Daily news - 17th May 2021

Weekly subscribe button

UK news

New toolkit for practitioners working with those affected by someone else's co-occurring mental ill-health and substance misuse conditions

The toolkit has been produced by Adfam and family members with lived experience. It is designed for practitioners who support those caring for a loved one who is having difficulties with their mental health and substance use. This will include substance use and mental health practitioners, family support workers, housing officers and advocacy practitioners, among others | Adfam, UK

Hepatitis C elimination initiatives: monitoring and evaluation

A resource guide to support providers, commissioners and other organisations undertake useful evaluations of hepatitis C elimination | PHE, UK

I am Billy Campaign Launches: Charlotte Caldwell Calls for Study to Break “Medical Cannabis Deadlock”

Charlotte Caldwell, mother of Billy – the boy who changed the law, announced the launch of the I am Billy campaign. This groundbreaking campaign is asking for the Government’s support in taking crucial steps towards improving patients’ access to cannabis medicines prescribed by the NHS | Volteface, UK

Primary care-based drug treatment: we need to promote its advantages

The 1999 Orange Book acknowledged the role of primary care in the treatment of people with drug problems.  In the early 2000s the National Treatment Agency encouraged primary care to become involved in the treatment of drug users and as a result ‘shared care schemes’ proliferated with up to 40% of GPs in every area being involved at various levels by 2006 | Addiction Professionals, UK

The Forward Trust and Action on Addiction join forces to reach more people

The Forward Trust and Action on Addiction have joined forces to expand much-needed addiction recovery services in the UK | DDN, UK

Should police expand the use of overdose life-saver drug Naloxone? - video

The first UK police force to pilot its officers carrying a "life-saving" drug that can temporarily reverse overdose effects is widening the roll-out. After 52 officers in Birmingham took part in a trial, West Midlands Police this week ran its first in-person training of police constables who patrol Walsall town centre | BBC, UK

Free heroin could help Scotland shake off unwanted drugs death title

Professor van den Brink, who led a pioneering scheme in the 90s that saw free heroin administered to users in the Netherlands, said he was shocked by Scotland’s drug problem | Daily Record, UK

Debate over heroin addiction treatment scheme benefits with new Cleveland PCC to end funding

Steve Turner said he had seen no evidence that crime had dropped since the programme started, but election rival Chris Jones said he had major concerns over his stance | Teesside Live, UK

Exclusive: Brits support decriminalisation of marijuana, saying it’s less harmful than alcohol

Marijuana is the only drug for which there is more support for decriminalisation than there is opposition among voters, Left Foot Forward can reveal | Left Foot Forward, UK

Cafe honours woman who died from drugs overdose

Kristie Bishop, from Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, died from an overdose in March 2020 | BBC, UK

Women in Psychedelic Science - Part 4

Wed, 2 June 2021, 16:00 – 18:00 BST. Part 4 of the Drug Science symposium to showcase the inspiring work of women at the cutting edge of psychedelic science and field work | Drug Science, UK


International news

Killing Escobar - video

Documentary telling the incredible true story of Scottish mercenary Peter McAleese, who was hired to kill Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar in 1989. With unprecedented access to Peter and other members of his team, this is the first full account of that fateful mission and the dark consequences for those involved | BBC, UK

A bar with no booze: ‘Anybody seeking to practise their sober pash skills should give it a try’

Australia’s first nonalcoholic bar has opened in Melbourne. So what is a bar for, if not for drinking? | Guardian, UK

Big pharma executives mocked ‘pillbillies’ in emails, West Virginia opioid trial hears

Executives at one of the US’s largest drug distributors circulated rhymes and emails mocking “hillbillies” who became addicted to opioid painkillers even as the company poured hundreds of millions of pills into parts of Appalachia at the heart of America’s opioid epidemic | Guardian, UK

Free counselling set up for Eastern Europeans struggling with addiction

Cork-based initiative aims to support Poles and Romanians falling through cracks due to language barrier | Irish Times, Ireland

Almost 40% favour legalising cannabis for recreational use, over 90% in favour of medicinal use

