Daily news - 17th June 2021

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UK news

General debate: Misuse of Drugs Act

There will be a general debate on the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 in the Commons Chamber on Thursday 17 June 2021. The subject for the debate has been nominated by the Backbench Business Committee. The Members initiating the debate are Jeff Smith MP and Crispin Blunt MP | UK Parliament, UK

Latest information on alcohol consumption, price and harms in Scotland published

Public Health Scotland today published the MESAS Monitoring Report 2021, as part of the continued delivery of the Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy (MESAS) programme. This annual report provides the latest available information and key statistics on alcohol consumption, price and related harms | Public Health Scotland, UK

Scottish alcohol sales drop to lowest level in 26 years

Public Health Scotland figures show 9.4 litres of pure alcohol were sold per adult in 2020, the equivalent of each adult in the country drinking 18 units a week | BBC, UK

Hundreds offered the chance to turn their back on drugs

The DIVERT programme, which is funded by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster, allows those caught in possession of illicit drugs to avoid a criminal record if they enrol on the drugs course. Drug producers, suppliers and dealers are not given the same opportunity and are dealt with using the full force of the law | West Midlands PCC, UK

David Cameron’s Great Aunt Loved Morphine, and Other Historical UK Drug Facts

Half a century since the birth of Britain’s dubious Misuse of Drugs Act, a new book delves into the history of our equally dubious war on drugs | VICE, UK

#38 - Drug Markets

This week’s episode features British Academy Global Professor Julia Buxton. Her research focuses on illicit drug markets and the impact of counter-narcotics policies on development, gender equality and security. In her career she’s led projects and worked with multiple universities around the world including the Central European University in Budapest. Outside of Europe, she has geographical expertise on Latin America and is a specialist on Venezuela | Drug Science, UK

It’s My Script

There’s no automatic reason to revert to stigmatising daily pick-ups, as DDN reports | DDN, UK

Boy, 9, writes plea to PM for epileptic brother's cannabis treatment

The brother of a severely epileptic boy has written to the prime minister asking him to help get a medical cannabis prescription for his sibling | BBC, UK

Pandemic could be leading to 'cuckooing' increase, charity warns

The pandemic could be leading to an increase in the exploitation of vulnerable people by gangs in the North East in a practice known as "cuckooing", a charity has warned | BBC, UK

Hampshire cuts leave health clinics at risk of closure

Substance misuse treatment centres and sexual health clinics are among the services earmarked for closure under plans by Hampshire County Council | BBC, UK

Developing Heroin Assisted Treatment in Scotland – learning from current practice - webinar

Tue, Jun 22, 2021 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM BST. This webinar will hear from existing providers of Heroin Assisted Treatment in Canada and the UK and provide guidance on the steps required to deliver further programmes in Scotland | SDF, UK

Stakeholder Engagement Event on responding to Benzodiazepine Dependence in Scotland within MAT - webinar

Fri, Jun 25, 2021 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM BST. This webinar will introduce actions from the Drug Deaths Taskforce’s Benzodiazepine Working Group to develop a national treatment guideline and reach consensus on person-centred approaches to the management of benzodiazepine use and related harms | SDF, UK

ASH Webinar: APPG report and recommendations for the Tobacco Control Plan 2021

Thu, Jun 17, 2021 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM BST. This webinar will focus on the APPG on Smoking and Health’s upcoming report which sets out recommendations for the 2021 Tobacco Control Plan for England | ASH, UK

Gin demand helps fuel St Boswells distillery plans

Jackson Distillers said the facility on the Charlesfield Industrial Estate in St Boswells would produce 20 million litres of pure alcohol a year | BBC, UK

‘I don’t want to remember these things’: dark pop poet John Murry on surviving rape, heroin and family strife

The singer-songwriter talks about his relative William Faulkner, his violent childhood and drugs – and saves a surprise until the end | Guardian, UK

Majority of public support total ban on UK gambling adverts, poll finds

Campaigners urge government to use review of gambling regulation to forcibly reduce number of ads | Guardian, UK

Cannabis worth £1m found in Blackpool Central Club

A three-floor cannabis farm filled with plants worth more than £1m has been found in a disused nightclub once made famous by pop star Robbie Williams | BBC, UK


International news

Global Forum on Nicotine: Experts call for worldwide access to safer nicotine to reduce deadly smoking-related harms

International public health specialists, scientists, doctors, tobacco control experts and consumers are convening for the Global Forum on Nicotine 2021 (#GFN21) on 17 and 18 June in Liverpool, UK, and streaming free online, to highlight the vital role of safer nicotine products in the fight to reduce global smoking-related death and disease | PR Newswire, UK

