Daily news - 1st September 2017

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UK news

Laughing gas still illegal despite court decisions, government says

Home Office says nitrous oxide is still banned under Psychoactive Substances Act despite collapse of two recent prosecutions | Guardian, UK

'Legal high' law secured 26 convictions in 6 months

Twenty-six people were convicted under "psychoactive substances" laws in the first six months since they were introduced | BBC, UK

Nitrous oxide gets the last laugh

The Novel Psychoactive Substances Act has taken its first major blow as a court ruled that nitrous oxide could be defined as a medicine, and is therefore legal. For many users of the drug hearing such news many might induce nitrous oxide type effects, a short bout of laughter, rush of euphoria and amusement before returning to reality | Volte Face, UK

Police vow to continue arrests for laughing gas despite court ruling

Home Office says nitrous oxide is covered by the law but two judges found it to be exempt | Independent, UK

Legal High Policy rethink - Victoria Derbyshire - BBC iPlayer

Watch from 10.35am. Discussion on Nitrous Oxide laws with Mike Trace of Forward Trust and Kirstie Douse of Release | BBC, UK

Leesa Davies: ‘Laws show people drugs are dangerous' - Channel 4 video

Leesa Davies, whose son Jordan died after inhaling nitrous oxide when he was just 21, and Niamh Eastwood, from the charity Release, discuss the drug laws | Channel 4, UK

Calls for change in Government treatment of drug addictions

A mother from Bath is calling for a change in the Government's drug policy and how authorities approach the use of illegal drugs after her husband died of a heroin overdose | ITV, UK

Pregabalin worker's guide

Pregabalin is a medication used for seizures, anxiety and neuropathic pain. It is also known by a brand name Lrica® and various street names. In recent years it’s use has become prolific across Northern Ireland is also seen in other parts of the UK among heroin users and the prison population. It is involved in ever more fatal overdoses in these groups/region | Injecting Advice, UK

Pubs quizzed: What publicans think about drug policy, public health and the changing trade (PDF)

There is significant common ground between public health bodies and publicans, and scope to develop policies approved of by both groups | IAS, UK

What Britain's ideal pub looks like

In a 1946, George Orwell detailed what he wanted from his ideal public house, the fictitious “Moon Under Water”. While some of Orwell’s preferences have not aged well (such as serving beer in strawberry-pink china mugs and being able to use the pub’s telephone), new YouGov Omnibus research shows that many aspects of Orwell’s ideal pub have stood the test of time | YouGov, UK

Could you save a life? Carry naloxone charity urges

Les Chandler is a volunteer at Addaction North Somerset and is passionate about seeing more people carrying life-saving naloxone kits, including staff in public venues like pubs and supermarkets | Addaction, UK [see also 9 minutes in here]

Criminalising drug users linked to increased HIV levels

A ground-breaking review provides stark evidence of the damage criminalisation has on preventing and treating HIV among people who inject drugs | Avert, UK

255 times more likely to have a fire caused by tobacco than vaping Brigade says

Following confirmation from British Transport Police that an e-cigarette caused a small explosion at Euston Station last night, the Brigade is re-issuing its message that you’re 255 times more likely to have a house fire smoking tobacco compared to vaping | LFB, UK

I thought it was just a cigarette... I was hooked after a drag: Spice user reveals how the drug took over her life as pictures show addicts slumped in busy town centres

Slumped and stupefied in busy town centres, the Spice addicts in these photographs provide graphic proof of the drug's dehumanising effects | Mail Online, UK

Police callouts for zombie drug double: Horrendous toll on emergency services as Spice leaves trail of misery across the UK

The crushing burden of the zombie drug Spice on police, prisons and the NHS is revealed today by a Daily Mail investigation | Daily Mail, UK

Ryanair claims drunk passengers pose a ‘threat to safety' - video

Exclusive: ’We have passengers stuck in airport bars drinking six, eight, 10 pints | Independent, UK

Will psychedelics for depression be just another false dawn?

The current global crisis of depressive illness has a simple root cause: a failure of treatment. This is the result of a broken scientific process that has for nearly 70 years fallen short in delivering the drug therapies it was set up to provide | New Scientist, UK

Alcohol Research UK & NIHR grants open

Alcohol Research UK's current grants programme is open offering a range of opportunities for researchers and relevant organisations. Applicants should read both the Research Strategy and appropriate Guidance for Applicants documents before developing proposals | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Changing Stigma to Respect

Supported by the Partnership for Action on Drugs in Scotland (PADS) and the Minister for Public Health and Sport, Ms Aileen Campbell, a historic Recovering Connections event will be held Friday 1st September 2017 | SFAD, UK

UKAT claims lives are being put at risk as Blackpool’s drug and alcohol treatment budget cut by £1.3m

Lives are being put at risk by a £1.3m cut to drug and alcohol treatment budgets in Blackpool, a rehab group has claimed | Blackpool Gazette, UK

