Daily news - 3rd September 2021

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UK news

Nitrous Oxide: Home Secretary's letter to the ACMD

Letter to the chair of the ACMD asking the council to conduct an updated assessment of the health and social harms of nitrous oxide | ACMD, UK

Nitrous oxide: Patel orders Laughing gas review to decide on potential new law

The unlawful possession of laughing gas could be made a crime in England and Wales | BBC, UK

Isotonazetine warning leaflet

In August 2021 there was a spate of overdose deaths in the South of England connected to a supply of the synthetic opiate isotonazetine mixed with, and/or as a replacement for heroin. This leaflet was written in conjunction with Release for rapid distribution. The leaflet is dated (all drug warnings should be dated) and is published following toxicology confirming the active compound is the powerful synthetic opiate isotonazetine | Exchange Supplies, UK

Here's Why There's So Much Fake MDMA in the UK Right Now

Low demand for club drugs over lockdown has hit Dutch ecstasy makers and international traffickers, resulting in a rise in duff deals containing zero MDMA | VICE, UK

‘Alcoholic’ language puts off many heavy drinkers off cutting down

New research by London South Bank University (LSBU) academics has found that heavy drinkers may be less likely to make changes to their drinking if they think about it in terms of ‘alcoholism’. | LSBU, UK

Effects of brief exposure to misinformation about e-cigarette harms on twitter: a randomised controlled experiment

[Open access] To assess the effect of exposure to misinformation about e-cigarette harms found on Twitter on adult current smokers’ intention to quit smoking cigarettes, intention to purchase e-cigarettes and perceived relative harm of e-cigarettes compared with regular cigarettes | BMJ open, UK

How a sample of English stop smoking services and vape shops adapted during the early COVID-19 pandemic: a mixed-methods cross-sectional survey

[Open access] The COVID-19 pandemic in England led to major changes in the delivery of support via stop smoking services (SSS) and to the widespread temporary closure of bricks and mortar e-cigarette retailers (vape shops herein). The impact of disruptions across the smoking cessation support landscape has not been fully documented. The purpose of this study was to capture how SSS and vape shops in England were affected and adapted their ‘business as usual’ during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic | Harm Reduction Journal, UK

Quality and the Workforce

Wed, Sep 8, 2021 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM BST. This Webinar will look at the role of the workforce in ensuring quality drug use disorder treatment services. It will explore this issue from a position of guidelines and quality standards; current issues in England; the role of nurses in all countries; a mapping a workforce (Scotland) and the challenges of implementing standards for medically assisted treatment and the role of staff with lived experience of substance use and recovery | ISSUP, UK

Recovery Street Film Festival: Live Q&A

Thu, September 16, 2021, 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM BST. This year the Recovery Street Film Festival are looking back at the legacy of festival, bringing together previous winners and judges | RSFF, UK

A Celebration of Life 2021

Sat, 27 November 2021, 15:30 – 16:30 GMT. A celebration of life - An event for the family and friends of those lost to drugs and alcohol | BDP, UK

West Yorkshire: Take Drugs Seriously

Tue, 28 September 2021, 19:00 – 21:30 BST. Drugs can be dangerous. But does banning them cause more harm than good? | J Slater, UK

Northamptonshire mum in plea for help over drug gangs

A mother whose vulnerable son was stabbed after becoming involved with a drugs gang said more needed to be done to combat drug culture | BBC, UK

Shooting party drug driver jailed for causing death of friend

Melhuish, aged 22, of Sheldon, Devon, admitted causing Mr Coates's death by careless driving while over the limit for alcohol and benzoylecgonine | BBC, UK


International news

Juul hooked an entire generation on nicotine – can it redeem its image?

