Daily news - 9th April 2021

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UK news

National Overdose Awareness and Naloxone campaign launches in the UK

A new national Overdose Awareness and Naloxone campaign – thought to be the first of its kind – has launched this week to highlight the importance of carrying life-saving medication to prevent fatal opiate overdose, with such deaths accounting for half of all drug-related deaths in England and Wales alone | Talking Drugs, UK

Drug deaths spiked during lockdowns as support was limited

[Free one month trial available] Drug deaths across Scotland rose during the coronavirus lockdowns last year with a significant increase over Christmas, according to figures | The Times, UK

How to Formulate Drug Policies and Provide Evidence-Based Regulation

With mounting evidence continuing to expose the failure of the war on drugs, more governments around the world are opening their eyes to consider alternative drug policies. But which drug policy reforms are the best way forward? Should we simply turn a blind eye and decriminalise all drugs, or legalise drugs to gain strict control over drug-related harms? Should some drugs remain illegal, while others are decriminalised? | Drug Science, UK

At What Cost? Minimum Unit Pricing

Thu, 22 April 2021, 09:45 – 13:00 BST. This Conference seeks to raise questions around Minimum Unit Pricing, open conversations and explore impacts on service users and providers across N.I. | NIADA, UK

How PCCs can make a difference on drug policy

Thu, 15 April 2021, 19:30 – 21:00 BST. This LCDPR event will discuss the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner, the powers they possess to strongly influence policy and strategy, including around drugs, and how you can support your local candidate | LCDPR, UK

Peterborough residents’ anger over alcohol and drug rehab centre plans

Residents living near the proposed site of a new drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre have hit out after they were not included in a consultation process | Peterborough Telegraph, UK

Crime Commissioner reveals five-point plan to smash county lines drug networks

Philip Allott, the Conservative Party’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner candidate, says he will step up the fight against county lines drug dealers if elected on May 6 | Northern Echo, UK

Leon Reid: Ireland sprinter on bail after being charged with drugs offences

Reid was released on bail after he appeared with three other men at Bristol Magistrates' Court on 31 March | BBC, UK

Jill D’Cruz obituary

In 1969, my mother, Jill D’Cruz, who has died aged 76, began her career in community work. Jill then began working with heroin users, first at the Hungerford Project (now part of the charity Turning Point) and from 1976 at Cranstoun, a therapeutic residential commune helping prepare former addicts for the return to independent living | Guardian, UK


International news

Drugs, COVID and marginalisation

Apr 12, 2021 01:10 PM in Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna. The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound effects on the way we all live our lives. This event will focus on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on drug use, drug treatment and drug policy across the world. It will look at how the pandemic has exacerbated the harms caused by drug policies on the most marginalised people in our societies as well as trying to identify any positive developments | IDHDP, UK

What is drug policy evaluation and why is it important?

Updated. Evaluation is essential for effective policymaking, helping ensure that policies and programmes have the desired effect, provide value for money and do not have negative unintended consequences. The importance of evaluation has been recognised in all EU drug strategies and in the strategies of many Member States | EMCDDA, Portugal

Snapshot of narcotic drugs and psychoactive substances in Kuwait: analysis of illicit drugs use in Kuwait from 2015 to 2018

The Arabian Gulf region is considered a crossing point and a consumer of illicit drugs. However, a lack of laboratory-based research has limited the scientific assessment of drug misuse in the Arabian Gulf region. Thus, an up-to-date analytical representation of the drug situation is warranted | BMC Public Health, Kuwait

Smoke-free Worksite Laws Curbing Vaping

A new observational study from researchers at the Yale School of Public Health suggests smoke-free worksite laws may yield reductions, not only in conventional cigarette use, but in the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems as well | Yale School of Public Health, USA

Federal Grantees May Now Use Funds to Purchase Fentanyl Test Strips

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced today that federal funding may now be used to purchase rapid fentanyl test strips (FTS) in an effort to help curb the dramatic spike in drug overdose deaths largely driven by the use of strong synthetic opioids, including illicitly manufactured fentanyl | CDC, USA

Quality of Preventive and Chronic Illness Care for Insured Adults With Opioid Use Disorder

In this cross-sectional study of 79 372 insured adults with opioid use disorder and a comparison group without opioid use disorder, quality of care was between 0.5 and 10.2 percentage points lower for those with opioid use disorder for preventive care, chronic illness care, and care coordination. All of these differences were statistically significant | JAMA Network, USA

Maine Unveils Legislation to Decriminalize Possession of All Drugs

Maine lawmakers have formally introduced a bill to broadly decriminalize possession of all currently illicit drugs—the latest state-based move to comprehensively address ending the drug war | Filter Magazine, USA

