Daily news - 4th November 2020

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UK news

Peer-led COVID19 Impact Survey 2020

Many Drug and alcohol users struggle at the best of times – so what was the impact when the whole country went into lockdown? Could they still buy drugs? Could they still shoplift to fund their use? What was the impact on their family? Did they relapse? Did their alcohol use increase with the rest of the population? These were the questions we wanted to ask, to help us plan our response if the anticipated ‘second peak’ arrived | FAVOR, UK

Local tobacco control profiles for England: November 2020 update

An overview of the extent of tobacco use, tobacco related harm and the measures being taken to reduce this harm at a local level in England | PHE, UK

Covid-19 public health road map: Alcohol consumption (PDF)

This roadmap aims to support health officials to consider changes to alcohol consumption that may have occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic and to use psychologicallyinformed behaviour change approaches to optimise health improvement and mitigate increases in alcohol use | BPS, UK

So near yet so far: why won’t the UK prescribe medical cannabis?

Although cannabis-based products for medicinal use are now legal in the UK, it is still challenging for patients to gain access, and only very few National Health Service prescriptions have been written to date. This paper attempts to make sense of why the UK lags behind so many other countries which also have legalised medical cannabis | BMJ, UK

I opened the first safe consumption facility in Scotland to reduce disease and save people's lives

I could have been that 17 year old lad who died from a heroin overdose in an alleyway in Scotland, now I am fighting to save lives. I was ill when I was homeless and addicted to drugs, I didn't need criminalising, I needed treatment | MyPOV, UK

Lib Dems demand police turn blind eye to Glasgow drug consumption van

Liam McArthur is calling on Scotland's top law officer to lay down clear instructions to police to allow an unlicensed Glasgow mini-van to continue to function | Daily Record, UK

Takeaway beer back on pub menus in England after lockdown U-turn

New government rules state customers must pre-order drinks by phone or online | Guardian, UK

Alcohol licensing: Carál Ní Chuilín says law changes strike right balance

Under the plans, pubs and nightclubs will be able to serve alcohol for an extra hour, until 02:00, almost every weekend | BBC, UK

How lockdown changed the rules of alcohol recovery

‘Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I was drinking in the morning, throughout the day, and it very quickly moved from what I liked to drink, to what I could get to drink | Metro, UK


International news

Burning Issues: The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction 2020 - online launch 4/11/20 

On 4/11/20 from 10am GMT, come to the online launch of Burning Issues: The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction 2020, the second in the landmark GSTHR series documenting the development of THR and responses to safer nicotine products around the world. Key members of the GSTHR team including Harry Shapiro and Professor Gerry Stimson will explore the report’s findings, alongside guests including Professor David Nutt, Clive Bates, Fiona Patten and Samrat Chowdhery. Registration (free) and full programme here | GSTHR, UK

First Wednesday Launch European Medical Cannabis Ecosystem

First Wednesdays, the network for entrepreneurs and investors in the European cannabis sector, today launched their much vaunted ‘European medical cannabis ecosystem’ providing expert insights and detailing marked developments into the European cannabis sector over the past decade | Volte face, UK

Spanish police seize 1.2 tonnes of cocaine on ship busted for second time in two weeks

Brazilian officers had already seized 1.5 tonnes before vessel slipped out of São Sebastião | Guardian, UK

Addiction is a chronic health condition - why isn’t it treated like one?

The number of Australians experiencing addiction is increasing, but support isn’t. We spoke with Professor Dan Lubman, from SBS’s new series Addicted Australia, to find out why | Guardian, UK

Parental problem alcohol use and how children cope during thir school years

Parental problem alcohol use is a significant ACE, giving rise to lifelong implications for physical and mental health. As a gateway ACE, it can also lead to other adverse childhood experiences. In Ireland, it is estimated that 200,000 children are living every day in homes impacted by alcohol use and that a further 400,000 are adult children live with that impact through their lives | Alcohol Action Ireland, Ireland

Alcohol consumption in Ireland falls by 4.5% with beer declining 14.9%

Official Revenue figures that have been released reveals that beer consumption has fallen by 14.9pc as cider dips by 9.6pc from this time last year | Independent, Ireland

Gardaí seize €105,000 worth of suspected cannabis herb in Cork city

Gardaí from the Cork City Divisional Drugs, assisted by uniform and detective gardaí from Gurranabraher, executed two search warrants resulting in the seizure of the suspected drugs | Irish Examiner, Ireland

