Daily news - 17th July 2017

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UK News

Updated drug misuse clinical guidelines published

The update to Drug Misuse and Dependence: UK guidelines on clinical management (often called the orange book) has been published. Last updated in 2007, the newly updated guidelines endorse much of the previous guidelines. But there is a stronger emphasis on recovery and on a holistic approach to the issues and interventions that can support recovery. Key additions and reinforced messages for 2017 include: incorporation of clinical guidance on prison-based treatment, new psychoactive substances and club drugs, mental health co-morbidity, misuse of prescribed and over-the-counter medicines, smoking cessation, and preventing drug-related deaths, including naloxone provision | PHE, UK

'Dramatic increase' in UK deaths linked to drug use - video

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has launched a new strategy to tackle illicit drug use after a "dramatic" increase in the number of deaths from drugs in England and Wales. Harry Shapiro is the Director of Drugwise, an online drug information service. He told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme that "heroin and cocaine on the streets are at the highest purity levels" | BBC, UK

Chemsex drugs and former legal highs targeted by Home Office

Ministers to launch scheme aimed at cutting illicit drug use and improving dependence recovery rates. [Our Director Harry Shapiro quoted] | Guardian, UK

What is chemsex and why is the UK government worried about it?

No chemsex please, we’re British. It has widely been reported this morning that the UK government is gunning for chemsex in its new drug strategy, published today. But what is it, and is it really that bad? | New Scientist, UK

From angel to monster: 'My son was groomed to sell drugs'

Children from middle-class backgrounds are in danger of being groomed by criminal gangs to sell drugs, a new report has found. One mother says her son turned from "an angel into a monster" | BBC, UK

'I was a schoolboy crack dealer': The 15-year-old who sells drugs before class - video

How one teenager was sucked into the violent world of Class A drug dealing | Independent, UK

Stacey Dooley investgates: kids selling drugs online - BBC iPlayer

Stacey goes undercover on Instagram, Snapchat and new social app Yellow to meet the new generation of drug dealers responsible for the biggest ever change to the UK drug trade | BBC, UK

UK drug strategy 'hollow' without more money, says Burnham

Manchester mayor says police and other services cannot do more to tackle spice crisis unless there is more funding | Guardian, UK

The Highs and Lows of the Government's New Drug Strategy

Today, the government finally announces its new drug strategy – a five-year plan for dealing with the problems drugs cause society – after a 15-month delay | VICE, UK

Turning Point responds to new Drug Strategy, out today

“Turning Point welcomes the release of the new Drug Strategy today, especially as we face changing trends in people’s drug and alcohol use. People continue to use New Psychoactive Substances despite criminalisation last year; there is an increasing number of people using image- and performance-enhancing drugs; and an ageing population of heroin and crack users has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of deaths as a result of drug misuse since 2012 | Turning Point, UK

CGL response to the 2017 Drug Strategy

Change, grow, live (CGL) welcomes the new drug strategy introduced today by Amber Rudd. Since the 1990s the investment into, and delivery of treatment has increased significantly and we hope this will continue. This investment has contributed to many thousands of people receiving high quality treatment and recovering from their addictions. We have also seen huge reductions in drug related crimes and other harms | CGL, UK

Forward responds to new Drug Strategy

Mike Trace, CEO of Forward, the leading social enterprise that empowers people to break the cycle of crime or addiction, said: “We commend the Government’s commitment to evidence-based drug treatment, as well as the introduction of a national Recovery Champion to drive improvements in rates of recovery from drug and alcohol dependence | Forward Trust, UK

Adfam responds to the 2017 Drug Strategy

Adfam welcomes the publication of the new strategy | Adfam, UK

Our response to the 2017 Drug Strategy

Our Chief Executive Monty Moncrieff responds to the Government’s new Drug Strategy | London Friend, UK

Responses to the new drug strategy

Here are some early responses and we will add more as they come in. To add yours, please email the editor| DDN, UK

UK Government’s New Drug Strategy is a ‘Shameful Ignoring of the Evidence’

The government claims that its new drug strategy represents a fresh approach to the challenges posed by illicit drugs. In reality, it is stuck in a time warp, fighting battles that were lost in the last century | Talking Drugs, UK

See more responses to the Drug Startegy in the Blog section below

The stigma stopping Sikh women getting help with alcohol addiction

Punjabi Sikh women with drinking problems are less likely to come forward for help because of the fear of stigma and shame, a West Midlands alcohol support group says | BBC, UK

Decriminalising drugs: A good thing? - BBC radio 4

Fewer than one in ten adults in England and Wales now take drugs, according to the Home Office, but drug-related deaths have risen sharply | BBC, UK

Welcome to Our Drugs Harm Reduction Series, 'Safe Sesh'

Today, VICE UK is launching a campaign that aims to make drug taking as safe as it can possibly be | VICE, UK

We Asked Dealers If They Care About Their Customers' Safety

Are the people selling you weed, heroin, xanax and crack concerned about what happens to you after they've driven away? | VICE, UK

Why Are Universities So Scared to Talk About Drugs?

