produced to mark the tenth anniversary of smokefree legislation in England, this report looks at the shifting public attitudes towards smoking and tobacco control measures over the past decade. The report is based on ten years of data from the ASH / YouGov Smokefree England survey | ASH, UK

Pub smoking ban: 10 charts that show the impact

It's 10 years since smoking was banned in enclosed workplaces in England, following similar moves in the rest of the UK. But how has the "pub smoking ban" changed the country? | BBC, UK

New form of Spice that left 10 in hospital is 20 times more potent than previous strain

Dr Oliver Sutcliffe, the academic who tested samples of the substance, said it was 100 per cent pure and therefore ‘significantly more dangerous’ than the already frightening strains seen previously | Mirror, UK

World's first trials of MDMA to treat alcohol addiction set to begin

Imperial College London scientists expect to give first dose in the next two months alongside psychotherapy | Guardian, UK

Sheffield student died after taking drugs in 'final fling' after finishing university

A popular Sheffield student died after taking drugs as a 'final fling' as she celebrated finishing university with her friends | Yorkshire Evening Post, UK

The 'hell' of my prescription drug withdrawal

Fiona French from Aberdeen says the prescription drug she was put on 40 years ago led to decades of suffering that only ended after a three-year withdrawal which she describes as "hell and torture" | BBC, UK

Boomtown fair will be testing drugs on site this year

Drug counsellors will be available as well | MixMag, UK

Festival boss Melvin Benn waiting for drug-testing licence for Reading and Leeds

The organiser of Reading and Leeds, Melvin Benn, hopes drug testing will start soon at UK festivals but says the Home Office needs to issue a special licence for that to happen | BBC, UK

Tobacco giant Philip Morris is paying people £50 if they persuade a smoker to quit

'We are absolutely serious – one day we want to stop selling cigarettes,' said Peter Nixon, managing director for Philip Morris UK and Ireland | Independent, UK


To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps the Government is taking to reduce inequalities in health outcomes caused by higher rates of smoking among lower socioeconomic groups | They work for you, UK

Outcomes from a large 10 year hepatitis C treatment programme in people who inject drugs: No effect of recent or former injecting drug use on treatment adherence or therapeutic response

People who inject drugs (PWID) are historically viewed as having “difficult to treat” hepatitis C disease, with perceived inferior treatment adherence and outcomes, and concerns regarding reinfection risk. We evaluated for differences in treatment adherence and response to Peginterferon-alfa-2a/Ribavirin (Peg-IFNα/RBV) in a large urban cohort with and without a history of remote or recent injection drug use | PLOSone, UK

Man arrested over Foulden Newton cannabis crop find

A 37-year-old man has been arrested after a drugs crop with a potential street value of £40,000 was found in the Scottish Borders | BBC, UK

Drug syndicate 'used drones to monitor police'

An international drug syndicate used drones to run counter-surveillance on police in a failed bid to import 78 blocks of cocaine into Australia, authorities say | BBC, UK

Undercover Gwent Police officer given heroin and hot chocolate mix in drug deal by Newport man

A Newport drug dealer who tried to pass off hot chocolate powder as heroin - and then sell it to an undercover police officer - has received a 12 month community order | South Wales Argus, UK

Drugs gang jailed for stabbing rival 18 times in Exeter

Seven members of a drugs gang have been sentenced after a rival gang member was stabbed 18 times as he slept | BBC, UK

Drugs gang jailed for total of 40 years

A 12-strong gang of Luton drug dealers - including three boys aged under 18 - have been jailed for a total of 40 years | ITV, UK

Socialite who tried to blackmail the Royal Family killed himself, inquest hears

Asocialite who tried to blackmail the Royal Family over an alleged gay sex scandal killed himself by taking a lethal cocktail of drugs, an inquest heard | Telegraph, UK

Swearing ban: Samuel Smith pub boss calls time on bad language

Humphrey Smith, 72, rarely talks to media and expects the same of staff. But a picture of an eccentric owner has begun to emerge | Guardian, UK


