Published since 1884 by the Society for the Study of Addiction.
Editor-in-Chief, Robert West

We welcome suggestions and contributions from our readers. Send your material to John Witton, News and Notes Editor, Addiction, National Addiction Centre PO48, 4 Windsor Walk, London SE5 8AF. Fax +44 (0)20 7848 5966;
e-mail john.witton@kcl.ac.uk

UK Supreme Court Approves Minimum Pricing Legislation in Scotland

Posted 15-Nov-17

BBC News reports that the UK’s Supreme Court has ruled in the Scottish government’s favour and dismissed the appeal by the Scottish Whisky Association (SWA), spiritsEUROPE and the Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins against the introduction of minimum alcohol pricing in Scotland. The Scottish Parliament approved legislation setting a 50 pence-per-unit minimum price in 2012 but the introduction of the law has been held up by legal challenges. The appellants in the Supreme Court case claimed that the legislation breached European law and that the minimum price policy was a "restriction on trade" and on  “the proper functioning of the Common Agricultural Policy’s Common Market Organisation on the production, marketing and sale of wine.”  The appellants also argued that there were other pricing measures that would be “less disruptive of free trade and less disruptive of competition” across the European single market but would have at least the “equivalent level of effectiveness in achieving the aim of the Scottish Government to improve public health.” In rejecting the appeal the judges said that the legislation did not breach European Union law and ruled that ruled the measure was a "proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim." This decision means that Scotland becomes the first country in the world to establish a minimum price for alcohol. According to BBC News, Scottish government ministers said that the minimum pricing law would be introduced "as quickly as is practicable", possibly early next year.

Sources:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-41981909

https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2017-0025-judgment.pdf

National Public Health Emergency Declared in US

Posted 13-Nov-17

The US administration declared a Nationwide Public Health Emergency on 26 October 2017 to address the opioid crisis. The declaration followed more than two months of review by administration officials over what kind of emergency to declare and whether additional public funding would be linked to the declaration.  Earlier in the year the President's Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction had recommended that the administration declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act.  Under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, US states can draw on the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Disaster Relief Fund.  But according to CNN, administration officials say that designating the opioid crisis an emergency under the Stafford Act would be too broad and would also overburden the Disaster Relief Fund already under strain after the three major hurricanes in the US in 2017.  A White House press statement says that the Nationwide Public Health Emergency declaration allows some grant money to be used to address opioid abuse, permits the hiring of specialists to tackle the crisis more quickly, and expands the use of telemedicine services to treat people with opioid problems in rural areas where doctors are often in short supply. 

Sources:

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/10/26/politics/national-health-emergency-national-disaster/index.html

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/10/26/president-donald-j-trump-taking-action-drug-addiction-and-opioid-crisis

DEA: Prescription Painkillers Are Biggest US Drug Threat

Posted 13-Nov-17

The US Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA’s) 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA) outlines the threats posed to the United States by domestic and international drug trafficking and the abuse of illicit drugs. Introducing the 2017 report released in October, the DEA’s Acting Administrator, Robert Patterson, said: “This report underscores the scope and magnitude of the ongoing opioid use crisis in the United States.” The report notes that controlled prescription drugs (CPDs) have been linked to the largest number of overdose deaths of any illicit drug class since 2001. CPDs are still used by more people than cocaine, heroin, MDMA, methamphetamine, and phencyclidine combined. The report also notes that heroin and cocaine availability and use in the US have increased.

Source:

https://www.dea.gov/docs/DIR-040-17_2017-NDTA.pdf

FDA Plans to Encourage Wider Use of Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Posted 13-Nov-17

In his evidence to a US House Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing on the opioid use epidemic in the US, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that the FDA plans to encourage wider use of methadone and buprenorphine for treating opioid addiction. The FDA proposes that every addict who suffers a non-fatal overdose would be treated with an opioid substitute, for long periods if necessary.  Reuters reports that Gottlieb said of the proposal that “I know this may make some people uncomfortable,” adding that the “FDA will join efforts to break the stigma associated with medications used for addiction treatment.”  Reuters remarks that the proposal marks a step toward harm reduction rather than abstinence-based approaches in US treatment policy. Gottlieb also said that the FDA will issue guidance for drug companies to promote the development of new addiction treatments that will follow the FDA’s interest in “novel, non-abstinence-based” products.

