Daily news - 5th November 2020

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UK news

Managing the talking route to recovery

Key studies on managing and supervising psychosocial treatments for problem drinking. Starts with leading researchers “bravely questioning what it’s all been for”, highlights the study which teased out the indirect influence of leaders, then asks whether ‘coaching’ is the right model for producing good clinicians, and whether revealing to them how their clients are really doing improves performance | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Takeaway beer sales 'will make a significant difference'

A government U-turn allowing pubs to sell takeaway beer during the latest lockdown has been broadly welcomed by the industry, but some chains say they will still struggle to survive | BBC, UK

The Alcohol 'Problem' Podcast: Ep. 1: Drinkers like us? In conversation with Adrian Chiles

In this episode I talk to journalist and TV broadcaster Adrian Chiles, the man behind the widely applauded 2018 BBC documentary, ‘Drinkers Like Me’. The programme has been credited with prompting a national conversation about alcohol use, and Adrian has continued to explore the subject and is writing a book about how to drink less | The Alcohol Problem Podcast, UK

Consultation on the Implementation of the Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Standards for Scotland

Fri, Nov 20, 2020 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM GMT. This event will launch the consultation on the implementation of Scotland's new Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Standards and will describe the learning from some of the tests of change commissioned by the Drug Deaths Task Force in delivering standards 1-5 which deal with service access and engagement | SDF, The MAT Subgroup of the Drug Deaths Task Force and Public Health Scotland, UK

Exploring gendered differences among polish migrants in the UK in problematic drinking and pathways into and through alcohol treatment

[Open access] Few studies have focused on the gendered differences amongst Polish migrants in their use of alcohol or access to treatment services. This study explored the divergent pathways through alcohol use, misuse and treatment access in a group of Polish migrants in London | Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, UK

Perceptions and attitudes of strategic decision-makers and affected families across Scotland towards Drug Consumption Rooms to prevent drug-related deaths study – recruiting family member interview participants!

We are conducting a study to explore perceptions and attitudes towards Drug Consumption Rooms (DCRs). This is being led by the University of Stirling and involves partnerships between the University of Stirling, Figure 8 Consultancy, Transform Drug Policy Foundation, Glasgow Caledonian University and Liverpool John Moores University | DRNS, UK

Arrested by the NCA – man suspected of running cannabis farm network

A Birmingham man suspected of being the mastermind behind a network of UK cannabis farms has been arrested as part of a National Crime Agency investigation | NCA, UK


International news

US drug laws set for sweeping overhaul as voters choose decriminalization

Oregon to decriminalize all illegal drugs in historic first, while voters in many states vote to abolish penalties for possession | Guardian, UK

Burning Issues: The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction 2020

The central theme of this report, enshrined in many international treaties, is the universal right to health, including for those who for whatever reason continue to engage in risky behaviours. Harm reduction refers to a range of pragmatic policies, regulations and actions which either reduce health risks by providing safer forms of products or substances, or encourage less risky behaviours. Harm reduction does not focus primarily on the eradication of products or behaviours | KAC, UK

New report from the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction reveals only nine users of safer nicotine products for every 100 smokers worldwide - experts argue global tobacco control must adopt harm reduction to save lives

In a world-first, the report reveals that an estimated 98m people use these products globally: 68m vapers, 20m using heated tobacco products and 10m using US smokeless or pasteurised oral snus – showing the huge demand for safer alternatives | CISION, UK

Improved colour blindness symptoms associated with recreational psychedelic use: Results from the Global Drug Survey 2017

This paper provides preliminary data regarding improved colour blindness accompanying recreational psychedelic use which may be further investigated in future iterations of the Global Drugs Survey or in a stand-alone Global Drugs Survey-managed psychedelics survey | Drug Science, Policy and Law, UK

Uganda's 'street uncles' transform young lives in the slum - a photo essay

In an area that is infamous for high drug use, a group of men use their own experience of addiction to help children strive for new goals | Guardian, UK

North Korea bans smoking in public places to safeguard 'hygienic living'

Measure comes despite more than 43% of the country’s male population being smokers, including leader Kim Jong-un | Guardian, UK

