Daily news -6th September 2017

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UK news

Still no harm reduction? A critical review of the UK Government’s new Drug Strategy (PDF)

This briefing, endorsed by eight of the UK’s leading harm reduction and drug treatment organisations, looks at whether the focus on harm reduction has improved under the new Drug Strategy (2017), and discusses challenges in the funding environment which will have a disproportionate impact on harm reduction services | National AIDS Trust - secretariat to the English Harm Reduction Group, UK

A nation with ambition (PDF)

The government's programme for Scotland 2017/18. Includes an announcement regarding a overhaul of the current drug strategy | Scottish Government, UK

Mapping the Maze

Mapping the Maze is a new report aiming to map service provision specifically for women facing homelessness, substance misuse, poor mental health, offending and complex needs generally | Agenda, UK

Smoking bans’ positive impact on child health backed by study

Childhood chest infections needing hospital care may have dropped by as much as 20 per cent since anti-smoking laws were introduced, research suggests | University of Edinburgh, UK

Paying services for recovery may have backfired in England

Paying organisations to deliver better outcomes for patients, as opposed
to paying for the services they deliver, sounds like a good idea – but
the real test is how this commissioning model sizes up to the UK
Government’s aim of increasing numbers completing (and not returning) to
treatment | Drug and Alcohol Findings, 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

Is turning a blind eye making for a more liberal cannabis policy?

“Maybe we already live in a more liberal society because we’re letting people break the law, aren’t we really? That’s what’s happening here. We are kind of turning a blind eye to it… The UK drugs policy is tough on paper, but, in reality, you could walk out of here now and find someone smoking a joint or taking something else. So, is that a successful system | Volte Face, UK

Police warn public of 'ecstasy' pills containing ketamine

A woman died in London after taking the rectangular orange pill | MixMag, UK

Rebecca Brock death: Drug bag 'exploded' in woman's stomach

A teenager died in an Ibiza hotel room after a bag of ecstasy "exploded" in her stomach, an inquest heard | BBC, UK

Meet the People Doing Far More NOS Than You

Three NOS addicts tell us about their cooked brains and failing memories | VICE, UK

Meet the entrepreneurs driving the boom of booze-free drinking

A glass of wine in the evening is such a marker, [going] from the rush of the day to the slowing down for the evening,” says Helen McGinn. As a drinks writer, the ritual is both work and pleasure. And so, when she signed up to last year’s Dry January, she went on a quest for non-alcoholic alternatives | Guardian, UK

Welcome to the Alcohol and Mental Health survey

This survey seeks the opinion of workers in the mental health and the alcohol treatment sectors, as part of a project to determine the relationship between alcohol and mental health. Please feel free to pass this survey on anyone you know who operates in these sectors. The results of the survey will help form a report assessing the policy landscape surrounding alcohol treatment and mental health services | IAS and CMH, UK


International news

More and more US universities are adding ‘cannabis classes’ to their syllabuses

More and more universities in the United States are starting to offer ‘cannabis classes’ to students wanting to learn more about the plant | Metro, UK

Sri Lanka Politicians Scramble to Prevent Country Becoming a Drug Trafficking Hub

As unprecedentedly large drug seizures take place in Sri Lanka, authorities are taking a variety of steps in an attempt to preven their country becoming a major transit hub | Talking Drugs, UK

California is about to open its first legal cannabis shops and it's posing a huge problem for local pot farms - video

‘There’s a boatload of product and a lot of folks aren’t going to make it into the market’ | Independent, UK

Consultation launched on regulations to restrict sale of e-cigarettes to over 18s

At present, there are no legal restrictions on the age of sale for e-cigarettes in the north. But the Department of Health yesterday launched a public consultation on draft regulations that would make it an offence to sell e-cigarettes to persons under the age of 18 | Irish Times, Ireland

Mother organises festival to celebrate 'miracle' boy who is 300 days seizure-free after cannabis oil treatment

A young boy who once suffered up to 30 potentially fatal seizures a month hasn't had one in over 300 days and his family are celebrating by hosting a festival to raise awareness about the positive effects of cannabis oil | Independent, Ireland

Medicinal cannabis: Harris says 'it's not the job of the Minister for Health to be a doctor'

Health Minister Simon Harris said the compassionate access programme for medicinal cannabis will be available later this year | Journal, Ireland

Opioid abuse can be treated successfully in primary care settings, study finds

Combining substance abuse treatment with regular medical care can successfully treat people with opioid or alcohol addiction, providing an option that might expand treatment and lower the cost of caring for people caught up in the nation's opioid epidemic, according to a new RAND Corporation study | Medical Xpress, USA

Turnbull government attacks 'establishment' doctors over lack of support for welfare drug tests

A senior government minister has criticised doctors for refusing to try new ways to help people with drug problems | Age, Australia

The Australian Digital Edition: Heroin centres 'favoured' but MPs neutral

A parliamentary inquiry into a Kings Cross-style supervised injecting room for hardcore Victorian heroin users is set to find such centres can reduce overdoses and provide a path to recovery, and that an overwhelming number of submissions favoured the move | VAADA, Australia

Dobbed in by the dunny: Roadside cocaine tests on the way

NSW police is set to test drivers for cocaine, adding to its mobile drug testing powers | Drive, Australia

Tributes flow for methadone pioneer

The pioneer of Australias methadone program has died in her 80s. Stella Dalton defied society back in the 1960s and 1970s, as a woman and a staunch believer that methadone was the way forward in breaking heroin addictions | Daily Telegraph, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Nicotine in the news

There is a new Holy Grail within the world of tobacco control – the reduced nicotine cigarette which proponents claim will make cigarettes so unattractive that smoking tobacco will be eliminated | NSP Blog, UK

On risk in addiction science, policy and debate

The concept of risk should be used carefully in addiction science, policy and debate due to its complexity and its potential to inform, distort or otherwise shape the perspectives of stakeholders, including the general public. Recent high-profile examples from the United Kingdom demonstrate that such care is often not being taken | Addiction editorial, UK

Novel Psychoactive Substances: bridging the knowledge gap

Around 100 new Novel Psychoactive Substances are synthesised each year, there is considerable uncertainty about the effectiveness of recent legislative changes, and near moral panic in parts of the popular press (I won’t mention the ‘Z’ word here) | Mental Elf, UK

Chemsex: Why should it be a Public Health issue?

I don’t know about anybody else, but I can’t help thinking that the issue of chemsex is one we are still not really getting our act together on.  I claim no specific expertise here, but what I do know is this issue is impacting on the health of our population, and an already vulnerable one at that, so we need to act | Jim McManus, UK

The legal cannabis market in the USA

There was an estimated $31 billion worth of cannabis sales in the U.S. last year (2016), the lion’s share of which was generated through illegal transactions. As states start to legalize the green stuff, though, analysts at Cowen & Co. forecast a vastly different – and larger – landscape come 2026 | Russell Webster, UK

How legalization caused the price of marijuana to collapse

All the diverse effects of legalizing recreational marijuana may not be clear for a number of years, but one consequence has become evident almost immediately: Pot has never been so cheap | Washington Post Blog, USA

Harm reduction needs more than a one-size fits-all solution

Earlier this month, people in Canada witnessed the importance of community resistance and activism on issues of drug-policy reform | Globe and Mail opinion, Canada

Tom Percy: Can drug tests pass the test?

There are a couple of things in this life that I’ve mercifully never had to do | Parth Now opinion, Australia