Daily news - 6th May 2021

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UK news

Substance misuse: January 2013 to December 2020

Data on clients seen at drug and alcohol treatment agencies for January 2013 to December 2020 | Wales.gov, UK

Longread: Medical Cannabis & ADHD – The Patient’s Experience

A recent literature review by PhytoSciences Ghana has provided a summary of the preclinical evidence for the medicinal use of cannabinoids as an alternative treatment for mental health disorders | Volteface, UK

Hundreds seek medical cannabis after Scotland’s first clinic opens

Sapphire Medical Clinics said 500 patients sought treatment at its Stirling office in its first week of opening | STV News, UK

'Accidental' boom in cannabis products could see annual sales hit £690m

Sales are forecast to more than double with demand said to have been lifted by stress and uncertainty caused by the pandemic | Sky News, UK

People Are Getting Killed in Britain's Cannabis Farm Wars

A new breed of criminals, violent gangs who steal cannabis grows, have flourished alongside the rise of the UK’s illicit weed farm industry | VICE, UK

Horse racing starts saliva-based testing pilot to screen jockeys for cocaine

Jockeys have been tested at race meetings at Lingfield and Kempton so far this week, with all samples coming back negative | BBC, UK

Trainee police officer caught drink-driving after hearing of abuse

James Hayward, 20, was more than twice the legal limit when he was stopped near Taunton by colleagues and an empty beer bottle was found in his car | BBC, UK


International news

Thailand court allows minister to keep post despite drug conviction

Thailand's top court has allowed a government minister to keep his job, dismissing a bid to disqualify him over a past conviction for drug trafficking in Australia | BBC, UK

Once a stop on the smuggling route, Kenya becomes heroin hub

Esther Wanjiru started using heroin at 16 to dull the pain after her baby died, first smoking, and now injecting the opioid which has become increasingly cheap and abundant in Kenya | Mail Online, UK

Minister of Health, Minister of State and Tánaiste mark decision to introduce Minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol

A minimum unit price of 10c per gram of alcohol is provided for in section 11 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018. Minimum unit pricing will set a floor price beneath which alcohol cannot legally be sold and will target products that are cheap relative to their strength. The minimum price is determined by and is directly proportionate to the amount of pure alcohol in the drink | DoH, Ireland

Alcohol consumption, alcohol-related harm and alcohol policy in Ireland (PDF)

Although half of the world’s population does not drink, alcohol use is the seventh leading risk factor for both deaths and disability-adjusted life years globally, and the leading risk factor among those aged 15–49 years | HRB, Ireland

Cork man who was 'screaming for methadone' has turned his life around, court hears

A man who kicked over a bench in a courtroom and then injured a garda escorting him to a prison van was "screaming for methadone" at the time – but he has since comprehensively turned his life around, a court has heard | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Pakistan: Crystal meth use surges among students

Highly addictive crystal meth, also known as "ice," is growing in popularity among rich students and young people in Pakistan. Drug treatment is complicated by many families keeping addiction issues a secret | DW, Germany

Past-Year Kratom Use in the U.S.: Estimates From a Nationally Representative Sample

Kratom is a plant with partial opioid agonist effects, and its use has become popular to ameliorate symptoms of opioid withdrawal. However, use has been linked to thousands of poisonings, although most have involved use of other drugs. Little is known regarding prevalence and correlates of use in the general U.S. population | AJPM, USA

Study: Repeated vape aerosol exposure causes minimal lung damage compared to combustible cigarettes

In one of the most advanced applications of in-vitro 3D human lung models in vape research to date, a new peer-reviewed Imperial Brands study shows that, unlike combustible cigarette smoke, blu aerosol had little to no impact on numerous toxicological endpoints under the conditions of test using laboratory models | News Medical, USA

Does banning menthol-flavored cigarettes reduce smoking?

Many find that the mintiness of menthol makes cigarette smoke easier to inhale and reduces its otherwise harsh taste. However, menthol-flavored cigarettes can provide false assurance about the health risks of smoking, are attractive to vulnerable groups such as adolescents, and might be harder to quit | BASIS, USA

Who’s more likely to be able to get naloxone (Narcan) at their pharmacy? A look at the socioeconomic factors associated with naloxone availability

The current opioid overdose crisis disproportionately impacts urban, socioeconomically marginalized, and minority communities. This is, in part, due to major disparities in access to healthcare resources, including life-saving medications like naloxone | Recovery Research Institute, USA

Exercise has many mental health benefits, but can it reduce craving and negative mood in active alcohol use disorder?

Exercise, even in short bursts, has long been appreciated for its capacity to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. Exercise, too, may help buffer aversive emotional states like anxiety and craving in individuals with alcohol use disorder | Recovery Research Institute, USA

Texas Lawyer Gets 15 Years for Scheme to Defraud Cocaine Traffickers

A lawyer known as the D.W.I. Dude pocketed money that he told drug dealers would be used to bribe officials, prosecutors said | NYTimes, USA

Community drums up $180K for Saskatoon's supervised drug consumption site

Fundraisers started popping up after government rejected supporting site in provincial budget | CBC News, Canada


Blogs, comment and opinion

The Trip Report 05/05

Through the work of organisations such as WEDINOS, The Loop, and SaferParty, we know a little more about the drugs in circulation. The report provided below is a summary of their findings over the last week | The Trip Report, UK

Campaigners call for cannabis legalisation and regulation to reduce underage use

Peter Reynolds President of CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform in the UK, said the best way to reduce cannabis use among children is to legalise it. “In all of the states in the US where cannabis has been legalised, either for medicinal use or for adult use, what has happened is there has been a decrease in underage use,” he said... | Newstalk, UK

Designing more equitable cannabis markets

Early experiences of cannabis legalisation have brought the issues of social and racial justice to the fore. In the US, fledgling ‘social equity’ schemes have sought to promote market access to communities disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs, or ensure the benefits of the emerging markets are shared equitably and support wider social justice goals in other ways — to varying degrees of success | Transform Blog, UK

Why women's love affair with booze is killing them

Dr Orla Crosbie has worked as a hepatologist at CUH for two decades and has seen the typical inpatient with severe alcoholic liver disease change from mostly middle-age men to a higher percentage of younger females | Irish Examiner opinion, Ireland

Unlocking federal funding for fentanyl test strips will save lives

It has been said that the opposite of addiction is connection. Covid-19, however, has frayed societal connections. For Americans with substance use disorder, connections that were already fragile are at a serious breaking point | STAT News opinion, USA

A “fairer and healthier world” needs a better public health agency than the WHO

As Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc in the world, killing hundreds of thousands in India while triggering fears about another lockdown in Perth, it’s becoming evident that a coordinated global response to future health crises will be paramount | Spectator, Australia