Daily news - 16th September 2021

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UK news

Health Profile for England 2021

Alcohol-specific mortality increased by around 20% between 2019 and 2020, driven chiefly by increases in mortality from alcoholic liver disease. Alcohol-specific mortality rates had been increasing prior to the pandemic, but this represented a significant acceleration in the upward trend. Drug misuse deaths have been on a general increasing trend since 2012, and in 2020 they were the highest they have ever been. One possible explanation for this general increase is an increasing number of long-term heroin users with failing health that are at greater risk | PHE, UK

Bristol's safe drug room pilot idea rejected

Plans to run drug consumption rooms for addicts in a city have been rejected and deemed illegal by the government | BBC, UK

Opioid use for pain relief increased as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic

The use of opioids for pain relief in patients awaiting hip and knee replacement surgery increased dramatically during the pandemic according to new research from the University of Aberdeen | University of Aberdeen, UK

Drug harm minimisation is more important for UK clubs than ever. The policies around it need to change

The summer of 2021 has seen a perfect storm of drug-related risks hit the UK dance scene: from an abundance of first-time ravers who turned 18 during lockdown, or seasoned partiers going in hard after an 18-month absence, to disrupted drug supply chains and political intransigence | DJ Mag, UK

When will smoking outdoors be illegal in the UK?

Since 2007, smoking in indoor public areas has disappeared - but could we see the same outdoors? | Wales Online, UK

MSPs set up Holyrood group to consider medical cannabis

The cross-party group on medical cannabis was jointly created by Labour MSP Pauline McNeill and the SNP’s Rona Mackay | STV, UK

Collective Voice criminal justice webinar

27th September. We are pleased to be holding a webinar on the 27th September focused on the interconnecting policy and practice that shapes the experiences of people with drug and alcohol problems within criminal justice system. It will be chaired by Collective Voice Trustee Mike Trace, Chief Executive of Forward Trust | Collective Voice, UK

Recovery Stories - videos

Three short films of patient experiences of reduce and control work through face to face digital help,  and the early intervention alcohol team in Aspire Doncaster. As part of Recovery Month recognising abstinence is not always the only goal people seek and that helping comes in many forms for those who are often  more socially mobile | Aspire, UK

Recovery Coach Academy

The Recovery Coach Academy aims to be a hub of information, training, connections and coaching that supports MULTIPLE PATHWAYS for RECOVERY, while working with individuals, families and communities. See a list of up and coming events here | Recovery Coach Academy, UK

Dorchester man says Dorset charity saved his life

Andy Pegg says he wouldn't be here without the support of drug and alcohol charity Reach. The 62-year-old from Dorchester was admitted to rehab for three months last summer to overcome his alcohol addiction | BBC Sounds, UK

Change Liverpool: Online appeal launched to help rough sleepers

People in Liverpool are being urged not to give cash to rough sleepers and instead donate money to an online fund in a campaign to tackle homelessness | BBC, UK

Kirk Michael man sentenced for agreeing to be sent cannabis in post

A man who became involved in something "quite stupid" when he agreed to receive cannabis worth about £2,500 through the post for someone else has been handed a suspended sentence | BBC, UK


International news

Psychedelic Use on the Rise As Gen Z Seeks To ‘Enhance Connectedness’

The recreational use of psychedelics is on the rise in the US in the wake of COVID-19 and amid increasing acceptance of the drug as a medicine | VICE, UK

Why are social media giants censoring life-saving information?

