Daily news - 6th October 2021

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UK news

Fatal opioid overdoses during and shortly after hospital admissions in England: A case-crossover study

[Open access] Hospital patients who use illicit opioids such as heroin may use drugs during an admission or leave the hospital in order to use drugs. There have been reports of patients found dead from drug poisoning on the hospital premises or shortly after leaving the hospital. This study examines whether hospital admission and discharge are associated with increased risk of opioid-related death | PLOS Medicine, UK

Injecting equipment provision in Scotland

This release by Public Health Scotland presents information on the provision of injecting equipment. This includes the number of outlets, attendances and the types of injecting equipment distributed to people who inject illicit drugs (including Novel Psychoactive Substances and Image and Performance Enhancing Drugs) in Scotland in 2020/21 | Public Health Scotland, UK

The effects of an evidence- and theory-informed feedback intervention on opioid prescribing for non-cancer pain in primary care: A controlled interrupted time series analysis

[Open access] The rise in opioid prescribing in primary care represents a significant international public health challenge, associated with increased psychosocial problems, hospitalisations, and mortality. We evaluated the effects of a comparative feedback intervention with persuasive messaging and action planning on opioid prescribing in primary care | PLOS Medicine, UK

Better diagnosis of FASD in children needed, adoptive mum says

An adoptive mother is calling for the NHS to improve its diagnosis for children exposed to alcohol in the womb, so their families can be helped | BBC, UK

Joint open letter calling for investment in local public health at the Spending Review

COVID-19 has provided a stark reminder of the value of public health and held a mirror up to the deep health inequalities that exist in society. Deprived and minority ethnic communities, and people with underlying health conditions such as obesity, have been disproportionately affected by severe illness, hospitalisations and deaths | ADPH, UK

Police minister Kit Malthouse pledges crackdown on wealthy cocaine users and ‘deliveroo-style’ drug dealers

The Government will aim to reduce demand for drugs by tackling casual users who are increasingly turning to class A substances such as cocaine | i news, UK

PhD addicted to research: conducting research during a pandemic

Chloe Burke talks to Dr Jenny Scott, Katy Penfold, Marie Jameson and Rebecca Dwyer about their experiences of conducting research during the COVID-19 pandemic and about what changes they made along the way. Dr Scott discusses her research on the impact of the epidemic on people who use opiate substitute medications in rural areas | SSA, UK

Keep up the pub invites and don’t ‘sober shame’: how to support a friend to stop drinking

There are plenty of ways to make it easier for someone who wants to cut out the booze this October – and beyond | Guardian, UK

Drug Use at Universities - Staff's Perspective

Wed, 6 October 2021, 18:00 – 19:30 BST. In this free webinar, different stakeholders from different universities will share their observations and experiences around student drug use. University staff will talk about what the problem is, what has or hasn’t worked in their university’s approach, how they believe the issues around drug use should be addressed, and what the barriers are | Neurosight, UK

Tobacco, alcohol and fuel duties in Guernsey to rise above inflation

Tax on tobacco, alcohol, fuel and property is set to rise above inflation in 2022, according to the latest States of Guernsey budget | BBC, UK

County lines: 18 charged over Bradford and Harrogate drugs supply

The group was charged as part of Operation Jackal, an investigation into a gang operating between Bradford and Harrogate | BBC, UK

Drugs seized following Newcastle student deaths probe

Drugs with an estimated street value of £1m have been seized by police on Tyneside | BBC, UK


International news

The U.S. Counties Where Psychedelic Mushrooms Grow

Moves towards psilocybin decriminalisation in the US have helped make this mushroom foraging season more magical than usual | Talking Drugs, UK

Kambo, a lethal frog mucous used in shamanic rituals, banned by TGA after reports of deaths [Australia]

Venomous secretions from two South American frog species are now listed in Australia as a schedule 10 poison | Guardian, UK

'Magic mushrooms,' an anti-depressive psychedelic, affects perception of musiC [Netherlands]

Scientists have found that the psychedelic drug psilocybin, in development as an anti-depressive treatment, changes the emotional state of people listening to music | Medical Express, The USA

People with substance use disorders may be at higher risk for SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infections

An analysis of electronic health records of nearly 580,000 fully vaccinated people in the United States found that the risk of SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infection among vaccinated patients with substance use disorders was low overall, but higher than the risk among vaccinated people without substance use disorders | EurekAlert, USA

Police in Europe Pounce on Balkan Drug Cartel

Law enforcement agencies from eight countries in Europe arrested 61 suspects and seized more than four tons of cocaine, as well as money and luxury vehicles during last week’s crackdown on a Balkan drug cartel suspected of running the continent’s largest cocaine trafficking network | OCCRP, USA

How Can We Integrate Nicotine Into Harm Reduction Programs?

Vaping and forms of smokeless tobacco have gained popularity as harm reduction options for millions of ex-smokers around the world | Filter Magazine, USA

Seattle Becomes Largest U.S. City To Decriminalize Psychedelics

Seattle’s City Council approved a resolution Monday to decriminalize noncommercial activity around a wide range of psychedelic substances, including the cultivation and sharing of psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, ibogaine and non-peyote-derived mescaline | Marijuana Moment, USA

Australia's Vape Laws Just Got Even Tighter. The Black Market Isn’t Worried

Drug dealers are already making serious money selling e-cigarettes. A crackdown on imports could bolster their bottom line | VICE, USA

Study provides new insights into how cannabis extracts may work to treat epilepsy [Australia]

Research from pharmacologists at the University of Sydney provides new insights into how cannabis extracts may work to treat epilepsy | News Medical, USA

The early impact of COVID-19 on the incidence, prevalence, and severity of alcohol use and other drugs: A systematic review

[Open access] The aim of this paper was to examine the early impact of COVID-19 on substance use to assess implications for planning substance use treatment and support systems | DAD, Canada

Alexander died from a pill he bought on Snapchat. Now his mother is taking on big tech

When California teenager Alexander Neville ordered what he thought was oxycodone pills from social media app Snapchat, he was just days away from receiving treatment for drug abuse | abc.net.au, Australia

NDARC newsletter

Latest edition out now with NDARC news, events, jobs, and webinar recordings | NDARC, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

The problem with drinking responsibly

The alcohol industry has long used the message ‘drink responsibly’ when promoting its products. But what does this phrase even mean? In this blog, Colin Shevills, Special Adviser to the Alcohol Health Alliance, argues why we need to take public health messaging out of the hands of the alcohol industry and call time on the ‘drink responsibly’ message | AHA blog, UK

Tory MP Crispin Blunt on why UK should reform drug laws - video

Conservative MP Crispin Blunt says it is time to look at reforming drug use laws, arguing the UK has missed medicinal benefit opportunities due to existing legislation | GB News, UK

Smokers were never really protected from COVID, despite what early studies claimed

Early in the coronavirus pandemic, researchers stumbled on an unexpected finding: smokers seemed to be protected from COVID’s worst effects. Initially discovered on a review of hospitalised patients in China, this “smoker’s paradox” was later reported in studies from Italy and France | Conversation, UK

Points Video Interview—Yan Liu, Healing With Poisons: Potent Medicines in Medieval China

At first glance, medicine and poison might seem to be opposites. But in China’s formative era of pharmacy (200–800 CE), poisons were strategically deployed as healing agents to cure everything from chills to pains to epidemics | Points blog, USA

White: The whole community benefits from a 'safe supply' approach to drugs

Reforming our policies on the use of illegal substances can save individual lives — but also help our neighbourhoods thrive | Ottawa Citizen opinion, Canada