Sources:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-opioids-fda/u-s-to-promote-use-of-opioid-alternatives-to-treat-addiction-idUSKBN1CU2F2

https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm582031.htm

New EMCDDA Guide to Responding to Drug Problems

Posted 13-Nov-17

The European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Abuse (EMCDDA) has published Health and Social Responses to Drug Problems: A European Guide.  The guide provides evidence reviews and examples of best practice, as well as information on the European situation regarding drug-related problems. In the guide’s foreword, the EMCDDA’s Director, Alexis Goosdeel, identifies particular issues for attention, especially how to respond to new psychoactive substances, opioid-related deaths and high rates of hepatitis C among injectors. The guide is constructed as a reference document that can be used as route map to a range of additional online materials produced by the EMCDDA.

Source:

http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/responses-guide

Second Safe Injecting Site for Australia

Posted 13-Nov-17

The Age reports that the Victorian government has approved a two-year trial of a safe injecting room in North Richmond, a suburb of Melbourne. It will be the second such room in Australia after the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre was established in 2001. The move was prompted by a reported increase in heroin-related deaths in the area and comes despite the state government’s earlier opposition to injecting rooms. Unlike at the Sydney facility, users will have to provide identity details and methamphetamine (ice) use will not be permitted on the premises. The site is expected to begin operating in mid-2018.

Source:

http://www.newsjs.com/url.php?p=http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/ice-wont-be-allowed-in-melbourne-safe-injecting-room-20171031-gzbydr.html

Philippines Police Stripped of Leading Role in Drugs War Again

Posted 13-Nov-17

President Rodrigo Duterte has demoted the Philippine National Police (PNP) from leading the country’s drug war. The Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency will take responsibility instead. President Duterte had suspended the PNP in January 2017 following the killing of a South Korean businessman by the police but reinstated them shortly afterwards. The BBC comments that the move is part of a restructuring of drug policy, following continuing criticism of the drug-related killings by the police, including condemnation by the country’s Catholic church. According to the BBC there has been a recent decline in the rate of drug-related killings and the PNP has started a community drug rehabilitation programme.

Source:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-41591534

State of New York Bans E-cigarette Use Indoors

Posted 13-Nov-17

In October 2017 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to prohibit e-cigarette use in workplaces, bars and restaurants in the state. New York will become the 11th US state to ban e-cigarettes indoors. The New York Times reports that the American Lung Foundation say that around 70% of the state’s municipalities already have such bans in effect and such a ban has been in place in New York City since 2013. 

Source:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/23/nyregion/new-york-bans-vaping-ecigs-bars-restaurants.html

Heroin Refining Increases in Afghanistan

Posted 13-Nov-17

The New York Times reports that the Taliban in Afghanistan are becoming more directly involved in every stage of the heroin trade than before. In previous years the Taliban have taxed and provided security for opium producers and smugglers. Most of the opium production was smuggled out of Afghanistan to be refined into heroin in other countries. According to the New York Times, Afghan and Western officials estimate that half, if not more, of Afghan opium is getting some level of processing in the country and that the Taliban have been involved in this increase in refining operations. Refining makes it easier to smuggle the opium product out of the country and helps increase profits from the heroin trade. In the New York Times, General Abdul Khalil Bakhtiar, Afghanistan’s deputy interior minister in charge of the Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan, said the insurgents had used the growing insecurity of the past two years to establish more refining operations and to move them closer to the opium growing fields. But a Taliban spokesman said the group “had nothing to do” with processing heroin, and he also denied that major laboratories existed in the areas under its control.

Source:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/29/world/asia/opium-heroin-afghanistan-taliban.html

Cannabis Law Reform Referendum Planned for New Zealand

Posted 13-Nov-17

BBC News reports that the new Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, has announced that New Zealand will hold a referendum within the next three years on legalising the recreational use of cannabis.  Ardern said she did not personally support the criminalisation of cannabis use but said "I also have concerns around young people accessing a product which can clearly do harm and damage to them."  Ardern leads a coalition government of her own Labour Party, together with the Green Party and NZ First. According to CNBC, the proposed change in the law over cannabis is being driven by the Green Party manifesto, which states the drug should be legal for personal use, including possession and cultivation. CNBC also reports that Ardern will work with her Cabinet and take advice before deciding on any referendum date.

Source:

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/20/legalizing-cannabis-new-zealand-government-open-to-referendum.html

First Needle-syringe Programmes in Uganda

Posted 13-Nov-17

In September 2017 the Ugandan Health Ministry agreed to allow the Uganda Harm Reduction Network and Community Health Alliance Uganda to pilot needle-syringe programmes (NSPs) in the country. According to an International Drug Policy Consortium blog, people who inject drugs account for about 21% of new HIV infections in Uganda and the government and the general public now recognize the issue of unsafe injecting drug use in relation to HIV and hepatitis transmission. Demonstration NSPs will be set up in five designated health facilities in the country.

Source:

http://idpc.net/blog/2017/09/finally-the-ugandan-government-agrees-to-start-harm-reduction

Pregabalin and Gabapentin to Be Controlled Drugs in the UK

Posted 09-Oct-17

Pulse reports that Home Office minister Sarah Newton has announced that the UK government plans to classify pregabalin and gabapentin as Class C drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. In 2016 the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) wrote to the government proposing that the drugs should be controlled. The ACMD cited evidence that prescriptions for pregabalin and gabapentin and the number of overdose deaths in which they were implicated had increased dramatically in recent years. The ACMD warned that “pregabalin and gabapentin present a risk of addiction and a potential for illegal diversion and medicinal misuse.” The Guardian reports that data provided by NHS Digital shows that prescriptions for pregabalin in the UK have increased from 476,102 in 2006 to 5,547,560 in 2016. Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed that there were 111 deaths related to pregabalin in 2016 and 59 related to gabapentin, compared with four and eight deaths, respectively, in 2012. The proposal is subject to consultation but, if these drugs were controlled, patients would not be able to obtain repeat prescriptions of pregabalin and gabapentin.

Sources:

http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/clinical/more-clinical-areas/pain-relief/pregabalin-and-gabapentin-set-to-become-controlled-drugs/20035333.article

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/491854/ACMD_Advice_-_Pregabalin_and_gabapentin.pdf

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/sep/21/pregabalin-new-valium-class-c-drug-deaths

E-cigarettes and Smoking Cessation in the UK

Posted 09-Oct-17

Updated draft guidance on smoking cessation from the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) does not include a recommendation that e-cigarettes can be used as an aid for smoking cessation. While the guidance recommends that doctors and nurses should warn smokers that there is currently little evidence on the long-term benefits or harms of e-cigarettes, it also recommends that they talk to patients about their use to “allow an informed discussion of e-cigarettes as an aid to smoking cessation.” According to Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive at NICE: "The guideline committee found little evidence of the long-term effects of e-cigarettes on human health and subsequently their use was not included as a recommended aid to stop smoking.”  She added that: “However, NICE is keen to hear feedback on the use of e-cigarettes during the consultation on this guideline,” adding "We acknowledge that Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians have stated that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to health than tobacco and this has been included in the guideline.” The BBC reports that the annual Stoptober smoking cessation campaign in England included e-cigarettes in its television advertisments for the first time.  Professor John Newton, director of health improvement at Public Health England, which is responsible for the campaign, said: "E-cigarettes are now the most popular way to quit in the country with half of all those taking part in Stoptober last year using an e-cigarette.”  Professor Newton added: "So, if you've struggled with quitting before, an e-cigarette may be the best option for you."

