Daily news - 6th September 2021

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UK news

Durham Police warns against cannabis derivative vaping

Police are warning against a "dangerous new trend" involving young people vaping the cannabis derivatives CBD and THC | BBC, UK

Government fails to respond to calls for tighter controls after liquid morphine deaths

Exclusive: Coroners in England and Wales have investigated the deaths of thirteen people after overdoses involving liquid morphine since 2013 | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

Laughing Gas Could Become Illegal Because the UK Can't Stand the Sight of Rubbish

The UK has announced a review into banning nitrous oxide. But experts say this is more about government PR than young people’s health | VICE, UK

FASD Month 2021

Can you help us with a top-secret mission? As part of our FASD Month plans, we would like to capture the voice and experiences of children and young people, and young adults with FASD | Adoption UK, UK

More than three ambulance call-outs per day in Northern Ireland are for drug issues

Drug-related incidents including overdoses have led to thousands of ambulance call-outs in south Belfast during the last two years | Belfast Telegraph, UK

Bradford children ill after eating cannabis edibles

An eight-year-old boy and girl, 17, were both found seriously ill in the Great Horton area of Bradford in the early hours of Saturday morning | BBC, UK

The Pregnancy Edit: Why are we talking about alcohol-related harm in pregnancy this month?

What do we mean when we talk about alcohol-related harm in pregnancy? Is it harm to the embryo, fetus, or unborn child? Harm to the state of the pregnancy? Harm to the woman? All of the above? | SSA, UK

More than you were: writing my father’s life, death and addiction

In July 2013, I lost my father to a drug overdose. He was 45 years old and had been using cocaine and prescription painkillers for as long as I could remember | Journal of Poetry Therapy, UK

Grow Group, a Leading Medical Cannabis Company, Launches Successful Crowdfunder

Leading medical cannabis provider Grow Group Plc has been raising on the crowdfunding platform Seedrs throughout August. So far they’ve had over 500 new investors invest in their company | Volteface, UK

Background to the survey and the use of inhalants, solvents and gases

The main purpose of this study is to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on patterns of psychoactive substances supply and use. Participants will be asked to provide information about their use of psychoactive substances. However, the survey is completely anonymous | University of Hertfordshire, UK

Armies of ‘sniffer puppies’ recruited by police to overcome shortage of adult dogs

[Limited number of free articles per week] Eight-week-old puppies being trained to detect drugs, cash and explosives | Telegraph, UK

Covid-19: Pub marquees could become permanent fixtures

Marquees set up by pubs and restaurants during the Covid pandemic could become permanent on-site fixtures, under government proposals | BBC, UK

The alcoholic alchemy of marketing Scotch

A new visitor attraction replaces a large department store with a deep immersive experience, and celebration of whisky's world-class story-telling | BBC, UK

Ex-Newbury police officer who smoked cannabis would have been sacked

Christopher Howarth smoked the joint with friends in July and tested positive for a banned substance after taking a urine test days later | BBC, UK

Toome: Arrest after millions of suspected counterfeit cigarettes seized

A man has been arrested after more than seven million cigarettes were seized from a lorry trailer stopped near Toome, County Antrim | BBC, UK

Manx teenager caught with cannabis worth £20k in sports bag

A "foolish" teenager who claimed to be looking after about £20,000 worth of cannabis to pay off a drug debt has been handed a suspended jail sentence | BBC, UK


International news

Cork woman fears arrest if she brings her medicinal cannabis home from UK 

A Cork woman living in the UK says she feels barred from coming home because she may be arrested if she brings her medical cannabis with her | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Ukraine joins Council of Europe’s drug policy cooperation platform the Pompidou Group

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has delivered a letter to Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić informing her of his country's decision to join the Pompidou Group as of January 2022 | Council of Europe, Belgium

Selectivity and sensitivity of urine fentanyl test strips to detect fentanyl analogues in illicit drugs

Urine fentanyl test strips have been employed to check street drugs for fentanyl and fentanyl analogue contamination, but there is limited evidence for the applicability of fentanyl strips for this purpose. We examined the ability of four commercially-available fentanyl test strips to detect fentanyl and a range of fentanyl analogues currently on the recreational drug market | IJDP, Norway

Research reveals the impact of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes on the body

Using e-cigarettes containing nicotine causes an immediate increase in the formation of blood clots and a deterioration in the ability of small blood vessels to expand and dilate, as well as raised heart rate and blood pressure, according to research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress | News Medical, Sweden

$26 billion opioid settlement ready for next step: US drug firms

Four pharmaceutical companies have said they received enough support from US states to move to the next stage of a $26 billion settlement over thousands of legal claims related to the opioid epidemic | News Medical, USA

White House Weighs Clemency to Keep Some Drug Offenders Confined at Home

[Requires free registration] Biden officials are exploring what should be done with inmates in home confinement whenever the pandemic emergency ends | NYTimes, USA

