Daily news - 29th November 2021

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UK news

‘Everyone’s gagging for it’ – how Britain got high on nitrous oxide

Laughing gas was the lockdown high of choice for many young people. Now empty canisters are everywhere, and dealers are hitting the streets with card readers. Will a government crackdown burst the balloon? | Guardian, UK

MPs debate alcohol harm

On 25 November, a debate about alcohol harm took place in Westminster. The debate highlighted: Alcohol causes significant harm to individuals, families and our society; Alcohol harm escalated during the pandemic; Effective policies to reduce alcohol harm and protect children and vulnerable people include decreasing alcohol’s affordability and restricting alcohol marketing | AHA, UK

The New Leaf: Beyond Brexit, Countering Covid

The New Leaf Opportunities campaign has highlighted the economic benefits, innovations and investment opportunities that medical cannabis and CBD can bring to the UK. It has also focused on how celebrating this will lead to a more vibrant cannabis sector. This report has honed in on the opportunities that medical cannabis and CBD bring through an economic, innovation and regulatory lens | Volteface, UK

Boris told 'act fast' to seize £1.2bn Brexit Britain coup that EU restrictions blocked

Boris Johnson and Brexit Britain could take advantage of a booming new market, that according to a new report, has the potential to inject over a billion pounds into the UK economy and create more than 40,000 jobs | Express, UK

How a new cannabis-based drug is being used in Leeds to tackle brain tumours -audio

Enough money has been raised for Leeds to stage trials of a new cannabis-based drug which could help people suffering from brain tumours | BBC Sounds, UK

The most common form of spiking is with alcohol, so why are we ignoring it?

This autumn saw a frenzy of reports in the media about people being spiked in bars and nightclubs across the UK | Metro, UK


To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many of the 94 key milestones of the Tobacco Control Delivery Plan 2017-22 with delivery dates by 31 December 2021 have been met | They work for you, UK

Change Grow Live Annual report

Read or download the Change Grow Live annual report to find out how we're working towards our mission and access our latest financial review | CGL, UK

Medical cannabis firm could create more than 60 jobs in Guernsey

A company which received the first licence to grow medical cannabis in Guernsey says more than 60 jobs could be created locally by the firm | BBC, UK

Drugs and weapons seized in Isle of Man police raids

Drugs, firearms and knives were among items seized as part of a five-day operation targeting organised crime on the Isle of Man | BBC, UK

East Belfast: Police investigating UVF seize cannabis

A man in his 30s has been arrested after suspected cannabis with an estimated street value of £150,000 was seized in east Belfast | BBC, UK


International news

Tonga’s drug crisis: Why a tiny Pacific island is struggling with a meth epidemic

Spike in drug use has caused problems across Tongan society, with arrests doubling in two years and children severely affected | Guardian, UK

‘Long-term poisoning’: should Australia’s food safety standards consider health issues like obesity?

There are concerns the food and alcohol industry is lobbying to move labelling standards outside the health system while ministers are preoccupied with Covid | Guardian, UK

Government moves to reduce alcohol consumption await EU scrutiny

The Department of Health has said wide-ranging powers to put health warnings on alcohol labels and limit the advertising of alcohol must first be referred to the European Commission before they can take effect | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Women being forced into sex to pay drug debts as intimidation rises

Children as young as 10 are being used by drug gangs to intimidate people in communities plagued by the drugs trade, Government-funded research has found | Irish Examiner, Ireland

‘Not at all what I had expected’: Discontinuing treatment with extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX): A qualitative study

[Open access] Our findings emphasize that a dynamic understanding of discontinuation of treatment is necessary to achieve a long-term approach to recovery: the field should understand discontinuation as a feature of typical treatment trajectories, and discontinuation can be followed by re-initiation of treatment | JSAT, Norway

Malta and Luxembourg announce plans for limited cultivation and use of cannabis

On 4 October 2021 the equalities minister in Malta presented a bill to change laws on cannabis. This follows the government’s election manifesto of 2017, which pledged to launch a debate on recreational cannabis, and a white paper, published in March 2021, that reflected the ‘government’s vision for a fairer legal system for responsible cannabis users’ | EMCDDA, Portugal

Vaping linked to dysregulation of mitochondrial genes and immune response genes

Since they hit the market, e-cigarettes have been touted as a safe alternative to tobacco cigarettes for adult smokers. When research began to suggest otherwise, many questioned whether smoking was still to blame for adverse effects, since most vapers are either "dual users" who also smoke cigarettes or have a prior history of smoking | News Medical, USA

Smokers keep smoking, even as perceptions of COVID-19 risk and severity increase

Older adults, individuals with asthma and smokers were among the groups who have been cautioned to avoid SARS-CoV-2’s accompanying illness, COVID-19, and its secondary complications (e.g., pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock) | University of South Carolina, USA

Synthetic opioid 10 to 20 times stronger than fentanyl detected in Saskatoon

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan (CPSS) is warning of a highly potent opioid detected in the Saskatoon area. The synthetic opioid, known as etonitazene, can be seen in the form of an orange powder or grainy substance | CTV News, Canada

The Bulletin - December editon

Australia’s fifth ranking in the newly launched Global Drug Policy Index could be seen as quite the achievement – after all, it puts us right up there behind only Norway, New Zealand, Portugal and the United Kingdom on the world stage and ahead of major economies with enormous populations such as Canada, India, Argentina, Russia and Brazil | Penington Institute, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Andrew Tickell: Tide is turning on provision of rooms for safe drug consumption

‘I’m not going to oppose a pilot if that’s what the Scottish Government bring forward and I don’t think the UK Government should either.” It was one of the more startling political conversions of last week | National, UK

Psychedelics can change humanity for the better. It’s time to unlock their power

Studies of MDMA, ketamine, psilocybin mushrooms and other psychedelics have shown tremendous potential for therapeutic applications | Guardian opinion, UK

Tobacco control: far from the finish line

Tobacco control is working—slowly. The number of people smoking worldwide has declined and tobacco-attributable deaths are falling. This progress is evident in WHO's fourth report on international tobacco trends, released on Nov 16, which estimates 1·30 billion tobacco users globally in 2020, compared with 1·32 billion in 2015 | Lancet editorial, UK

Our Immigration Policy Costs Lives with Exactly the Same Muddled Thinking As Our Drugs Policy

The parallels are exact. Just as there is a huge demand for drugs, there is huge demand to come and live in the UK. Unless legitimate access is provided at reasonable cost and convenience then it is inevitable that criminals will move in to meet that demand | Peter Reynolds blog, UK

Germany to regulate cannabis: a seismic shift for global reform

[On Wednesday], the new German coalition Government confirmed that it intends to legalise and regulate cannabis for non-medical (recreational) adult use | Transform, UK

From Prohibition To Trailblazing: A Brief History Of Modern Cannabis Activism In Malta

Malta is on the cusp of legalising recreational cannabis, which, up until a few years ago, was unimaginable to think. As a co-founder of lobby group ReLeaf and a cannabis activist working for more just laws over the last decade, here are some of the key moments I saw both publicly and behind the scenes that led Malta to this historic threshold | Lovin Malta, Malta

Follow the science . . .

With the emergence of the omicron variant, I’ve been watching arguments about which kinds of COVID mitigation strategies make sense and which ones do not. I also just came across this letter about the efficacy (or lack thereof) of esketamine for depression | Recovery Review blog, USA