Daily news - 29th September 2021

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UK news

Charity nurse director flags ‘decline’ in people accessing needle exchange

The nursing director of a charity that provides drug and alcohol support has raised concern about a fall in people accessing its needle exchange services since the coronavirus pandemic | Nursing Times, UK

Proposed changes for calculating alcohol-related mortality

Updated -Added Response to consultation on proposed changes to the calculation of alcohol-related mortality and hospital admissions | PHE, UK

Monitoring smoking behaviour across Scotland, Wales, and England

SPECTRUM Research Fellow, Dr Loren Kock, outlines recent progress from the Smoking Toolkit Study following the launch of their new website | University of Edinburgh, UK

Wholesale Trade: Alcoholic Drinks

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many and what proportion of applications under the Alcohol Warehouse Registration Scheme since that scheme's introduction have been (a) approved and (b) revoked in (i) Scotland and (ii) the UK | They work for you, UK


International news

Fighting the Last War: The WHO and International Tobacco Control

Join the online launch of the latest Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction (GSTHR) report - from 11.00 to 16.00 BST on Wednesday 27 October 2021, live streamed at events.gsthr.org | GSTHR, UK

Warning about deadly fake pain relief pills packed with Fentanyl flooding the US

In its first public safety alert in six years, the Drug Enforcement Administration said many fake Xanax, Adderall and Oxycontin pills bought online contain lethal amounts of fentanyl | Independent, UK

Prices soar at opium market in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan

While the economy teeters on the brink of collapse, vendors at an opium market in southern Afghanistan say prices for their goods have skyrocketed since the Taliban takeover | Mail Online, UK

Six steps to improve the quality of drug services and systems — EMCDDA launches new practical manual for decision-makers

Six steps to help improve the quality of drug services and systems in Europe are presented today in a new manual from the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) | EMCDDA, Portugal

Implementing quality standards for drug services and systems: a six-step guide to support quality assurance

This publication provides a practical introduction to the area of quality standards and quality assurance mechanisms and the key steps involved in their implementation in drug services and systems. The primary audience for this guide is those responsible for commissioning, planning or providing quality assurance processes at the national or local level. It may also be of interest to recipients of interventions, service users or advocacy groups | EMCDDA, Portugal

Green light for two-year work programme on bilateral cooperation with Georgia

A two-year work programme on bilateral cooperation with Georgia was agreed upon today at the first advisory committee meeting of the EMCDDA4Georgia project, hosted virtually by the agency | EMCDDA, Portugal

12 Israeli youth hospitalized after taking 'Nice Guy' drug

Israel Police and the Health Ministry opened an investigation after 12 young adults were hospitalized after taking illegal drugs | Jerusalem Post, Israel

Experts call for better drugs policy

Experts have urged the government to focus on harm reduction, not punishment, in the battle to reduce illegal drug use, especially among a generation for whom an outright ban has proven impractical | Bangkok Post, Thailand

Public Safety Alert: Sharp Increase in Fake Prescription Pills Containing Fentanyl and Meth

DEA Warns that International and Domestic Criminal Drug Networks are Flooding the United States with Lethal Counterfeit Pills | DEA, USA

Triple use of E-cigarettes, cigarettes, marijuana prevalent among teens

Triple use of electronic cigarettes, combustible cigarettes, and marijuana is prevalent among adolescents and is associated with elevated risk profiles on levels of psychosocial variables, according to a study published online Sept. 28 in Pediatrics | Medical Xpress, USA

Misuse of stimulants linked to other drug abuse

College students who misuse stimulant drugs or nootropics like Adderall or Ritalin are also likely to drink heavily and use other drugs, according to new research from the University of Georgia | Medical Xpress, USA

58,000 more marijuana convictions in Los Angeles County will be dismissed, district attorney says

Los Angeles County will dismiss about 58,000 more marijuana convictions dating back more than three decades, an action spurred in part by the state's legalization of recreational marijuana a few years ago, the county district attorney said Monday | CNN, USA

US House votes 361-66 to pass today the EQUAL Act to end disparity between powder and crack cocaine sentences

Based on data showing huge unfair disparities, the US Sentencing Commission in 1995 — more than a quarter century ago! — sent to Congress proposed guidelines changes to fix the 100:1 crack/powder cocaine disparity by adopting a 1:1 quantity ratio at the powder cocaine level | LexBlog, USA

