Daily news - 13th March 2020

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UK news

Wastewater tests suggest drop in cocaine use in London

Concentration of drug in city’s sewers may have fallen by almost a third over three years | Guardian, UK [See full report in International section below]

Young people who vape may be more likely to start smoking

There are fears that young people might start smoking after experimenting with e-cigarettes. This could be because e-cigarettes get them addicted to nicotine, or getting into similar habits to smoking. This is sometimes called the "gateway" effect | NHS: Behind the Headlines, UK

Electronic Cigarettes

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the World Health Organization's decision to welcome the government of India's decision to ban e-cigarettes; and what plans they have to implement a similar ban in the UK | They work for you, UK

The UK Is Ramping Up Its Efforts To Tackle A Wave Of Chemsex Crimes

For the first time, criminal justice, health and LGBT organisations will all join together to cope with the rise of serious offending surrounding chemsex | BuzzFeed, UK

PCC pushes case for 'drug consumption rooms' for heroin addicts

Heroin addicts will be allowed to shoot up in specialist drug rooms under plans drawn up by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner | Express and Star, UK

Criminal justice interventions teams (CJIT) business definitions

Business definitions for criminal justice interventions teams (CJIT) to input data items onto the national drug treatment monitoring system (NDTMS). Updated Criminal justice interventions teams (CJIT) business definitions, core data set P | PHE, UK

The Volteface Podcast #20 Righteous Minds with George McBride

In today’s episode Director of External Affairs Paul is joined by CEO of Hanway associations George McBride. They discuss what has changed since George’s early days in drug reform at the Beckley Foundation and consider the chances of cannabis being legalised here in the UK | Volte Face, UK

'I quit college to care for my alcoholic mum'

She'd be sitting on the sofa in the corner of the living room, exactly where I'd left her that morning. I knew she'd been drinking all day | BBC, UK

The Impact Prize for influence on policy and practice

To support our strategic aim, ‘to harness and communicate the evidence base to inform policy and practice‘, this prize will be awarded, at our Annual Conference, to an individual who has produced innovative work influencing policy and/or practice in the field of addiction | SSA, UK


International news

40 Americans Are Dying Every Month From Taking this New, Legal Opioid

Isotonitazene is a novel synthetic opioid that has not yet been banned. But deaths are on the rise | VICE, UK

Vaping chemical creates toxic ketene gas

A  chemical found in some vaping products can produce a highly toxic gas when heated up, according to new research from RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences | RCSI, Ireland

Wastewater analysis and drugs — a European multi-city study (Perspectives on drugs)

The findings of the largest European project to date in the emerging science of wastewater analysis are taken up in this ‘Perspective on drugs’. The project in question analysed wastewater in a range of European cities and towns  to explore the drug-taking habits of those who live in them. The results provide a valuable snapshot of the drug flow through the cities involved, revealing marked geographical variations | EMCDDA, Portugal

Alcoholism without borders

In some former Soviet bloc countries, men often die early due to alcohol abuse. Alcoholism-related mortality varies considerably from one region to another, according to a study in the European part of Russia, Belarus, Lithuania and Poland | Medical Xpress, USA

Association of Alcohol Screening Scores With Adverse Mental Health Conditions and Substance Use Among US Adults

This cohort study using data from 6431 US patients collected from 2003 to 2012 found that high alcohol use scores (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test score ≥20) were associated with depression, anxiety, crack or cocaine use, and other stimulant use, with likelihood ratios greater than 3.5 | JAMA Open, USA

Santa Fe’s Historic Drug Policy Overhaul Centers Alcohol Harm Reduction

Santa Fe, New Mexico is emphasizing alcohol harm reduction in its plan to radically restructure the Southwestern municipality’s drug policy amid an alcohol-related death crisis | Filter Magazine, USA

Morphine Change Could Lead To More Heroin Overdoses - Experts

 A Change In The Supply Of Pharmaceutical Morphine Could Inadvertently Lead To More Overdoses By People Who Inject Opioids Such As Morphine And Heroin, A University Of Auckland Expert Warns | SCOOP, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

March 2020 Budget analysis (PDF)

This document outlines the decisions taken on alcohol duty in the March 2020 Budget. It places these policies in wider context, taking stock of the impact of seven years of real terms duty cuts on affordability, health, the economy and public finances | IAS, UK

Coronavirus and drug harm reduction

Most drug using behaviours can increase the risks of Covid-19 transmission – whether you are smoking a joint, snorting cocaine, or injecting heroin –  but basic precautions can reduce these risks. It’s all common sense, but worth reinforcing; essentially combining existing Covid-19 transmission prevention advice with established harm reduction practices (that already seek to prevent virus/bacterial transmission more generally) | Transform blog, UK

Worrying Levels Of Spice Use Amongst Homeless People

New research highlights continuing high levels of use of synthetic cannabinoids (Spice) amongst homeless people | Russell Webster, UK

Why young people are drinking less – and what older drinkers can learn from them

Young people are drinking less than ever before. Some reading this will be able to recall the 1990s – the decade of peak alcohol, when drinking was a key part of life for young people | Conversation, UK

Does the size of a wine glass affect how much we drink?

Natasha Clarke and Gareth Hollands on an interesting experiment into a curious phenomenon | IAS blog, UK

Writing Opportunity: War on Drugs Book Chapter

Looking for an opportunity to share your knowledge and experience teaching some of the complexities of the War on Drugs? Kimber Quinney (CSU-San Marcos) and Amy Sayward (Middle Tennessee State) are editing a volume for the Understanding and Teaching series at University of Wisconsin Press on teaching contemporary American history | Points blog, USA

Psychedelic Medicine: Will it lead to reform in Australia

It seems every day there’s another news story about researchers being given permission to investigate the therapeutic potential of psychedelics. Venture capitalists and investors are increasingly aware of the financial potential too as they seek to maximise returns through first mover advantage | Australian Psychedelic Society, Australia