Khat and neurobehavioral functions: A systematic review

Khat is a plant that is used for its amphetamine-like stimulant properties. However, although khat is very popular in Eastern Africa, Arabian Peninsula, and the Middle East, there is still a lack of studies researching the possible neurobehavioral impairment derived from khat use. A systematic review was conducted to identify studies that assessed the effects of khat use on neurobehavioral functions | PLOS One, UK

Paul Pogba eyes Heineken beer bottle before removing it, following Ronaldo's Coca-Cola incident - video

The France footballer takes issue with a beer bottle placed in front of him at a news conference, despite it being an event sponsor's brand | Sky News, UK

Mobile injecting centre could ‘get ball rolling’ amid continued delays to Dublin site, doctor says

Mobile injecting centres could "get the ball rolling" on a much-needed service while addressing locals' concerns about a planned permanent site, a specialist has said | Newstalk, Ireland

Why honeybees may be key to understanding alcohol addiction

Researchers from the Polish Academy of Sciences observed that when access to the solution was discontinued, the bees exhibited a "marked" increase of consumption of ethanol as well as a slight in crease in mortality, according to the study | abc news, USA

How a Second Opinion Could Help Curb the Opioid Crisis

Opioid addiction in the US may start with a single prescription for pain relief. Modern pain medicines like OxyContin relieve pain, but some users also found that crushing the pills before ingesting them gave a potent high. The market for these drugs is phenomenal, with the US consuming more than 80 percent of the global opioid medication supply | INSEAD, USA

Immune system dysfunction can modify the association between cannabis use and psychosis

Brazilian researchers show that a combination of inflammatory cytokines in the blood and cannabis use, daily or during adolescence, heightens the odds of developing psychiatric disorders | EurekAlert, USA

How to Test Your Drugs for Fentanyl

Test strips are easy to use and can turn up synthetic opioids in heroin, cocaine, and other powders before you actually put them in your body | VICE, USA

Biden Could Have Taken the War on Drugs Down a Notch. He Didn’t

A little-noticed law could make it easier to punish people for low-level drug crimes — and put them in prison for longer with less proof | The Marshall Project, USA

Unprecedented Overdose Deaths Among First Nations People in BC

At least 254 First Nations people fatally overdosed in British Columbia in 2020, according to new research from the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA). That number represents a 119 percent increase from the previous year, and the highest rate since BC declared the opioid-involved overdose crisis a public health emergency five years ago | Filter Magazine, USA

Canada’s Proposed Vaping Rules Could Turn Young People Into Smokers, Users Say

Ex-smokers worry the proposed regulations to cut down on nicotine in vapes might bring them back to cigarettes | VICE, Canada

Nyaope addiction: Has SA been sitting on a pandemic all along?

Some people say their children are slaves to nyaope, and the addicts themselves agree that the situation is dire | EWN, South Africa

‘Not enough to be tough on crime’: Pioneering NSW Drug Court expands to tackle regional ice epidemic

The groundbreaking NSW Drug Court will be expanded to Dubbo in an effort to tackle the ice epidemic that has particularly afflicted regional communities | SMH, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Take-Home Naloxone: The Peoples’ Overdose Antidote

Given the high prevalence of opioid mortality rates around the globe, naloxone, an opioid antagonist, has become a crucial medication that can reverse an opioid overdose within minutes. In an attempt to bring naloxone into the community, take-home naloxone programmes provide naloxone kits together with training in overdose management and administration to members of the public | Talking Drugs, UK

How budget cuts have affected England’s alcohol and drug treatment services

In England, an estimated 900,000 adults need specialist treatment for alcohol or drug dependence. Whilst this is only about 2% of the adult population, the associated harms are substantial and far-reaching | Public Health Topics, University of Sheffield blog, UK

Hot Women

Talking with, listening to and writing about women in recovery from heroin, cocaine and other drugs have raised new insights into the complex processes of ageing. For women with histories of drug and alcohol use that has caused them physical, mental, social and financial difficulties their embodied recoveries bring new and emerging mental and physical sensations | PhD Women Scotland, UK

Crazy Cows, Flea Detectives, and Protesting Songbirds: Exploring the “Animal Turn” in Cannabis History

In my own research, I’ve seen limited examples of these non-human relationships in the history of cannabis in the United States. The brief discussion that follows will demonstrate a range of roles and limited agency for non-human animal actors in these stories | Points blog, USA