The Cherokee Nation Has Agreed To A $75 Million Settlement With Opioid Distributors

The Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma has reached a $75 million opioid settlement with three of the nation's largest drug distributors, the first deal of its kind with a tribal government in the country | npr, USA

Drug Users Testify as MA Lawmakers Weigh Safe Consumption Sites

On September 27, Massachusetts lawmakers invited members of the public to speak about safe consumption sites (SCS). The state legislature is considering a bill to authorize SCS in any city that wants one. Rising overdose deaths in the state make the deliberations ever more urgent | Filter Magazine, USA

Health Care Workers Need to Be Watching the Splintering Drug Supply

In the summer of 2016, the synthetic cannabinoid “K2” burst into the drug landscape in Austin, where I was working in an emergency room on mercilessly humid weekend nights. A Google search of this then-unfamiliar drug told us it was “synthetic cannabis,” but what we saw patients experience in the weeks that followed seemed to be something else entirely | Filter Magazine, USA

New York Governor Says Marijuana Legalization Will Create ‘Thousands’ Of Jobs And Touts Regulatory Appointments

The governor of New York says marijuana legalization will generate “thousands and thousands of jobs” in the state, and she’s touting her recent actions to make regulatory appointments for the industry to get implementation underway | Marijuana Moment, USA

Sydney overdose prevention site could include machine that dispenses safe supplies of opioids

Organizers hope to take part in nationally funded project that uses palm scanning to safely dispense opioids | CBC News, Canada

Michael K. Williams’ Death Shows Opioids Have Never Been More Dangerous

New York City's chief medical examiner said Williams died of an accidental overdose and had fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine in his system | VICE, Canada

The pros and cons of prescription-only liquid nicotine

From October, all purchases of liquid nicotine and nicotine vaping products will need a prescription. So, what does that mean for the public and for public health? | University of Melbourne, Australia

A summary of criminal activity and contact with the criminal justice system among a sample of people who inject drugs in Darwin, Northern Territory, 2015-2020

This bulletin presents a summary of selected aspects of crime, arrests and prison history reported by people who regularly inject drugs (PWID), interviewed as part of the Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) in Darwin, Northern Territory (NT), from 2015-2020 and examines whether there are differences across gender, age and Aboriginality. Secondary offence-related data is also presented | NDARC, Australia

The End Of The Transition Period Disrupts Supply For Thousands Of Patients

Recently the Minister of Health Andrew little confirmed there will be no extension for most CBD products patients have been prescribed and are using successfully | SCOOP, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Preventing harmful alcohol consumption is an excellent investment for countries

Prior to COVID-19, one in three adults engaged in binge drinking at least once in the previous month, and one in five teenagers experienced drunkenness at age 15 in  OECD countries. During the 2020 COVID lockdowns, people have changed drinking habits shifting places of consumption from bars and restaurants to home | IAS blog, UK

Alex Phillips: Why is cannabis still so controversial? - video

Increasingly people are seeing the logic in legalising cannabis, rather than condemn this prevalent drug to the whims and profits of dodgy dealers | GBNews, UK

SHAD Interview: “Detectives, Detectors, and Drug Sniffers: Institutionalizing the Drug Dog Before and After Counterinsurgency” with Justin Hubbard

The popularity of drug-sniffing dogs since the 1970s rests on the contributions of a dying technological movement—counterinsurgency science. A comparison of two drug-sniffing dog programs—the Federal Bureau of Narcotics’s detective dog of the 1940s and 1950s, and the Department of Defense’s detector dog of the 1960s and 1970s—documents how federal agents failed to institutionalize drug-sniffing dogs, while Department of Defense researchers succeeded | Points blog, USA

Misinformation about vaping will keep adults smoking

A recent article on vaping nicotine in the Daily Telegraph (Sydney teen issues vape warning after being hospitalized, by Hannah Paine, 31 August 2021) was inaccurate, alarmist and unbalanced and could harm public health efforts to help people quit smoking. The journalist and editor were contacted several times to correct the article, but have so far not responded | AOD MediaWatch, Australia

The end of the line for the war on drugs?

The war on drugs hasn’t worked and it’s time to change our approach, say experts. In NSW, where community attitudes have been shifting over the past decade, research shows increasing support for treating illicit drug use as a health issue rather than a criminal justice problem. Is it time to consider reform? | LSJ, Australia