Daily news - 15th September 2021

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UK news

Suspected drug deaths in Scotland: April to June 2021

Suspected drug deaths during the first six months of 2021 fell very slightly but were at a similar level to those recorded during the first six months of 2020. Overall, there continues to be an upward trend in suspected drug deaths over the period for which data is available | Scottish Government, UK

Scotland records 722 drug deaths in first half of 2021

That is a small decrease of nine deaths on the same period last year | BBC, UK

Briefing for the Scottish Government debate: ‘A Caring Nation – Recovering, Remobilising and Renewing Health and Social Care in Scotland’ (Tuesday 14th September 2021)

SHAAP welcomes the Scottish Government’s acknowledgement in its Programme for Government that Scotland faces a serious challenge to achieving its long-term health goals and building the resilience of our NHS services if it does not “face up to and tackle… the national tragedy of drugs and alcohol related deaths” | SHAAP, UK

'Several' taken ill at Parklife amid warnings about 'Pharaoh pills' - that appear identical, but have different contents

Contents in the pills have been 'linked to medical incidents in UK festivals and nightlife venues', says a drug checking group | Manchester Evening News, UK

Shop displays of e-cigarettes and smoking paraphernalia could undermine effectiveness of banning tobacco displays

Efforts to discourage people from smoking by banning tobacco retail displays in shops and supermarkets could be weakened by prominent displays of electronic (e) cigarettes and smoking paraphernalia, suggests new research led by the universities of Bristol and Cambridge | University of Bristol, UK

Bristol study finds shops 'undermining' tobacco display ban

Tobacco display bans are being "undermined" by "highly visible" smoking paraphernalia and e-cigarettes in shops, a new study suggests | BBC, UK

Patients turn to opioids to kill the pain as they wait for NHS surgery

[Limited number of free articles per week] Use of ‘last resort’ drugs such as morphine and tramadol 40pc higher compared to pre-pandemic levels as hospital waiting lists soar | Telegraph, UK

Ex-minister Tracey Crouch slams Parliament’s heavy-drinking culture saying MPs vote ‘reeking of booze’ – as she reveals Boris announced she was being promoted to the Cabinet without asking her

Tory MP Tracey Crouch said she had been left feeling 'quite disillusioned' by colleagues who take part in House of Commons votes while under the influence of alcohol | Mail Online, UK

Addiction Audio: Robert West on the Addiction Paper Authoring Tool

Rob Calder talks to Professor Robert West about the Addiction Paper Authoring Tool (PAT). Professor West talks about how the PAT can improve the design and write-up phases of randomised controlled trials, about how the PAT saves time for reviewers and journals and about how using the PAT can make your research more discoverable | SSA, UK

Why LGBTQ+ people are more likely to smoke

Robust and conclusive research into tobacco use in LGBTQ+ communities is limited, although insight can be gleaned from the information that is out there | Gay Times, UK

CLERO Recovery College

Thu, 16 September 2021, 12:00 – 14:30 BST. Hosted by Cormac Russell and sponsored by Aspire, this Recovery College event will focus on levelling up the landscape for LEROs and the wider community | Aspire, UK

Will I Get Arrested for Posting About Drugs on Social Media?

The pics most likely to land you in prison aren't what you think | VICE, UK

Cannabis could be used to make cushions after research by Scots scientists

Researchers at Scotland's Rural College say the "future is definitely hemp" after study over making greener products from the plant | Daily Record, UK

Steve Jagielka: Ex-Shrewsbury Town star's death was drug related

Shropshire Coroner John Ellery heard Steve Jagielka, who was 43 and the older brother of ex-England and Everton defender Phil, had been preparing to move house | BBC, UK

Holyland: Police condemn crowds disrupting residents' lives

Five people have been arrested and more than 2,500 bottles and cans of alcohol have been seized over two nights in Belfast's Holyland | BBC, UK


International news

World Anti-Doping Agency to review banned status of cannabis for athletes

An advisory group to the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) will review whether cannabis should remain a banned substance, a move that comes after American track and field star Sha’Carri Richardson missed the Tokyo Games after testing positive for it | Guardian, UK

Modelling the impact of increased alcohol taxation on alcohol-attributable cancers in the WHO European Region

Reducing the alcohol-attributable cancer burden in the WHO European Region is a public health priority. This study aims to estimate the number of potentially avoidable cancers in countries of the WHO European Region in 2019 for three scenarios in which current excise duties on alcoholic beverages were increased by 20%, 50%, or 100% | Lancet, UK

Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation

Some people who smoke use Electronic cigarettes (ECs) to stop or reduce smoking, but some organizations, advocacy groups and policymakers have discouraged this, citing lack of evidence of efficacy and safety. People who smoke, healthcare providers and regulators want to know if ECs can help people quit and if they are safe to use for this purpose. This is an update conducted as part of a living systematic review | Cochrane Library, UK

