Daily news - 7th July 2021

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UK news

Smoking attributable deaths in England: When the information changes

We have published new estimates, based on an updated methodology, on the deaths and hospital admissions caused by smoking. The figures are around 15% lower than previously published but what does this tell us about smoking in England? | PHE, UK

Local Alcohol Profiles for England (LAPE): July 2021 update

Update of indicators in the Local Alcohol Profiles for England (LAPE) interactive tool | PHE, UK

Statistics on Women's Smoking Status at Time of Delivery: England Quarter 4, 2020-21

9.5% of women were smokers at time of delivery in 2020-21. 0.9 percentage point decrease from 2019-20 (10.4%), but still above the current national ambition of 6% or less | NHS Digital, UK

LGB people 'more likely to have mental health issues'

They are also more likely to drink heavily and smoke. The analysis was conducted by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) for NHS Digital, based on a representative sample of over-16s who took part in the Health Survey for England between 2011 and 2018 | BBC, UK

Briefing: LGBTQ+ People and Alcohol (PDF)

Patterns in alcohol use vary among different orientations and gender identities, but overall there is a higher prevalence of hazardous drinking among the LGBTQ+ population compared to the general population, particularly among women | IAS, UK

Scottish Government spent almost £6m defending high profile cases in court

High profile cases brought against the Scottish Government including challenges to the minimum pricing of alcohol and the named persons scheme cost almost £6m to fight, new figures reveal | Scotsman, UK

Life-changing new drug could mean end of methadone treatment for heroin addicts

The treatment keeps users clear headed, reduces drug cravings and avoids dehumanising waits in pharmacy queues | Daily Record, UK

Drugs: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to her Department's Review of the Psychoactive Substances Act, published in November 2018, what steps her Department has taken since the publication of that report to resolve that lack of evidence to evaluate the impact of the Act on rates of drug use and related harm | They work for you, UK

First minister rejects brother's cannabis oil plea

The mother of a boy who suffers life-threatening seizures says she is devastated at Nicola Sturgeon's response to her son's plea to make medicine available to his brother | BBC, UK

Legalising Psychedelics - webinar

There is no defined road to legalising psychedelics, but there are many options available. Ismail Lourido Ali, of MAPS, discusses the important nuances in this Drug Science webinar on expanding access to psychedelics | Drug Science, UK

Brewdog Instagram ad banned for misleading health claims

The advertising watchdog, the ASA, has banned an advert by controversial brewer Brewdog for misleading claims | BBC, UK

Charity of the year 2021/22 - Bristol Drug Project

We’re pleased to announce that our 2021/22 charity of the year will be the Bristol Drug Project (BDP) | Guildhall Chambers, UK

Dover drug smuggling: Men jailed over £19m cocaine haul

Two men have been jailed for a total of more than 30 years for attempting to smuggle £19m worth of cocaine into the UK on an empty passenger coach | BBC, UK


International news

German police arrest hundreds after snooping on drug users using encrypted chat service

Arrests were made after French and Dutch investigators managed to crack EncroChat messages | Independent, UK

US Syringe Exchanges Are Still Under Attack (Part 1)

In some ways, people who inject drugs in the United States are enjoying unprecedented lawful access to supplies to keep themselves safe, namely syringes and needles... | Talking Drugs, UK

US Syringe Exchanges Are Still Under Attack (Part 2)

The fate of a harm reduction organisation in Atlantic City, New Jersey is up in the air | Talking Drugs, UK

Ana Liffey Drug Project publishes its Strategic Goals for 2021 & 2022

“The challenge when writing a strategic plan is explaining something quite complicated in simple concise terms. We wanted people to be able to read this quickly and say to themselves – I understand  who Ana Liffey are, what they do and what they are trying to achieve | Ana Liffey Drug Project, Ireland

Sativex® (nabiximols) cannabinoid oromucosal spray in patients with resistant multiple sclerosis spasticity: the Belgian experience

This retrospective study evaluates patient-reported outcomes in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) spasticity who were treated with a cannabinoid oromucosal spray (Sativex®, USAN name: nabiximols) after not sufficiently responding to previous anti-spasticity medications | BMC Neurology, Belgium

Freshwater methamphetamine pollution turns brown trout into addicts

Human pollution is often evident from oil slicks and plastic drifting on shore, but many of the drugs that we consume also end up washing out into our water and current effluent treatment isn't equipped to deal with them | EurekAlert, Czech Republic

Juul Is Fighting to Keep Its E-Cigarettes on the U.S. Market

The company faces declining sales and thousands of lawsuits claiming it knowingly sold its trendy vaping products to minors. Soon the F.D.A. will decide whether it can keep selling them at all | NYTimes, USA

Feasibility and Acceptability of a Smoking Cessation Program for Individuals Released From an Urban, Pretrial Jail

In this randomized clinical trial, counseling plus NRT was acceptable and feasible. There was no difference in 7-day point prevalence abstinence at 3 weeks, but the reduction in cigarettes per day was significantly greater in the counseling plus NRT group compared with the control group | JAMA Network Open, USA

Kitchen confidential: Mental health and substance use among restaurant workers in the wake of COVID-19

What are the relationships between restaurant employees’ work status, mental health, substance use, and career turnover intention during the COVID-19 pandemic? | BASIS, USA

‘Stay Hydrated and Carry Narcan’ Parties are back, and so is panic about fentanyl-laced cocaine

Partying in New York was back for Pride weekend, but with an asterisk: Be careful with your drugs | The Cut, USA

Brazil Gains Ground on Medical Marijuana, in Defiance of Bolsonaro

In June, after a series of delays, a special commission of Brazil’s lower house of Congress finally voted on Bill 399/2015, which would permit the cultivation and sale of medical-use cannabis by licensed sellers. It was approved by a vote of 18 to 17, and will move to the Senate | Filter Magazine, USA

“Music Is a Trigger”—How I Was Welcomed to Rehab

Ron’s gold track pants make a swishing sound as he walks toward me, his right hand outstretched. Tall and skinny with the impeccable posture my mother would love, he’s probably in his late twenties | Filter Magazine, USA

Proposed ban on vaping flavours will push Canadians back to smoking traditional cigarettes, admits Health Canada's own report

In an unprecedented move, Health Canada is proposing a full federal ban on vaping flavours. The ban would take effect in about 180 days, so likely January 1, 2022 | CISION PR Newswire, Canada

Australia's youth

[Includes section on drug use] From 2001 to 2019, single occasion risky drinking at least once a month decreased substantially among young people aged 14–24 (from 47% to 30%). The proportion of young people aged 14–24 who smoke daily has more than halved since 2001 (19.3% to 6.8% in 2019). From 2001 to 2019, there was a reduction in the recent illicit use of drugs (including non-medical use of pharmaceuticals) among young people aged 14–24 (from 32% to 24%) | AIHW, Australia

Strengthened evidenced for a low-cost natural quit smoking aid requiring wider global access

Results from the largest trial ever undertaken for cytisine on its effectiveness compared to the most effective frontline treatment, varenicline, could lead to wider cytisine access for people who smoke. Trial findings were published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) | NDARC, Australia

Donna is no stranger to addiction, mental illness or homelessness. She knows exactly how to help others

After the suicide of her partner, Donna Beahan ended up homeless on the streets with her 14-year-old daughter, battling a marijuana addiction and undiagnosed mental illness | abc.net.au, Australia

‘Public interest’ amendment to drug law needed to hasten future harm reduction initiatives

The New Zealand Drug Foundation is calling for a ‘public interest’ exemption to be added to the country’s drug laws to enable quicker and easier establishment of future harm reduction initiatives that could save lives | New Zealand Drug Foundation, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Why we’re calling for a £20m investment in residential treatment

Across England, access to intensive drug and alcohol treatment, delivered in residential care home settings, is being denied to increasing numbers of people. Over the last year, nearly 600 fewer people were able to access these services despite the increasing vulnerability due to the pandemic | Phoenix Futures blog, UK

How health departments are addressing substance use disorder and overdose during a pandemic

Even as health departments and the public at large are focused on COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently acknowledged that substance use and overdoses are critical issues that require continued attention and response | JPHMP, USA

Even just by listening, harm reduction workers can improve mental health among people who use drugs

Among people who use drugs, harm reduction facilities and their staff, can offer a reprieve from discrimination driven by stigma. Even small gestures like asking how a person is doing can improve the emotional wellbeing of the community members who use the various needle and syringe distribution organizations, supervised consumption sites (SCS), and other harm reduction organizations around the country | UPHNS blog, Canada