Sources:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/indevelopment/gid-phg94/documents

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-41339790

New Tobacco Control Plan in England

Posted 09-Oct-17

Towards a Smokefree Generation - A Tobacco Control Plan for England was published in July. The previous Plan expired at the end of 2015. The new Plan aims at having a smoke-free generation, defined as a smoking prevalence rate of 5% or less, by 2030. The target prevalence rate reduction for adults is from 15.5% in 2016 to 12% in 2022, and a reduction from 8% to 3% by 2022 in 15-year-olds. The Plan also seeks to “reduce the inequality gap in smoking prevalence between those in routine and manual occupations and the general population,” and reduce the prevalence of smoking in pregnancy from 10.5% to 6% or less by 2022. Writing in the Huffington Post, Steve Brine, the Minister for Public Health and Primary Care, said “Our new Tobacco Control Plan recognises that the approach needs to shift from national, legislative action to targeted, local plans.” The minister added: “Local areas must play a huge role in understanding their communities and targeting services accordingly.”  

Sources:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/towards-a-smoke-free-generation-tobacco-control-plan-for-england

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/steve-brine/stoptober_b_18180320.html

Licensing for Tobacco Vendors in India

Posted 09-Oct-17

The Hindu Times reports that in September the Indian Health Ministry wrote to all the State governments asking them to develop a mechanism through the municipal authority to provide “permission/authorisation” to retail outlets selling tobacco products. Shops authorised to sell tobacco products will not be permitted to sell any non-tobacco products such as sweets and crisps, which are particularly attractive to children. In the letter, the Health Ministry said: “We believe that such an initiative will prove to be beneficial in achieving the objective of preventing children/non-users from exposure to tobacco products.”

Source:

http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/sale-of-tobacco-only-through-licensed-shops/article19758391.ece

US Threatens Sanctions against Colombia after Cocaine Production Increase

Posted 09-Oct-17

“The United States Government seriously considered designating Colombia as a country that has failed demonstrably to adhere to its obligations under international counternarcotics agreements due to the extraordinary growth of coca cultivation and cocaine production over the past 3 years, including record cultivation during the last 12 months,” according to the annual Presidential Determination on Major Drug Transit or Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries published on 13 September.  A report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) issued in July estimated that 866 tonnes of cocaine were produced across Colombia in 2016, compared with an estimate of 649 tonnes in 2015. The same report estimated that coca crops covered 146,000 hectares in 2016, compared with 96,000 in 2015. The Guardian reports that the Colombian government plans to eradicate 100,000 hectares of coca by the end of 2017, through forcible eradication and crop substitution agreements with coca farmers. The substitution programme is part of the peace deal with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), which renounced drug trafficking as part of a demobilization agreement.  Under the US Foreign Relations Authorization Act, if a US president designates a country as having “failed demonstrably” in its anti-drug goals, then the US will immediately limit any financial or logistic assistance that it provides to that country.

Sources:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/09/13/presidential-memorandum-secretary-state

http://www.unodc.org/documents/colombia/2017/julio/CENSO_2017_WEB_baja.pdf

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/14/colombia-cocaine-united-nations-figures  

Greece and Poland Legalize Medical Use of Cannabis

Posted 09-Oct-17

The Independent reports that the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsiparis announced at a press conference in July that “From now on, the country is turning its page, as Greece is now included in countries where the delivery of medical cannabis to patients in need is legal.” Details of how the cannabis will be cultivated and distributed for medical use were not given in the announcement. The Prime Minister also announced that cannabis would be moved from a Table A category prohibited drug to a Table B drug. The Table B category includes drugs like methadone with approved medical value. Also in July the Polish President Andrzej Duda signed a law that allowed the purchase of cannabis-based medications at pharmacies on prescription. The law seeks to let patients have simpler access to cannabis “to treat symptoms of certain diseases, such as chronic pain, nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.” According to the law, cannabis products will be imported from abroad and used as the basis for medical preparations of cannabis in Poland.

Sources:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/greece-marijuana-legal-medical-cannabis-weed-law-passes-a7821771.html

http://112.international/society/marijuana-use-in-medicine-legalized-in-poland-19122.html

Oregon Raises Smoking Age to 21

Posted 09-Oct-17

Oregon became the fifth US state to raise the age at which people can buy both traditional tobacco products and electronic cigarettes to 21 when Governor Kate Brown signed a bill in August raising the age from 18. California, Hawaii, New Jersey and Maine have already made this legislative move. The age increase in Oregon will take effect on 01 January 2018. According to Oregonlive, Oregon's new law aims to target tobacco vendors who sell to the underaged.  Fines for store clerks and managers who sell tobacco products to minors start at US$50 and US$250, but can reach US$500 and US$1000 after multiple offences.