Webinar: The European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs (ESPAD): new results and stakeholder feedback

The new results from the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs, published in collaboration with the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA), are presented virtually at an ESPAD–EMCDDA webinar entitled: ‘The European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs (ESPAD) — new results and stakeholder feedback’ | EMCDDA, Portugal

Oregon Decriminalizes Small Amounts of Heroin and Cocaine; Four States Legalize Marijuana

There were 38 statewide citizen initiatives being decided across the country on Tuesday, about half the level of the last presidential election | NYTimes, USA

Drugs Won Big During the U.S. Election

Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, Mississippi, and South Dakota all voted for legal weed, while Oregon voted to decriminalize drugs like cocaine and meth. It's a big blow to the War on Drugs, which has disproportionately harmed people of color | VICE, USA

ANTI designs pocket-sized naloxone kit to prevent opioid overdose deaths

ANTI wanted to create a product that could be easily carried around "with comfort and without stigma" in case of emergency, and that didn't look like a typical pharmaceutical product | Dezeen, USA

Using telehealth to boost treatment for substance-use disorder

The growing use and coverage of telehealth, once thought mostly as a tool to grow patient access in rural areas, has expanded Dr. Chapman’s ability to continue to care for hundreds of patients with a substance-use disorder (SUD) in the nation’s capital | AMA, USA

Gender Differences in the Epidemiology of Alcohol Use and Related Harms in the United States

In general, males still consume more alcohol and experience and cause more alcohol-related injuries and deaths than females do, but the gaps are narrowing. Among adolescents and emerging adults, gaps in drinking have narrowed primarily because alcohol use among males has declined more than alcohol use among females. Among adults, alcohol use is increasing for women but not for men | Alcohol Research Current Reviews, USA

Warnings issued over toxic strain of drugs on streets of northeastern B.C.

'I've never seen this many people overdose in such a short amount of time': outreach worker | CBC News, Canada

Alberta’s Grassroots Fight against Overdose Deaths

How an army of volunteers formed to save harm reduction from Jason Kenney’s rollback | The Tyee, Canada

Rise in self harm poisonings at schools a concern, experts say

In the 4.5 years between January 2014 and June 2018, the NSW Poisons Information Centre - the largest such centre in the country - received 1751 calls for school-related poisonings | The Age, Australia

New form of brain-training helps prevent relapse after alcohol treatment

A recent study has shown that it may be possible to dampen the workings of the subconscious brain to prevent alcohol relapse, the results leading to a world-first trial of a personalised smartphone app called "SWiPE" | EurekAlert, Australia

Pill Testing Explained - video

What can be done immediately in Australia is the implementation of drug checking/‘pill testing’ as an accessible health service to reduce the harm caused by unregulated drug use | DanceWize, Australia

Australia's first specialist psychiatric alcohol and drug unit opens in Sydney

The $17.7 million six-bed unit, opened by NSW Mental Health Minister Bronnie Taylor, will provide specialist care to patients experiencing psychotic episodes related to drugs or alcohol | 9 news, Australia

Medicines containing codeine will be prescription-only in NZ, starting today

MedSafe, which regulates medicines in New Zealand, is making the change in order to lower misuse of the drug, prevent people becoming dependent and to reduce the number of overdose deaths linked to the addictive drug | TVNZ, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Drug prohibition isn't working - and the problem is getting worse in lockdown

Britain’s drug policy is based more on the country's history of war, snobbery, and racism than on evidence of what works | Open Democracy opinion, UK

The restorative magic of Benny and Hot

During the first world war, soldiers hospitalised in the Benedictine distillery were given this winter warmer, and it is famous throughout the north | Guardian letters, UK

What the Pandemic Teaches Us About the Need for MAT

Medication-assisted treatment, a life-saving practice, is needed more than ever | Psychology Today blog, USA

How a simple brain training program could help you stay away from alcohol

Around one in five Australians will develop an alcohol use disorder, such as dependence, during their lifetime | Conversation, Australia

There's no such thing as a 'typical' addict

I was still going to my new job; I was getting home safely, and I was having normal conversations with friends and colleagues. No one suspected that every time I went out for a coffee break, I would have a drink instead | SBS, Australia