IAS August newsletter

The latest monthly update of alcohol policy news | IAS, UK

Man admits supplying drugs to Newton Abbot death girl, 15

A man has admitted supplying drugs to a 15-year-old girl who died after a party at a park | BBC, UK

Drinking ban powers considered near Bridgend hospital

Police could be given powers to stop people drinking and behaving anti-socially close to a hospital in Bridgend | BBC, UK


International news

Frequency of e-cigarette use may be key to quitting smoking, study suggests

Study showed linear correlation between quit attempts and quit success and the frequency of e-cigarette use. Attempting to quit in the first place was more likely among smokers using e-cigarettes than non-users | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

Cannabis smokers walk differently, finds study

People who use Marijuana tend to move their shoulders less, but their elbows more, as they walk | Independent, UK

My week in Lucky House: the horror of Hong Kong's coffin homes

Benjamin Haas joins the retirees, working poor, drug addicts and convicted criminals who live crammed into the city’s tiny plywood cubicles | Guardian, UK

Obama’s ex-drug czar calls to ban high grade opioids at center of epidemic

Michael Botticelli is supporting a ‘citizen petition’ to the FDA which calls for the removal of the powerful painkillers from pharmacy shelves | Guardian, UK

Escobar is dead, but “Narcos” and the drugs trade live on

Killing the kingpins doesn’t stop the drugs business, as the latest season of the trafficking drama makes horribly clear | Economist, UK

Q&A: Life-Saving Drug that Reverses Overdoses

The United States is in the midst of a public health crisis.  More than 59,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2016, an increase of nearly 20 percent from the previous year | Human Rights Watch, USA

Because Of The Drug War, There Is Virtually No Heroin Without Fentanyl In Many Places

Why is it becoming harder to find heroin without fentanyl? | Huffington Post, USA

No laughing matter: Nitrous oxide reappears in US ambulances

Normally used in dentist's offices and hospitals, nitrous oxide - yes, laughing gas - is starting to turn up again in ambulances in some rural areas where medical workers with clearance to provide more traditional painkillers often aren't on board | Associated Press, USA

Fentanyl drives rise in opioid-linked deaths in U.S.

Fentanyl, a synthetic narcotic, is a key player in America's continuing epidemic of opioid-related overdose deaths, two new studies report | Medical Xpress, USA

Groups seek ban on high-dose opioids citing overdose danger

Safety advocates and state health officials are formally calling on the Food and Drug Administration to ban high-dose opioid painkillers to prevent accidental overdose deaths among patients and people who abuse drugs | Medical Xpress, USA

E-cigarettes can help smokers quit, but there's a catch

Frequent e-cigarette use does help smokers quit -- a finding that Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers say supports the use of e-cigarettes as a cessation aid for those trying to quit cigarette smoking. But, they note, an examination of a recent national survey uncovers important clues about who's successful at quitting and why | EurekAlert, USA

Revising the language of addiction

Experts say action against stigma starts with choosing the right words | Harvard Gazette, USA

$2.8 million for ACT drug treatment flows two years after ice strategy announced

Canberra's drug treatment services will receive an extra $2.8 million, almost two years after the funds were announced | Age, Australia

Cashless welfare card heads to the Goldfields

A federal government trial of cashless debit cards for welfare recipients in remote communities is being hailed as a success as the government expands the site | Age, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

The use of naloxone in local authorities

Today is International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD), a global event held on 31st August every year.  Across the UK, US and Australia, community organisations, government and non-government organisations come together to raise awareness of the risk of overdose, to reduce the stigma of a drug-related death for loved ones and to spread the message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable | PHE Blog, UK

The English Harm Reduction Group call for the Government to Act on Overdose Awareness Day

On International Overdose Awareness Day, we write to express our shock at the continued rise in opioid-related deaths. Heroin and morphine related deaths rose by 109 per cent in England and Wales between 2012 and 2016, when the evidence is overwhelming that harm reduction interventions such as naloxone and opioid substitution therapy (OST) can reduce them | Blenheim, UK

Ronnie Cowan: Drug policy reform is required, we can’t afford to delay for long

We should be addressing how we think about drugs and drug laws | BMJ Blog, UK

The Faulty Logic Of The War On Drugs

Drug addiction isn’t subject to the laws of supply and demand | Huffington Post Blog, UK

Peter Hitchens is wrong to oppose festival drug testing

Earlier this month, Peter Hitchens and Transform’s Steve Rolles appeared on a minor TV channel to debate whether UK festivals and police forces should continue partner with drug-testing services like The Loop in an attempt to reduce the harms associated with illegal drug use | Adam Smith Blog, UK

City workers: what are attitudes to cocaine use in your industry?

We would like to understand the issue of cocaine use and how attitudes towards the drug may be changing – particularly among City of London workers | Guardian, UK

Trump Sells Snake Oil on Opioids

Instead of offering real solutions to the epidemic, the president is race baiting | The Marshall Project, USA

My son’s death offers lessons for ending the overdose epidemic

On Feb. 4, 2014, my only child died – alone – of an accidental overdose | Globe and Mail opinion, Canada