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Ireland alcohol consumption 80% above global average
Alcohol Action for Ireland (AAI) has reported that people in the Republic of Ireland consume 11 litres of alcohol per person per year. This estimate means that that average alcohol consumption there is 80% higher than the global average. The AAI statement was released in advance of the Republic of Ireland’s annual budget and called on the government to adopt proposals on minimum unit pricing for alcohol.
WHO report on European alcohol consumption
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported that Europe has the highest per-capita alcohol consumption in the world. The report stated that, in 2016, 5.5% of all deaths (an estimated 291,000 people) in the EU could be attributed to alcohol use. This figure rose to 19.0% of deaths among people aged 15 to 19.
Scottish Government invests £20 million over two years for Scottish drug services
A taskforce has been set up to investigate and address drug related deaths in Scotland. The first meeting took place on 17 September 2019 and involved 23 members from across the addictions field. The taskforce will be supported by an extra £20m of funding from the Scottish government.
Amsterdam bans sales of nitrous oxide
The city of Amsterdam has used local street trading byelaws to ban people from selling nitrous oxide (laughing gas) in public. Music festivals will have bans on the sale of nitrous oxide built into their licencing conditions and people found selling nitrous oxide on the street will be fined. Nitrous oxide was removed from the official medicines list in The Netherlands in 2016 making its sale legal.
Slovakia reclassifies CBD as a ‘non-regulated substance’
The Slovakian government has removed CBD from its list of regulated substances. The change will allow CBD products to be sold as supplements, tablets or tinctures. The amendment to the Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substance and Preparations Act was approved following assertions that CBD does not have psychoactive properties and is therefore not a risk for addiction or abuse.
Netherlands pilots legal cannabis production
Coffee shops across the Netherlands have been selected to take part in a four-year trial of legal cannabis production and supply. The current law allows vendors to sell cannabis in licensed coffee shops but prohibits its production and supply to those premises. The pilot will run in ten cities and will explore whether this new model of cannabis supply reduces demands on police resources.
Forty per cent increase in drug overdoses over ten years in Australia
A report on overdoses in Australia states that unintentional drug overdoses have increased over the last ten years from 1,171 in 2003 to 1,612 in 2017. Most of the increase has been attributed to stimulants and opioids, however the report also highlights increases in deaths where four or more drugs were implicated. The majority (53%) of deaths from drug overdose in 2017 were from prescription opioids.
New South Wales introduces drug homicide crime
The Australian state of New South Wales has introduced legislation meaning that people who sell drugs that are subsequently implicated in a fatal drug overdose could face murder charges. The offence of ‘drug supply causing death’ will carry a maximum 20-year prison sentence. There is an exception for those who share drugs amongst friends; the legislation states that the supply of drugs must be for ‘financial or material gain’. The new law is expected to be enacted in the case of two recent deaths at a music festival in New South Wales.
Argentina introduces NPS precursor regulations
The Ministry of Security in Argentina has published new regulations designed to address the production of new psychoactive substances by listing over 400 chemicals commonly used as precursors for illicit drug production. The Ministry hopes to prevent drug traffickers avoiding prosecution by subtly altering the chemical composition of drugs such as ecstasy and LSD.
Peru to destroy 750 hectares of coca plants
Security forces in Peru are set to eradicate coca plans in Vraem in a 45-day operation covering 750 hectares (1,853 acres). This is the first time that coca eradication efforts have targeted this region, which is responsible for around 70% of the coca production in Peru. The government has said that, following this initial effort, crop eradication programmes will continue with more intensity in 2020.