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 Robert Calder, Addiction News Editor, Addiction, National Addiction Centre PO48, 4 Windsor Walk, London SE5 8AF, United Kingdom. E-mail jean@addictionjournal.org

Nepal issues guidelines to curb drug abuse

Posted 15-Jul-19

The Ministry of Home Affairs in Nepal has issued guidelines to all local municipalities instructing them to act to prevent increasing use of psychoactive substances. The Guideline to Local Levels for Control and Prevention of Drug Abuse requires ‘local levels’ of government to form committees with people from across Nepalese communities including young people and the police. The committees will be responsible for maintaining existing laws on illicit drug use and preventing a growth in uptake among young people. There are 753 ‘local levels’ of government in Nepal and if fully implemented the guidelines will cover 250 million people.

Source: https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/moha-issues-guideline-to-curb-drug-abuse-across-the-country/

Indian state of Mizoram bans alcohol

Posted 15-Jul-19

Following approval of The Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition) Bill 2019, the state of Mizoram in north-eastern India has banned alcohol production, sale and consumption among the general public. The state previously banned all alcohol from 1997 to 2015 when the ban was lifted. The resumption of alcohol prohibition comes after the Mizo National Front government made alcohol legislation a major promise in state elections, going on to win 26 of 40 seats in the state government.

Source: https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/mizoram-to-once-again-become-dry-state-from-april-1-2011053

Indonesia bans online cigarette advertising

Posted 15-Jul-19

Indonesia’s Communication Minister, Rudiantara, has announced that the Indonesian government is to address online advertising for tobacco products. The minister has issued instructions for officials to block all online cigarette adverts. Tobacco advertising is banned in Indonesia under current legislation, but regional authorities have struggled to enforce the ban in online settings.

Source: https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-indonesia-tobacco/indonesia-cracks-down-on-online-tobacco-ads-to-deter-young-smokers-idUKKCN1TF0JG

Pakistan approves 'health tax' on cigarettes

Posted 15-Jul-19

The federal government of Pakistan has approved increases to cigarette taxes along with a new tax on carbonated drinks. Both taxes are part of measures to improve population health. The new tax of Rs 10 per packet of cigarettes is due to be implemented in the 2019-2020 budget and is the first time that Pakistan has used taxes to try to reduce smoking rates in the country. The tax is hoped to reduce smoking among young people and children and is estimated to raise Rs 40-50bn in revenue. Over 15 million people use tobacco products in Pakistan and it is estimated to be the cause of 160,000 deaths every year.

Source: https://currentpk.wordpress.com/2019/06/09/govt-gives-final-nod-for-imposition-of-health-tax/

Thailand bans smoking at home

Posted 15-Jul-19

A new law in Thailand has banned people from smoking in their homes where it exposes others to second-hand smoke, in measures described in the Family Development and Protection Act. Smokers have been given 90 days to quit smoking before the new law is applied but could face prosecution in criminal courts if they continue to smoke in their homes.

Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1699504/smoking-at-home-to-be-banned

Sri Lanka ends death sentence moratorium

Posted 15-Jul-19

The president of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, has signed the death warrants of four prisoners on drug-related charges. This ends a 43-year moratorium in Sri Lanka on the death penalty, where capital punishment has been handed down for serious crimes but has been routinely changed to life imprisonment. Sirisena announced the executions emphasising that he was committed to using the death penalty for drug-related offences as part of an ongoing ‘war on drugs’ which has escalated in the last two years.

Source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/06/26/sri-lanka-president-signs-four-death-warrants-end-decades-long/

Lesotho licences medical cannabis company

Posted 15-Jul-19

The Ministry of Health in Lesotho has issued a licence to Verve Dynamics to cultivate and manufacture medical cannabis products. The approval makes Lesotho the first African country to legalise and regulate medical cannabis products.

