Daily news - 14th May 2021

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UK news

Crime in England and Wales: year ending December 2020

There was a 15% increase in drug offences, driven by a large increase in April to June 2020, reflecting proactive police activity in crime hotspots | ONS, UK

Newsnight - Discussion on the use of Naloxone by West Midlands Police

Watch from 31 mins 15 seconds in. Report on the increasing use of Naloxone by police to help reverse overdoses | BBC, UK

Illegal drugs in the UK: Is it time for considered legalisation to improve public health?

[Open access] This paper investigates options available to policy makers responding to the challenges of drug use in modern society, focussing on the UK. It investigates the failings of prohibition policy that has driven historic reactions to drugs, drug use and drug users globally, nationally and locally | Drug Science, Policy and Law, UK

Self-detoxification, embodiment and masculinity: a qualitative analysis of dependent heroin users’ experiences of coming off drugs in prison

[Open access] Drawing on interviews with recently released prisoners...this paper develops a theoretical explanation of the process of self-detoxification in prison | DEPP, UK

Covid: Children 'more vulnerable' to county lines drug gang grooming

Safe and Sound, which works to help children at risk of exploitation, said there has been a "significant" increase in the number of children needing help | BBC, UK

Call to alert young people to dangers of ‘spice’

Since November the PHA [in Northern Ireland] has received several reports related to young people thinking they were buying and vaping THC or cannabis oil, but they were unknowingly supplied with the synthetic drug ‘spice’, the effect of which required medical interventions and hospital treatment | PHA, UK

Construction complete at Scotland’s first medical cannabis farm

Hilltop Leaf, the firm behind the facility, contracted CambridgeHOK for the construction of the multi-million pound glasshouse at an undisclosed site in the hills of the Borders | Project Scotland, UK

Oxfordshire 'Tobacco dogs' sniff out fake cigarettes

Two specially-trained "tobacco dogs" have helped trading standards officers seize almost 6,000 cigarettes suspected to be counterfeit in Oxfordshire | BBC, UK

Nine charged with drug offences after Lincoln and Batley raids

Nine people have been charged in connection with what police say was a multi-million pound operation involving the import and export of class A drugs | BBC, UK

Dover drug smuggling: Men convicted over £19m cocaine haul

Two men have been convicted of trying to smuggle more than £19m worth of cocaine into the UK on an empty passenger coach | BBC, UK

Police officer who stole drug dealers' cash jailed

Kashif Mahmood seized hundreds of thousands of pounds for an organised crime gang controlled from Dubai | BBC, UK


International news

The epidemiology of mescaline use: Pattern of use, motivations for consumption, and perceived consequences, benefits, and acute and enduring subjective effects

[Open access] Mescaline is a naturally occurring psychoactive phenethylamine found in several cacti and historically used ceremonially by Indigenous and Latin American populations. The primary aim of this study is to examine the epidemiology of mescaline use among English-speaking adults | Journal of Psychopharmacology, UK

Cruel Cages: How the Most Overcrowded Prison in the World Ignored a Pandemic

Philippine jails are known for two things –the dancing inmates of Cebu who to the tune of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” landed a Netflix series called “Happy Jail” and a smothering 534% national congestion rate, making it as one of the most overcrowded prison systems in the world | Talking Drugs, UK

Drug company executives joked about ‘pillbillies’ as opioid epidemic ravaged rural America

The emails came to light during a landmark legal case brought by a West Virginia community against three drug distributors | Independent, UK

Opioid Epidemic Negatively Influences Opioid Use for Pain Management in Advanced Cancer

According to a survey of 26 patients with advanced cancer, many reported that the U.S. opioid epidemic impacted their opinions of opioid use for pain management and conversations with their clinician regarding prescriptions | Cure Today, USA

Researchers test medical marijuana as possible therapy for chronic itch

Chronic itch—known clinically as chronic pruritus—is characterized as an unrelenting and sometimes even debilitating sensation to itch, and often lowers the quality of life for those who suffer with it | Medical Xpress, USA

Drug Policy Alliance & The Leadership Conference Lead Coalition of 150+ Organizations Calling on Congress to End Military Equipment Transfers to Local Law Enforcement

Today, the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights led a coalition of over 150 civil rights, drug policy, criminal justice reform, immigration, public health and faith-based organizations in urging members of the U.S. House of Representatives to support Rep. Nydia Velazquez’s bill | DPA, USA

Why Japan’s Huge Drop in Smoking Is a Story Prohibitionists Ignore

Nowhere on Earth has cigarette consumption dropped as rapidly as it has in Japan over the past few years | Filter Magazine, USA

Mental Health and Substance Use During COVID-19: Spotlight on Canadian Households with Young Children [infographic]

Highlights key data from the Mental Health and Substance Use During COVID-19: Spotlight on Gender and Household Size summary report. Also provides tips and resources to help Canadians cope with stress, anxiety and substance use during the pandemic | CCSA, Canada

Guidelines for Partnering with People with Lived and Living Experience of Substance Use and Their Families and Friends

People with lived and living experience of substance use and their families and friends (LLEAFF) are experts in the field of substance use. It is key to partner with them whenever possible to ensure that research is relevant and that services designed for people from LLEAFF groups meet their needs | CCSA, Canada

Vancouver’s Drug Decriminalization Plan Is a Disaster, Say Advocates

The city’s approach was supposed to make drug use safer in a crisis. But those who use drugs say it’s critically flawed | The Tyee, Canada

Is harm minimisation working in pharmacy?

Pharmacy is still missing a few beats when it comes to provide effective harm minimisation support, a study finds, with stigmatising an issue | AJP, Australia

Growing concerns for Victorians seeking help for alcohol use

A new survey by the Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association (VAADA) has found that 70% of alcohol and other drug (AOD) services reported more people are seeking help for alcohol use since the pandemic began in Australia | Mirage, Australia

Queensland needs youth rehab services to keep children out of detention and away from crime, expert says

What if there was a cheap and effective way to reduce youth crime without locking kids up? | abc.net.au, Australia

Is Vaping The Way To A Smokefree Aotearoa?

E-cigarettes made their debut in the early 2000s as a potential cessation device or an alternative to cigarette products. Almost twenty years later, the long term effects of e-cigarettes are still unknown | SCOOP, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Addiction Lives Interviews: Betsy Thom and Harry Shapiro

Today’s first featured interview is with Professor Betsy Thom, Head of the Drug & Alcohol Research Centre at Middlesex University, London. Today’s second featured interview is with journalist and author Harry Shapiro, the Director of DrugWise, which “promot[es] evidence-based information on drugs, alcohol and tobacco.” He previously worked for Drugscope and its predecessor the Institute for the Study of Drug Dependence | Points blog, USA

Highlights from The Biden Administrations Drug Policy Strategy and Lessons from Portugal

Portugal’s drug policy gets a lot of attention as a model policy, but details get considerably less attention. I watched this Brookings seminar a few weeks ago. It was a great opportunity to hear about it straight from the source | Recovery Review blog, USA