Daily news - 2nd November 2020

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UK news

Fears of a wave of alcohol-related health problems if lessons from lockdown drinking behaviour not learned

Alcohol education charity, Drinkaware, today (Monday, November 2) publishes its annual report into UK drinking behaviours, revealing substantial patterns in the nation’s drinking over the lockdown period, including alarming increases in drinking. The full report can be accessed here | DrinkAware, UK

Pharmacist support vital to help smokers stub it out for good, new study suggests

While a tenth of Brits have started smoking or re-started smoking because of the pandemic, a fifth of quitters rely on their local pharmacists for advice, a new research has shown | Pharmacy Business, UK

NHS 'refuses' medical cannabis for children with epilepsy

Three prescriptions are thought to have been written for "whole plant cannabis" oil since it was legalised two years ago, campaign group End Our Pain say | BBC, UK

‘I was told to take my daughter home to die — but now she’s thriving thanks to medicinal cannabis’

Medicinal cannabis has transformed Robin Emerson’s daughter’s life, but the fight for wider access continues | i news, UK

Exploring Substance Use in Prisons: A case study approach in five closed male English prisons (PDF)

This research used case study methodology to identify factors associated with substance use in five English prisons – all of them closed prisons for men. The aim was to explore the wider cultural features of the prisons which, according to the recovery literature, may have an impact on levels of drug use, and has not been investigated in prior research | HM Prison and Probation Service, UK

Drug seizures and arrests in Northern Ireland, period ending 30 September 2020

Six-monthly update of class A, B and C drug seizure incidents and arrests by PSNI | Police Service of Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, UK

Pub closures 'fuelling' illegal alcohol sale

The bodies that represent publicans on both sides of the Irish border say tighter Covid-19 restrictions are fuelling an illicit alcohol industry | BBC, UK

Alcohol Alert – October 2020

Monthly sum up of alcohol policy news featuring podcast on the potential harms from the rise in increasing and higher risk drinking, plus comment on MUP in parliament| IAS, UK

The Ins-and-Outs of Binge Drinking in Lockdown

When does slinging cocktails in the daytime or sinking shots on TikTok become a problem? | VICE, UK

Low and no-alcohol sales soar 30% in lockdown as UK drinking habits change

From beers to spirits and even ready-to-drink cocktails, supermarket sales of no- and low-alcohol drinks have soared during lockdown as consumers become used to popping them into their trolleys with their grocery staples | Guardian, UK

Stockton food bank: 'Dealers don't swap drugs for a tin of beans'

Food bank organisers and users have hit out at claims free school meal vouchers can be used for alcohol and drugs amid Marcus Rashford's campaign to get them extended to the holidays | BBC, UK

Prof Jim McVeigh Inaugural Lecture: “But they don’t look like drug users…”

Mon, November 9, 2020, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM GMT. This inaugural professorial lecture will include a summary of some of the research that McVeigh has contributed to in relation to the populations of AAS users and the associated potential harms. These findings will be discussed in the context of what this means for future research, policy development and service provision for this population of drug users | Manchester Met, UK

Family Voices competition 2020

We are now accepting entries for our annual Family Voices Competition. This is a poetry and creative writing competition for friends and family members who have lived through someone else’s drug, alcohol or gambling problem to express their thoughts and feelings in a creative and constructive way. While it is often difficult to talk about this subject, family members can find it helpful and therapeutic to write about it | Adfam, UK

Ramsey man who had £10k of cannabis sent to home jailed

Kenny Garaty, of Parliament Street, Ramsey, admitted agreeing to have a package containing about 1lb 1oz (500g) of the class B drug posted to him | BBC, UK

Three cannabis farms worth £1.5m uncovered on Wearside

More than 3,000 plants were seized during raids at addresses in Hendon, Ashbrooke and Hetton-le-Hole in the past month | BBC, UK


International news

1st November 2020 International Drug Users’ Day (PDF)

Twelve years ago today INPUD was formally launched on International Drug Users’ Day by drug user rights activists seeking to create an international platform where members of our community could confidently and proudly advocate for the health and human rights of people who use drugs globally. Every year since, we have marked this day with a celebration of our diverse, vibrant communities’ accomplishments, while also acknowledging our work is more critical than ever | INPUD, UK

Additions to the Effectiveness Bank 30 October 2020

More *care* felt in hepatitis care when outside of a hospital setting.
Naltrexone no ‘magic bullet’ for drinking problems among people living with HIV, but same applies to general population. Findings of ‘before and after’ study a reminder not to discount positive environmental impact of needle and syringe programmes. Music festival trial shows not every ‘pill testing’ intervention alike | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Can you be genuine and still stick to the ‘rules’ for effective counselling?

As a therapist you know you are not supposed to insist clients ‘must do’ something, even less to warn of the consequences if they don’t, and still less to express disapproval of their choices, but biting your tongue just doesn’t feel right – doesn’t feel like you are being you. Yet you also know you are supposed to be you – to be ‘genuine’. A highlight from Effectiveness Bank Alcohol Treatment Matrix cell B4 | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Making legitimacy: Drug user representation in United Nations drug policy settings

The importance of engaging people who use drugs in drug policy development is increasingly acknowledged including in recent UN documents. Little scholarly attention has been paid to ‘drug user representation’ in the global drug policy setting of the UN such as the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). This paper examines ‘drug user representation’ in key UN drug policy processes over three decades | IJDP, UK