Source:

http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/08/oregon_becomes_third_state_to.html

Opposition to Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients Trial in Australia

Posted 11-Sep-17

Australia’s coalition government has named Mandurah in the state of Western Australia (WA) as the third site for its trial of drug testing for recipients of welfare payments. Canterbury-Bankstown in Western Sydney and Logan City in the state of Queensland are the other two sites named by the government. According to The Guardian, Canterbury-Bankstown had been selected as a trial site because of the high number of people registered for welfare benefits there and the recent growth in the number of methamphetamine-related hospitalizations in the area. Under the proposed scheme to be trialled, welfare recipients who test positive to an initial drug test would be placed on income management, in the form of a cashless welfare card. The card would restrict the way 80% of the income support could be spent. A second failed test would see those who fail referred to treatment and forced to cover the cost of drug tests. If the welfare recipient fails to engage in treatment, then their welfare payments could be stopped. WA’s community services minister, Simone McGurk, said:  “I think what a lot of families who are experiencing the effects of drug and alcohol abuse, particularly methamphetamine, understand is that it’s quite a complex issue,” adding, “To think you can do one policy change and it will solve the problem is incredibly naïve.” WA is the second state Labor government to say it opposed the drug-testing trial. The state of Victoria refused in June to take part in the trial, with Victoria's Mental Health Minister Martin Foley saying: “It simply won't work, and it's cheap, populist nonsense designed to create a smokescreen as to what really drives disadvantage." It has also emerged at an Australian Senate inquiry into the government’s welfare reforms that government departments did not have specific data on waiting lists for drug treatment services in the three trial sites before they were chosen.  Despite this, the Senate inquiry gave its approval to the trial.

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/aug/28/wa-criticises-incredibly-naive-plan-to-drug-test-welfare-recipients-in-mandurah

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-13/victorian-government-rejects-federal-welfare-drug-testing-plan/8613482

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/aug/31/rehab-waiting-lists-not-checked-in-welfare-drug-test-sites-australian-senate-inquiry-told

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/sep/06/coalition-should-proceed-with-plan-to-drug-test-welfare-recipients-inquiry-says

Criticism of Philippines Drug War Intensifies After Killing of Schoolboy

Posted 11-Sep-17

Protests and government investigations have followed the killing of a 17-year-old schoolboy in the Philippines. Kian Delos Santos was allegedly shot three times by undercover police after being taken from his home as part of an operation to clamp down on drug dealers. CCTV captured two men dragging Kian along a street.  Kian pleaded with the policemen, saying: “Please stop. Please stop. I have a test tomorrow,” according to a witness. The Telegraph reports that the public, senior politicians and the Catholic Church in the Philippines have condemned the killing. President Rodrigo Duterte, who instigated and has enthusiastically supported the national ‘War on Drugs’ and the wave of state-driven killings that followed, said: “I saw the tape on TV and I agree that there should be an investigation. Should the investigation point to liabilities by one, two, or all, there will be a prosecution, and they have to go to jail if convicted.” The Philippines Department of Justice, Senate, and Commission on Human Rights have all launched investigations. UNICEF, in a statement, said: “The Philippines, as a State Party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, has a legal and moral obligation to promote, protect and fulfil the human rights of every child. Every child’s right to life, to develop to her or his full potential, to be heard, and to be protected from all forms of violence are universal and inalienable. There are no exceptions. These rights apply without qualification.”

