Daily news - 27th May 2021

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UK news

Misuse of Drugs Act turns 50 with reform calls

The UK's Misuse of Drugs Act came into force 50 years ago. The BBC spoke to some of those affected to see what impact it has had, including those who say it has been half a century of failure and want reform, and others who see any softening of the law as a slippery slope | BBC, UK

The UK Has Wasted 50 Years Fighting a Losing War on Drugs

On the 50th anniversary of the Misuse of Drugs Act, VICE World News analysis shows just how catastrophically it has failed | VICE, UK

See Blogs section below for more on MDA turning 50

Statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services in England - April 2020 to December 2020

This quarterly report presents results from the monitoring of the NHS Stop Smoking Services in England during the period April 2020 to December 2020 | NHS Digital, UK

The 'game-changer' meds helping tackle opioid addiction

A new medication has been hailed as a "game changer" in the fight against opioid addiction. Buvidal is the first new drug in a decade to tackle addiction to heroin, morphine and opiate-based painkillers | ITV, UK

University of Sheffield contribute to Royal College of Physicians report - Smoking and health 2021: A coming of age for tobacco control?

Researchers from the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) have contributed to a new report ‘Smoking and Health 2021: a coming of age for tobacco control?’ for the Royal College of Physicians | University of Sheffield, UK

Drug Science research predicts 95% response rate for epileptic children treated with medical cannabis

Despite medical cannabis being legalised in 2018 thanks to a campaign by parents of children diagnosed with severe epilepsy, 3 years on regulations are still blocking access to an NHS prescription for the vast majority of children affected by the same condition. However, Drug Science hopes that new clinical analysis sent to Matt Hancock could finally unlock the problem | Drug Science, UK

The Great British drinking problem - podcast

This week on The So Far So Good Podcast, Dell attempts to understand the UK’s growing drink problem. The statistics all point towards a very unhealthy relationship between Britain and it’s alcohol consumption habits, topping the tables in terms of binge drinking. Furthermore, concerns are arising due to an increasing mortality rate at the hands of alcohol | So Far So Good, UK

County lines: 1,100 people arrested in UK crackdown

A crackdown on county lines drug dealing gangs resulted in the arrest of 1,100 people and the seizure of 292 weapons. Forces across the UK boosted activity against county lines gangs in the week from 17 to 23 May | BBC, UK

County lines: Taxi footage captures gang's drug dealing

Members of a drug gang have been jailed after police found incriminating dashcam footage recorded on a taxi camera | BBC, UK


International news

French films show far too much smoking, campaigners say

French cinema is still addicted to showing smoking on screen, as a new study reveals the practice features in nearly all the country's films | BBC, UK

Detroit judge who gave drug dealer a second chance swears him in as a lawyer 16 years later

Edward Martell’s journey from crack dealer to attorney began when a Michigan judge gave him a break | Independent, UK

Nothing about us without us: the current voices of the Irish methadone service users. (PDF) [Draft]

The Service Users Rights in Action (CAN and SURIA) is an independent group consisting of service users, former service users, medical professionals, service providers and community activists. We have been continuously carrying out research that highlights the many difficulties encountered by the Irish drug service user for almost a decade, since 2012. This Report, entitled “Nothing About Us Without Us”, is informed by 121 surveys that demonstrate the current service user voice regarding their experiences and treatment as they use modern day methadone services | SURIA, Ireland

Accommodation-based interventions for individuals experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness

Globally, almost 1.6 billion individuals lack adequate housing. Many accommodation-based approaches have evolved across the globe to incorporate additional support and services beyond delivery of housing | Campbell Systematic Reviews, Ireland

World No Tobacco Day 2021: awards for tobacco control in the WHO European Region

On 31 May, World No Tobacco Day 2021 focuses on creating networks of support and increasing access to services proven to help tobacco users quit successfully | WHO, Denmark

More than one in four Finns have been worried about the alcohol use of a family member or another loved one in the past 12 months, indicates a survey commissioned by the Finnish Association for Substance Abuse Prevention (EHYT) | Helsinki Times, Finland

Why an Impending Flavor Ban in the Netherlands Matters for All Vapers

Back in June 2020, the Dutch State Secretary for Health, Paul Blokhuis, announced that he wanted to ban all non-tobacco vape flavours in the Netherlands | Filter Magazine, 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 | Medical Xpress, USA

Optimism Bias in Teen Vaping

More than half of teens overestimate their ability to quit vaping in comparison to others | BU, USA

Big Tobacco Hooked Black Americans On Menthols. Now It Fights Ban As Racial Injustice

Tobacco giant Altria is "feeding into the fears of Black folks" and "taking advantage of the climate of demand for social justice," said one civil rights activist | Huffington Post, USA

People With Alcohol Use Disorder Go Largely Untreated

Even though the vast majority of people with alcohol use disorder see their doctors regularly for a range of issues, fewer than one in 10 ever get treatment for drinking, according to a new study | Futurity, USA

Lessons learned from implementing integrated mental health and substance use services in frontline addiction treatment facilities

An estimated 8.2 million adults in the United States live with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. Although this combination is very common and benefits of treatment services that target both conditions simultaneously by the same provider (i.e., integrated care) has been well-established, gaps in access to integrated care persist. This study examined the effectiveness of implementing integrated services into frontline addiction treatment organizations | Recovery Research Institute, USA

Harm Reduction Deserts: When Services Are Miles or Hours Away

Between stigma and bureaucratic challenges, accessing methadone and other medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) can be an uphill battle at the best of times. But for many people in the United States, physical distances and travel times between where they live and facilities that offer MOUD are huge additional barriers | Filter Magazine, USA

Arizona Finally Decriminalizes Syringe Service Programs

On May 24, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill decriminalizing syringe service programs (SSP) within the state | Filter Magazine, USA

Trends in cryptomarkets drug listings January 2020 - January 2021

This bulletin series reports on trends in the availability and type of substances sold on the internet via cryptomarkets over the last 13 months (a new bulletin is released typically every four months). The current bulletin focuses on analysis of listings from 1st January 2020 to 31st January 2021 | NDARC, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Press Release: On The 50th Anniversary Of The Misuse Of Drugs Act, Cross-Party MPs Demand Reform Of UK Drug Laws

27th May 2021 marks 50 years since the UK’s Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 received Royal Assent. This pivotal anniversary has spurred charities, senior scientists, ex-police, public health specialists, bereaved family members, and over 50 MPs and Peers from all parties to sign a statement calling for the Government to urgently review the Misuse of Drugs Act | Release blog, UK

Britain’s 50-year-old drugs policy has failed – but is the UK ready to rethink its attitude to narcotics?

The rise in popularity of recreational drugs was meant to have been halted by 1971 legislation, yet drugs remain easy to access and the UK has the highest drugs related death rate in Europe | Independent voices, UK

More injecting rooms will save lives, reduce community pressure

Two decades ago after I had implemented the Victorian government’s Youth Substance Abuse Service, then opposition leader Steve Bracks asked for my thoughts on the merits and location of a potential safe injecting facility. I asked him how many facilities he was considering. He said five, an acknowledgment of the widespread damage being done by the heroin epidemic at the time | SMH opinion, Australia