Daily news - 28th September 2021

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UK news

Smokers much more likely to be admitted to hospital with Covid-19, study suggests

Data also finds smokers more likely to die from disease compared with those who have never smoked | Guardian, UK

Smoking and COVID-19 outcomes: an observational and Mendelian randomisation study using the UK Biobank cohort

Congruent results from two analytical approaches support a causal effect of smoking on risk of severe COVID-19 | BMJ Thorax, UK

Expanding access to naloxone - consultation - closes 12 noon today

We want to hear your views on expanding the use of naloxone. This consultation should take approximately 45-60 mins minutes to complete. Please note that this consultation closes at midday on 28 September 2021 | DHSC, UK

Needle and Syringe Provision: Minimum Standards Checklist (PDF)

These minimum standards must be used in conjunction with locally commissioned service level arrangements (e.g. for community pharmacy provision) documents where appropriate. They are to be used to improve coverage, reduce the risk of needle finds, and ensure consistent high-quality delivery of NSP within services and outreach provision across Humankind, including via mobile units and sub-contracted Pharmacies | Humankind, UK

Smoking ban in Scottish jails hailed a success by scientists

The report, part of the Tobacco In Prisons research project, found jails didn’t see a rise in mental health medication after the ban | Daily Record, UK

FASD Month 2021 - Webinar 1, FASD Introduction for Prospective Adopters - video

Heard of FASD but not really sure what it is? Wondering if you could care for a child with prenatal alcohol exposure? Hosted by Aliy Brown (FASD Hub Scotland Project Manager) this session will provide key information that any prospective adopters should be aware of wherever they are within their adoption journey | FASD Hub Scotland, UK

Pill warning issued as man dies after falling ill at Manchester's Warehouse Project

Following the incident, four people were arrested on suspicion of drug offences | MixMag, UK

Glastonbury: drug traces from on-site urination could harm rare eels

Scientists found dangerous levels of MDMA in nearby River Whitelake after the festival | Glastonbury Festival, UK


International news

Balkan cartel's European 'cocaine pipeline' busted

[Limited number of free articles per week] The gang included members of paramilitary units and was "one of the most important criminal organisations operating in Europe" | Telegraph, UK

The human cost of prescription drug abuse - audio

The Sackler family made billions selling prescription opioids, knowing they were addictive. As the family is told it can keep its fortune, one man who got hooked shares his story | BBC, UK

‘It’ll kill me’: Zimbabwe counts cost of rise in illicit alcohol use

Lack of jobs and Covid lockdowns fuel boom in cheap but lethal hooch made in backyard stills | Guardian, UK

Are Psychedelic Drugs the Answer to Veterans’ PTSD?

In 2014, former British Para Keith Abraham flew to Peru to see if he could cure his PTSD with a dose of the psychedelic drug, ayahuasca. He returned a changed man and is now on a mission to extend access to other members of the armed forces and beyond | Mens Health, UK

Changing Drug Markets in Africa – Research and Policy Issues

Wed, 6 October 2021, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM BST. This seminar, organized by the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy (ISSDP) in collaboration with the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC), aims to contribute to expanding the research base on drug markets in Africa | ISSDP, UK

All Cigarette Packaging to Look the Same as of January

The domestic cigarette market is constantly undergoing a complete transformation, according to Telex. The anti-smoking zeitgeist which warns of health risks, has made an impact, as domestic consumption has fallen by a quarter in a decade, based on quantitative indicators | Hungary Today, Hungary

US warns Americans fake pills contain deadly fentanyl

US authorities on Monday warned Americans to not buy prescription pills online because they increasingly include lethal doses of fentanyl and methamphetamine | Medical Xpress, USA

Racial and Ethnic Differences in Cannabis Use Following Legalization in US States With Medical Cannabis Laws

In this cross-sectional study analyzing repeated yearly surveys of US adults conducted from 2008 to 2017, living in a state after enactment of recreational cannabis laws was associated with increases in the odds of cannabis use within the past year and past month among Hispanic and non-Hispanic White individuals...compared with the period before the passage of recreational use laws; there were no increases among non-Hispanic Black individuals | JAMA Network, USA

Cannabis use by pregnant women increased during pandemic

A Kaiser Permanente analysis of more than 100,000 pregnancies in Northern California finds a 25% increase in the rate of cannabis use early in pregnancy after the pandemic began in spring 2020 | EurekAlert, USA

Addiction-related brain areas examined across species explain some substance use disorders in humans

Using advanced genetic technologies to examine the nuclei of individual cells in areas of the human and mouse brain associated with reward and addiction, neuroscientists at the Lieber Institute for Brain Development discovered that the cell types are very similar across species | Medical Xpress, USA

Withdrawal from psychostimulants restructures functional architecture of brain

Addictive psychostimulants, from nicotine in cigarettes to illicit drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine, affect different regions of the brain. The same is believed true during withdrawal; finding a common brain pathway has proved elusive | Medical Xpress, USA

Describing addiction as a “chronically relapsing brain disease” is intended to decrease stigma, but may actually increase it

Biomedical terminology has been deployed purposely to describe addiction in an effort to reduce stigma. However, using these terms may have unintended consequences. While intensely debated, there were no rigorous scientific studies to empirically inform practice and policy regarding which specific terms may be most helpful in reducing stigma | Recovery Research Institute, UK

New Evidence Exposes Harms of Philly’s Smoking Ban in Drug Treatment

The exploratory study* was conducted by Dr. Casey Bohrman, a researcher at West Chester University, in partnership with Angels in Motion. It used both qualitative and quantitative methods to examine how the policy was impacting people with a substance use disorder (SUD) who also smoke. Over half, 56 percent, of people with SUD smoke cigarettes | Filter Magazine, USA

Vancouver clinic revokes 11 patients’ access to take-home heroin doses

The patients were told last week that they can continue ingesting the drug (diacetylmorphine) under medical supervision at the Providence Crosstown Clinic, but would no longer be able to carry a daily supply off-site, according to four patients who spoke with The Globe and Mail | Globe and Mail, Canada



Blogs, comment and opinion

John Humphrys - Time to Rethink Drugs Policy?

This week the Scottish government has, in effect, decriminalised drug-taking. It hasn’t actually put it like that. Rather, it was presented as no more than just a bit of bureaucratic tinkering | YouGov, UK

Sobriety as a business owner

I’m writing this fresh on the other side of my six-month anniversary. No, not my business anniversary. Or my relationship. Or the first time I tried double-stuffed Oreos with a layer of PB on top. It’s the anniversary of my sobriety | Addiction Professionals blog, UK

Why corporate social responsibility is BS

While big corporations tell Americans how virtuous they are, they lobby up a storm against Biden’s social policy bill | Guardian opinion, UK

Crackdown on vaping set for October 1 will drive smokers back to their habit

Every year, 21,000 Australians die prematurely from smoking cigarettes. That is more deaths than from alcohol, plus prescription drugs, plus illicit drugs, plus road crash deaths, plus HIV, plus suicide. Governments have moral and health obligations to reduce smoking-related deaths by adopting policies that minimise the harm caused by the inhalation of tobacco smoke | SMH opinion, Australia



And finally...

Cannabis plant found growing on A14 in Suffolk

The force posted a picture on Twitter of an officer pointing at the plant growing at the side of a sliproad and wrote: "You'll be amazed at some of the things we come across on the A14." | BBC, UK