In early August, the Instagram page of Pill Report, one of the most popular social media pages advocating for responsible drug use, was suspended for “violating community guidelines”, as reported by MixMag | Talking Drugs, UK

Pharmacotherapy for alcohol use disorders – Unequal provision across sociodemographic factors and co-morbid conditions. A cohort study of the total population in Sweden

[Open access] Pharmacotherapy for alcohol use disorders (AUD) is effective. However, knowledge about utilization of, and patient characteristics associated with prescriptions is scarce. The aim is to investigate prescriptions of pharmacotherapy for AUD in Sweden across time, sociodemographics, domicile and comorbid conditions | DAD, UK

Zurich’s recreational cannabis trial to start next year

Switzerland’s most populated city will hold its first recreational cannabis trial, in which residents will be able to legally access the drug | Canex, UK

Mexico drug lord 'The Viceroy' sentenced to 28 years

A court in Mexico has sentenced the former leader of one of the country's biggest drug trafficking cartels to 28 years in jail | BBC, UK

Staggered closing times part of major licensing law changes being considered

Major changes to alcohol licensing laws will be discussed by the Cabinet, including making it easier for cultural venues such as theatres, galleries and exhibition spaces to get licences | RTe, Ireland

Amazon stops selling nitrous oxide in Ireland

Company cites concerns over safe transportation of ‘laughing gas’ rather than use as an illicit drug | Irish Times, Ireland

Harm Reduction Labs

Various dates. Correlation – European Harm Reduction Network is excited to invite you to join us in our upcoming Harm Reduction Labs which aim to explore collective solutions and imagine what harm reduction can be | Correlation – European Harm Reduction Network, The Netherlands

Analysis of State Cannabis Laws and Dispensary Staff Recommendations to Adults Purchasing Medical Cannabis

In this survey study of responses from 434 staff from 351 unique dispensaries, recommendations were most often based on experiences of the respondent, other customers, and other staff recommendations. Higher medicalization scores were associated with physician or clinician input as a basis for recommendation | JAMA Network, USA

A secret look at a Mexican cartel’s low-tech, multimillion-dollar fentanyl operation

Illicit use of the synthetic opioid painkiller has ravaged the United States, with Mexican drug cartels now seeing huge profits | PBS, USA

How Overdose Surged for Black People as It Held Steady for Whites

As opioid-involved overdose fatalities were holding steady for most racial groups prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, new research details how they were rising sharply for Black Americans | Filter Magazine, USA

Nicotine Flavor Bans: Symbolic Politics With Real-World Harms

We often hear that drug prohibition is destined to fail. Specifically, that means that allowing no legal access to a substance people want to use—as opposed to tailoring regulations to limit youth access or certain forms of potentially harmful use—will fail | Filter Magazine, USA

International Criminal Court Backs Probe Of Duterte's War On Drugs In The Philippines

The International Criminal Court has authorized a formal investigation into the controversial anti-drug war of the Philippines that has drawn international outrage | npr, USA

Packaging and health warnings are key in discouraging youths from using cannabis

As more countries consider legalizing non-medical cannabis, new research shows that prominent health warnings and less attractive packaging should be mandated to reduce its appeal to children | EurekAlert, Canada

Universities weaning alcohol from welcome weeks as COVID threat persists

For many schools, preventing possible infections means mitigating a perfect storm of conditions for binge drinking | University Affairs, Canada


Blogs, comment and opinion

What the Health Profile for England shows us about the wider impacts of COVID-19 on health

There has been an unprecedented increase in alcohol-specific deaths (deaths which were caused by alcohol use), mainly due to increased alcoholic liver disease mortality. In 2020, alcohol-specific deaths increased by 20% compared to 2019. Although alcohol-specific mortality rates have been increasing in recent years, this represented a significant acceleration in the upward trend | PHE blog, UK

Why is alcohol harm so high in North East England?

In this blog, Sue Taylor, Head of Alcohol Policy at Balance the North East Alcohol Office, explores why alcohol harm is so high in the North East and considers what can be done to tackle the health inequalities | AHA blog, UK

How can we use what we already know about health inequality to understand inequalities in alcohol harm?

Deaths resulting from alcohol are on the rise in the UK, with the highest number recorded for 20-years in England and Wales, and in over 10-years in Scotland, in 2020. However, the burden of these deaths is not felt evenly across society | IAS blog, UK