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Weekly news - 9th April 2021

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In date order, Monday to Friday:

Mayor of London to examine benefits of cannabis legalisation

Exclusive: Sadiq Khan says he will set up an independent drugs commission in the capital if re-elected | Guardian, UK

‘Naloxone training a life saver in tackling overdoses’

Police officers are learning to use the medication, which can reverse an opioid overdose and save lives | STV News, UK

Scottish election 2021: Greens set out 'different approach' to drug deaths

Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater has vowed to tackle Scotland's drug deaths as part of the party's election campaign | BBC, UK

Scottish election 2021: Drugs bus activist hopes to create a fairer Scotland

Peter Krykant knows he is different from the other candidates standing for the Holyrood election in May | The Scotsman, UK

Blackpool gets seven new measures to tackle drug addiction in the resort

The figures for substance misuse in Blackpool remain a concern and are considerably higher than the national average | Lanc Live, UK

Warning after Northern Ireland young people hospitalised after vaping drug 'spice'

It is understood those affected thought they were purchasing THC or cannabis oil, but they were unknowingly supplied with and had taken the synthetic drug ‘spice’ | Belfast Live, UK

Safety and tolerability of natural and synthetic cannabinoids in adults aged over 50 years: A systematic review and meta-analysis

[Open access] Cannabinoid-based medicines (CBMs) are being used widely in the elderly. However, their safety and tolerability in older adults remains unclear. We aimed to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of safety and tolerability of CBMs in adults of age ≥50 years| PLOS One, UK

New ESPAD results: teenage drinking and smoking down, but concerns over risky cannabis use and new addictive behaviours

The study, published in collaboration with the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA), is based on a 2019 survey in 35 European countries, including 25 EU Member States | ESPAD, Portugal

DDN April 2021

The idea of buying alcohol for people with severe dependence might seem a strange one to many. The outreach team in Bristol (p6) are well enough tuned to harm reduction to know that their life-saving actions during lockdown have opened up many opportunities. It’s a brave idea and the tangible results of their initiative speak for themselves | DDN, UK

New UK Naloxone Poster Campaign

There is a new naloxone poster campaign launching this week in the UK that features the faces of real community naloxone carriers | HIT, UK

Drugs in the Time of COVID: Interim Report

Since the beginning of the first national coronavirus lockdown, Release has operated a public, online survey designed to monitor how people are buying their drugs. The purpose of this survey, which is open to anyone residing in the UK over the age of 18, is to determine the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic, and corresponding restrictions, have had on buying illegal substances | Release, UK

No 10 says mayor of London's cannabis review a 'waste of time'

If re-elected, Sadiq Khan wants to set up a commission to look at decriminalising the drug | Guardian, UK

Daily question: Generally speaking, to what extent would you support or oppose the legalisation of cannabis in the UK?

3317 GB adults surveyed | YouGov, UK

Death Penalty For Drug Offences: Global Overview 2020

This report, our tenth on the subject, continues our work of providing regular updates on legislative, policy and practical developments related to the use of capital punishment for drug offences, a practice which is a clear violation of international law | HRI, UK

Coroner calls for urgent drug testing services in Victoria

Victorian Coroner Paresa Spanos is calling for the urgent implementation of public services that check the content and purity of illicit drugs, following an investigation into the harrowing deaths of five young men | Coroner's Court of Victoria, Australia

COVID-19: guidance for commissioners and providers of services for people who use drugs or alcohol

Updated guidance to reflect current practice in services | PHE, UK

Profile of 16/17-year-old smokers Based on analysis of data from the UCL Smoking Toolkit Study and ASH Smokefree Youth Surveys (PDF)

Between 2007 and 2019, smoking prevalence in the 16/17-year-old age group fell from 23.3% to 7.8%. The population of smokers in this age group fell by 66.5% between 2007 and 2019, the biggest decline of any age group | ASH, UK

National Overdose Awareness and Naloxone campaign launches in the UK

A new national Overdose Awareness and Naloxone campaign – thought to be the first of its kind – has launched this week to highlight the importance of carrying life-saving medication to prevent fatal opiate overdose, with such deaths accounting for half of all drug-related deaths in England and Wales alone | Talking Drugs, UK