Daily news - 10th May 2021

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UK news

Drug antidote spray already saving lives in Wales

A pilot to use a nasal spray to prevent heroin overdose deaths is now being rolled out across a Welsh police force | BBC, UK

Police officer saves life of member of the public

PC Catling was first on the scene to reports that a man had collapsed in Cherry Hinton Hall Park on Saturday (1 May) afternoon and was unconscious but barely breathing | Cambridgeshire Constabulary, UK

Newcastle Spice deaths: Drugs charges after three people die

A man has been charged after three people died in Newcastle from taking what is believed to be the drug Spice | BBC, UK

Why we are calling on the Government to reschedule psychedelic drugs to enable researchers to develop vital new treatments for depression and PTSD - video

Treatment resistant depression, PTSD and trauma can be extremely difficult to treat and many people stay on high doses of antidepressants or even resort to ending their lives. Research has shown that drugs like psilocybin can heal people after 1 to 3 supervised treatments. However, research is being severely hampered by bureaucracy due to the scheduling system currently in place. We desperately need the Government to change this, as was the case with medicinal cannabis | MyPOV, UK

Prison Break - Episode 3: Decriminalisation - audio

Josie visits Devon to meet the family of Luke, who died aged 16 after taking ecstasy. With Luke's sister and mother, she talks with the teenage boy who had supplied the tablets and who they saved from a prison sentence | BBC Sounds, UK

The best of harm reduction

Rob Calder writes about this important, and sometimes hotly debated, issue | SSA, UK

In the news: needle exchange programmes

Natalie Davies examines an effort to increase regulations on needle exchange programmes in West Virginia, at a time when the state was experiencing an outbreak of HIV related to injecting drug use | SSA, UK

Psychosocial interventions for parental substance use: Ruth McGovern talks to the SSA

Dr Ruth McGovern has recently worked on a Cochrane review of psychosocial interventions for people who are parents and who use drugs. The SSA caught up with Dr McGovern to find out more | SSA, UK

Moderate drinker? Your risk of a heart attack is less than a teetotaller’s

[Limited number of free articles per week] Scientists say one drink a day for women and two for men could help the heart by dampening stress-related signals in the brain | Telegraph, UK

'Erratic driver' stopped with £100,000 drugs haul

Police have recovered £108,000 of cannabis after stopping an "erratic driver" during a routine patrol in South Lanarkshire | BBC, UK


International news

‘A dirty business’: how one drug is turning Syria into a narco-state

Manufacture of Captagon is a growth industry so big it is starting to rival GDP of flatlining economy | Guardian, UK

Philip Morris to phase out cigarettes in Japan within decade

The head of tobacco giant Philip Morris said the company will phase out conventional cigarettes in Japan within 10 years, in an interview with the Nikkei business daily published Friday | Mail Online, UK

Chernobyl alcohol drink seized by authorities

The first bottles of an "artisanal spirit" made using apples grown near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant have been seized by Ukrainian authorities | BBC, UK

Chinese dreams on Native American land: A tale of cannabis boom and bust

In the pandemic, hundreds of Chinese migrants who lost their jobs moved to a remote city on the Navajo Nation Indian reservation in New Mexico, to do what they thought was legal agricultural work | BBC, UK

Drug Ship: The Last Voyage of Pong Su - video

The thrilling true story behind an international drug plot involving the rogue state of North Korea, south-east Asian drug lords, $100 million worth of heroin, spooks, sailors, Australian cops and a web of lies | BBC, UK

Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy welcomes commencement of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for medically vulnerable people in homeless services

The Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan TD, has welcomed the commencement of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for medically vulnerable people living in homeless services in Dublin city | Department of Health, Ireland

Increase in teenage cannabis users being treated for psychosis

Increasing numbers of young adults with a history of cannabis use throughout their adolescence are being treated for psychosis, according to one of the country’s leading psychiatrists | Independent, Ireland

How has the drugs trade reached every corner of Ireland, and who is involved?

