Daily news - 22nd June 2021

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UK news

Alcohol burden on ambulance service in Scotland three times higher than previous

86,780 ambulance callouts were identified as alcohol-related in 2019, using a new method based on the notes taken by paramedics at the scene. This figure, an average of more than 230 call-outs every day, is more than three times higher than previously reported [See article below] | University of Glasgow, UK

Estimating the Burden of Alcohol on Ambulance Callouts through Development and Validation of an Algorithm Using Electronic Patient Records

[Open access] Alcohol consumption places a significant burden on emergency services, including ambulance services, which often represent patients’ first, and sometimes only, contact with health services. We aimed to (1) improve the assessment of this burden on ambulance services in Scotland using a low-cost and easy to implement algorithm to screen free-text in electronic patient record forms (ePRFs), and (2) present estimates on the burden of alcohol on ambulance callouts in Scotland | IJERPH, UK

CBD and controlled cannabinoids: results from a ring trial

The Government Chemist team have published a report summarising the findings of a ring trial to assess laboratories’ performance in measuring CBD and controlled cannabinoids | Government Chemist, UK

Army's 'chronic' alcohol problem laid bare with 8,000 needing help in last six years

The shocking figures reveal some of the brave members of the Army, RAF and Navy have developed serious drink-related illness like paranoia, cirrhosis and chronic alcoholic brain syndrome | Mirror, UK

50 years after drugs were made illegal, some MPs think it's time to end the ban

The number of people taking drugs has only risen since they were criminalised, says Easington MP Grahame Morris | Chronicle, UK

Smoking: Campaigners want ban in pub gardens in Wales

Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) Wales wants a current law to be extended to include outdoor hospitality | BBC, UK

Greens call for harm reduction measures to help local drug users

The local  branch of the Scottish Greens is advocating the creation of a safe injection facility for drug users in Shetland as part of a raft of measures to break the vicious circle of problematic drug use in the isles | Shetland News, UK

Post-Brexit labour shortages deal blow to UK cannabis production

Pilot scheme to admit seasonal overseas workers does not cover crops grown for medicinal use | FT, UK

Isle of Man cannabis traffickers face harsher prison sentences

It is the first update of sentencing guidelines for the trafficking of the Class B drug for almost 40 years | BBC, UK

Prison officer smuggled drugs into HMP Leeds for organised crime group

A prison officer who smuggled drugs and mobile phones into HMP Leeds for an organised crime group has been jailed for more than three-and-a-half-years | Yorkshire Evening Post, UK

Referrals to UK gaming addiction clinic triple in year of lockdowns

Sharp rise attributed to young people spending more time at home during Covid pandemic | Guardian, UK


International news

Drug Consumption Rooms - webinar

In this webinar, we learn from Astrid Leicht, co-founder of FixPunkt, who runs 2 successful drug consumption rooms in Berlin, including at the infamous Kottbusser Tor. Nationwide, there are 25 drug consumption rooms in Germany, and Astrid gives a detailed summary of the impact that these have had on drug use and drug-related harms | Drug Science, UK

International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, or World Drug Day, is marked on 26 June every year, to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving the goal of a world free of drug abuse | UNODC, Switzerland

New WHO report shows how manufacturers attempt to avoid regulation of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products

A new WHO report “Litigation relevant to regulation of novel and emerging nicotine and tobacco products: comparison across jurisdictions” offers governments examples of the legal arguments that industry has used in attempts to evade or minimize regulation, as well as how courts have addressed those arguments | WHO, Denmark

Vaping: Part of The Solution

Considering the Commission’s recent proposals for its ambitious Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive, Rajnish Singh reports on the World Vapers’ Alliance event that discussed how vaping can help people quit smoking | Parliament Magazine, Belgium

Understanding the impact of medical cannabis on kids, a meta-analysis

First-ever meta-analysis of pediatric patients treated with medical cannabis to better understand risks and benefits of cannabis use among young patients | EurekAlert, USA

Global Forum on Nicotine Focuses on Harm Reduction

Policymakers in public health and tobacco control need to listen to both the science on tobacco harm reduction and the experiences of consumers who are benefiting from it every day | Tobacco Reporter, USA