Safety and Tolerability of Transdermal Cannabidiol Gel in Children With Developmental and Epileptic Encephalopathies

In this nonrandomized controlled trial, CBD transdermal gel was well tolerated over 6.5 months of treatment, with 60% of patients experiencing a treatment-related adverse event, 96% of which were mild or moderate. A 43.5% reduction in seizure frequency was observed in focal impaired awareness seizures and tonic-clonic seizures | JAMA Network Open, USA

Researchers develop statistical model to characterize how ketamine anesthesia affects the brain

By developing the first statistical model to finely characterize how ketamine anesthesia affects the brain, a team of researchers at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory and Massachusetts General Hospital have laid new groundwork for three advances | News Medical, USA

What happens when police participate in a public health approach to substance use disorder? Views of an innovative police facilitated referral program in Massachusetts

Given the ineffectiveness of criminal justice approaches to substance use disorder, public safety and public health stakeholders are partnering with criminal justice stakeholders to develop innovative programs designed to limit harms and link people with treatment. In this study, researchers examined how five police departments in Massachusetts are implementing police-assisted referral programs for substance use | 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

Canada’s Conservative Party Campaigns to Make Abstinence “Overarching Goal”

In the run-up to Canada’s election on September 20, the Conservative Party of Canada has announced a slew of policies to “address the opioid crisis”—part of a platform that the right-wing party dubs Canada’s Recovery Plan | Filter Magazine, USA

'These are good people': Addiction Recovery Month in Alberta shines a light on rising number of overdose deaths

This September marks the second annual 'Recovery Month' in the province, as officials and advocates try to reduce the stigma surrounding those battling addiction | CTV News, Canada

Understanding patient preferences for drug dependence treatment

Shared decision making is the foundation of modern patient-centred care and is key to overcoming patient- and clinical-level barriers to opiate agonist therapy (OAT) uptake and retention in treatment. Newly available depot buprenorphine products offer expanded choice in treatment modality. However, as the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of policy decisions may be compromised by patient preferences, an understanding of the effect of preference on patient outcomes is needed | NDARC, Australia

From bootcamps in China to Australian schools: How vapes hook children on nicotine

[Free registration required] Outside a factory in south-eastern China, 300 workers are being put through commando crawls. Their instructor tells them the only way for “wolves to survive” is to be strong in a harsh environment and use their strength and wisdom to achieve “great-collective honour” | SMH, Australia

Bill tabled in Tongan Parliament to bring in death penalty for serious drug offences

Amid growing social and health problems stemming from drug addiction and trafficking, Tonga's Parliament is considering making serious drug offences punishable with death | abc.net.au, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Alcohol deaths response – a whimper rather than a bang?

When the news of Scotland’s 2020 alcohol-specific deaths – all 1190 of them – was published last month, I was fascinated to compare the reaction in the press, TV and social media to the respective reaction after the publication of the drug deaths | Recovery Review blog, UK

Expert reaction to launch of review into nitrous oxide, laughing gas

Alastair Noyce of Queen Mary University of London’s Preventive Neurology Unit at the Wolfson Institute of Population Health and a Consultant Neurologist at Barts Health NHS Trust, said... | Science Media Centre, UK

Priti Patel’s review into laughing gas is unnecessary and could worsen the UK’s drug problem

The Home Secretary’s threat of ‘tough action’ isn’t borne out of real concern, but the need to be seen to be doing something about the rising death toll from other, truly dangerous drugs | i news opinion, UK

Myths, Lockdowns, Curfews & Bans: Alcohol consumption & harms during COVID-19

Last month the International Confederation of ATOD Research Associations (ICARA), with the support of SHAAP and the Scottish Alcohol Research Network (SARN), held the last of a series of webinars on the impact of COVID-19 on alcohol, tobacco and other drug research and services | SHAAP blog, UK

Even London’s drug scene has been hit by shortage of lorry drivers

London is experiencing an MDMA ‘drought’ due to Covid and Brexit disrupting supply lines, experts say | Metro, UK

Opioids have killed 600,000 Americans. The Sacklers just got off basically scot-free

A bankruptcy court gave members of the pharma family immunity from further civil suits. They don’t have to admit wrongdoing – and they may end up richer than they started | Guardian, UK

Drug Overdose Deaths in 2020 Were Horrifying

We need radical change in order to address the crisis | Scientific American, USA

Opinion: My 12-year-old brother’s death was used to sell the ‘war on drugs.’ It’s time for Biden to end it

On Jan. 12, 1970, the New York Times printed an obituary of my 12-year-old brother on its front page, identifying him as the youngest person to die of a heroin overdose in New York City. The article’s headline reduced him to a “heroin user.” His name is Walter Van Der Meer | Washington Post, USA

Drug-checking Bill a step towards harm prevention

After the last "summer of terrible drugs"  it is time to make New Zealand’s temporary drug-checking law permanent, writes Alexander Gillespie | Otago Daily Times opinion, New Zealand