Daily news - 7th October 2021

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UK news

Research claiming light alcohol consumption is harmful, is flawed, says new study

‘One need not feel that the only safe alcohol intake is zero’, the study author claims | Independent, UK

Conservative Party Conference 2021: Time to Reflect on Drug Related Deaths in England and Wales

As the Conservative Party Conference comes to a close it’s an important time to reflect on the unprecedented number of lives lost to preventable drug related deaths in England and Wales last year | Volteface, UK

Queen Mary’s stop smoking service expands to Waltham Forest

Experts from Queen Mary University of London have launched a stop smoking service to deliver advice and support for people in the London Borough of Waltham Forest | Quenn Mary, University of London, UK

Humankind publishes Impact Report for 2020/21 with outstanding satisfaction rates

Humankind published a report on the impact we have had as a national charity on the lives of the 85,957 people who accessed our services, as well as our volunteers and staff, during the last year | Humankind, UK

Drinkaware appoints Lucy Armstrong as Chair of the Board of Trustees

Drinkaware, the alcohol education charity, today (Wednesday) announces the appointment of Lucy Armstrong as the new Chair of the Board of Trustees | Drinkaware, UK

Sunderland boss Lee Johnson warns against use of ‘highly addictive’ snus in football

The Sunderland head coach is concerned about the widespread use by footballers of snus – which is a smokeless oral tobacco product | Independent, UK

The increase in alcohol-related deaths: how can we respond?

Oct 11, 2021 02:00 PM in London. This joint webinar between Addiction Professionals and DDN will look at the statistics behind the worrying increase in alcohol-related deaths and will consider the causes, and what we can do to prevent further increases | Addiction Professionals and DDN, UK

Stephen Port: Serial killer was 'obsessed' with drug rape

Serial killer Stephen Port was obsessed with messaging men on hook-up sites and watching drug rape pornography, an inquest has heard | BBC, UK


International news

GPs caution against telehealth websites promising consultation for vaping scripts ‘in minutes’

New laws require prescriptions for nicotine vaping products; sellers are offering links to doctors they say can prescribe their products | Guardian, UK

EMCDDA webinar: Health and social responses to cannabis problems in Europe — time for a paradigm shift?

8th October 2021. Online. To kick off the cannabis webinar series, opening the debate with an all-encompassing overview of the key issues and response options available | EMCDDA, Portugal

Naloxone access doesn’t make heroin seem less risky

The medication naloxone is so effective at saving the lives of opioid overdose victims that some people worry that it might make drug users think heroin and related drugs are no longer risky. But a new study suggests that is not the case | EurekAlert, USA

Study finds increased risk for SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infections in people with substance use disorders

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 | News Medical, USA

Thousands of unknown chemicals and substances found in e-cigarettes

Vaping aerosols contain thousands of unknown chemicals and substances not disclosed by manufacturers, including industrial chemicals and caffeine, John Hopkins University researchers found | News Medical, USA

“No One Believed Me”: A Global Overview of Women Facing the Death Penalty for Drug Offenses

In some countries, the overwhelming majority of women on death row were sentenced for capital drug offenses. This report examines how women’s gender shapes their pathways to drug offending and experiences in the criminal legal system, and how courts often ignore or disbelieve these gendered factors when imposing death sentences for drug offenses | Cornell Law School, USA

New Toolkit Offers Prosecutors Crucial Opportunities for a Less Punitive, More Effective Response to Drug Offenses and Related Policy Approach

As overdose deaths reach historic heights, global health organization Vital Strategies  and the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (IIP) are launching a cutting edge toolkit, “A New Approach: A Prosecutor’s Guide to Advancing a Public Health Response to Drug Use” to transform how prosecutors respond to people who use drugs | Vital Strategies  and the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution, USA

California ends mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug crimes

California will end mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug crimes, following years of failed attempts to reduce these penalties | San Franicisco Chronicle, USA

Afghanistan’s “Forever” Drug War Has No End in Sight

“It is time to end the forever war,” declared President Joe Biden. After 20 long, bloody years came the chaotic international pullout and the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. But there is another war, another US export, that has been going on even longer. For decades, Afghanistan has been caught in the crosshairs of the “forever” drug war, and there is no end in sight | Filter Magazine, USA

Warning Issued For Drug That’s Stronger Than Fentanyl

The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction has confirmed the presence of another dangerous drug in Atlantic Canada. The drug is called Isotonitazine, but also goes by Iso, Nitazine and Toni | VOCM, Canada

Africa: The state of Tobacco Harm Reduction in Africa

The 4th Scientific Summit on Tobacco Harm Reduction took place on September 29 and 30th, 2021. Organized by SCHORE, the International Association on Smoking Control which "vision is to eliminate smoking and smoking-related diseases all together", the summit reunited experts on tobacco, other substance use disorders specialists, and harm reduction professionals | All Africa, South Africa et al

WATCH: Durban’s Bellhaven Harm Reduction Centre to feature in US Better Cities Film Festival

Based in Greyville, the centre provides methadone, which is an opioid substitute that helps alleviate the side effects associated with heroin use, to about 500 people with drug use problems. The centre also offers a range of clinical and harm reduction services | IOL, South Africa

A new pathway to help families coping with drug and alcohol harms

The Australian Government is launching a new information portal, which will provide vital information and support for Australians seeking help for family members and friends with alcohol and drug related issues | Health.gov.au, Australia

Diving deeper to measure the toll of ‘ice’ on mental health

Methamphetamine (“ice”) use is a major public health issue in Australia – the most recent large-scale survey, in 2019, estimates more than 1.3 million people older than the age of 14 had used some form of it in their lifetime | Monash University, Australia

‘Even more urgent’: Inaction on ice inquiry costing lives as treatment demand spikes

Australia’s peak medical groups have warned that the NSW government’s failure to respond to the state’s ice inquiry will have catastrophic consequences as drug and alcohol treatment services struggle to cope with surging demand in the wake of the pandemic | Age, Australia

Experts push for Auckland freeze on prosecutions for personal drug use

A group of health experts are suggesting an Auckland wide freeze on prosecuting people for personal drug use while the city's under strict Covid-19 restrictions | RNZ, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Scotland won’t prosecute personal possession of class A drugs, but outdated laws prevent deeper reforms

In Scotland, a person in possession of a class A drugs will be issued a police warning in most cases, effectively decriminalising personal possession | Conversation, UK

What COVID-19 restrictions tell us about violence and how alcohol availability affects this

The COVID-19 epidemic in the UK has disrupted every sector, every town and city and the lives of almost all of us. But it has also provided unique, perhaps never to be repeated opportunities to discover more about behaviour change and what causes it | IAS blog, UK

Libraries week at the SSA

This week is libraries week. Christine Goodair and Rob Calder stand on a small stepladder to shout about why libraries are better than the internet and why specialist addictions and academic libraries are so important | SSA, UK

The voluntary sector’s relationship with government

In this guest blog, Sarah Vibert, Interim CEO of NCVO, discusses how the voluntary sector can work with and influence government | Think NPC blog, UK

Action needed now to prevent alcohol harm behind closed doors

For more than 18 months, alcohol retailers and companies have aggressively marketed their products as a way to cope with the pandemic. In Victoria, the result has been an increase in alcohol sales into the home of $800 million between 2019 and 2020 – that’s an extra $15 million in sales each week | The Age opinion, Australia