Source: http://www.maravipost.com/lesotho-becomes-first-african-country-to-legalize-marijuana/

Zimbabwe licences first cannabis production centre

Posted 15-Jul-19

Cannabis production is due to start in the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services’ Buffalo Range prison in the south east of Zimbabwe. It is the first centre to have been approved for cultivation and production of cannabis for medical and research purposes. The government has estimated that cannabis production in Zimbabwe could be worth $7bn by 2023.

Source: https://allafrica.com/stories/201905290710.html

Sachets of alcohol banned in Uganda

Posted 15-Jul-19

The government of Uganda has banned sales of alcohol in sachets. The ban was introduced in 2017, but manufacturers were given until 31 May 2019 to comply with the law. Alcohol sachets are small plastic bags that often contain high percentage spirit alcohol and have been available for as little as 13 US cents.

Source: https://africa.cgtn.com/2019/06/02/uganda-bans-alcohol-packed-in-sachets/

Ghana protocol to eliminate illicit tobacco trade

Posted 15-Jul-19

A new protocol has been ratified in Ghana to reduce trade in illicit tobacco. The Protocol for the Elimination of Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products is aligned with the terms of the World Health Organisations Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). The protocol includes measures to increase regulation of tobacco supply, transport, licencing and record keeping. It also supports initiatives to improve international reporting and collaboration relating to illicit tobacco trade.

Source: https://www.modernghana.com/news/936169/ghana-to-halt-illicit-trade-in-tobacco-products.html

Zimbabwe tobacco sales down 44%

Posted 15-Jul-19

Tobacco sales in Zimbabwe in 2019 are down 44% on last year’s sales. After 53 days of trading, sales were at $292.8m compared with $523.5m at the same time in 2018. The price of tobacco and the quantities delivered were also down with one and a half months of trading left. The reduction has been attributed to reduced global demand for tobacco and changing use of technologies such as e-cigarettes.

Source: https://www.vapingpost.com/2019/06/18/zimbabwe-tobacco-sales-drop-by-44/

FDA announces new guidelines for opioid medications

Posted 15-Jul-19

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has withdrawn its previous guidance on opioid medication and replaced it with a new regulatory framework intended to reduce the harms of prescription opioid medications. The new regulations will be used to assess applications for new drugs coming on to the US market and will require producers to demonstrate that new products are less addictive than existing medications. Medication producers will also be required to list medication features that reduce the potential for harms, overdose and addiction.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/20/fda-proposes-tighter-opioid-rules-that-would-make-new-drugs-less-addictive.html

Three more US states and District of Columbia sue Purdue Pharma

Posted 15-Jul-19

The US states of California, Hawaii, and Maine and the District of Columbia have filed lawsuits against Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, and against Purdue Pharma’s former president. The three states and district join a long list of current lawsuits from hospitals, individuals and states against opioid manufacturers and distributers.

Source: https://apnews.com/738bf3e450444ee29d3aea50731329b7 

Opioid manufacturer Insys pays $225m to settle US lawsuit

Posted 15-Jul-19

Insys Therapeutics has agreed to settle criminal and civil investigations bought by the US federal government that relate to opioid medication marketing. The settlement of $225m is part of an agreement in which Insys has admitted that it bribed doctors to prescribe Subsys, a fentanyl-based pain killer.

Sources: https://www.npr.org/2019/06/05/730173846/opioid-maker-insys-admits-to-bribing-doctors-agrees-to-pay-225-million-settlemen

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/10/health/insys-opioid-bankruptcy.html

Denver 'de-felonizes' single use drug possession

Posted 15-Jul-19

A law in Denver will stop felony charges from being applied to possession of Schedule I and II drugs. The change is due to be implemented in 2020 and will apply to people found in possession of small amounts of illicit drugs such as heroin, cocaine and fentanyl. Such offences will be treated as ‘misdemeanours’. The Joint Budget Committee estimated that the new approach will save between $8.6m and $13.7m over five years, to be used to fund new addiction treatment centres.