The company has been shamed by health regulators, lost revenue and is the center of hundreds of US lawsuits. Now it has thrown in a last-ditch effort to continue sales | Guardian, UK

Massive Drug Busts Target Albanian Weed Gangs Supplying Europe

Police have dismantled a drug ring specialising in weed cultivation which trafficked truckloads of the drug from Spain across Europe | VICE, UK

Drug-related deaths in Ireland: key patterns and trends 2008-2017. Drug insights report 1(PDF)

This insights report will examine drugs deaths with a view to informing policy and facilitating the implementation of existing strategies such as the National Drug and Alcohol Strategy (Department of Health, 2017). It will present data covering 2008-2017 for poisonings and non-poisonings (HRB,  2019a,b) | Health Service Executive, National Office for Social Inclusion, Ireland

Worrying rise in deaths linked to drug use among women

There has been a four-fold rise in drug-related hangings by women over the last 10 years, Irish research shows | Irish Examiner, Ireland

HRB National Drugs Library e-newsletter volume 17, issue 8

This August issue of the newsletter includes links to Irish and international publications related to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs | HRB, Ireland

Opioid Overdoses from the Toxicology Investigators Consortium (ToxIC) Fentalog Study Group

This report provides new information regarding comprehensive drug testing of clinical biological specimens collected after suspected opioid overdoses in various cities across the United States | NPS Discovery, USA

Menthol ban would save 650,000 lives in the next 40 years

Banning menthol flavors in cigarettes could reduce smoking by 15% by having smokers giving up tobacco products altogether or switching to e-cigarettes and other nicotine vaping products—avoiding 16,250 tobacco-related deaths per year by 2060, according to a new University of Michigan study | University of Michigan, USA

How does topiramate work for alcohol use disorder? A look at the effects on brain activation in response to alcohol cues and relationship to alcohol craving and use

Topiramate is an anti-seizure medication that has been recently investigated for the treatment of alcohol use disorder. Though not yet approved by the FDA for this purpose, topiramate shows promise for reducing heavy drinking and craving, and promoting abstinence | Recovery Research Institute, USA

Seattle Overdose Task Force Calls for Decriminalization of All Drugs

In response to the Seattle City Council’s request for policy advice on how to curb overdose deaths, a local task force is recommending the widespread decriminalization of all drugs. Psychedelics in particular, the group said, could be a promising treatment to address substance use disorders and mental health issues | Filter Magazine, USA

Civil Rights Leaders & Drug Policy Experts Denounce Counterproductive Biden Recommendations on Fentanyl-Related Substances and Continued War on Drugs

New Proposal Puts Criminalization Before Public Health and Safety, Reinforces Harmful Trump-Era Policies that Disproportionately Impact People of Color, Lead to Mass Incarceration, and Cost Lives | DPA, USA


Blogs, comment and opinion

E-cigarettes: misconceptions about their dangers may be preventing people from quitting smoking

When electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) first emerged, they became a popular way for people to quit smoking. But in 2019, a mysterious lung condition emerged that primarily affected young people, particularly those who vaped. This left many questioning the safety of e-cigarettes | Conversation, UK

Letters: We have to stop treating alcohol addiction as a second-class illness

I’D like to concur with everything that Max Cruickshank set out in his letter (August 30) with regards to alcohol abuse. The raising of alcohol prices may well have its place in helping to curb our devotion to this drug but as has been shown, it is not the magic bullet and never was going to be | Herald letters, UK

Big Pharma Seizes Brazilian Market While Medical Cannabis Bill is Stalled

On 8 June, after five long years, the Special Commission of the Brazilian Lower House of Parliament gathered to discuss and vote on the Medical Cannabis Bill | Talking Drugs, UK

Health Canada consults on the really dumb idea of making vaping a less appealing alternatives to smoking

Health Canada is trying to ban almost all vaping liquid flavours. This is on top of measures to limit nicotine strengths and marketing. It is the nearest they can get to a prohibition without actually having to prohibit the most promising low-risk rival to cigarettes | The Counterfactual blog, UK

Donald MacPherson: Legally regulate, decriminalize drugs to end toxicity deaths in Canada, task force urges

Federal Expert Task Force on Substance Use unanimously urges Health Canada to end criminal penalties related to simple possession of drugs for personal use | Vancouver Sun opinion, Canada