Daily news - 2nd October 2019

Weekly subscribe button

UK news

Deaths of homeless people in England and Wales: 2018

Two in five deaths of homeless people were related to drug poisoning in 2018 (294 estimated deaths), and the number of deaths from this cause has increased by 55% since 2017 | ONS, UK

Homeless deaths rise driven by 'drug poisoning'

Drug poisoning has contributed to the biggest rise in deaths of homeless people in England and Wales since records began | BBC, UK

The mounting harms of public injecting

Drug consumption rooms are often framed as a ‘controversial’ prospect, highlighting how far they lean away from the status quo of prohibition and law enforcement. Could this be (inadvertently) tipping the scales – defining the debate around the *problem* of implementing drug consumption rooms, rather than drug consumption rooms being a potential solution to the current, specific, and urgent *problem* of public injecting? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

One in 10 children 11-15 had drunk alcohol in previous week - NHS survey

Barrow-in-Furness is struggling to cope with underage drinking. More children are admitted to hospital for alcohol consumption here than anywhere else in England | BBC, UK

Alcohol sales rise near Scottish border after minimum pricing

Study shows MUP led to overall fall in alcohol consumption and a surge in sales near Carlisle | Guardian, UK

University initiations leave over a third of sixth form students at top schools feeling anxious 

Some 38 per cent of pupils aged 16-18 at the country’s leading public schools said they are either concerned or nervous about initiation rituals, according to a survey of 2,815 pupils | Telegraph, UK

A creative outlet for children affected by alcohol and drugs

[Yesterday], Humankind’s contribution to the Alcohol Charter blogs campaign has been published. The Alcohol Charter, produced jointly by the Drugs, Alcohol & Justice Cross-Party Parliamentary Group and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm, sets out effective and workable policies to reduce the damage to society caused by alcohol misuse | Humankind, UK

The Volteface Podcast #14: In Conversation with David Lammy, Live from Labour Conference

So far 2019 has been an eventful year in the drug policy world, culminating with David Lammy’s appearance on BBC’s “Legalising Weed: Canada’s Experiment’, a documentary which followed our recent research trip to look at a regulated cannabis market | Volte Face, UK

Exploring the changing relationship between sex and drugs

Augmenting sexual experiences with drugs like MDMA, GHB, and cocaine is hardly a fringe activity, but the reasonings are broadening with a new generation of users | Dazed Digital, UK

Lives of 17 overdose drug addicts saved thanks to injection

A total of 222 Naloxone kits were distributed to East Ayrshire residents in 2018 | Daily Record, UK

QMJC September 2019 - Stories of change in drug treatment: a narrative analysis of ‘whats’ and ‘hows’ in institutional storytelling

In her article, Stories of change in drug treatment: a narrative analysis of ‘whats’ and ‘hows’ in institutional storytelling(2015), Andersen delivers a carefully conducted micro-level analysis of how recovery narratives are constructed and performed across two Danish drug treatment facilities for young people | SSA, UK

October 2019 – Current Issue

This is a quick summary of the main discovery for each research paper we have published, organized issue by issue | Addiction, UK

Dogs in smoking households passively puff more than 3,000 cigarettes a year

Pets living in smoking households passively smoke more than 3,000 cigarettes a year, a new study has claimed | Metro, UK

‘We’re coming after you’: Priti Patel unveils £20m county lines crackdown

Home secretary announces extra funding and recruitment to tackle ‘evil’ drug gangs | Guardian, UK

Suspected drug dealer convicted of murder after years on run

Shane O’Brien fled overseas after he slashed innocent man in west London bar in 2015 | Guardian, UK

Bob Marley may have lied to police about where he was living when arrested for cannabis, English Heritage discovers, while trying to find location for blue plaque 

Bob Marley may have lied to police about his address after being arrested for cannabis possession, English Heritage has discovered, while trying to find a suitable location for his blue plaque | Telegraph, UK


International news

Russian alcohol consumption down 43%, WHO report says

Russian alcohol consumption decreased by 43% from 2003 to 2016, a World Health Organization (WHO) report says | BBC, UK [See report below]

Why were millions of opioid pills sent to a West Virginia town of 3,000?