Three Harm Reduction Zines From People Who Use Drugs in Denver

The Harm Reduction Action Center made these three harm reduction zines in collaboration with people who inject drugs in Denver, Colorado. We all agree that there isn’t enough honest drug education accessible to those who need it, so we pooled our collective knowledge around the topics most sought after by those in our community | Filter Magazine, USA

Thailand faces meth trafficking surge after Myanmar coup

A village watchman trains his binoculars on a suspicious fishing boat -- the first line of defence as Thailand braces for a fresh methamphetamine influx after a coup in neighbouring Myanmar | Yahoo, USA

Vancouver funds permanent position to lead overdose response team

Mayor Kennedy Stewart says a "very important" pilot program that paired firefighters with staff from Vancouver Coastal Health will stay in place to help people break the cycle of overdoses by connecting them with support services | Times Colonist, Canada

E-cigarettes help smokers quit for good

E-cigarettes may be more effective in helping smokers quit than nicotine replacement therapies such as patches and gum, according to University of Queensland research | University of Queensland, Australia

Update on Psilocybin and MDMA scheduling

The Scheduling Delegate has decided to seek further advice in relation to psilocybin and MDMA. This will include an independent expert review into the therapeutic value, risks and benefits to public health outcomes for these substances as well as seeking additional advice from the Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling following the review. The final decision will not be announced on 22 April 2021 | Australian Government TGA, Australia

'High rollers' A study of criminal profits along Australia’s heroin and methamphetamine supply chains

This report helps develop an understanding of the quantum of profits being made and where in the value chain they occur. Australians spent approximately A$5.8 billion on methamphetamine and A$470 million on heroin in FY 2019 | ASPI, Australia

National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data collection

On a snapshot day in 2020, over 53,300 clients received pharmacotherapy treatment for their opioid dependence at 3,084 dosing points across Australia. There were 3,422 authorised prescribers of opioid pharmacotherapy drugs | AIHW, Australia

Youth drinking declines - what have we learned?

Since the early 2000s, adolescent drinking in Australia and in many high income countries has fallen dramatically. For example, among 14-17 year old Australians, the rate of risky drinking has fallen from 30% in 2001 to 9% in 2019. This seminar summarised a program of work looking to understand these trends, addressing the potential causes of these declines, the implications for adult drinking and harm and next steps for research | NDARC, Australia

Politicians want breath testing for drugs, alcohol in Parliament

Multiple figures across the political divide have called for MPs to be breath tested for drugs and alcohol in Parliament, with claims of “drunken abuse” inside the chambers of power | The New Daily, Australia

Sydney and cocaine: an illicit love affair for the ages

Another corporate worker, based in the CBD, likes to text his cocaine dealer to arrange a quick delivery. His guy will show up promptly, pick him up for a short drive, and hand over the drug | SMH, Australia

Fishing trawlers, a no-show submarine and mutiny: the full story of a historic drug haul

“You’ve got to turn around and head back to Tassie. Everything’s been called off,” a frustrated Joe Pirrello told the crew of the Saxon Progress fishing trawler on March 14, 2016, as it was powering towards international waters | SMH, Australia

New Zealand's largest medicinal cannabis farm begins harvest

New Zealand’s largest medicinal cannabis farm's first harvest is well underway, with thousands of its organic plants already drying | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

How can we tackle alcohol and substance harm in the LGBT+ community?

The Glasgow LGBTQI+ Substance Use Partnership was set up in August 2019 to address the disproportionate impact of substance use on LGBTQI+ people and communities in the city by improving service inclusivity and by proactively engaging with the community around reducing harm | AHA UK blog, UK

Legalising cannabis will slash drug crime and levy taxes, it's a no-brainer PETER REYNOLDS

"Take away the cannabis trade from organised crime and take responsibility for it. Control it. Reduce its harms. Benefit from safer streets, increased tax revenue, more jobs, less crime. Ask your MP, whose side are you on? Are you on our side, looking after us properly, or are you on the same side as the gangsters?" | Daily Express comment, UK

Protected: Hilary

Caring for someone who is dependent on drugs is one of the most exhausting, emotional and confusing experiences, it’s like living on a rollercoaster that you can’t get off of, you are constantly full of hope one minute and the next you are sick with worry | Anyone's Child blog, UK

Why are Republicans obsessed with drugs?

The American electorate is now well versed enough in what real addiction entails that judging people for their children’s substance problems, as the likes of Gaetz, Giuliani and Trump Jr are wont do do, feels to them both callous and absurd | Independent, UK

Big tobacco is coming for legal marijuana

It’s no coincidence that in 2018 Altria, which owns the Marlboro brand, invested $1.8 billion in a cannabis company and $12.8 billion in JUUL, a nicotine vape product | Boston Globe opinion, USA