Daily news - 16th August 2021

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UK news

Drug and alcohol deaths hit record high after government cuts funding for treatment services

Some council areas have seen cuts to services of more than 40 per cent | Independent, UK

MSPs urge SNP Government to back Right to Recovery bill to curb Ayrshire drug deaths

The Scottish Conservatives' Right to Recovery bill hopes to enshrine in law that everyone who needs treatment can get it | Daily Record, UK

Teesside faces 'scourge' of drug deaths increase

Deaths in Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Stockton-on-Tees, and Redcar and Cleveland increased last year to 123, from 88 in 2019 | BBC, UK

‘I’m dying, I need help’: Inside the battle to turn around England’s drugs death capital

Blackpool has topped the country’s drug fatality rates for more than a decade. Now a dozen recovering addicts are part of a pilot programme to tackle a crisis that’s out of control... | Independent, UK

Brighton gallery exhibits art by people with alcoholic parents

An exhibition of art by 50 people with alcoholic parents aims to support to those in similar circumstances. The Back on Track project brings together Brighton & Hove City Council with charities the Oasis Project and Nacoa to offer specialist support to people who grew up with alcoholics | BBC, UK

The ATOMIC training app on non-medical use of prescription drugs: the SSA talks to Owen Bowden-Jones

Last month, the CNWL Club Drug Clinic launched an app about non-medical use of prescription drugs. The app, ATOMIC, is designed to help clinicians know more about this emerging issue. The SSA caught up with Professor Owen Bowden-Jones to find out more | SSA, UK

Alcohol consumption and harms during COVID-19 in four continents

Tue, 17 August 2021, 11:00 – 12:30 BST. CARA-led ‘COVID-19 & Substance Use’ webinar. Myths, Lockdowns, Curfews & Bans: Alcohol consumption & harms during COVID-19 in 4 continents | SHAAP, UK


International news

Spending Review 2021 Focused Policy Assessment of Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery: An analysis of expenditure and performance in the area of drug and alcohol misuse (PDF)

Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery 2017 to 2025 (RHSR), continues the work of previous strategies on reducing the harms associated with substance misuse in Irish society but places a greater emphasis on supporting a health-led response to drug and alcohol use, and a further move away from a criminal justice approach. Alcohol misuse is also included in RHSR | Government of Ireland, Ireland

College drinking declined during the pandemic

First-year college students are reporting drinking less alcohol and having fewer episodes of binge drinking four months into the coronavirus pandemic than they were before the pandemic started, according to a study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Medical Xpress, USA

Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol Plus Standard Care vs Standard Care Alone for the Treatment of Emotional Exhaustion and Burnout Among Frontline Health Care Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In this randomized clinical trial of 120 frontline health care professionals, emotional exhaustion scores were reduced among participants receiving CBD plus standard care compared with those receiving standard care alone. Five participants who received CBD plus standard care experienced serious adverse events, with full recovery after discontinuation | JAMA Network, USA

Breakthrough In Opioid Overdose Treatment: Neurons Involved In Overdose Deaths Identified [Study]

A new study has reported the identification of specific receptors in a group of neurons, whose triggering results in opioid-induced respiratory depression (OIRD) | International Business Times, USA

Profits and poppy: Afghanistan's illegal drug trade a boon for Taliban

The United States spent more than $8 billion over 15 years on efforts to deprive the Taliban of their profits from Afghanistan's opium and heroin trade, from poppy eradication to airstrikes and raids on suspected labs | Reuters, USA

Campus Life Is Returning. Will Toxic Drug Deaths Increase Too?

Advocates say universities and the province need to do more to prevent overdoses as schools reopen | The Tyee, Canada

Emyria and University of Western Australia to research MDMA compounds for treatment of mental health disorders

Clinical drug development and care delivery company Emyria (ASX: EMD) has entered into an agreement with the University of Western Australia (UWA) to examine and expand a unique library of proprietary MDMA-like compounds (or ‘analogues’) developed over the last 10 years | Small Caps, Australia

Victorian government suggests new approach that would allow medical cannabis patients to drive legally

Under Australia’s current drug-driving laws, it is illegal for anyone to drive with THC in their body. As up to 70% of Australia’s medical cannabis patients take THC in their prescription, the drug driving laws act as a barrier to medical cannabis for people without an alternative means of transport | Pondering Pot, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Improving our treatment system to prevent further drug-related deaths

New treatment standards to support people with a drug problem were recently published by the Scottish Government on behalf of the Drugs Death Taskforce and in collaboration with Public Health Scotland. Public Health Scotland’s Elinor Dickie, co-author of the standards who helped lead their development, shares her hopes of the lasting change that they will deliver | Public Health Scotland blog, UK

Letters: The callous stigma that is attached to drug addiction

With 1,314 drug deaths last year, drug overdoses killed twice as many under-65s in Scotland as Covid did | Herald letters, UK

What can we learn from the history of research on psychedelic drugs in the addictions?

Since 2006 there has been a revival of interest in using psychedelics to treat depression and post-traumatic stress disorders [1] and the addictions [2]. What lessons may we glean from research in the 1950s and 1960s on the use of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) to treat alcohol dependence [3, 4]? | Addiction editorial, UK

The hypocrisy of 'progressive' middle-class drug users is ruining lives

[Limited number of free articles per week] Appalling gang violence on our streets is driven by a cocaine trade built on middle-class customers | Telegraph comment, UK

Banning vape sales will do more harm than good

It was recently revealed that Sajid Javid, still fresh-faced in his new job as health secretary, is set to launch the next stage in the government’s plan to make England ‘smoke-free by 2030’, with a focus on cracking down on younger smokers | Politics.co.uk, UK

Vapers told to head to the doctor ahead of new import rules

The medicines regulator is urging e-cigarette users to make an appointment with a doctor before new laws kick in banning the import of nicotine vaping products without a prescription | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia