Daily news - 4th May 2021

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UK news

Correspondence: ACMD advice on Sunosi

Letter from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to the Minister of State for Crime Reduction and Policing on Sunosi advice | ACMD, UK

ITV reports on the alarming rise in alcohol-related deaths in the UK

The British Liver Trust are aware that many people have been drinking more alcohol since March 2020 when the first lockdown began. We have had an increased number of calls to our Helpline – both from people who have alcohol related liver disease, who are in recovery and who are struggling to continue to abstain but also from people who are worried that lockdown has changed their alcohol habits and they are putting their livers at risk | British Liver Trust, UK

Minimum price of alcohol in Scotland should increase to 65p, say campaigners

Alcohol Focus Scotland say a move to increase the price Scots pay for booze would help to save more lives across the country | Daily Record, UK

Spice deaths in Newcastle prompt bad batch warning

Three people have died and 11 have been taken to hospital after taking what is believed to be the drug Spice | BBC, UK

Children who ate ‘cannabis sweets’ risked serious harm, say Surrey police

Investigation begins after two boys, 12 and 13, and a girl, 12, were taken to hospital after falling unconscious | Guardian, UK

Nitrous Oxide: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a public awareness campaign on the health dangers of nitrous oxide use | They work for you, UK

National overdose awareness campaign hits the streets of Bristol

A national overdose awareness campaign has hit the streets of Bristol. The poster campaign that can be seen on billboards around the city is promoting the opioid overdose reversal drug Naloxone | BDP, UK

Billy Caldwell has been seizure free for a whole year after being given medical cannabis, his mother says

Charlotte Caldwell said her 15-year-old son Billy’s life has been transformed by cannabis oil | i news, UK

Jersey's medicinal cannabis industry profits to be taxed at 20%

Companies growing medicinal cannabis in Jersey will pay 20% tax on profits, Senator Lyndon Farnham has confirmed | BBC, UK

‘MDMA cured my alcoholism’: Inside the remarkable ecstasy trial offering an escape from trauma

[Limited number of free articles per week] Dave Pounds hit the bottle after witnessing the brutal murder of his mother. Now, an innovative drug trial promises hope | Telegraph, UK

Senedd election: UKIP calls for 'contained smoking rooms' in pubs

Pubs in Wales should be given the freedom to allow people to smoke indoors, according to UKIP's leader | BBC, UK

‘Robot’ Drug Dealers Jailed After Selling Kilos of Cocaine Over Telegram

Police say drug sales over the encrypted app and the dark web amounted to £3.7 million | VICE, UK

Peel man admits £36,000 of cannabis sent to home in pillow

A man who had more than £36,000 of cannabis hidden inside a pillow posted to his home has been given a 16 month suspended prison sentence| BBC, UK


International news

The Global Opportunity: How Global Britain can lead on tobacco harm reduction and save millions of lives

While the number of smokers has fallen in recent years the Government is not on track to meet its target of being ‘smoke-free by 2030’, which means having an adult smoking prevalence of 5% or less. Even under optimistic assumptions, the Government will miss its target by a whole percentage point on current trends. This is the warning today by the free market think tank the Adam Smith Institute in a new report | Adam Smith Institute, UK

How Amsterdam became the cannabis smoking capital of Europe - audio

How Amsterdam became the home of cannabis coffee shops .The Mellow Yellow Café set a pattern in 1973 of attracting customers which hundreds of others would follow | BBC, UK

The Move Toward Craft Cannabis

With the legal adult-use cannabis industry continuing to expand across North America, speciality brands have begun to emerge | Volteface, UK

Sarah Halimi: How killer on drugs escaped French trial for anti-Semitic murder

Can an anti-Semitic killer be declared insane because his mind was affected by regular consumption of cannabis? That is the question at the heart of an explosive legal row in France following the decision not to prosecute the man who killed Sarah Halimi | BBC, UK

QMJC April 2021: How the U.S.-Mexico border influences adolescent substance use: Youth participatory action research using photovoice