Sources:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/22/duterte-faces-nationwide-revolt-drugs-war-killing-schoolboy/

https://www.unicef.org/media/media_100687.html

Increased Tobacco Control in New York

Posted 11-Sep-17

Bloomberg News reports that the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, signed a seven-point package of laws in August that increased the minimum price of a packet of cigarettes by 24 percent to US$13. Many retailers in New York already charge that much or more for a pack, but the average price in the city is currently US$11.24, according to the local health department.  The new laws also 1) limit the number of tobacco sellers in the city, 2) create a retail license fee for sellers of electronic cigarettes and almost double the licensing fee for tobacco retailers to US$200, 3) require all apartment buildings of three or more units to create explicit smoking policies and ban smoking in all common areas, and 4) prohibit pharmacies from selling tobacco as their licenses begin to expire in 2018.

The new bills are intended to help decrease the smoking prevalence in New York by 160,000, and down to a historically low rate of 12 percent of the city’s population, by 2020.  “Even though tobacco is a leading cause of premature death across the country, Big Tobacco will stop at nothing to hook people on these deadly products,” de Blasio said while signing the bills, adding: “We are sending a loud and clear message that we will not let their greed kill any more New Yorkers without a fight.”

Sources:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-28/nyc-boosts-price-of-cigarettes-to-13-bans-sales-by-pharmacies

http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/565-17/mayor-de-blasio-signs-sweeping-legislation-curb-smoking-tobacco-usage#/0

Phase Three Trials for MDMA Approved

Posted 11-Sep-17

Science reports that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has designated MDMA as a "breakthrough therapy" for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a status that may lead to faster approval of its therapeutic use. In August, the FDA also approved the design for two phase III trials of MDMA for PTSD. The trials would be funded by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). The trials will cost an estimated US$25 million. The trials may start in spring 2018 and finish in 2021 if MAPS can raise the funding.

Source:

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/08/all-clear-decisive-trial-ecstasy-ptsd-patients

Substance Abuse Librarians and Information Scientists (SALIS) Announce a New Digital Archive

Posted 11-Sep-17

Andrea Mitchell, SALIS, writes: Have you ever wanted to see an Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs (ATOD) book, but just couldn’t find a copy?  The SALIS organization is currently working to develop an international digital archive of ATOD books and documents.  Anyone anywhere in the world with an internet connection has access to borrow or browse these materials for free, by simply registering his or her name with the Internet Archive (IA) at https://archive.org.  In partnership with the IA Archive, SALIS collects the material and pays the IA to digitize.  The SALIS Collection, as it is called, contains nearly 1500 items with a goal to reach 1800 by the end of 2017.  With the loss of more than 30 ATOD libraries and specialized databases over the past 15 years, SALIS’s mission is to preserve the ATOD literature and make it freely accessible in digital format.   Academic work and popular press, biography, history, social and biomedical science may all be found in the Collection.   Books/document donations have come from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Library, the Center for Addiction and Mental Health library, the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Library, the Prevention Research Center Library, the Drug Policy Alliance, Joel and Maria Fort Foundation, St.  George’s, University of  London, Observatoire Français des Drogues et des Toxicomanies, Vereniging voor Alcohol en andere Drugproblemen, the Alcohol Research Group Library,  and many  individuals who are committed to this project.  With the cost of digitizing at US$30 per book, SALIS is planning a crowd funding campaign to be launched on 28 November (2017’s Giving Tuesday).   We hope you can assist our effort to preserve the ATOD literature and make it available to all in The SALIS Collection.  Contact the SALIS Home, salis@salis.org, for more information.

American Banks Intervene in Uruguay Cannabis Legalization

Posted 11-Sep-17

Following the start of legal sales of cannabis by pharmacies in Uruguay, American banks, including Bank of America, said that they would stop doing business with banks in Uruguay that provide services for these sales. According to the New York Times, the letters from these banks cited The Patriot Act as the reason for their warnings. The Patriot Act makes it unlawful for American financial institutions to do business with dealers of certain controlled substances, including cannabis. The law is intended to curb money laundering and drug trafficking. Subsequently Uruguayan banks, worried about losing access to the American banking system, warned some of the pharmacies selling cannabis that their accounts would be shut down.  The threat of losing their bank accounts has led some of the pharmacies that initially signed up to participate in the new legal market to stop selling cannabis, said Pablo Durán,  legal counsel at the Center of Pharmacies in Uruguay. Twenty other pharmacies that were expected to join the legal cannabis market are delaying further action while the government explores solutions, according to Mr. Duran. Adolfo Garce, a political scientist at Uruguay's University of the Republic, said: "Having made so much progress, having planted and harvested the marijuana and delivered it to the pharmacies... not being able to sell it due to an unforeseen problem is a very hard blow."  “We can’t hold out false hope,” said Uruguay’s president, Tabaré Vázquez. The move may have implications for other countries like Canada that plan to legalize cannabis for recreational use.

