Daily news - 28th July 2021

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UK news

British Liver Trust urges cocaine users to get tested for hepatitis C

On World Hepatitis Day (28th July 2021) the British Liver Trust is warning that thousands of people may have contracted hepatitis C by sharing bank notes or straws whilst snorting cocaine, and is urging them to get tested for the virus | British Liver Trust, UK

Chronic health issues for third in late 40s - study

About one in three middle-aged people has multiple chronic health issues, a long-running British study suggests | BBC, UK

Naloxone kit supply may have saved almost 1,400 lives in 2020, report finds

There has been a large increase in the uptake of take-home naloxone kits in Scotland, and the emergency antidote for overdoses caused by heroin and other opioids is likely to have saved many lives | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

New study identifies factors associated with increased drinking during lockdown

Researchers at the University of Liverpool have published a new study which showed that increased drinking during the first COVID-19 lockdown was associated with drinking to cope | University of Liverpool, UK

One in five women actively trying to get pregnant smoke cigarettes, study finds

‘It’s worrying that awareness and behaviours haven’t really improved,’ says report author | Independent, UK

Philip Morris stubs out its own heated tobacco stores

[Free one month trial available] Philip Morris International has closed almost all of its recently opened shops in Britain for its heated tobacco brand, two years after revealing ambitious expansion plans | The Times, UK

Benzodiazepines in Scotland

A continued feature anticipated in our drug death statistics is the role of benzodiazepines | Drug Death Taskforce, UK

Economic trends in the retail sector, Great Britain: 1989 to 2021

From 1989 to 2020 the volume of sales of sports equipment, games and toys has risen by 451% while the volume of sales of alcoholic drinks, other beverages, and tobacco has fallen by 76% | ONS, UK

‘Ineffective’ and racially disproportionate blanket stop and search powers to be expanded

Government relaxes conditions as part of new Beating Crime Plan | Independent, UK

Addicts to be spared jail in bid to break 'poisonous' cycle of misuse under Government initiative

[Limited number of free articles per week] The Government's anti-drugs strategy is to be expanded to eight urban council areas to turn addicts away from drugs and crackdown on gangs | Telegraph, UK

Aviation: Alcoholic Drinks

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to ban alcohol consumption on commercial flights | They work for you, UK

WDP & Shannon Trust team up to help service users to read

Leading drug and alcohol charity WDP and literacy charity Shannon Trust are joining forces in an innovative partnership to help address low literacy rates in community substance misuse support services WDP, UK

Volteface Interview: The High Minds Brand with Danielle Morgan

Cannabis is being progressively recontextualised through innovative design solutions, helping to clean up the heavily stigmatised image of the plant. Volteface’s Katya Kowalski interviewed Danielle Morgan, founder of High Minds, a newly launched Irish cannabis lifestyle brand and online store | Volteface, UK

New drug and alcohol service provider announced

Following a competitive tender process, Wokingham Borough Council is pleased to announce that Cranstoun has been awarded the substance misuse service contract to borough residents. The contract is for five years and has been running since 1 April 2021 | Wokingham Borough Council, UK

Mile Pajic: Man acquitted over cross-Channel cocaine seizures

A man has been found not guilty of smuggling drugs after Border Force seized cocaine at Dover | BBC, UK

HMP Ranby: Pair sentenced over prison drug-soaked letters plot

Nottinghamshire Police said they were alerted last April when a solicitors firm reported an unknown party had ordered paper with its letterhead | BBC, UK


International news

WHO distracts from decades of failed efforts to reduce smoking 
with misguided war on safer alternatives 

The World Health Organization (WHO) and its single most significant funder for anti-smoking efforts, US billionaire Michael Bloomberg, have today sought to distract from years of failure under the WHO’s MPOWER tobacco control strategy by focusing instead on what UK-based public health agency Knowledge Action Change (KAC) and other observers are calling a new ‘war on nicotine’ | GSTHR, UK [See WHO report below]

Barcelona cannabis clubs face closure in new legal setback

Police and city authorities agree that ‘pioneering’ model has reduced street dealing and consumption | Guardian, UK