EMCDDA initial report on the new psychoactive substance MDMB-4en-PINACA

Methyl 3,3-dimethyl-2-(1-(pent-4-en-1-yl)-1H-indazole-3-carboxamido)butanoate (MDMB-4en-PINACA is a synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist. Similar to other synthetic cannabinoids, it is sold as a ‘legal’ replacement for cannabis and controlled synthetic cannabinoids. Because of their high potency, synthetic cannabinoids can pose a high risk of severe poisoning, which in some cases can be fatal | EMCDDA, Portugal

EMCDDA initial report on the new psychoactive substance 4F-MDMB-BICA

Methyl 2-({[1-(4-fluorobutyl)-1H-indol-3-yl]carbonyl}amino)-3,3-dimethylbutanoate (4FMDMB-BICA) is a synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist. Similar to other synthetic cannabinoids, it is sold as a ‘legal’ replacement for cannabis. Because of their high potency, synthetic cannabinoids can pose a high risk of severe poisoning, which in some cases can be fatal | EMCDDA, Portugal

Alcohol marketing and social media: A challenge for public health control

In public health terms, alcohol is no ordinary commodity. It accounts not only for a substantial portion of the world’s burden of disease but also for much social harm | EUCAM, The Netherlands

Oregon just voted to decriminalize all drugs

Oregon voters have taken a big step toward ending the war on drugs | Vox, USA

New Jersey And Arizona Voted To Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Washington, DC, also voted to decriminalize the use of psychedelic substances | BuzzFeed, USA

What are the characteristics of people who continued to gamble during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic has sickened over 40 million people worldwide and has caused over 1 million deaths. Beyond its direct consequences, the pandemic has had adverse effects on psychological health, with negative implications for addictive behaviors | BASIS, USA

Can Psychedelics Help Save America? - video

Science has shown psychedelics to offer resilience and comfort where there seemed to be none. The Food and Drug Administration calls them "breakthrough therapies" for mental health conditions that lack effective treatments. Indigenous communities have known their benefits for centuries, but legal restrictions have stripped them of their rites and remedies | Petrie-Flom Center, USA

Smokers in SA face new restrictions – including a ‘public cigarette ban’

If the government's new Tobacco Control Bill gets the go-ahead, a 'public cigarette ban' would seriously limit where smokers can light-up | The South African, South Africa


Blogs, comment and opinion

Covid-19 is an addiction crisis – we need a better funded and integrated care service

Sadly, I wasn’t shocked by the recent news that thousands of people in England died as a result of their drug use last year | mht blog, UK

The need for gambling disorder clinics in Wales

According to the 2016 Welsh problem gambling survey for the Gambling Commission,1 1·1% of respondents were identified as problem gamblers. The proportion of the Welsh population vulnerable to gambling-related harm increases to 3·8% when the sub-threshold “at risk” category of gamblers is included, with the greatest risk evident among people aged 16–24 years | Lancet correspondence, UK

Nine critical drug policy votes on US Election day

You may have heard, but Tuesday 3 November marks Election Day in the US. Americans will be voting on whether to re-elect Donald Trump or to put Joe Biden into office. But that’s not all Americans will be voting on, with important drug policy reforms on the ballot paper in a number of  states. Here’s some of the key votes taking place that you may not have heard about | Transform, UK

Bruce Bagley: Diving Too Deep into Primary Sources

During his career as a professor of International Studies at the University of Miami, Dr. Bruce Bagley dove deep into the primary sources, researching the dynamics of drug trafficking and organized crime in the Americas–so deep that in June of 2020 he pleaded guilty to money laundering | Points blog, USA

Medicinal cannabis users in Victoria could soon be allowed to drive with THC in their system. Is it safe?

Around 25,000 Australians currently use medicinal cannabis products. They may be prescribed to relieve symptoms and pain associated with certain chronic medical conditions, for chemotherapy-induced nausea, or during palliative care | Conversation, Australia

Combatting alcohol industry lobbying: a way forward

Unsafe alcohol consumption is a longstanding public health issue in Australia and the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for comprehensive policy measures to reduce the harmful effects of alcohol use on our community | Croakey, Australia

One way or another, we’ve got to fix our broken drug law

Even if reform is not in the form of the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, New Zealanders have shown they’re hungry for change, argues the Drug Foundation’s Tuari Potiki | The Spinoff, New Zealand