Daily news - 18th August 2021

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UK news

Drug users urged to be extra careful following a high number of likely heroin overdoses

Public Health England (PHE) has issued a warning of a sharp rise in the number of overdoses linked to people using drugs in several areas across England | PHE, UK

Alcohol-specific deaths

This statistical report details information on the number of deaths that were registered in Scotland in 2020 which are classified as alcohol-specific. It also includes breakdowns by sex, age, cause of death and deprivation | National Records of Scotland, UK

Alcohol deaths at highest level for a decade

Deaths caused by alcohol rose by 17% last year to the highest level for more than a decade, new official figures show | BBC, UK

Five things we know from Scotland's alcohol death figures

Alcohol-related deaths rose by 17% in 2020 and are now at the highest level since 2008. Is this increase a surprise, or does it follow recent trends? Here are five things we know from the National Records of Scotland report | BBC, UK

Just ten local authorities have increased treatment spending in last five years

Only ten local authorities have been able to increase their spending on drug and alcohol treatment services in real terms since 2016, according to analysis by the Labour Party for the House of Commons Library | DDN, UK

Greater Manchester smokers encouraged to - Never Quit Quitting

“Never quit quitting” is the message of a major new campaign aiming to help thousands more Greater Manchester residents to stop smoking | GMCA and NHS Manchester, UK

Glasgow Labour MSP Paul Sweeney dismisses safe drug room claim

Dame Carol Black, who was commissioned by the former Home Secretary Sajid Javid to conduct an independent review into drug misuse, said the row over consumption rooms could potentially act as a distraction from tackling the issue | Glasgow Times, UK

Heroin needles dumped in Belfast city centre alleyway

An increase in HIV cases in Belfast has been blamed on the closure of needle exchange services for heroin users | Belfast Telegraph, UK

Policy Research Programme - Evaluation of alcohol-free and low-alcohol availability

Closes: 13:00 on 14 September 2021. The NIHR Policy Research Programme (PRP) invites applications for a research project to monitor and evaluate the impact of Government policy to deliver a significant increase in the availability of alcohol-free and low alcohol products by 2025. The policy covers England only. The research will examine impacts on alcohol consumption, including trends in availability and consumption, behavioural effects, unintended effects and impact on health inequalities | NIHR, UK

Rapper who filmed Holby City star’s dying daughter releases song about girl who ‘took a pill’

[Limited number of free articles per week] I play life as a game, says Ceon Broughton, who gave drugs to Louella Fletcher-Michie at festival and recorded her as they took hold | Telegraph, UK

Organised crime: Gang jailed after police follow drugs trail

An organised crime gang has been "dismantled" after police found a trail of cannabis in the street left by one of their cars | BBC, UK


International news

‘Dangerous data.’ Drinking after dependence part 3 The gloves come off; the Rand report

Mike Ashton of Drug and Alcohol Findings continues his serialisation of the project’s essay on the most controversial issue in alcohol treatment: whether dependent drinkers should always aim for abstinence. After a gentlemanly start in Britain, the gloves came off as support for the feasibility of controlled drinking based on US research was likened to “playing Russian roulette with the lives of human beings” | SSA, UK

Live animal exports are being used as cover by smugglers, say NGOs

Huge vessels used to transport farm animals are an attractive option for criminals smuggling drugs, arms and people | Guardian, UK

Sackler family won’t settle unless off the hook from opioid suits, court told

US bankruptcy trustee, nine states and DC objecting to settlement plan because it would grant legal protection to Sacklers | Guardian, UK

Afghanistan ‘will not be a country of cultivation of opium anymore’, Taliban insists

A Taliban spokesperson has insisted that Afghanistan will no longer produce drugs, despite currently being the largest illicit opium supplier in the world | Independent, UK

How heroin moves from Afghanistan around the world – and how Taliban takeover could make it worse

In recent years, Afghanistan has accounted for upwards of 80 per cent of global heroin production and has various supply routes that take its illicit drugs across the world | i news, UK

Nearly Half of U.S. Adults Have Tried Marijuana

he percentage of U.S. adults who say they have tried marijuana has ticked up to 49%, the highest Gallup has measured to date. More than 50 years ago, just 4% said they had tried the drug, but that percentage surpassed 20% in 1977, 30% in 1985 and 40% in 2015 | Gallup, USA

New York State Fair to let attendees smoke marijuana in approved sections

The New York State Fair intends to let attendees smoke marijuana use in certain parts of its fairgrounds this season in accordance with a state cannabis-use law that recently went into effect | Washington Times, USA

Latest Overdose Fatality Numbers Underscore Flaw in Federal Data

More than 95,000 people died of overdose in the United States between January 2020 and January 2021, according to recently released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The number reflects a record number of US annual overdose deaths | Filter Magazine, USA

Hundreds of Drug War Prisoners in WA Can Now Apply for Commutation

The governor of Washington State on Monday unveiled a new process through which hundreds of people with low-level drug convictions can apply for a commutation of their sentence | Filter Magazine, USA

Why needle hunters, who comb the streets for dangerous garbage, say they love their work

Photographer Spencer Colby meets the people collecting a growing number of used needles in Ottawa | CBC News, Canada

Cannabis use spiked, but methamphetamine use plunged in Australia during COVID-19 lockdown

Wastewater samples taken during 2020 show that methamphetamine (ice) use plunged in Australia during the first COVID-19 lockdown while cannabis use spiked, according to a new study led by the University of South Australia | News Medical, Australia

Advertising nicotine vaping products

The TGA has today published a revised TGA advertising permission allowing pharmacies and pharmacy marketing to groups to promote, through certain media, that they are able to dispense nicotine vaping products (such as nicotine e-cigarettes, nicotine pods and liquid nicotine) on prescription | TGA, Australia

The Bulletin - Issue 7, September

Inside this month’s issue: • Seven stories of lived experience • International Overdose Awareness Day: history, present and future • Dr Kimberly Sue of the National Harm Reduction Coalition on incarceration, stigma and treatment for opioid use disorder in the US | Penington Institute, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

DRUG ALERTS - August 2021 (UK)

The following information is for people who use heroin or are in contact with people who use heroin | Release blog, UK

Anti-Methadone Rhetoric Exacerbates Public Health Crisis In The UK

Drug consumption rooms, decriminalisation, safe supply and drug checking are all tools that could be deployed to address this public health crisis but which are blocked by the UK government and their commitment to a ‘tough on drugs’ rhetoric | Talking Drugs blog, UK

Probation’s Work With Drug Users Is “Disappointing”

Thematic inspection finds probation service's work with drug users "disappointing" and lacking focus and funding | Russell Webster blog, UK

Opioid Agonist Treatment associated with 50% lower risk of mortality, but political epiphany still needed to reduce drug-related deaths

America is being ravaged by problems with opiates; both prescribed medication and illicit forms, such as heroin and fentanyl. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died as a result of using these drugs | Mental Elf blog, UK

The Reason They’re Letting Fentanyl Kill Kids Is Because They Think Drug Dealers Are The Real Victims – OpEd

Tomorrow at 2 pm, I will join a Livermore, California mother named Jacqui Berlinn in a protest against dangerous drug dealers who may end up killing her son. They could kill him indirectly, by selling him fentanyl, or directly, as a consequence of his failing to pay them. Twice already he has been stabbed, and nearly died | Eurasia Review OpEd, USA