While freshers can expect briefings about sexual abuse, personal safety and inequality, on the dangers of drugs, universities clam up | VICE, UK

The Many Ways the Rest of the World Is Beating the UK on Drugs

We might have virtually invented harm reduction in the 1980s, but since then we've been lagging behind in a big way | VICE, UK

How the UK's Music Festivals Changed Their Tune On Drugs

After years of taking a zero tolerance policy towards drugs, some festivals are now allowing onsite testing so punters can check that what they're taking is safe | VICE, UK

Why Sniffer Dogs Should Be Banned at Clubs and Festivals

When it comes to drugs, man's best friend could be more of a hindrance than a help | VICE, UK

Political Cynicism Is Killing Drug Users

And voters are just as responsible as the politicians themselves | VICE, UK

New Psychoactive Substances (NPS)

What do homelessness services need to know about New Psychoactive Substances? | Homeless Link, UK

I took drugs because it was a fast-track way of meeting people

Drugs can give you an artificial sense of confidence. I want to stay away from this behaviour, and peer support is a good way to do it | Guardian, UK

Girl, 15, dies in Newton Abbot after 'legal high reaction'

A 15-year-old girl has died after suffering an adverse reaction from a suspected "legal high," police said | BBC, UK

Full report identifying priorities for future alcohol-related liver disease research published

The James Lind Alliance (JLA) has published the full report of its Priority Setting Partnership (PSP) identifying priorities for future research into alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD) | NIHR, UK

Target date to be set for smoke-free Scottish prisons

The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) is set to reveal the target date for Scotland's prisons becoming smoke free | BBC, UK

Smoking cessation in severe mental ill health: what works? an updated systematic review and meta-analysis

People with severe mental ill health are more likely to smoke than those in the general population. It is therefore important that effective smoking cessation strategies are used to help people with severe mental ill health to stop smoking. This study aims to assess the effectiveness and cost –effectiveness of smoking cessation and reduction strategies in adults with severe mental ill health in both inpatient and outpatient settings | BMC Psychiatry, UK

Breaking Point: Addressing the crisis in alcohol services

As part of its ongoing work to support effective treatment, the merged Alcohol Research UK and Alcohol Concern are seeking practitioner experiences of the treatment landscape today.  This survey will play a critical role in helping us understand the needs of treatment services and develop evidence-based recommendations | Alcohol Research UK, UK

Environmental campaign targets smokers who dump cigarette butts on ground

A new campaign aims to clean up the streets of Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire by encouraging people to take personal responsibility for their litter | The Gazette, UK

Choose booze: How to fit alcohol into a healthy lifestyle

Your lifestyle habits can have a big impact on the effectiveness of your diet and exercise routine – and that applies no more keenly than to the chain of events that's started when you drink alcohol. Particularly habits many of us display when socialising | Telegraph, UK

Feedback: Help us design our very scientific pub crawl

All  great minds need lubrication, and where better to fuel idle curiosity than in the pub? Michael Zehse writes to tell us of his trip to The J. P. Joule in Manchester, UK, named after physicist James Prescott Joule, who spent the last years of his life nearby. He wonders: how many other hostelries bear the names of famous scientists? | New Scientist, UK


International news

Death of 20-year-old woman after 'mystery shots' at holiday resort leaves grieving family demanding answers

Toxicology reports taken at the Playa del Carmen medical centre showed that her blood-alcohol content was 0.25 | Independent, UK

Colombia producing more cocaine than ever before, UN figures show

About 866 tonnes of cocaine were produced in 2016, new report suggests | Guardian, UK [ see report below]

‘Co-founder’ of AlphaBay dark web for drugs and weapons found dead in cell

26-year-old Canadian Alexandre Cazes was a computer expert involved with Bitcoin transactions | Independent, UK

Donald Trump says Mexico border wall must be see-through to stop 'sacks of drugs' landing on people's heads

'They hit you on the head with 60 pounds of stuff? It's over.' | Independent, UK

Report on scrutiny of the Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill 2016

This is the report of the Joint Committee on Health’s detailed scrutiny of the Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill 2016, which aims to make cannabis available for medicinal use through licenced pharmacies | Houses of the Oireachtas, Ireland

New UNODC report: Coca crops in Colombia increase over 50 per cent in one year

he latest Colombia Cultivation Survey, produced by the Integrated System for Monitoring Illicit Crops (SIMCI) Project of UNODC, was released today, showing an increase of 52 per cent in coca cultivation area - from 96,000 hectares (ha) in 2015 to 146,000 ha in 2016 | UNODC, USA

New report presents national strategy to reduce opioid epidemic

National strategy to reduce opioid epidemic, an urgent public health priority, presented in new report | EurekAlert, USA

Pain Management and the Opioid Epidemic: Balancing Societal and Individual Benefits and Risks of Prescription Opioid Use

Drug overdose, driven largely by overdose related to the use of opioids, is now the leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States. The ongoing opioid crisis lies at the intersection of two public health challenges: reducing the burden of suffering from pain and containing the rising toll of the harms that can arise from the use of opioid medications | National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, USA

States Keep Saying Yes to Marijuana. Now There’s an Attorney General Saying No

Eight states legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use last fall, but the attorney general is leading a federal push to curb the industry | NYTimes, USA

The Lawyer, the Addict

A high-powered Silicon Valley attorney dies. His ex-wife investigates, and finds a web of drug abuse in his profession | NYTimes, USA

Why comparing technology to drugs isn't simply a question of addiction

Some experts say technologies such as social media and video games are like drugs. Others disagree | Medical Xpress, USA

Bitcoin Could Help Solve The Cannabis Industry's Banking Problems

The cannabis industry is booming in more than two dozen states with medical marijuana laws and a handful that also legalized recreational use, including Colorado, Alaska, Washington and Oregon | IBTimes, USA

Canada should continue with separate medical stream after cannabis is legalized for recreational use

After cannabis is legalized, Canada should continue with a separate medical cannabis stream to keep patients safe, argues a commentary | EurekAlert, USA

New report from Canada’s Drug Futures Forum outlines recommendations for the next decade of drug policy in Canada

Recommendations from a meeting of over 200 policymakers, public health officials, law enforcement professionals, researchers, people who use drugs, and community organizers provides an innovative roadmap to improve Canada’s policy response to illegal drugs over the coming ten years | Canada's Drug Futures Forum, Canada

Much ado in New Zealand about drug policy in the media during July

There was much ado about drugs in New Zealand media in the first week of July. Here is Russell Brown’s overview of the media coverage the surrounded the New Zealand Drug Law Symposium | AOD Media Watch, Australia

Ice-using parents new threat facing Department of Child Safety

Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman revealed new figures, which showed that the disturbing trend from the previous year had worsened | Age, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Our Drugs Strategy Will Tackle A Corrosive, Creeping Threat Destroying Countless Lives

My job as Home Secretary is to keep families and communities across our country safe | Huffington Post Blog, UK

Who will this ‘new’ Home Office drugs strategy help? Not today’s users

What few good ideas there are in this pedestrian policy initiative seem to ignore the fact that public services like ours are squeezed to breaking point | Guardian opinion, UK

Duncan Selbie’s Friday message – 14 July 2017

We are a healthy nation and we are living longer and in better health. We are incredibly fortunate to have dynamic local Government leaders, with relentlessly hardworking teams and an unrivalled health system in the NHS | PHE Blog, UK

The launch of the 2017 Drug Strategy

Having read the new strategy, it is clear that it is more evolution than revolution with the same top level aim of reducing the use of drugs and increasing the rates of recovery. This evolution is reflected  by the first three key themes of the strategy’s approach: “reducing demand”; “restricting supply”; and “building recovery” | Revolving Doors Blog, UK

A letter to... My father-in-law, who can’t see beyond the end of his cigarette

The letter you always wanted to write | Guardian letters, UK

Why banning alcohol advertising for young people is the right move

Frank Murray: It is shocking that children see more alcohol adverts than adults | Irish Times opinion, Ireland

The Promise of LSD Microdoses and Other Psychedelic "Medicines"

Psychiatrist John Halpern discusses the psychotherapeutic potential of peyote, ayahuasca, psilocybin, MDMA and other psychedelics | Scientific American opinion, USA

Luke Williams: My strange time in drug rehab

The first fellow patient I met in rehab filled in the forms at reception with her own flower-print pen. She told me she was 51, a librarian and addicted to Phenergan | News.com.au lifestyle, Australia