In this study, researchers developed a Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) approach with a state-funded youth coalition group on the US/Mexico border to explore factors influencing adolescent substance use. Twenty three young people were trained as researchers, and carried out a “photovoice” study, using photographs they had taken to document what they perceived as environmental influences on their behaviour and that of their peers | SSA, UK

Higher-potency cannabis poses 'gravest threat' to young people's mental health 

The College of Psychiatrists of Ireland has warned that the availability of increasingly potent cannabis combined with a widespread “misconception” that the drug is harmless poses the “gravest threat” to the mental health of young people in Ireland | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Impact of COVID-19 on drug markets, use, harms and drug services in the community and prisons

Since early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the way we live, with European countries having to introduce unprecedented measures to protect public health. As with all areas of life, drug consumption, related harms and drug markets have been impacted, as have the services established to respond to drug-related problems | EMCDDA, Portugal

DrugNet Europe - April

Monthly European drug policy news round-up | EMCDDA, Portugal

FDA approves high-dose nasal spray to treat opioid overdoses

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a higher dose of naloxone hydrochloride nasal spray to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses | AXIOS, USA

Scientists investigate the role played by genes and environment in multiple substance use

Many drug addicts take not only one substance but rather several. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine in Göttingen have investigated the role that genes and the environment play in the development of such multiple substance consumption or polytoxicomania | News Medical, Germany

Adolescents’ Substance Use and Physical Activity Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In this cohort study of adolescents in Northern California, the overall prevalence of e-cigarette, cannabis, or alcohol use did not meaningfully change with a statewide stay-at-home order, but physical activity declined considerably | JAMA Network, USA

Describing addiction as a “chronically relapsing brain disease” is intended to decrease stigma, but may actually increase it

Biomedical terminology has been deployed purposely to describe addiction in an effort to reduce stigma. However, using these terms may have unintended consequences | Recovery Research Institute, USA

Are adolescent sexual minorities at increased risk for opioid misuse?

During the past two decades, opioid-involved overdose deaths have substantially increased among adolescents and young adults. Identifying factors associated with increased risk for opioid use and opioid use disorder can help to reverse this trend | Recovery Research Institute, USA

Doctors should screen over-50s for cannabis use, say researchers

Older people who use cannabis to relieve or treat health problems are failing to discuss their substance use with doctors, according to research published in peer-reviewed The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse | Medical Xpress, USA

Covering marijuana: Research roundup and 7 tips for journalists

Dr. Tauheed Zaman opens his presentation about marijuana with a photo of Haight-Ashbury street sign, the historic part of San Francisco tied to the hippie and counterculture movements of the 1960s and 1970s, and where the clock is permanently set at 4:20 | Journalist's Resource, USA

Association of Cigarette Type Initially Smoked With Suicidal Behaviors Among Adolescents in Korea From 2015 to 2018

In this cross-sectional study of 255 887 Korean adolescents who participated in the nationwide Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-Based Survey from 2015 to 2018, those who used electronic cigarettes when they started smoking had a higher risk of suicidal behavior than did those who used conventional cigarettes when they started smoking | JAMA Network, USA

Criminal justice staff must view reforms as legitimate for them to be sustained, study shows

Researchers worked with eight federal community corrections agencies to implement Contingency Management, an evidence-based practice used to help people convicted of drug offenses set and achieve goals to end addiction, avoid repeat offenses and increase pro-social behavior | EurekAlert, USA

A Psychedelic Drug Passes a Big Test for PTSD Treatment

A new study shows that MDMA, known as Ecstasy or Molly, can bring relief when paired with talk therapy to those with severe post-traumatic stress disorder | NYTimes, USA

Characterizing prescription benzodiazepine use among community-dwelling residents of Ontario, Canada

Despite the common use of prescription benzodiazepines on a population-level, as well as the risks of long-term benzodiazepine use and combined use with opioids, there is a lack of data regarding the prevalence of benzodiazepine prescribing and duration of use among younger age groups and people living in the community | ODPRN, Canada