Source: https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/politics/polis-signs-bill-defelonizing-single-use-drug-possession-for-schedule-i-and-ii-substances

California bill to allow cannabis banking

Posted 15-Jul-19

The senate in the US state of California has passed a bill allowing banks to process profits from the cannabis industry. Cannabis has been legalised in many US states; however, it is still illegal at a federal level meaning that federally regulated banks are liable to prosecution if they process profits from cannabis. Many cannabis retailers have conducted business using cash, a practice that is difficult to both regulate and administer. The bill must be approved by state governor before it becomes law.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nickkovacevich/2019/06/11/californias-cannabis-banking-moves-forward/#16e78452fbba

Cannabis credit card launched

Posted 15-Jul-19

A medical cannabis producer has launched its own credit card to address ongoing difficulties with banking profits from cannabis sales. The new credit card has been launched by cannabis producer Columbia Care, and can be used to buy its cannabis products. It is currently available in New York and is due to be launched in Arizona, Delaware, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

Source: https://www.lowcards.com/columbia-care-launches-first-credit-card-for-the-cannabis-industry-62093/

US state of Illinois legalises cannabis

Posted 15-Jul-19

On 31 May 2019 the House of Representatives in Illinois passed a bill to legalise recreational use of cannabis. The law will allow adults over the age of 21 to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis flower, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate and 500 milligrams of THC infused products. It also contains provisions for expunging existing cannabis convictions where they were non-violent or deemed to be ‘lower-level’ crimes. Illinois is the 12th state to have legalised cannabis alongside the District of Columbia; however, Illinois will be the first to do so through a proposed bill and not through a voter-ballot initiative.

Sources: http://inthesetimes.com/article/21917/illinois-marijuana-legalization-law-progressive-expunge-pritzker

https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/450231-illinois-governor-signs-bill-legalizing-recreational-marijuana-use

US state of Nevada bans employee cannabis testing

Posted 15-Jul-19

The state of Nevada has passed a bill meaning that employers cannot refuse employment to someone based on a positive test for cannabis. Recreational cannabis has been legal in Nevada for several years, but employers have been able to drug test existing and new employees and refuse employment to those testing positive for the legal substance. There are several exceptions within the new bill including firefighters, and jobs that have the potential to ‘adversely affect the safety of others’.

Source: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/pajxjb/nevada-is-the-first-state-to-ban-employer-drug-tests-for-weed

US city of Oakland decriminalises magic mushrooms

Posted 15-Jul-19

The city council of Oakland, in California, has become the second council in the US to decriminalise magic mushrooms following similar legislation in Denver last month. Oakland council has enacted the change by banning city funds from being used to enforce laws that criminalise magic mushrooms.

Sources: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/oakland-magic-mushrooms-legal-weed-denver-san-francisco-california-a8945336.html

https://apnews.com/0179d69c527a4fa0a40b8c18e1e44f77

US city of San Francisco approves 'forced treatment'

Posted 15-Jul-19

Officials in the city of San Francisco have approved a pilot scheme introducing conservatorship in which people can be forced to attend mental health or addiction treatment. The pilot will involve identifying people who have been involuntarily detained for psychiatric treatment eight or more times in the past year. Those identified people will then be appointed a public conservator who will oversee their treatment for up to one year.

Source: https://mycbs4.com/news/nation-world/san-francisco-to-force-treatment-on-mentally-ill-drug-users

San Francisco bans e-cigarette sales

Posted 15-Jul-19

The US city of San Francisco has approved a ban on e-cigarette sales and distribution. It will be illegal to sell e-cigarettes or to sell them online where the delivery address is in San Francisco. Combustible cigarettes are not included in the legislation and will remain available for purchase.

Sources: https://apnews.com/b4cd0c807dd8464f81f78bb8df863a6f

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/06/25/735714009/san-francisco-poised-to-ban-sales-of-e-cigarettes

US state of Michigan bans vaping among under 21s

Posted 15-Jul-19

The US state of Michigan has approved two bills to restrict the sale and use of e-cigarettes to young people. One bill raises the minimum age of e-cigarette purchase to 21 and the other bans possession and use of e-cigarettes by people under that age.