People came from hundreds of miles around to buy the powerful drugs from pharmacies linked to ‘pill mills’ where compliant doctors prescribed indiscriminately | Guardian, UK

Scientists research mass production of magic mushrooms for the first time

According to a new study in the Metabolic Engineering journal, scientists have found a way to mass produce psilocybin, the psychoactive compound in magic mushrooms | MixMag, UK

Next-level health campaign: warnings on individual cigarettes to help smokers quit

Research suggests strategies such as a ‘minutes of life lost’ counter on cigarettes, would be more effective than packet warnings | Guardian, UK

2019 Call for proposals for action grants for drugs-related initiatives under the Justice Programme was published on 25 September 2019

The aim of this call is to contribute to the effective and coherent application of EU law and to support development of new approaches in the area of drugs | EURAD, Belgium

Alcohol could cause new EU health chief headache

The European spirits industry has called on Stella Kyriakides, EU Commissioner-designate for health, to revive the European Alcohol and Health Forum, which has been inactive since 2015 after twenty public health NGOs decided to pull out | EURACTIV, Belgium

Alcohol policy impact case study: the effects of alcohol control measures on mortality and life expectancy in the Russian Federation (2019)

Alcohol consumption has long been recognized as one of the main driving factors of mortality in the Russian Federation, especially among men of working age. The introduction of various evidence-based alcohol control measures at the beginning of the 2000s resulted in a decrease in all-cause mortality, with the most pronounced relative changes occurring in causes of death that are causally linked to or closely associated with alcohol consumption | WHO, Denmark

Barrier to rural opioid treatment: Driving distance to methadone clinics

People who live in rural counties in five states heavily affected by the opioid epidemic must drive longer distances to obtain methadone, a treatment for opioid addiction, compared to individuals from urban counties, say Yale researchers | Medical Xpress, USA

Local trends in adolescent heroin and injection drug use in the United States between 1999 and 2017

Lifetime prevalence of heroin use among 12th graders in the United States has been declining since 2010. Though this is a promising finding, we know from other studies that when you look at specific segments of the population (defined by race, age, geography, and other factors), the story often looks much different | BASIS, USA

Watchdog finds DEA was 'slow to respond' to opioid epidemic

The Drug Enforcement Administration was "slow to respond" as America grappled with a rising opioid epidemic, the Justice Department's inspector general said in a report Tuesday that faulted the agency for cutting back use of a key enforcement tool and continuing to raise production quotas even as the number of deaths rose | Medical Xpress, USA

San Francisco campaign to stop e-cigarette measure pushes on

A campaign to defeat an industry-backed e-cigarette measure on San Francisco's ballot will push on despite the announcement by Juul Labs Inc. that it will stop financially supporting the proposal to overturn a city ban on e-cigarettes and vape product sales | Medical Xpress, USA

Cannabis: CBD vs THC causes lower psychiatric side-effects

A new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience demonstrates how cannabidiol (CBD) works against tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the principal psychedelic component of cannabis, to prevent its psychiatric side effects | News Medical, USA

The first cannabis cafe in the United States opens

The first cannabis cafe in the United States opens Tuesday in Los Angeles. Called Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe, it will be the first farm-to-table restaurant that highlights cuisine and cannabis | CNN, USA

Alcohol Must Be Part of the Harm Reduction Conversation 

According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 179 million Americans aged 12 or older consumed it in 2018. It’s a figure that dwarfs use of nicotine, or any prescription medication, or any illegal drug (the equivalent number for cannabis, easily the most popular federally illegal substance, was 43 million) | Filter Magazine, USA

Why Peers Who Use Drugs Are Overdose Prevention “Heroes”

Harm reduction is increasingly being assimilated into the medical establishment. Yet some people who use drugs continue to report that health information is more likely to be absorbed from community members and spaces than from healthcare professionals | Filter Magazine, USA

Vaping companies band together to fight Government restrictions

A collection of the biggest names in the vaping industry have set aside their competitive differences to fight a bigger foe: Government regulation. | NZ Herald, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

‘Untreated help seekers’ in addictions deserve attention in future research

Dr Sadie Boniface and Prof Sir John Strang discuss the need for research to focus attention on those who present only for an initial appointment at drug and alcohol services | IAS blog, UK

Redressing the Balance: How to Reduce Drug-Related Deaths

Since the ONS released the drug related death statistics on the 15th August, we have seen responses from the sector attempting to explain this continued growth in drug related deaths, and the measures that can be taken to reverse this trend | NHSSMPA blog, UK

It breaks my heart to send my homeless patient back to the street. There must be a better way

It seems wrong to accept that homelessness, drug addiction and mental health issues are beyond the remit of a public hospital | Guardian opinion, UK

Homelessness could happen to any of us – the numbers shame us all

I’ve seen the trauma that drives people to the streets. We must rediscover our compassion before more people die | Guardian opinion, UK

A creative outlet for children affected by alcohol and drugs

Policy proposal: Develop a funded national programme of advice, guidance and support for those concerned about alcohol, including families, carers, and children affected by parental alcohol use | Alcohol Change UK blog, UK

More Than My Past

Last week, the Forward Trust launched a new national campaign aimed at helping people who have had problems with drugs and/or crime and are struggling to turn their lives around because of stigma and negative stereotypes | Russell Webster, UK

World: Gandhi’s legacy and a Tobacco-Free World

From Indian public health researchers Amit Yadav and Prashant Kumar Singh, a call to action for world leaders to take action at the UN General Assembly on the eve of Ghandi’s 150th birthday | BMJ blog, UK