New polling by Red C on behalf of The Journal shines a light on the nation’s views on legalising cannabis | Journal, Ireland

Man pleads guilty to €4 worth of cannabis

A man has pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis, after saying he uses it for longstanding pain, because, as a former heroin addict, he is wary of the medication he has been prescribed | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Germany is the freest country in Europe; Norway, Lithuania, and Finland are the worst on the 2021 Nanny State Index

Today sees the publication of the Nanny State Index, now in its fourth edition. Launched in 2016, it looks at the over-regulation of food, soft drinks, vaping, tobacco and alcohol in thirty European countries | New Europe, Belgium

Trends in Filled Naloxone Prescriptions Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States

In this study, we analyze the trends in filled naloxone prescriptions during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and compare these with trends in opioid prescriptions and overall prescriptions | JAMA Network, USA

E-cigarettes associated with wheezing, shortness of breath

The use of e-cigarettes is associated with wheezing and shortness of breath in young adults and adolescents, even in those who don't smoke cigarettes or marijuana, according to research presented at the ATS 2021 International Conference | EurekAlert, USA

Dr Farrah Kheradmand Explains the Mechanisms of Vaping Lung Injury

Farrah Kheradmand, MD, gives an overview of her research on the mechanisms of vaping-associated lung injuries | AJMC, USA

Bolivia Family Clans Key Cocaine Suppliers to Brazil, Colombia

The extradition of a prominent Bolivian drug trafficker to Brazil reveals how family clans in the Andean nation serve as important cocaine suppliers to powerful organized crime groups across the region | Insight Crime, USA

A person’s characteristics, their treatment, and the prescriber all influence retention for opioid agonist treatment (OAT)

A new report from researchers at The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), UNSW Sydney, has found that a person’s characteristics, their treatment, and the prescriber all have significant influence on retention rates for opioid agonist treatment (OAT) | NDARC, Australia

Antidepressant set for Aust drug ice study

Australian researchers will receive almost $5 million to test the use of a common antidepressant to fight methamphetamine (ice) addiction | 7 news, Australia

Crystal meth is resurgent and 'ravaging' regional Australia. Where it's coming from is a mystery

Vagn Olsen is noticeably twitchy as he paces around a beach car park, pointing out broken needles in the dirt | abc.net.au, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Ministers must face up to the addiction crisis and its devastating consequences

The huge increase in alcohol related deaths is one of the worst consequences of the Covid-related mental health emergency. Without action, many more could pay a tragic price | Politics Home, UK

Middle-class drug users share blame for deaths of black children ‘pimped by crime bosses, says David Lammy

The deaths of black children have become so common they are ‘no longer considered special or exceptional’, says Labour’s shadow Justice Secretary | i news, UK

How the bubonic plague changed drinking habits

Alcohol deaths in England and Wales in 2020 were the highest for 20 years. The Office for National Statistics recorded 7,423 deaths from alcohol misuse, a 19.6% increase compared with 2019 | Conversation, UK

Decriminalisation in Portugal: Settng te record straight

This briefing updates our 2016 report on Portugal's groundbreaking reforms, and marks the 20th anniversary of their introduction | Transform blog, UK

Brain Research: A Focus on Childhood Trauma and Alcohol Misuse

News reports of college drinking tragedies, and concerns about increased access to alcohol in the home during the pandemic, make clear that COVID-19 has provided no reprieve from the problems of underage drinking | NIAAA blog, USA

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

Yesterday, I shared a couple of highlights from this Brookings event. Here’s another interesting portion | Recovery Review blog, USA

Why Women Experience Addiction Differently

When it comes to addiction, gender matters. Women often get addicted for different reasons than men, they go into treatment for different reasons, and they get and stay sober for different reasons | Psychology Today blog, USA

Australia needs drug testing and opioid blockers to reduce overdose deaths

Australia is obviously not immune to the problems faced by other nations when it comes to addictions and drug abuse. The rampant opioid problem worldwide has been gaining ground in Australia and combined with the continuing use and abuse of other drugs like crystal methamphetamine, or ‘ice’, has gained a firm foothold | ASPI, Australia