Daily news - 12th May 2021

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UK news

Medical Cannabis improves Quality of Life by over 50% - Preliminary Results from Project Twenty21

Over 900 patients have now received licensed prescriptions for medical cannabis and agreed for Drug Science to collect and analyse their medical data under Project Twenty21 | Drug Science, UK

Medicinal cannabis trial could enable severely ill patients to be treated on the NHS, say campaigners

[Limited number of free articles per week] Mother of Billy Caldwell marks anniversary of her cannabis medicine breakthrough with new campaign for drug trial | Telegraph, UK

Drug fatalities and treatment fatalism: Complicating the ageing cohort theory

[Open access] Deaths related to drug ‘misuse’ remain at an all‐time high in the United Kingdom (UK). Older heroin consumers are particularly at risk, with the highest rates of deaths among people aged 40–49 and the steepest rises in the over‐fifty age bracket | Sociology of Health and Illness, UK

'Wine o'clock' mentality sees number of women treated for alcoholism overtake men for first time

[Limited number of free articles per week] Carefully targeted advertising campaigns and an increase in ‘female-only’ drink brands have been blamed for an increase in admissions | Telegraph, UK

Adfam National Forum - Stigma and Substance Use

Thu, 27 May 2021, 10:00 – 11:30 BST. We are pleased to be joined by Professor Harry Sumnall from the Public Health Institute at Liverpool John Moores University to present on a new research study on the stigma experienced by people affected by substance use | Adfam, UK

Outlook for the CBD Market

Tuesday, 25 May 2021, 11:00 am   12:00 pm. The UK's CBD market was predicted to take off once Brexit was finalised, with high hopes that the UK would pave its own way to become global leaders in CBD and other cannabis products. Five months post-Brexit, are we on track? | CDPRG, UK

Carlisle river death man 'savagely beaten over drug debt'

A man was lured to a house and savagely beaten over an unpaid drug debt before being dumped in a river as he took his "last shallow breaths", a jury heard | BBC, UK

Isle of Man resident who hid cocaine in guttering jailed

A man who hid £6,000 worth of cocaine and almost £2,000 in cash in the guttering outside his bedroom window to pay off a drug debt has been jailed | BBC, UK


International news

US states oppose ‘unjust’ plan to shield Sackler wealth in opioid settlement

Twenty-four states object to bankruptcy proposal for Sacklers to settle lawsuits by paying $4.3bn but family would keep about $7bn | Guardian, UK

‘They came to kill’: Rio’s deadliest favela police raid sparks calls for change

Rio’s favelas have suffered countless horrors since the drug conflict began to intensify in the 1980s and the carnage in Jacarezinho has caused a wave of protest | Guardian, UK

Extremely high burden of physical and mobility problems for people who are homeless: research

It is commonly accepted that adults who are homeless experience poor health and frequently require hospital in-patient care. The objective of this study however was to evaluate a wide range of physical functioning variables to enable better future planning of targeted health and accommodation services for this group | Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Healthy Ireland strategic action plan 2021-2025 (PDF)

The Healthy Ireland Strategic Action Plan is a cross-Government, cross-sectoral plan that sets out the key actions by theme for the period 2021-2025, the specific implementation actions that will be achieved by end of 2023 and identifies the lead Department for each action | DoH, Ireland

Risk and protective factors in adolescent behaviour: The role of family, school and neighbourhood characteristics in (mis)behaviour among young people (PDF)

New research shows that schools are more important than neighbourhoods in influencing adolescent behaviour. Using data from the Growing Up in Ireland study, the findings show that most 17-year-olds have no behaviour difficulties and few consistently ‘act out’ at home, at school, and in the community | ESRI, Ireland

Drug-related deaths and mortality in Europe: update from the EMCDDA expert network

This report provides an update on drug-related deaths in Europe based primarily on presentations and discussions held at the 2019 meeting of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) expert network on drug-related deaths. The meeting brought together experts and representatives from over 40 countries and provided a platform for discussing new trends in and analyses of drug-induced deaths in Europe and beyond and responses to them | EMCDDA, Portugal