Drug crimes hit Celtic Tiger-era level, as usage is 'part of everyday life' | Irish Times, Ireland

MEP: E-cigarettes have a place in EU cancer plan, but we must remain vigilant

E-cigarettes “undoubtedly” reduce risks compared to traditional cigarettes and have a place in the EU’s plan to fight cancer. However, these products should not enjoy “lighter” regulation and Europe should treat them with the same vigilance as tobacco products, MEP Michèle Rivasi told EURACTIV in an interview | Euractiv, Belgium

Comparison of Treatments for Cocaine Use Disorder Among Adults

In this meta-analysis of 157 clinical trials comprising 402 treatment groups and 15 842 participants, only contingency management programs were significantly associated with an increased likelihood of having a negative test result for the presence of cocaine, and this association remained significant in all sensitivity analyses | JAMA Network, USA

New study examines social network's relation to binge drinking among adults

For some people, social gatherings can be a time to imbibe. And for some, that can turn into a time to overindulge. But how do your neighborhood and your social network affect binge drinking? | Medical Xpress, USA

WVU study examines the effects of vaping during pregnancy

Spurred by unproven assumptions that vaping is safer than smoking cigarettes, a team at West Virginia University is conducting a three-year study on the effects of vaping during pregnancy | News Medical, USA

Prevalence of Medical Cannabis Use and Associated Health Conditions Documented in Electronic Health Records Among Primary Care Patients in Washington State

In this cross-sectional study of 185 565 patients, 2% had past-year medical cannabis use documented in their electronic health records. Among patients with documented medical cannabis use, 44.5% had documented health conditions for which cannabis use might confer benefits, and 54.5% had conditions for which it might confer risks | JAMA Network, USA

Make Harm Reduction Federal Health Policy Now, Says Yale Experts

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic over a year ago, alcohol and substance use has surged in the United States, along with overdoses from opioids | Yale School of Medicine, USA

New Evidence Links “EVALI” Vaping Misinformation With Increased Cigarette Smoking

As kids went back to school in the fall of 2019, parents, educators, public health experts and lawmakers were growing more concerned by the day | Filter Magazine, USA

Smartphone breath alcohol testing devices vary widely in accuracy

Some failed to detect users were over legal driving limit more than half the time, Penn medicine research finds | EurekAlert, USA

The Psychedelic Revolution Is Coming. Psychiatry May Never Be the Same

Psilocybin and MDMA are poised to be the hottest new therapeutics since Prozac. Universities want in, and so does Wall Street. Some worry a push to loosen access could bring unintended consequences | NYTimes, USA

George Jung, Who Made Millions Smuggling Cocaine, Dies at 78

Part of the Medellín drug cartel, he was imprisoned multiple times and was later played by Johnny Depp in the 2001 movie “Blow.” | NYTimes, USA

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 | Yahoo, Australia

‘Game changer’ treatment cuts heroin use

An opioid treatment being introduced around Australia has been dubbed a game changer after dozens of users at Melbourne’s safe injecting room stopped taking heroin | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

King Cross Injecting Centre celebrates 20 years of service - audio

Sydney's Medically Supervised Injection Centre (MSIC) is celebrating 20 years - that's more than 1.2 million injections supervised without one death | abc.net.au, Australia

Government dismisses calls for medicinal cannabis review to be widened

A Ministry of Health document leaked to RNZ shows officials will not even consider extending an amnesty to allow all chronically sick people to use illicit cannabis | NZ Herald, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Building a Peer Recovery Research Workforce

The College of Lived Experience Recovery Organisations (CLERO) has emerged in the course of the last year as a powerful force for building an evidence base for recovery community organisation and for generating a positive radius of trust and hope | Recovery Pathways, UK

How I went from drinking 100 units a week to being a ‘soberholic’

[Limited number of free articles per week] Claire Owen, 46, from North Wales gave up alcohol after her mental health declined, and now counsels women in a similar situation | Telegraph, UK

The burning issue: Should cannabis be legalised?

Gino Kenny TD and Dr Bobby Smyth debate whether cannabis should be legalised in Ireland | Irish Examiner, Ireland

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

Pablo Cáceres Corrales: “Narcotics Trafficking is Just Another Superstructure of Globalization”—Part I

The intellectual, political, social, economic, environmental, and cultural ideas behind narcotics trafficking are front-loaded with Western constructs. This vision has often been imposed by force across the world and more particularly in developing countries directly tied to the geopolitics and international political economy of narcotrafficking | Points blog, USA

We'll only stop smoking when tobacco is banned for good

My first cigarette was delicious. Like so many New Zealand kids, I spent many a happy time puffing away on those Spaceman candy sticks with their glowing red tips and elegant white bodies. Almost every dairy sold them, and we couldn’t get enough | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand