Daily news - 26th May 2021

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UK news

Psychoactive drugs bought at 'click of a button' online

Psychoactive drugs such as Spice are easier than ever to buy, despite a ban which came into force five years ago, drugs charities have warned | BBC, UK

Decriminalising personal drug use 'would be considered in independent Scotland'

The SNP said it is "not a predetermined list of policy decisions for an independent Scotland" but rather a "model for inclusive decision-making" and "offers a conversation starter" | Herald, UK

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the (a) implications of his policies of the report published by Salford University on 18 January 2021 entitled the prevalence of foetal alcohol spectrum disorders: an overview of current evidence and activities in the UK, published by Salford University on 18 January 2021, and (b) adequacy of service provision for people with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders | They Work for You, UK

How photos used to illustrate articles about alcohol and other drugs may perpetuate stigma

Dr. Stephen Parkin writes about some of the inadvertent consequences of using photos about substance use, and makes five recommendations for authors and publishers based on his own research | SSA, UK

The Return of ‘Drugs Courts’: Some Important Considerations

Problem-solving courts have experienced intermittent enthusiasm and support in the UK, with drugs courts, mental health courts, domestic violence courts and community justice courts introduced at various points since the early 2000s | Justice Gap, UK

‘I drank to drown out what was happening in the world’: How alcohol abuse became lockdown's legacy

[Limited number of free articles per week] With deaths from alcohol misuse at a 20 year high, experts fear the pandemic might have created a new generation of dependent drinkers | Telegraph, UK

William and Kate visit social charity - video

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited North Lanarkshire to learn about the work of a leading social care charity helping to tackle issues like addiction and mental health and break cycles of crime and addiction. William and Kate visited Turning Point Scotland's (TPS) centre in the town of Coatbridge to meet people supported by the organisation's Turnaround service | Yahoo News, UK

Update Event: National Implementation of the Medication Assisted Treatment Standards for Scotland

Friday 11th June 2021 / 13.00 – 14.30, online via GoToWebinar. The Scottish Government has announced that national implementation of Scotland’s new Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Standards will be fully embedded by 2022. This event will describe progress on the implementation of the MAT Standards so far and the next steps | SDF, UK

Walsall drug bust team finds biggest cannabis farm to date

More than 6,000 plants were found at the property on Slaney Road at about 09:30 BST on Friday | BBC, UK

'Cocaine' found off Hastings and Newhaven 'worth £80m'

Drugs found in packages that washed up on the south coast are thought to be South American cocaine with a street value of £80m | BBC, UK


International news

Global standards launched for online sale and delivery of alcohol as e-commerce booms during pandemic

This international initiative is focused on supporting consumers’ increasing demands for greater convenience with enhanced standards of responsibility to prevent sale to those underage and to reduce harmful drinking | IARD, UK

Anti-money laundering implications of investments in cannabis, CBD and other cannabinoids

This guidance has been prepared to alert members to their potential position under the Money Laundering , Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds ...and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”) in relation to clients who have invested in Cannabis in jurisdictions where it has been legalised for medicinal and/or recreational use | ICAEW, UK

Illinois police face lawsuit over drug testing a toddler's ashes

An Illinois man is suing the city of Springfield, alleging police unlawfully took an urn with his daughter's ashes and said it tested positive for meth | BBC, UK

Italian mobster dubbed ‘king of cocaine’ arrested in Brazil after more than 20 years as fugitive

Police say fugitive was ‘second most wanted criminal in Italy’ due to criminal gang links | Indepenedent, UK

Methadone treatment regime 'outdated' and 'dehumanising' - report

A new report into the use of methadone has described the regime surrounding it as outdated and dehumanising with almost all of those surveyed saying they have never been offered alternative treatment | RTe, Ireland

5 facts about alcohol and cancer

This factsheet provides five important facts for policy makers, health professionals and the general public about the links between alcohol consumption and a range of cancer types | WHO, Denmark

