Daily news - 10th September 2021

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UK news

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: health needs assessment

A health needs assessment for people living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), their carers and families, and those at risk of alcohol-exposed pregnancies | Department of Health and Social Care, UK

Mother urges alcohol dependant mums to seek help

A mother has urged expectant mums with alcohol dependency to seek help after her own child was born with severe birth defects | BBC, UK

Meeting the needs of families affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: the SSA talks to Aliy Brown from FASD Hub Scotland

To mark International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day [yesterday], Natalie Davies and Aliy Brown discuss the challenges around diagnosing, treating, and preventing fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), and the progress Scotland has made in building support services for young people, their families, and professionals such as social workers, educators, and clinicians | SSA, UK

Community pharmacy pilot provides hundreds of take-home naloxone kits in one year

Exclusive: The naloxone pilot, set up by charity Turning Point, in Somerset and Wakefield has reported providing more than 330 kits to patients in its first year | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

Misuse of Drugs Act and Health Outcomes

What recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 on health outcomes in Scotland | They work for you, UK

Alcohol-free wine has same health benefit as normal wine, study says

[Free registration may be required] Drinking alcohol-free wine can improve heart health as much as consuming modest amounts of normal wine can, according to new research | Independent, UK

Isle of Man election: Garff candidates reignite cannabis debate

Daphne Caine (independent) said she would "completely support the need to go out to public consultation" on decriminalising cannabis. She said it was wrong that "particularly young people" could end up with a criminal record for possession of small amounts of the drug and that would prevent them from visiting countries where the drug is legal | BBC, UK

'Exceptional' plan to tackle drug addiction in Wirral

Wirral Council has backed three schemes which aim to tackle serious drug addiction problems in the borough | Liverpool Echo, UK

Paisley gas engineer jailed over £2.4m cocaine collection

Allan Ferguson, 25, was stopped by police as he picked up about 20kg (44lb) of cocaine on 18 August 2020 | BBC, UK



International news

Is it potty to re-think the War on Drugs? Portugal reversed Europe's worst addiction crisis with an injection of radical thinking - it decriminalised drugs. Sounds crazy? A former Tory leader says not... while others insist it would backfire horribly here

'Many Tories are reluctant, as I was two decades ago, to abandon a 'tough' law-and-order approach,' said Mr Hague, pointing out that politicians are fearful of even raising the issue because it is such a political hot potato. 'Yet two truths about this issue seem clear. The first is that it has become a massive social problem. The annual deaths represent tens of thousands more people trapped in addiction and heading for the same fate | Mail Online, UK

Home cultivation of cannabis plants set to be legalised in Italy

The law is a welcome change for patients who have been experiencing shortages of medical cannabis | Cannabis Health, UK

Strengthening the European Psychedelic Ecosystem: Partnership Between Octarine Bio and Clerkenwell Health

The announcement of a partnership between Clerkenwell Health and Octarine Bio signals a momentous time for the growth and development of the European psychedelic ecosystem | Volteface, UK

Doctors send out e-cigarette warning to users

Health experts are pushing for health warning labels to be added to e-cigarettes | Wales Online, UK

International research shows ‘strong evidence’ linking vaping to cigarette smoking

People under 20 who used vapes were found to be more than three times as likely to have ever smoked tobacco cigarettes | Guardian, UK

Punitive responses to health crises: the securitisation of COVID-19 in Asia

Punitive responses to COVID-19 by several governments in Asia, which relied excessively on law enforcement and the military, have resulted in serious human rights violations and have far been counter-productive in controlling the spread of COVID-19 | HRI, UK

Call for female-only 'one-stop shop' for women experiencing addiction and homelessness

Women experiencing drug addiction and homelessness need a special "one-stop shop" centre to help them get quicker access to the services they need, according to Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI) | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Alcohol Action call for bold action in addressing Ireland’s problematic alcohol use in Pre-Budget submission

Alcohol Action Ireland, the independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm, has today (Thursday 9th September) published its Pre-Budget submission in which it advises the Minister for Finance not to further enhance the affordability of alcohol by reducing excise taxes | Alcohol Action Ireland, Ireland

Dublin Mayor aims to target open drug dealing and homelessness in city

Alison Gilliland says issues are priority for group tackling problems in city centre | Irish Times, Ireland

New report highlights public health and social risks posed by synthetic cannabinoids in Europe

Synthetic cannabinoids come under the spotlight today in a new report released by the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA). Widely available across Europe and highly potent, these substances are placing some users at a ‘high risk of poisoning’, the agency warns | EMCDDA, Portugal

Synthetic cannabinoids in Europe – a review

This report provides a technical review of the current body of knowledge regarding synthetic cannabinoids that are monitored by the the EU Early Warning System. The aim of this report is to strengthen situational awareness of synthetic cannabinoids in Europe and to help stakeholders prepare for, and respond to, public health and social threats caused by such substances | EMCDDA, Portugal

How serotonin curbs cocaine addiction

By identifying the role of serotonin during cocaine use, UNIGE scientists explain why only one in five persons becomes addicted to this drug | EurekAlert, USA

Disparities in opioid overdose deaths continue to worsen for Black people, study suggests

Non-Hispanic Black individuals in four U.S. states experienced a 38% increase in the rate of opioid overdose deaths from 2018 to 2019, while the rates for other race and ethnicity groups held steady or decreased, according to a new study by the National Institutes of Health published in the American Journal of Public Health | Medical Xpress, USA

Biden Looks to Make Harsh Criminalization of Fentanyl Analogues Permanent

President Joe Biden is seeking to extend indefinitely a Trump-era rule on the scheduling of fentanyl analogues that facilitates harsh criminalization, despite harm reduction advocates’ demands that he reverse course | Filter Magazine, USA

FDA delays decision on e-cigarettes from vaping giant Juul

Federal health officials on Thursday delayed a high-stakes decision on whether to permit bestselling vaping brand Juul to stay on the market, while banning the sale of thousands of other electronic cigarettes | Medical Xpress, USA

Update of Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines: Summary of Findings from Public Consultation

This report summarizes the findings of a six-week online public consultation held in spring 2021 to inform an update of Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines. It outlines what we heard from more than 4,800 people in Canada, as well as details about how the consultation was conducted | CCSA, Canada



Blogs, comment and opinion

Medical cannabis for chronic pain

The guidance offers a weak recommendation for a trial of non-inhaled medical cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain. Its summary indicates moderate evidence of a clinically important decrease in pain for a small to very small proportion of patients | BMJ editorial, UK

#PeerSupportMeans: Lee Devereux

In this interview, the third of our #PeerSupportMeans series, Lee Devereux, who has been manager of the South Region Prisons team since 2019, talks about the importance of peer support in the criminal justice system | Hepatitis C Trust blog, UK

60 Years of the War on Drugs: What Needs to Change

Most countries have been fighting a global war on drugs for decades; yet prison populations have reached record highs, while human rights abuses continue unabated. The time to change the punitive approach to drug control is now | Dianova, USA