'Dying a slow death': Father appeals for destigmatization of drug use amid overdose crisis

Eleven people died in Victoria last month from a toxic illicit drug supply. If the current pace continues — 10.5 deaths per month since the start of 2020 — the number of people lost in April will be about the same | Times Colonist, Canada

Evidence-based programs to improve outcomes for high-risk families in NSW

This seminar explored the nature and therapeutic approach of two family-based programs: Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect (MST-CAN®) and Functional Family Therapy – Child Welfare (FFT-CW®) | NDARC, Australia

‘The last brave thing that happened’: How the injecting room led the way on drug reform

The Kings Cross injecting room’s first medical director said she doubts the centre would have opened in today’s political environment as it was “the last brave thing that happened” in drug reform | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

Should GPs routinely prescribe naloxone to people who use opioids?

Experts believe this measure may be life-saving, likening it to using an Epipen for anaphylaxis or intramuscular glucagon | RACGP, Australia

CBD Oil Now Being Sold Online In Australia — But Is It Legit?

A new medicinal cannabis venture launched this week in Australia claiming to offer express CBD oil directly to customers’ front doors. The company, CDA Express, is part of a larger group, Cannabis Doctors Australia, who prescribe and supply medicinal cannabis to patients with pre-existing health conditions | The Latch, Australia

Bar selling non-alcoholic drinks opens in Melbourne as new data finds demand doubling

Sales of alcohol-free beer, wine, and spirits at major alcohol retailers have doubled in the past 12 months, according to new sales data | abc.net.au, Australia

'Green fairy' charged by police for giving away cannabis

A Waikato man who claims he was giving cannabis free to elderly people for pain relief has been raided and charged by police | RNZ, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Who pays for drug treatment in residential rehabs?

It’s obvious isn’t it? In state funded rehab the state pays, don’t they? | Phoenix Futures blog, UK

Why I decided to run the UK’s first drug consumption van

After overcoming my own trauma, I cannot stand back and allow governments to be complicit in allowing people to die | Guardian opinion, UK

Recovery: not dead but real, resilient and very relevant

The term ‘recovery’ has come under a harsh microscope recently in academic and clinical settings. It has been interrogated, scrutinised, criticised, bloated and dissected | Recovery Review blog, UK

3 years of MUP in Scotland: promising signs, more to be done

MUP has gained wide acceptance from policy makers and the public. There are encouraging signs of reduced sales and reduced deaths. These improvements are modest, alcohol deaths and harm remains way too high, and in this blog Dr MacGilchrist argues that the MUP level should be raised to 65p per unit without delay | SHAAP blog, UK

Whitewashing psychedelics: racial equity in the emerging field of psychedelic-assisted mental health research and treatment

Growing research on potential therapeutic applications of highly restricted Schedule I hallucinogens, including the ‘classic psychedelic’ psilocybin, and the entactogen 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), has demonstrated notable promise for a range of mental health conditions | DEPP Editorial, USA

FDA ban on menthol cigarettes: Bad for criminal justice, health policy

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just announced it will pursue a ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes. Menthol cigarettes, which currently make up around a third of the cigarette market, are disproportionately used by Black Americans | The Hill opinion, USA

Australia Contained COVID-19 Early On. Can It Do the Same with Synthetic Opioids?

Australia's much-lauded response to COVID-19 involved spotting outbreaks early and moving quickly to quash them. That success may offer its policymakers some guidance on another possible deadly outbreak: overdoses from fentanyl and other illegally produced synthetic opioids | RAND blog, USA

Trying to understand the use of drugs by women farmers in Nigeria’s Adamawa State

A national survey on drug use in Nigeria published in 2019 shows that about 14.3 million Nigerians between 15 and 65 years have used psychoactive substances for non-medical purposes. One out of every four drug users is a woman | Conversation, Nigeria