Source:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/25/world/americas/uruguay-marijuana-us-banks.html?mcubz=3&_r=0

Indian Government Warns Philip Morris about Advertising

Posted 11-Sep-17

Reuters reports that India’s Health Ministry has written to the Indian arm of Philip Morris International and threatened the company with “punitive action” after the company’s alleged violation of India’s Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act and its accompanying rules. The letter follows an investigation by Reuters that found Philip Morris targeting young people in its marketing by advertising cigarettes at kiosks, distributing free cigarettes at nightclubs and bars and also using television screens to promote their products at these venues. Reuters have identified internal documents from the tobacco company making its marketing strategy explicit, with a key aim of the strategy being “winning the hearts and minds of LA-24,” those between the legal age for smoking, 18, and 24, according to one slide in a 2015 commercial review presentation. The Indian Health Ministry also wrote to ITC, India’s leading cigarette manufacturer, which Reuters found was using similar tactics to Philip Morris such as point-of-sale advertising.

Sources:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/india-philip-morris-cigarettes-young-people-marlboro-pushing-anti-tobacco-laws-health-ministry-a7899501.html

http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/pmi-india/

Oregon Reduces Penalties for Drug Possession

Posted 11-Sep-17

Governor Kate Brown of Oregon signed House Bill 2355 (HB-2355) and House Bill 3078 (HB-3078) into law in August. Both bills had been approved by the state’s Senate and House of Representatives in early July. HB-2355 redefines the classification of unlawful possession of Schedule I drugs such as heroin and MDMA and Schedule II drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine from felonies to misdemeanours.  Consequently the penalties for these offences have been reduced from up to 10 or five years in prison, respectively, to a maximum sentence of one year’s imprisonment, a US$6,250 fine, or both. Selling drugs, and possessing drugs with the intent to sell, continue to be felonies.  According to US News the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police and the Oregon State Sheriffs' Association supported the bill and in a letter to a state senator said the new law "will only produce positive results if additional drug treatment resources accompany this change in policy." HB-3078, also known as the Safety and Savings Act, reduces penalties for offences related to drug use, in particular low-level acquisitive property crime.

Source:

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/oregon/articles/2017-08-15/oregon-makes-drug-possession-a-misdemeanor

Deadline for Alcohol Labelling in Europe

Posted 11-Sep-17

Under the current European Union (EU) rules, unlike other foods, alcoholic beverages are not obliged to display a list of ingredients and a nutrition declaration. On 13 March 2017, the European Commission adopted a report to the European Parliament and the Council regarding the mandatory labelling of the list of ingredients and the nutrition declaration of alcoholic beverages. The Commission gave the alcohol industry a year to develop its own voluntary initiatives. EURACTIV.com has been told by EU sources that if the industry does not present a sufficient proposal then the Commission will consider both regulatory and non-regulatory options. EURACTIV.com reports that the deadline has led to intense debate. According to EURACTIV.com the alcohol industry is claiming that self-regulation is the only way to address diverging national attitudes towards alcohol but that the Commission’s deadline is “too tight” and that mandatory rules will eventually be put in place. Public health bodies have commented that the alcohol industry was given too much room to avoid regulation.  Mariann Skar, the secretary general of Eurocare, said: “We are extremely disappointed with the reactions of some sectors of the industry such as wine producers, for instance, some of their delaying and diversion tactics resemble the tobacco industry approach.” 

Sources:

https://www.euractiv.com/section/alcohol/news/eu-health-chief-says-all-alcoholic-beverages-should-be-labelled/

https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/labelling_nutrition/labelling_legislation/alcohol_en