WHO/Europe launches a new Russian-language podcast on the hottest health topics

“The how of WHO” (“ВОЗ рекомендует” in Russian) is a new podcast from WHO/Europe. It is tailored specifically to the interests of Russian speakers across the broad and diverse WHO European Region. The aim of the podcast is to explain in simple terms where public health recommendations come from and what an individual can do to stay healthy | WHO, Denmark

Tobacco smoke exposure in utero and during early childhood can affect children's lung function

Environmental tobacco smoke exposure in utero and during early childhood-especially secondhand smoke- is associated with decreased childhood lung function, according to research presented at the ATS 2021 International Conference | News Medical, USA

Cocaine's effect on the brain: Fruit fly research shows impact at the cellular level

Study lays groundwork for developing drugs to treat or prevent addiction in humans and provides contextual framework for future research | EurekAlert, USA

Ban on flavored vaping may have led teens to cigarettes, study suggests

When San Francisco voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure banning the sale of flavored tobacco products in 2018, public health advocates celebrated. After all, tobacco use poses a significant threat to public health and health equity, and flavors are particularly attractive to youth | Yale News, USA

Arizona Lawmakers, Governor Move Toward Harm Reduction

Arizona’s Governor and lawmakers are displaying an enlightened shift in strategy addressing the overdose crisis | CATO Institute, USA

In North Carolina, Our Syringe Programs Are Bracing for the Next Attack

If you were an injection drug user in Plaza Midwood before 2015—before syringe service programs (SSP) were legal here—you probably knew me, and you probably knew my house. It was the place you went to get clean syringes | Filter Magazine, USA

Orthopedic Surgeons Fail in Legal Bid to Justify OUD Discrimination

Agroup of doctors defended themselves in a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts by claiming that their denial of care to patients prescribed medication for opioid use disorder was due to discomfort managing their post-surgical pain. It appears to be the legal attempt to make such an argument | Filter Magazine, USA

A single dose of psilocybin has a lasting therapeutic effect on migraine headache, according to a new placebo-controlled study

Scientists have started to investigate whether psilocybin, the primary substance responsible for the psychedelic effects of “magic” mushrooms, could be helpful to those who suffer from migraine headache | PsyPost, USA

Psychedelics’ Exciting Potential to Benefit Autistic People

Psychedelic drugs are closer than ever to becoming mainstream, FDA-approved medications. MDMA, also known as Molly or ecstasy, shows remarkable efficacy for treating severe post-traumatic stress disorder | Filter Magazine, USA

Sudbury slams door on temporary safe injection site, bans volunteers from city property

City hall issues trespass orders against temporary injection site volunteers | CBC News, Canada

After furious debate, Melbourne council votes to support safe-injecting room in CBD

A motion by councillor Roshena Campbell – a senior Liberal party figure – opposing a safe-injecting room anywhere in the city was narrowly defeated, while a second vote on a council management report that recommended supporting a Victorian government service was successful | SMH, Australia

Australians still dim about demon drink

One in five Australians are still ignorant of the harms caused by drinking alcohol, with young people especially oblivious to the risks, survey results show | The West Australian, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

After 50 years of failure, it’s time for reform of our drug laws

[Free one month trial available] This week, the Misuse of Drugs Act will be fifty years old. Passed shortly after we decimalised our currency, and shortly before we voted to join the EEC, it established a system of blanket drug prohibition that remains in place today | The Times, UK

The Dangers of Rampant Fentanyl Misinformation

To say that the overdose crisis in North America is devastating would be an understatement. Its ravaging impact can be felt at both the personal and societal levels of analyses | Psychology Today blog, USA

If Lawmakers Really Want to “Follow the Science” They Will Repeal Codified Opioid Guidelines

Ever since the start of the COVID pandemic, public health officials, politicians, and policymakers have pledged to “follow the science.” | CATO Institute blog, USA