Countries that criminalise same-sex relationships, sex work and drug use have poorer HIV outcomes

Countries that criminalise same-sex relationships, sex work and drug use have significantly more people with undiagnosed HIV and lower rates of viral suppression than countries that do not criminalise, or criminalise these areas to a lesser extent | NAM Aidsmap, USA

WHO Isn’t Banning ‘Women of Childbearing Age’ from Drinking Alcohol

Some headlines distorted details from the UN agency's global action plan on tackling harmful use of alcohol | Snopes, USA

Alcohol Use Among Older Adults

In January 2021, the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging asked a national sample of adults age 50–80 about their alcohol use and reasons for drinking | University of Michigan, USA

Oregon’s Pioneering Drug Decriminalization Experiment Is Now Facing The Hard Test

Last fall Oregon voters decriminalized possession of small amounts of almost all hard drugs, taking a groundbreaking step away from the arrest, charge and jail model for possession that’s been a centerpiece of American drug policy since President Richard Nixon declared his War on Drugs 50 years ago this week | WAMU, USA

We Must Address the Overdose Crisis With the Same Focus as COVID-19

The United States is simultaneously experiencing two devastating public health crises—the COVID-19 pandemic and the overdose epidemic. As the rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths begin to decline nationally, the number of people dying from overdoses involving opioids and other drugs continues to escalate | Filter Magazine, USA

Ninety-One Percent of Recent NYPD Marijuana Arrests Were of Black or Hispanic People

Police in New York City continued to arrest and issue summons to thousands of people over simple marijuana possession in the first quarter of 2021—which ended on the same day the governor signed a cannabis legalization bill into law | Filter Magazine, USA

Texas Activists Enlist Bartenders in the Fight Against Drug Overdoses

Harm Redux HTX, a group of harm reduction activists, is working with bars all over the state to educate bartenders on how to help someone who is experiencing an overdose | Eater, USA

Event Alert—A War on Research: Drug Policy and 50 Year of Lost Knowledge

Thursday, June 24 from 4:30pm–6:00pm ET The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is hosting a panel titled, “A War on Research: Drug Policy and 50 Years of Lost Knowledge.” Sponsored by the DPA’s Department of Research and Academic Engagement, the panel discussion will explore the research and knowledge that has been delayed or lost due to the drug war | Points, USA

'Immense challenge': Trying to save the lives of B.C. drug users, hit hard by COVID-19 and the overdose crisis

Drug users continue to fatally overdose in record numbers, due to a poisoned street supply and pandemic restrictions. There are differing opinions on how to save their lives | Vancouver Sun, Canada

Fatherhood, addiction and recovery: an Indigenous man’s story from Canada’s Yellowknife

My boy, I want to tell you a story. And I want to share some of the things that I had to learn to get to where I am today | PBS, Canada

Rising ICE use in Australia and the latest research on treatments - audio

Professor Maree Teesson is Director of the Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use at the University of Sydney. She joins the program to discuss ICE use in Australia and the latest research on effective treatments | abc.net.au, Australia

WATCH: Australia's Cocaine Crisis - video

Peter Stefanovic hosts a major investigation into Australia's escalating cocaine wars, and the drug's devastating impact on the community | Sky News, Australia

Guidance for Therapeutic Goods (Standard for Nicotine Vaping Products) Order 110 2021 (TGO 110) and related matters

The purpose of this guidance is to help health practitioners, consumers, importers and other sponsors, wholesalers and manufacturers to understand the minimum safety and quality requirements that apply to unregistered products | Australian Government, Department of Health, Australia

Auckland CBD overdose: SkyCity investigating after three people collapse

SkyCity is investigating an incident in which three people suffered a suspected overdose outside its central Auckland hotel and Casino today | NZ Herald, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Foul Play in New Zealand

Annoyance was building in me as I watched my daughter’s weekend netball game. The Centre was everywhere at once, yelling for the ball to be passed to her. Her teammates would turn to throw, then stop, confused – why call for the ball when you’re not clear? | NSP blog, UK

When will opioid agonist therapy become a normal part of comprehensive health care?

Opioid agonist therapy should be normalised as a routine part of opioid dependence treatment | MJA, Australia