China issues total ban on synthetic cannabinoids

China on Tuesday said it will add all synthetic cannabinoids to its list of banned drugs, in what it described as a first in the world, to curb their manufacturing, trafficking and abuse | Medical Xpress, USA

Biomarkers in blood predict heart attack in smokers several years in advance

In this new study, samples from almost 300 people who later in life have suffered a heart attack—or myocardial infarction—were compared to as big a control group. It turned out that the levels of a new biomarker were heightened—already several years prior to the heart attack. In some, a heightened level of the biomarker was detected as much as seven years before they were taken ill | Medical Xpress, USA

The power of patient voice: Addressing provider stigma toward opioid use disorder through personal narrative

Primary care providers are uniquely positioned to address the opioid epidemic, from screening for opioid use disorder (OUD), to delivering harm-reduction interventions and providing evidence-based treatment | BASIS, USA

Vancouver’s Advancing Drug Decriminalization Plan Sparks Controversies

People who use drugs weren’t given a voice in Vancouver’s most recent step towards decriminalization, according to a coalition of harm reduction groups. The organizations also say that the proposed permitted quantities are too low, and they criticize the city for giving the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) too large of a say in creating the Vancouver model | Filter Magazine, USA

Advocate organization for drug users hopes to take Quebec to court over curfew

A Quebec organization that advocates for harm reduction for people who use drugs filed a court challenge to the Quebec curfew imposed during the second and third waves of the COVID-19 pandemic | CTV News, Canada

Coroner's report suggests Northern Ontario cities bearing brunt of opioid overdose deaths

New data from Ontario's coroner says Sudbury, northern cities have higher death rates than south | CBC News, Canada

Fiona Patten wants more safe injecting rooms, pill testing sites across Melbourne

An outspoken MP wants new safe injecting rooms in three Melbourne suburbs to combat drug deaths and ambulance callout numbers | news.com.au, Australia

No Vaping signs displayed in schools from today

The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act has taken another important step forward today with a key new requirement taking effect | Ministry of Health, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Connecting with nature is essential to good mental health

After a challenging year, it’s more important than ever we recognise the important role nature plays in our lives | We Are With You, UK

Drug checking works

Drug checking has a rich history spanning over six decades. A first wave of ‘street drug analysis’ and ‘acid rescue’ emerged in the US and the Netherlands in the late 60s and early 70s; followed by a second wave of drug checking associated with ecstasy and other dance drugs in Europe from the 80s onwards... | Transform blog, UK

Cannabis law: a global change

In 2018, Canada became the first major national economy to legalise and regulate the non-medical market (though Uruguay legalised five years earlier). As of today, 15 US states have also legalised, with more about to follow and the real prospect of federal reform under the MORE Act | Transform blog, UK

Drugs ‘trilemma’: how to halt the deadly trade while still ensuring development and peace

The deaths of 25 people in a police raid on drug gangs in Rio de Janeiro have brought the “war on drugs” in developing countries into sharp focus once again. The raid on a favela in the Jacarezinho area of the city represents one of the deadliest police operations in Rio in recent years and has been condemned by the UN, which has called for an independent investigation | Conversation, UK

What should be the gold standard for addiction treatment?

The opioid crisis has shined a spotlight on the U.S. addiction treatment system. Much of the coverage has focused on profiteering, the failure of states to reform their systems, the failure of programs to adopt evidence-based practices, and exploitation of patients | Recovery Review blog, USA

Drawing the Peddler: “Reefer Madness” in Four Editorial Cartoons

Everyone loves a good editorial cartoon. They dramatize contemporary issues in newspapers, in magazines, and, increasingly, in online publications. They routinely engage in a visual form of incisive social critique. And they can be funny—although over the years some of the “humor” has come from degrading caricatures of racial and gendered stereotypes | Points blog, USA

We Can’t Beat HIV, Hepatitis and Overdoses If We Close Syringe Services

Given the proven effectiveness of syringe service programs to reduce infectious disease and improve drug user health, the recent uptick in attacks on these programs are disturbing. What’s worse is that they have been cropping up in parts of the United States that need them most | POZ blog, USA