Facebook to limit ads children see after revelations Australian alcohol companies can reach teens

Advertisers on Instagram, Facebook and Messenger will no longer be able to market to under 18s based on their interests | Guardian, UK

WHO reports progress in the fight against tobacco epidemic

Many countries are making progress in the fight against tobacco, but a new World Health Organization report shows some are not addressing emerging nicotine and tobacco products and failing to regulate them | WHO, Switzerland

World Hepatitis Day 2021 - Hepatitis can’t wait

World Hepatitis Day is observed each year on 28 July to raise awareness of viral hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver that causes severe liver disease and hepatocellular cancer. This year’s theme is “Hepatitis can’t wait”, conveying the urgency of efforts needed to eliminate hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030 | WHO, Switzerland

Is the global push to reduce smoking working?

Tobacco use is responsible for over 8 million deaths a year worldwide. The World Health Organization developed MPOWER guidelines for countries to use policy to reduce smoking among their residents | BASIS, USA

The struggle to make health apps truly private

Why privacy and patient advocates are worried that substance use disorder apps aren’t keeping data private | Vox, USA

The outbreak of lung injuries often known as "EVALI" was nothing to do with nicotine vaping

 Many commentators, activists, academics and public health agencies continue to assert or imply that an outbreak of severe and fatal lung injuries that occurred primarily in the United States between mid-2019 and early 2020 may have been caused in part by nicotine vaping | qeios, USA

Never too late: Cancer centers push patients to quit smoking

When cancer patients stop smoking, they heal faster, experience fewer side effects from treatment and lower their chances of tumors returning. Now, top cancer hospitals are helping patients quit as evidence mounts that it's never too late | Medical Xpress, USA

“Undoing Drugs”—Maia Szalavitz’s Profound History of Harm Reduction

In 1986, HIV/AIDS was burning through New York. The city’s gay population was devastated, and, though it was talked about much less, so were its quarter million injection drug users | Filter Magazine, USA

Study of recovery community organization participants over time shows peer-based recovery support activities are associated with modest improvement in recovery capital

This study represents the first large-scale study to systematically collect electronic data from a national sample of recovery community organizations and to examine whether service utilization is associated with potential improvement in recovery capital over time | Recovery Research Review, USA

Can a popular measure of impulsivity be used to understand recovery?

Tools that can help clinicians and recovery support staff identify relapse risk earlier may help prevent relapse and recurrence of use while reducing any associated harms. To explore its suitability as a marker of recovery over time, researchers examined the relationship between a widely used measure of impulsivity and perceived risk for relapse | Recovery Research Review, USA

Use of GHB amongst sentinel samples of people who regularly use illicit drugs in Adelaide, South Australia, 2020

Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is a depressant drug that has a sedative-hypnotic effect. GHB has gained popularity in recent years, commonly used within the dance party scene or nightlife settings. Most commonly available as a bitter or salty clear, odourless liquid, GHB is usually sold in small bottles and consumed orally | NDARC, Australia

Out of the night-time and into the day: Ketamine and MDMA as therapies for mental disorders

[Open access] Ketamine and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) used to be in the news for all the wrong reasons. They were party drugs, used imprudently and reported as presenting dangers to the physical and mental well-being of users. Now we read about them as potential treatments for mental disorders. What has happened? | Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Let’s ban the sale of tobacco to anyone born after 2005

The rolling cycle of health-destroying addiction can be stopped by this one simple measure, says Emily Marston | Guardian letters, UK

Delta-8 THC: The Latest Cannabis Conundrum

Traditionally, cannabis has been understood as a plant of dualities and contradictions. It comes in varieties that produce either fiber or drugs, for example. It grows tall and straight or short and bushy, with broader leaves or narrower ones. At various points in its history, it has been held up as a medicine and demonized as a menace | Points blog, USA

Whipping cream canisters have many uses beyond ‘nangs’. Banning them isn’t necessary

Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has been considering whether whipping cream canisters containing nitrous oxide should be placed in Schedule 10 of the Poisons Standard | Conversation, Australia