Daily news - 13th August 2021

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UK news

Introduction of stricter drink drive limit has had ‘no effect’ in reducing accidents

A new study argues that lower drink drive limits need to be backed up with stricter enforcement to tackle persistent drink driving-related accidents | University of Bath, UK

Drugs campaign to target Leeds and Reading festivals

A major drug outreach campaign is to be launched ahead of the Leeds and Reading festivals later this month | BBC, UK

Campaign will target middle-class drug users

[Free one month trial available] Middle-class drug users need to “connect themselves with the violence” of the drugs trade, the policing minister has said | The Times, UK

Humankind expands successful IPS service

Funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Health and Social Care, and backed by Public Health England, the Humankind STARS (Staffordshire Treatment and Recovery Service) was one of the first areas to deliver IPS (Individual Placement and Support) in community drug and alcohol treatment, from 1st April 2020 – 31st March 2021 | Humankind, UK

Small charities responding to COVID-19: Summer 2021 update

This report builds on the previous two - published in May and December 2020 respectively and how small charities have fared since the first national lockdown in March 2020. This provides a snapshot of the experiences of small charities throughout the crisis | LLoyds Bank Foundation, UK

Rapper Nines admits plot to import cannabis

Rapper Nines has admitted being part of a plot to import 28kg of cannabis into the UK from Spain and Poland | BBC, UK


International news

UK inhaler firm Vectura backs £1bn bid by Marlboro-maker

Directors at UK inhaler company Vectura have recommended shareholders accept a £1bn bid from tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI) | BBC, UK

Photo story - Countries of the WHO European Region encourage tobacco users to commit to quit on World No Tobacco Day

The theme of this year’s World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) campaign was “Commit to quit”. During the campaign, countries advocated for strong tobacco cessation policies, promoted increased access to cessation services, raised awareness of tobacco industry tactics and empowered tobacco users to successfully quit through “Quit and Win” initiatives. Activities included webinars, online conferences, campaigns on social media and award ceremonies | WHO, Denmark

How COVID pandemic changed methadone treatment for addiction

Here’s one more lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic: It appears safe to relax restrictions on methadone, the oldest and most stigmatized treatment drug for opioid addiction | Associated Press, USA

No adverse cognitive effects of ketamine or esketamine for treatment-resistant depression

Ketamine is a widely used surgical anesthetic that produces a detached, dreamlike state. Multiple studies have shown that at low doses, ketamine can have rapid antidepressant effects – typically improving mood within 24 hours to 7 days | EurekAlert, USA

California Supreme Court rules prison inmates not allowed to have marijuana

The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state’s law allowing the use of recreational marijuana does not apply to prison inmates, overturning a 2019 appellate court ruling that allowed prisoners to possess up to 1 ounce of pot | Courthouse News Service, USA

Study Shows Cannabis Consumers Are Successful, Motivated, Health-Conscious: Snoop Dogg Weighs In

The long-standing, negative stereotypes about cannabis consumers have contributed to a decades-long stigma that lingers to this date, even as legalization spreads across the world while birthing one of the fastest-growing industries of our time | Forbes, USA

Pot shops are opening on Main Street America. And they look like Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville

First, cannabis dispensaries tried to channel the sophisticated look of an Apple Store. Now they’re embracing their inner Jimmy Buffett | Fast Company, USA

What Recovery From Meth Addiction Taught Me About Harm Reduction

“You’re too well put together to be an addict.” I beamed at Jake’s comment, overwhelmed with relief. He squirmed as he disclosed his struggles with addiction, pushing aside the wine list as we both opted for water. The restaurant was dimly lit. I hoped it would soften the twitches in my face and limbs | Filter Magazine, USA

Magic Mushroom Stores Are Open in Canada — But They're Still Illegal

Canada and some U.S. jurisdictions are loosening their laws around psilocybin as black market dispensaries crop up | VICE, Canada

Experts: Tobacco harm reduction already successful in reducing smoking in many countries

Leading experts in the field of science and technology as well as policy and consumer advocacy believe that harm reduction can play an important role in improving public health | Malay Mail, Kuala Lumpur

Cocaine found to contain heroin and large amounts of lidocaine

Lidocaine has recently been associated with two deaths in NSW relating to cocaine use, and police drug seizures have found high levels of lidocaine in cocaine.  Further hospitalisations from heroin overdose in people using cocaine have occurred across Sydney | NSW Government, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

'Smoking bans don't work - nor will cracking down on vape and cigarette sales'

The World Health Organisation’s ‘Tobacco Free Initiative’ aims to speed up the gradual transition to a smoke-free world. And yet, for some reason, it is also opposed to vaping, the safe alternative to smoking which is the best tool we have for helping people quit cigarettes | Mirror, UK

Afghanistan: what the conflict means for the global heroin trade

The long war in Afghanistan reached a potential watershed on August 6 when Taliban fighters took over Zaranj, a dusty frontier town with a population of some 63,000 on the Afghan-Iranian border. Though geographically and politically marginal, Zaranj was the first provincial centre to fall during a month of rapid advances | Conversation, UK

Opioids, Overdose, Abstinence—A Historically Deadly Combination

We have told ourselves the “opioid crisis” is an exception to past drug scares. In the past century, the narrative goes, we relied on law enforcement and punishment to curb widescale drug use, but our country now has turned over a new leaf—one centered on public health and compassion. Had it not been for Purdue Pharma, a uniquely bad actor, the spread of addiction and overdose deaths would have never occurred | Points blog, USA

‘Benzo-dope’ may be replacing fentanyl: Dangerous substance turning up in unregulated opioids

Canada has seen a drastic shift in the unregulated drug supply with the emergence of benzodiazepine-adulterated opioids (also known as “benzo-dope”). Benzodiazepines have been detected in as many as 60 per cent of overdose deaths in British Columbia | Conversation, Canada

How will Australia’s new sales regime work?

In less than two months, Australian consumers will be able to obtain medically licensed nicotine-containing e-cigarettes from community and online pharmacies – but there is still some mystery around how the new system will be implemented | E-Cig intelligence, Australia

After the last ‘summer of terrible drugs’ it’s time to make NZ’s temporary drug checking law permanent

With the summer music festival season approaching (COVID willing), hopes are high that the current temporary recreational drug checking law will become permanent. If and when that happens, New Zealand will take another small step down the long drug reform road from criminalisation to harm prevention | Conversation, New Zealand