Daily news - 23rd September 2021

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UK news

Warnings instead of prosecution for Class A drug users

Officers can already issue a formal warning for possession of lower category drugs. Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain told MSPs this would now include Class A drugs in a bid to address the underlying causes of Scotland's drugs death crisis | BBC, UK

Covid in Scotland: Legal challenge planned over vaccine passports

A group representing nightclubs is to launch a legal challenge to the Scottish government's plans for vaccine passports | BBC, UK

#45 - MDMA and LSD Therapy with Peter Gasser - podcast

Today’s episode features Dr Peter Gasser, the president of the Swiss Medical Society for Psycholytic Therapy. Professor Nutt and Dr Gasser talk about the rather unusual and innovative attitude to psychedelic research in Switzerland | Drug Science, UK

Cannabis farms leave landlords high and dry

[Limited number of free articles per week] Renters abusing lockdowns to set up farms, leaving buy-to-letters to pick up restoration costs | Telegraph, UK

Dylan Garbe-Ashton died in police custody after taking cocaine

Dylan Garbe-Ashton, from Powys, had a seizure, collapsed and hit his head on the floor after he was taken to Newtown police station in November 2019 | BBC, UK

Paul Merson interview: 'It was easier to kick cocaine and drinking habits than gambling addiction'

[Limited number of free articles per week] After spending much of his life in grim pursuit of his addictions, Merson now finds himself with the time to devote to his young family | Telegraph, UK

Annual Scarman lecture 2021: Drugs & the Criminal Justice System in the UK

Wed, 29 September 2021, 17:00 – 18:30 BST. This year’s Scarman Lecture is an opportunity to discuss Drugs and Criminal Justice in the UK in 2021 with the experts |  Criminology, University of Leicester, UK

Illegal tobacco: HMRC and Trading Standards seize one million cigarettes in Wales

Raids carried out across the country also confiscated 3,000 pouches of illegal hand-rolling tobacco | BBC, UK


International news

US war on e-cigarettes - audio

The Federal Drugs Administration has withdrawn nearly a million e-cigarettes from the US market. Does this signal a turning point for the vaping industry? | BBC, UK

The worker's behind Sweden's Italian wine (PDF)

This paper reports on an illustrative human rights impact assessment (HRIA) of Systembolaget's Italian wine supply chains, which aimed to evaluate the actual and potential human rights impacts at the production stage of the value chain in Italy, to identify their root causes, and to provide recommendations to relevant stakeholders concerning their prevention, mitigation and/or remediation | Oxfam, UK

Drug use, harm-reduction practices and attitudes toward the utilisation of drug safety testing services in an Irish cohort of festival-goers

The evidence from this survey indicates that those young people who use drugs at festivals would be prepared to utilise drug checking services and amnesty bins should help inform the public health response to this important area | Irish Journal of Medical Science, Ireland

New WHO report sheds light on the dark impact of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products

Novel and emerging tobacco products are the subject of a new WHO report that looks at a range of issues, from the harm caused by toxic ingredients and nicotine exposure to how, with hardly any regulation, new nicotine and tobacco products are aggressively marketed to potential users, including children and adolescents | WHO, Denmark

Russia Has an Opioid Crisis Too – One of Untreated Pain

The groundbreaking work of one woman is helping Russian children in intense pain, and humanising healthcare in a country where historical and cultural legacies loom large | VICE, Russia

Deaths with drugs as contributing factor are rising dramatically

While many people focus on the role of drugs in overdose deaths, a recent study shows that deaths where drugs were a contributing cause are also on the rise | Medical Xpress, USA

Methamphetamine-involved overdose deaths nearly tripled between 2015 to 2019, study finds

Overdose deaths involving methamphetamine nearly tripled from 2015 to 2019 among people ages 18-64 in the United States, according to a study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health | Medical Xpress, USA

Tracking the shifting landscape of the opioid crisis

Few if any communities in the United States have escaped the opioid crisis, and in 2020, opioid overdose deaths rose sharply across the entire country. But the crisis plays out differently from place to place and over time | Medical Xpress, USA

Study: Empowering Black girls may help to reduce drug use

Black girls make up a relatively small portion of the overall drug-using population. But their health consequences are more severe than most: Reproductive issues, fertility issues, sexually transmitted infections and trauma exposure are all obstacles they face at statistically higher rates compared to their peers | Medical Xpress, USA

Buprenorphine management in the perioperative period: educational review and recommendations from a multisociety expert panel

[Open access] The past two decades have witnessed an epidemic of opioid use disorder (OUD) in the USA, resulting in catastrophic loss of life secondary to opioid overdoses. Medication treatment of opioid use disorder (MOUD) is effective, yet barriers to care continue to result in a large proportion of untreated individuals | BMJ, USA


Metodesnitazene is classified as a novel opioid of the benzimidazole sub-class and is structurally dissimilar from fentanyl. Novel opioids have been reported to cause psychoactive effects similar to heroin, fentanyl, and other opioids | NPS Discovery, USA

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link: Using a “cascade of care” approach to evaluate gaps in the opioid use disorder treatment pipeline

There are persistent gaps in the addiction “science-to-practice” pipeline that lead to marked differences in treatment availability and quality. A cascade of care is one way of assessing where gaps in the provision of empirically supported addiction care exist | Recovery Research Institute, USA

The US Obsession With Youth Vaping Looks Odd From Across the Atlantic

“Two countries divided by a common language” is a common saying misattributed to George Bernard Shaw. US and UK vocabulary differences are of perennial amusement: elevator, lift; sidewalk, pavement; gas, petrol; soccer, football. Brits say “pants” to mean underwear; Americans say it to mean what we call “trousers.” | Filter Magazine, USA

Prisoners graduate from unique addiction-breaking program at Casuarina

Fifty-two prisoners have graduated from a unique new rehabilitation program at Casuarina Prison designed to break the cycle of addiction to alcohol and other drugs that so often leads to criminal behaviour | WA.gov.au, Australia

Drug and alcohol research connections

Latest edition of the newsletter looking at the work of alcohol and other drug research centres; National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at UNSW; National Drug Research Institute (NDRI) at Curtin University; and National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA) at Flinders University | NDARC et al, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Scotland's drug policy rethink is a massive step forward

Record View says the measure - effectively decriminalising possession of personal drugs – is the only way we will finally get to grips with the drugs death crisis in Scotland | Daily Record, UK

Scouse Soldiers: the organised crime gangs of Merseyside

Like many urban areas in the UK, Merseyside has a long and notorious history of street gangs. From the Cornermen and High Rip gangs of the 19th century, to the Croxteth Crew, Nogga Dogs and Moss Edz, the self-perceived North Face “Scouse Soldiers” of today, all have left a dark and deadly legacy | Conversation, UK

The Removal of the Ecuadorian Drug Possession Table: A Major Government Mistake

At the end of August, the Minister of Government, Alexandra Vela, announced that the Ecuadorian government will propose to the National Assembly the elimination of Drug Possession Table that were created in 2013 by the National Council for Substance Control Narcotic and Psychotropic Drugs (CONSEP) | Talking Drugs, UK

Malaysia’s Drug Law Condemns Vulnerable Women to Death

Most women on death row in Malaysia have been sentenced under a strict drug trafficking law that fails to take their vulnerable socioeconomic realities into account. For justice to be possible, this law needs to change, writes Ngeow Chow Ying | New Naratif, Malaysia

In pursuit of 90%, we must leave no one behind

People who use drugs aren’t inherently unable to be reached and vaccinated – they just need someone to take the initiative, writes the NZ Drug Foundation’s Sarah Helm | The Spinoff, New Zealand