Source: https://www.michiganradio.org/post/whitmer-signs-ban-minors-vaping

Number of over 40s in UK opiate treatment triples

Posted 15-Jul-19

A report from the UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has identified that increasing numbers of people aged over 40 accessed treatment for addiction between 2006 and 2018. The rise, from 25,000 to 75,000, has been attributed to long-term use of drugs among people who then remain in addiction treatment rather than to an increased uptake among older people. The report also highlights the increasingly complex health needs of older opiate users, stating that treatment services need to adapt their services to work effectively with older people.

Sources: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/number-of-older-opiate-users-in-treatment-has-tripled

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/opiate-addiction-uk-latest-over-40s-drugs-treatment-acmd-warning-a8959546.html

UK Home Office issues licences for heroin assisted treatment

Posted 15-Jul-19

Centres offering heroin assisted treatment in England have been granted trial licences by the UK Home Office. The first licence was issued in Cleveland with further plans for clinics in Avon, Durham and Somerset.

Sources: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/06/15/drug-addicts-given-free-heroin-home-office-awards-first-licence/

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1141381/heroin-addicts-shooting-gallery-free-fixes

'Cannabis lite' ruled to be illegal in Italy

Posted 15-Jul-19

The Supreme Court of Cassation in Italy has ruled that sales of products derived from cannabis are illegal and are already covered by existing laws. The announcement means that many products such as oil, leaves, inflorescences and resin will need to be removed from shops in order to comply with current drug laws. Since 2016 sales of ‘cannabis lite’ products such as hemp flowers labelled ‘not for human consumption’ have been popular in Italy. CBD products have also been widely available and over 300 CBD stores opened in 2018.

Sources: https://prohibitionpartners.com/2019/05/31/italy-top-court-cbd-ban/

https://cannabisindustryjournal.com/feature_article/the-sale-of-cannabis-sativa-derived-cbd-becomes-a-crime-in-italy/

Denmark's first cannabis producer approved

Posted 15-Jul-19

Danish authorities have authorised Spectrum Cannabis Denmark to produce medical cannabis. Despite Denmark granting 12 medical cannabis cultivation licences in December 2017, Spectrum Cannabis Denmark is the first to gain full authorisation. They will begin cultivation in a 40,000 m2 facility in Odense.

Source: http://manupo.com/cannabis-business-news/medical-cannabis-denmark/

France approves medical cannabis 'experiment'

Posted 15-Jul-19

The French senate has tentatively approved the use of medical cannabis products in a two-year experiment to assess their effectiveness and to establish regulatory processes. Medical cannabis will be available to patients as prescribed by a GP for a small number of conditions and only when other more proven treatments have been tried and exhausted.

Source: https://www.france24.com/en/20190602-france-launch-medical-cannabis-experiment-authier

Ireland approves medical cannabis pilot

Posted 15-Jul-19

Legislation in Ireland has been passed to allow Ireland’s Medical Cannabis Access Programme to start as a five-year pilot. The legislation will allow people to access medical cannabis products where those products accord with regulations outlined in the legislation. Patients will be able to access medical cannabis products for treating conditions such as multiple sclerosis, nausea related to chemotherapy and severe epilepsy if referred by a medical consultant.

Source: https://www.thejournal.ie/medicinal-cannabis-access-scheme-4697671-Jun2019/

Estonia regulates point-of-sale displays for alcohol

Posted 15-Jul-19

New restrictions on point-of-sale alcohol displays were introduced in Estonia on 1 June 2019. The regulations require displays of alcohol to be separated from other products and for them to not be visible from outside the shop. Exceptions will be made where the size of a shop makes alterations impractical.

Source: https://news.err.ee/947770/restrictions-on-alcohol-point-of-sale-displays-come-into-force-saturday