‘Treatment in Liberty’ Human Rights and Compulsory Detention for Drug Use 

The article explores arbitrary detention and involuntary committal on medical grounds within international human rights law, as well as the historical-legal evolution of drug ‘treatment’ as the term is understood within international drug control law. It assesses whether drug use or drug dependency constitute a reasonable limitation of the right to liberty, and concludes that this type of detention represents a violation of international law | Human Rights Law Review, UK

Tourists Are Now Smoking Toad Venom in Mexico’s Hipster Town Tulum

Observers are split on the consequences of “speed-toading” using the venom, called bufo, as a cure for the ills of the modern world | VICE, UK

Sharon Osbourne says she underwent ketamine therapy after The Talk exit and racism claims

‘I definitely went through a difficult patch,’ says star | Independent, UK

Nightlife revamp plan: Longer opening hours, extended alcohol sales for debate

Licensing law shake-up originally flagged earlier this year as part of Justice Plan 2021 | Irish Times, Ireland

Increases in Availability of Cannabis Products Containing Delta-8 THC and Reported Cases of Adverse Events

The purpose of this Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory is to alert public health departments, healthcare professionals, first responders, poison control centers, laboratories, and the public to the increased availability of cannabis products containing delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the potential for adverse events due to insufficient labeling of products containing THC and cannabidiol (CBD) | CDC, USA

Patients with opioid use disorder die at a rate similar to heart attacks

Hospitalized patients with opioid use disorder died at a rate comparable to those who suffered heart attacks within a year of hospital discharge, according to a new study from Oregon Health & Science University | Medical Xpress, USA

LSD-triggered altered behaviors linked to abnormal brain communication

Lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, is a potent hallucinogen that alters the perception of reality. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine have discovered changes in the brain, triggered by the drug, that may explain the profound altered behavior associated with LSD, helping to understand how the brain generates behavior | Medical Xpress, USA

COVID-19-related social isolation stressors and their relationship to drinking behaviors in the general adult population

This week, as part of our Special Series on Managing Addiction during COVID-19, The DRAM reviews a study by Samantha N. Sallie and colleagues that investigated how COVID-19-related stress may have affected drinking behaviors in the general adult population | BASIS, USA

House Democrats Seek to Hike Taxes on Vapes as Smokers Keep Dying

On September 12, influential House Democrats circulated a new tax proposal around Washington meant to target the country’s wealthiest individuals and corporations | Filter Magazine, USA

Tobacco giant's takeover bid could affect COPD lung disease treatment and research in Australia

The tobacco giant behind the Marlboro man has sparked outrage in medical circles over a bid to invest in a company that develops inhaler technology, which could see it profit from the smoking-related lung diseases it helped create | abc news, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

How volunteers with multiple disadvantage built a crazy golf course and found connection and purpose

Our crazy golf course in Blackpool is a symbol of our work — not giving up on people who felt everyone had given up on them | With You, UK

Lived experience of dual diagnosis

David, shares his experience of homelessness as well as overcoming alcohol abuse and mental health struggles | St Mungo's blog, UK

Drugs, robots and the pursuit of pleasure – why experts are worried about AIs becoming addicts

In 1953, a Harvard psychologist thought he discovered pleasure – accidentally – within the cranium of a rat. With an electrode inserted into a specific area of its brain, the rat was allowed to pulse the implant by pulling a lever. It kept returning for more: insatiably, incessantly, lever-pulling. In fact, the rat didn’t seem to want to do anything else. Seemingly, the reward centre of the brain had been located | Conversation, UK

Does Britain have a drinking problem? My answer very much depends on who’s asking

Being rude about Britain is my birthright. But when an American says something unflattering about the UK, my hackles go up and my union jack comes out | Guardian, UK

Addiction Lives Interview: Moira Plant

Dr. Plant is Emeritus Professor of Alcohol Studies at the University of West of England in Bristol, UK, and Adjunct Professor at Curtin University Perth Australia. Her main research interests include women, alcohol, and mental health; drinking in pregnancy; and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders | Points blog, USA

Further Considerations on the Association Between Flavored Tobacco Legislation and High School Student Smoking Rates—Reply

I thank my colleagues for their comments on my recent Research Letter. Given space constraints, I will focus on their 3 main critiques | JAMA Network, USA

Psychedelic medicine comes to the VA

A hundred years ago — before anyone put together the initials PTSD — a public hospital in the Bronx, NY, began to care for World War I soldiers who suffered from “mental and nervous disorders.” | Marc Gunther, USA