International news

Global Forum on Nicotine 2017

All the videos form the recent event in Poland | GFN, UK

Europe's Drug Wars - BBC radio iPlayer

Gangland killings in Ireland and death threats to journalists more than 20 years after the assassination of crime reporter Veronica Guerin mask a much bigger problem. The bloodshed in Ireland has its tentacles across Europe where law enforcers struggle to contain an out of control drugs war | BBC, UK

Ten years after the smoking ban, vaping is a £1bn business

Big tobacco is increasingly investing in e-cigarettes, which offer an alternative to smoking and are much safer | Guardian, UK

Catalonia Legalises Cannabis Cultivation and Distribution

The Parliament of Catalonia has approved the creation of a legal framework for regulating the cultivation, distribution, and consumption of cannabis | Volte Face, UK

Nevada becomes fifth US state to allow cannabis sales for recreational purposes

The millions of tourists who visit Las Vegas and other Nevada cities every year are expected to make nearly two of every three purchases | Independent, UK

In Seattle US old-timers rediscover the high life on cannabis tours

Retirement home residents take a trip to a producer | Guardian, UK

Canada Drug Consumption Rooms to Allow Oral and Nasal Use, as Overdose Crisis Escalates

For the first time, Canadian authorities are permitting people to consume drugs orally and nasally in drug consumption rooms, as the country’s overdose crisis escalates | Talking Drugs, UK

The United States of Heroin

There has never been an epidemic of drug addiction like it in the United States of America | Herald, UK

New Zealand soldiers got high on prescription drugs during mission

Man questioned over drugs 'stunk' of lying, commander says | Independent, UK

Brazil arrests notorious drug kingpin Luiz Carlos da Rocha

Brazilian police have captured a notorious drug kingpin who used plastic surgery to evade capture for almost 30 years, authorities say | BBC, UK

Philippines: Duterte’s bloody and lawless year in power

Since assuming the presidency of the Philippines a year ago, Rodrigo Duterte and his administration have presided over a wide range of human rights of violations, intimidated and imprisoned critics, and created a climate of lawlessness, Amnesty International said today | Amnesty, UK

#StopDuterteNow Global Call for Action - video

#StopDuterteNow is a global campaign that aims to put an end to Duterte and his terror in the Philippines. The campaign will follow a series of short video messages that are directly addressed to Duterte, explaining him how we feel about his war on drugs | INPUD, UK

Massive drugs seizure linked to dangerous gang

A massive €3.8m drug seizure is being linked to one of the capital's most dangerous drugs gangs | Independent, Ireland

Ireland’s drug habits: an eye-opening visit to the State lab

At Forensic Science Ireland, they know the boom is back by amount of cocaine coming in | Irish Times, Ireland

Award-winning Switzerland u-turns on alcohol interlocks

Switzerland has announced plans to cancel implementation of an alcohol interlock programme for convicted drink drivers one week after receiving ETSC’s PIN Award for long-term efforts to reduce road safety | ETSC, Belgium

Press Release: Initiative for the establishment and coordination of the “Greek Observatory for the Medical Use of Cannabis”

In view of the on-going progress in the field of the medical use of cannabis at international level, as well as the current developments in our country, NGO Diogenis within a network of collaborating civil society organizations – with years of experience, knowledge and activity in this specific area of interest – is undertaking the initiative to set up and coordinate the establishment of the “Greek Observatory for the Medical Use of Cannabis” | Diogenis, Greece

Study shows childhood psychiatric disorders increase risk for later adult addiction

These findings emphasize the need for early detection and intervention | EurekAlert, USA

Opioid epidemic takes toll on those with chronic pain

It is not a good time to be a pain patient, says Mark Bailey, D.O., Ph.D., a pain specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It's not a good time to be a pain doctor, or a pharmacist either, he says. The nation is dealing with an opioid epidemic, and the field of pain management has gotten very complicated | Medical Xpress, USA

Most reproductive-age women using opioids also use another substance

The majority of reproductive-age and pregnant women who use opioids for non-medical purposes also use at least one other substance, ranging from nicotine or alcohol to cocaine, according to a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health analysis. It was the first to look at use of multiple substances in a nationally representative group of U.S. women age 18 to 44 | Medical Xpress, USA

Serotonin contributions to cocaine's allure

A new study reinforces long-held suspicions that the brain chemical serotonin, a molecule usually associated with mood, appetite and libido, makes a direct contribution to the actions of cocaine | Science Daily, USA

Safe Injection Spaces Save Lives and Money, But Will They Make It in America?