Clinical impact of COVID-19 on people with substance use disorders 

People with substance use disorders are considered at increased risk of COVID-19 and its more serious complications, however data on the impact of COVID-19 are lacking. The study aimed to describe the clinical characteristics and outcomes of COVID-19 on people with substance use disorders | JPH, UK

Oregon voters to decide on decriminalising hard drugs in US first

Voters in Oregon are being asked to decide whether to decriminalise the possession of small amounts of hard drugs, including heroin and cocaine | BBC, UK

Just how widespread and pervasive is alcohol in children's lives

Over the past number of months, Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI) has contributed to a range of consultations, media articles, research initiatives and other advocacy efforts in relation to children and the harm that alcohol causes in their lives | Alcohol Action Ireland, Ireland

Looking back on 25 years of monitoring prevention in Europe

When the EMCDDA began its operations in 1995, it was clear that the understanding and narrative on prevention had to change. What was needed was a cultural shift from a rather amorphous concept — often based on good intentions — to a prevention that was more scientifically sound, rooted in clear concepts and evidence of effectiveness, and that could improve real-life practice and decision making | EMCDDA, Portugal

DrugNet Europe - October

Latest reports and updates from the EMCDDA | EMCDDA, Portugal

European survey: 80 percent of vapers stopped smoking completely

 More than 80 percent of smokers who switched to e-cigarettes have completely stopped smoking. Around 65 percent of vapers in Europe use fruit or sweet liquids. These are two important results of a survey carried out by the European Independent Vape Alliance (IEVA). More than 3,300 european e-cigarette users took part | RealWire, Belgium

Portugal: One in three autopsied drivers in 2019 had alcohol in their blood, 13% had drugs

One in three autopsied drivers in Portugal last year had blood alcohol rates of 0.5 g/l or more and 13.3% revealed the presence of drugs, according to a report released on Friday | Macau Buisness, Portugal

Water fleas on 'happy pills' have more offspring

Zooplankton can grow faster and produce more offspring when exposed to a substance that affects human happiness | Science Daily, USA

Opioids in America, Part 3: Background of an epidemic

This is Part 3 of a three-part series looking into the opioid epidemic across the U.S., rehabilitation options in Weld County and stories from people who have overcome or are currently fighting addiction to opioids | Greeley Tribune, USA

Chicago Group Piloting Overdose-Reversal Vending Machines

In Chicago, people who use drugs have had record overdoses this year. Cook County has already passed last year’s death rate: 1400 people have died of drug overdoses this year, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office | Next City, USA

Two harmful substances recently found in Toronto’s unregulated drug supply

Xylazine and AMB-FUBINACA can both produce “significant harmful and unexpected effects” | Toronto.com, Canada

COVID-19: Pandemic alcohol use and mental health problems

Excessive alcohol use is an established public health problem in Australia, and did not originate from the coronavirus pandemic. But what has changed is how much alcohol we're drinking at home, as a result of closed restaurants, clubs and hotels, and restrictions on numbers of people able to gather in parks | Monash University, Australia

Exploring the impact of work and the workplace on alcohol and drug use

This presentation outlines patterns and prevalence of AOD use among workers; workplace factors that can facilitate or exacerbate AOD use; the role played by workplace cultures; and evidence-based strategies to ameliorate AOD problem | NDARC, Australia

Drug and Alcohol Research Connections - October

This edition shares the latest research, publications, news & resources from NDARC, @NDRIau & @NCETAFlinders | NDARC, Australia

Referendum results: Govt rules out cannabis law reform for 'foreseeable' future

he Government has ruled out wider drug law reforms - including legalising or decriminalising cannabis - for the "foreseeable future" in the wake of the '"no" result in the cannabis referendum | NZ Herald, New Zealand

Election 2020: Jacinda Ardern says new Government will look at allowing pill testing of illicit drugs at festivals

Pill testing allows companies like Know Your Stuff NZ to test illicit drugs at festivals and tell users what is in them. It currently exists in a legal grey area, with festival hosts technically liable for prosecution if they knowingly allow a venue for illicit drug use | Stuff, New Zealand

Kiwis find smoking more unattractive in a partner than a criminal past - study

A Shosha survey of 1000 Kiwi adults found that being a smoker was the least attractive trait in a partner (38 percent) than those who have had a criminal past (28 percent) | Newshub, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Does the COVID-19 pandemic provide an opportunity to eliminate the tobacco industry?

Tobacco use is the top modifiable global health problem,but the global tobacco market grows 3% annually. Most anti-tobacco measures to date target demand (eg, higher excise taxes). However, the endgame might require reducing supply | Lancet Commentary, UK

What is a drug? - audio

This episode explores a core question of this field: what is a drug? It draws on an archival research project. For further details, read this paper or this short summary | Toby Seddon, UK

The UK should be a giant in medical cannabis, instead our patients are among the worst off in the world

There have been only three medical cannabis prescriptions since it became legal on the NHS. Parents continue to hear the horrific screams of their epileptic children due to a dire lack of accessibility to treatments | Independent voices, UK

Five years ago, white families called for a ‘gentler war on drugs.’ Did we get one?

Today marks five years since the New York Times published its front-page article proclaiming “In heroin crisis, white families seek a gentler war on drugs.” Many things have changed since then, but the drug war rages on | DPA, USA

Stop ignoring China's other killer export: fentanyl

As coronavirus infections continue to rise, the pandemic has remained a key focus of the 2020 presidential campaign. At the same time, another health threat has taken hundreds of thousands of American lives and has hardly been mentioned: the opioid crisis, which is being driven by China's other killer export, fentanyl | The Hill opinion, USA