Daily news - 15th April 2021

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UK news

Volunteering as a service user in the UK: Findings from a cross-sector survey (PDF)

The survey focused on service user volunteers in the criminal justice, drug & alcohol, homelessness and complex needs sectors. Its purpose was to inform a new best practice guide to enable organisations to provide the best support to service users working as volunteers and for service users to know what they should expect from the services they volunteer for. {See also Russell's blog below] | Russell Webster, UK

Pints ordered in pubs will be slapped with calorie counts, leaked ‘nanny-state’ plans reveal

Nannying health chiefs are to slap calorie counts on pints ordered in pubs, leaked plans seen by The Sun reveal | The Sun, UK

Psilocybin: Magic mushroom compound 'promising' for depression

Psychedelic drug psilocybin, found in magic mushrooms, is as good at reducing symptoms of depression as conventional treatment, a small, early-stage study has suggested | BBC, UK

Addiction Audio: social norms and smoking behaviour with Katie East

In this episode of Addiction Audio, Rob Calder speaks to Dr Katie East about her research into social norms in relation to smoking behaviour | SSA, UK

Society for the Study of Addiction to take on research update role

From 1 May 2021 the Drug and Alcohol Findings Effectiveness Bank expects to end its core research update service, many aspects of which will instead become available from the Society for the Study of Addiction | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

#34 - Psilocybin vs Antidepressants - podcast

Psilocybin is being heralded as a major breakthrough in the fight against depression, but how does it compare to the most effective treatment that doctors prescribe for depression? | Drug Science, UK

Police use drug overdose reversal spray for first time in Forth Valley

A spray which reverses an opioid-related drug overdose has been used by police for the first time in Forth Valley | Falkirk Herald, UK

New app to help reduce drug-related deaths in Highland 

The Highland Overdose Prevention and Engagement (HOPE) app has been created with input from people with lived experience and a range of experts from NHS Highland and beyond | NHS Highland, UK

Brewers welcome return to trading after lockdown

An estimated 87 million pints of beer have been thrown away in the UK since the start of the Covid pandemic | BBC, UK

Suspected cannabis farm worth £5m found in Manchester

Officers made the discovery at a warehouse on Heyrod Street at about 05:30 BST on Monday | BBC, UK

HMP Thorn Cross: Drugs 'stashed in gardens' near jail

Police are stepping up patrols near an open prison after villagers claimed packages of drugs, steroids and alcohol were being stashed in their gardens | BBC, UK


International news

Effect of an electronic nicotine delivery system with 0, 8, or 36 mg/mL liquid nicotine versus a cigarette substitute on tobacco-related toxicant exposure: a four-arm, parallel-group, randomised, controlled trial

Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDSs) are used by some smokers to reduce cigarette consumption, but their effectiveness is uncertain. We aimed to examine the extent to which ENDSs or a non-nicotine cigarette substitute influence tobacco-related toxicant exposure and cigarette consumption in smokers interested in smoking reduction | Lancet, UK

CND64 Side Event - Impacts of COVID-19 on the drug market

Fri, 16 April 2021, 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM BST. CND64 Side Event - Impacts of COVID-19 on the drug market: A multi-country multi-study analysis | ISSDP, UK

Methadone users ‘actively discouraged’ from becoming drug-free

According to the study, which was carried out by Trinity College academics and published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, users view methadone as a “ball and chain” and doctors rarely assist in helping patients come off the drug | Irish Times, Ireland

Top French court won’t prosecute Jewish woman’s killer because he was on weed

Court of Cassation upholds ruling that Kobili Traore can’t be held criminally responsible for Sarah Halimi’s killing as he was in a psychotic state from marijuana use | Times of Israel, Israel

Trends in Drug Overdose Mortality in Ohio During the First 7 Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with excess deaths relative to existing trends. Because drug overdoses are a leading cause of death, it is important to investigate the general time-series pattern of overdose deaths during the pandemic | JAMA Network open, USA

Does high school drug use matter in adulthood?: Trends in adolescent and future young adulthood drug use across race and ethnicity

Adolescence is a period of rapid change and adjustment to new social situations, and often involves kids’ first use of drugs and alcohol | BASIS, USA

What to Make of the Recent Resurgence of Delta 8?

Gentry Matthews was over it. Like many others in his industry, he had founded a nicotine vape company with a purpose: He wanted to help others switch from smoking cigarettes to vaping, as he had done | Filter Magazine, USA

First of two NaloxBoxes installed in Jackson County

Thanks to a state initiative announced in February, all 92 counties in Indiana are able to provide 24/7 access to the opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone, also known as Narcan | The Tribune, USA

More than 7,000 lives lost to toxic drugs in 5 years — and this B.C. health crisis is only getting worse

5 people are dying of an overdose every day in B.C., 5 years after a public health emergency was declared | CBC News, Canada

The Canadian Vaping Association launches platform for vapers to tell their story

The aim of the initiative, sponsored by Flavourart Distro, is to remind Canadians and regulators that punitive vape regulation has real consequences for adult smokers that have chosen vaping to reduce their harm | CVA, Canada

Developing and testing of an interactive internet-based intervention to reduce sexual harm of sexualised drug use (‘chemsex’) among men who have sex with men in Hong Kong: a study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

Sexualised drug use, known as ‘chemsex’ or ‘chemfun,’ is the practice of intentionally using illicit drugs before or during sexual activates to enhance sexual arousal and pleasure | BMC Public Health, Hong Kong

Trends in Drug-Induced Deaths in Australia, 1997-2019

This bulletin reports on all drug-induced deaths (i.e., deaths directly attributable to drug use) in Australia from 1997 to 2019. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) were accessed from the Cause of Death Unit Record File (COD URF) though the Australian Coordinating Registry (ACR) and analysed in consultation with the ABS | NDARC, Australia

NZ drug experts drag Australia for its response to music festival deaths

Harm minimisation experts in New Zealand have criticised Australia's response to drug deaths at music festivals | abc.net.au, Australia

New book explores first women-only methadone clinic in Tehran

“This book details the incredible stories of these women and how they became drug users, the struggles they faced, and how they benefited from being in treatment,” said Dr Dolan | NDARC, Australia

The mysterious case of Baclofen toxicity

Coroner investigates a woman’s rare and inadvertent death from off-label use of baclofen | AJP, Australia

Proposals for a Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan

It is a decade since New Zealand adopted the goal to reduce smoking prevalence and tobacco availability to minimal levels, essentially making Aotearoa New Zealand smokefree by 2025. Over this time, smoking rates have continued to decline; however, much work still needs to be done, particularly to reduce smoking rates among Māori, Pacific peoples and those living in our most disadvantaged communities | Ministry of Health, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

How Do We Treat Our Peer Mentors?

Earlier this year (February and March), myself in partnership with the Revolving Doors Agency conducted a major survey of the experiences of people who had used helping services themselves before volunteering for them | Russell Webster, UK

The stigma of recovery

Quite rightly there is a current focus on stigmatising language. Use of language frames the way we think. Non-judgemental, people-first language is important to reduce stigma but it is equally important that we consider the subtle use of language that disempowers, judges and marginalises the people who use our services | Phoenix Futures blog, UK

Alcohol labelling and rationality

The Sun reported yesterday that public health ‘nannies’ are planning on introducing calorie labelling on alcoholics drinks, including in pubs, bars and restaurants | Thinking to Some Purpose blog, UK

Side events from CND

Catch up with the transcripts of the 43 side events held so far at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs | CND Blog, UK

In My Hometown, Opioids Are Still Stealing Lives

A decade ago, it was already a crisis. But it feels as if it’s getting worse| NYTimes opinion, USA