Daily news - 18th May 2021

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UK news

Covid limit on support groups to be lifted from 17 May

From Monday 17th May, support groups – which include those supporting people “with, or recovering from, addictions (including alcohol, narcotics or other substance addictions) or addictive patterns of behaviour” – will be able to meet with up to 30 participants | Collective Voice, UK

Alcohol’s Impact on Young People

[Open access] The papers in our collection focus on the relationship between alcohol and young people from childhood to early adulthood | Alcohol and Alcoholism, UK

Medical cannabis 'saved my life'

Just a couple of years ago, Lucy Stafford was in such agonising pain that she was willing to treat it by any means possible | BBC, UK

Could magic mushrooms cure depression? Possibly

[Free one month trial available] He was sacked for saying that cigarettes did more harm than LSD. Now David Nutt wants Chris Whitty to approve Class A drugs to treat mental health | The Times, UK

Longread: Psilocybin-assisted Therapy for Mental Health: A New Paradigm?

We are living through a mental health crisis. Existing treatments barely scratch the surface of the problem, and have not translated into real world benefit for a huge number of people | Volteface, UK

"Heat not burn" product compared with cigarettes and e-cigarettes

"Heat not burn" product found to deliver less nicotine than cigarettes, has lower nicotine delivery than Juul, and was less effective in reducing urges to smoke, finds study by Queen Mary University of London | EurekAlert, UK

Alcohol Occasionals - Greenspace programmes for problem substance use

Tue, 15 June 2021, 12:30 – 14:00 BST. Wendy Masterton (University of Stirling) will present her research on greenspace programmes for problem substance use and mental health and we will then open to Q+A and wider discussion | SHAAP, UK

Couple jailed for importing £29k of cannabis to the Isle of Man

Christopher Corkill and Lisa Barnett, of Marathon Road, admitted arranging to have the parcel delivered to a separate address on 28 January | BBC, UK


International news

Failure To Fund: The continued crisis for harm reduction funding in low- and middle-income countries

Governments have committed to ending AIDS and tuberculosis, eliminating viral hepatitis and providing universal access to health care by 2030. We will not reach these goals without the leadership of people who use drugs and a fully funded harm reduction response | HRI, UK

Epidemic of opioid overdose deaths surged during pandemic

Some 88,000 people died from drug overdose deaths in 12-month period ending in August 2020, driven largely by ‘illicitly manufactured fentanyl and synthetic opioids’ | Independent, UK

Desistance from criminalisation: police culture and new directions in drugs policing

[Open access] Globally, there is emerging evidence that drugs policing is moving away from traditional enforcement interventions towards a greater focus on harm reduction. Signs of a shift include alternatives to criminalisation in the form of police-led diversion schemes. This article examines the extent to which new directions in drugs policing reflect changes in police culture | Policing and Society, UK

Tax relief has cheered Australia’s beer and spirit producers – but what will it mean in the bottle shop?

A lift in the excise relief cap will make it easier to start a business or grow one. It may not lower prices, but drinkers will be spoiled for choice | Guardian, UK

Dublin’s Virgin Mary alcohol-free bar to open in Abu Dhabi

We gave the world the Irish pub. Now we’re giving them the alcohol-free Irish pub ... | Irish Times, Ireland

Spotlight on our activities: Impact of COVID-19 in ENP countries - video

In March 2020, the way we live and the way we work changed. Hear from the coordinator of the EU4 Monitoring Drugs project about the lessons learnt from carrying out trendspotter studies in European Neighbourhood Policy countries to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the drug situation | EMCDDA, Portugal

New study of how US recreational cannabis legalization could change illegal drug markets

A study published in the scientific journal Addiction provides the most comprehensive evidence to date of the association between recreational cannabis laws (RCLs) in US states and responses in the illegal markets for cannabis, heroin, and other drugs in those states | Medical Xpress, USA

Alcohol problems are severely undertreated, researchers report

Some 16 million Americans are believed to have alcohol use disorder, and an estimated 93,000 people in the U.S. die from alcohol-related causes each year. Both of those numbers are expected to grow as a result of heavier drinking during the COVID-19 pandemic | Medical Xpress, USA

Alcohol may have immediate effect on atrial fibrillation risk, events

Alcohol appears to have an immediate—or near-immediate—effect on heart rhythm, significantly increasing the chance that an episode of atrial fibrillation (AFib) will occur, according to new data presented at the American College of Cardiology's 70th Annual Scientific Session | Medical Xpress, USA

Effectiveness of a Vaping Cessation Text Message Program Among Young Adult e-Cigarette Users

In this randomized clinical trial of 2588 YA e-cigarette users, at 7 months postrandomization abstinence rates were 24.1% among participants assigned to the text message intervention and 18.6% among participants assigned to an assessment-only control, which is a statistically significant difference. No baseline characteristics moderated the treatment-outcome relationship, including nicotine dependence | JAMA Network, USA

Indigenous Groups Object to Proposed Peyote Decriminalization

As the psychedelics reform movement continues to spread across the US, a conflict has developed between some advocates and Indigenous groups over whether to include the hallucinogenic cacti peyote in decriminalization proposals | Filter Magazine, USA

The FDA Approved a Supersized Naloxone Spray. Do We Need It?

On April 30, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new, high-dose naloxone nasal spray. “Kloxxado,” manufactured by Hikma Pharmaceuticals, contains 8 mg of naloxone—twice the amount of the next-largest nasal dose currently available | Filter Magazine, USA

N.B. health minister says legislation pending, as opposition calls for clamp down on youth vaping

New Brunswick’s health minister says further legislation to combat youth vaping is on the way, as the opposition calls for more to be done | Global News, Canada

Government of Canada supports safer supply project for people with opioid use disorder in Peterborough

Life-saving initiative will provide pharmaceutical-grade medication as alternative to toxic illegal drug supply during COVID-19 pandemic and beyond | CISION PR Newswire, Canada

Civil commitment for substance use disorder treatment — what do addiction medicine specialists think

Amid the rising toll of opioid overdoses and deaths in the U.S., several states are considering laws enabling civil commitment for involuntary treatment of patients with substance use disorders (SUDs) | Mirage, Australia

Plan for second safe injecting room opposite Flinders Street station

Melbourne’s second drug-injecting room is expected to be located in an art deco building opposite Flinders Street Station and near the popular al fresco city dining laneway, Degraves Street | The Age, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

You’re all going to hate the word ‘recovery’

One of the problems with an aspirational and non-prescriptive definition of recovery is that it is hard to measure. The definitions most commonly featured in the literature share some elements including wellbeing or health, abstinence and citizenship | Recovery Review blog, UK

Psychedelics and Nature Connection - In My Professional Opinion

There appears to be a growing disconnection between humans and their natural environments which has been linked to poor mental health and ecological destruction. Research shows that psychedelic usage is associated with enduring increases in nature connectedness | Drug Science, UK

The Trip Report 17/05

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 | Cameron Scally, UK

‘Living alone meant I could drink and do drugs in peace’: One mother’s story of addiction and rehab

I wake up in a diazepam stupor, in a room that used to be the cold storage for a butcher’s shop, now converted into the cheapest bedsit in Hackney | i news, UK

Fanning the flames: Feds may adopt problematic tobacco policies

In recent weeks, federal officials have announced policies that are very likely to increase cigarette smuggling into the United States and bring other unintended consequences | The Hill opinion, USA