Ten countries have authorized injection facilities in about 66 cities around the world | IRETA, USA

What About People of Color Who Use Opioids?

As a young man, Joe L. of Wilmington, North Carolina, worked in construction and concrete in rural Brunswick County. At 22 years old he was injured in a work-related accident | Huffington Post, USA

New addiction medication Vivitrol studied in Vancouver

A new drug that could dramatically improve outcomes for people who are addicted to opioids or alcohol is being tested in Vancouver | Straight, USA

These Three Very Good Police Dogs Overdosed On Fentanyl — And Lived

“The insidious this thing is that the amount of fentanyl that could kill you is so small it’s invisible,” a detective said | BuzzFeed, USA

Canada on track to violate three UN drug treaties

As of Canada Day, the Liberal government’s pot timeline would breach international treaties | iPolitics, Canada

Push for SMS to warn nightclubbers of dodgy party drugs, overdoses

Victoria Police is pushing for a drug alert to hit mobile phones of nightclubbers, warning them of overdoses and bad batches of drugs being sold | Herald Sun, Australia

Festival drug testing results prompt calls for law change

Drug testers found that almost a third of illicit drugs tested at music festivals were not what the user thought they were taking | RNZ, New Zealand

NZ Drug Foundation breaking law to ensure a safe high for users

In a controversial move, the New Zealand Drug Foundation is knowingly breaking the law to enable drug users to get high safely | TVNZ, New Zealand

Dying Kiwis become criminals as they turn to medicinal cannabis

An increasing number of Kiwis are turning to medicinal cannabis at the ends of their lives as they suffer from the effects of terminal illnesses such as cancer | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand

What's the difference between decriminalising and legalising cannabis?

Imagine a future in which the possession of cannabis in New Zealand is no longer a criminal offence | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

10 years of smokefree: a victory for parliament an public health

This coming weekend marks the tenth anniversary of England going smokefree in all enclosed public places including pubs, bars and private members clubs | ASH Blog, UK

'It has had a real social impact': readers on the smoking ban ten years on

We asked you to share your memories of the public ban that came into effect in 2007. Here’s what some of you said | Guardian, UK

Making tobacco vending machines a thing of the past

This weekend marks 10 years since smoke free legislation was introduced in England. Its introduction has transformed our pubs and restaurants, making smoke-filled meals and drinks out with friends a thing of the past | ASH Blog, UK

Experiences from a recovering doctor. Why I wish to return to doing clinical work

Much like a person who receives a diagnosis of dementia, I experienced enormous relief at receiving a formal diagnosis of alcohol dependence syndrome | Shibley Rahman Blog, UK

The dark web has made sales of drugs safer

Dark-web drug transactions increased 50 percent between 2013—the year the FBI shut down the Silk Road—and January 2016, according to a new report from the United Nations | Newsweek opinion, USA

50 years after the Summer of Love, why is cannabis still illegal in the UK?

The hippie mission to decriminalise marijuana remains a dream | New Statesman, UK

John Ashton: Public health must constantly be challenging

With the nation still reeling from the shock of the recent Grenfell Tower fire in West London, in which so many of our most disadvantaged citizens died, Martin McKee reminds us that the public’s health is fundamentally a political matter | BMJ Blog, UK

Millennials’ Sobriety Isn’t What It Seems

They’re avoiding many of the substances that got earlier generations high. But are they better off? | Medium, USA

United Nations and World Health Organization Call for Drug Decriminalization

In a joint statement, the United Nations (UN) and World Health Organization (WHO) expressed their support for countries in the review and repeal of laws that criminalize drug use and possession of drugs for personal use | DPA Blog, USA