Daily news - 9th November 2020

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UK news

Long Read: Dani Garavelli: On the road with Scotland's drug consumption van

Dani Garavelli investigates one man's attempts to prevent overdoses and the spread of HIV with his controversial safer drugs consumption van | The Scotsman, UK

Why we are calling on the Government to reschedule psychedelic drugs to enable researchers to develop vital new treatments for depression and PTSD

Treatment resistant depression, PTSD and trauma can be extremely difficult to treat and many people stay on high doses of antidepressants or even resort to ending their lives. Research has shown that drugs like psilocybin can heal people after 1 to 3 supervised treatments. However, research is being severely hampered by bureaucracy due to the scheduling system currently in place | MyPOV, UK

Crime commissioner says its "ludicrous" to chase drug addicts who need help

David Jamieson is a major support of Drug Consumption Rooms, which have been a core part of drugs policy in most European countries - but are banned in the UK | Daily Record, UK

Coronavirus: Cafes and restaurants 'to reopen with no alcohol'

[Northern Ireland] The executive is expected to agree a partial reopening of the hospitality sector but keep alcohol-only pubs closed for a further fortnight | BBC, UK

Drink-driving blood and urine test options withdrawn

[Northern Ireland] Drivers will no longer have the right to request a replacement blood or urine specimen when a breath specimen is marginally above the legal limit | BBC, UK

Just No Stopping Stop & Search in the UK?

The power to stop and search is one of the most invasive powers available to the police. The disproportionate use of this power amongst Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities is an ‘open secret' which erodes police legitimacy | Talking Drugs, UK

MCA Alcohol and Covid Free Webinar - Programme Announced

11 November 2020 12.30pm (duration approx 1 hour). This webinar is aimed at all health professionals working in the alcohol and health fields. The relationship between alcohol and Covid is multi-faceted. There is evidence that alcohol consumption has increased during lockdown, as have mental health problems. Access to services has been impacted. Alcohol consumption may also increase the risk of infection, for instance by causing disinhibition and reduced social distancing | MCA UK

Arrests linked to EncroChat drugs conspiracy investigation

Three men have been arrested and a warehouse raided in connection with an alleged conspiracy to import cocaine into the UK in food deliveries from the Netherlands | NCA, UK

24 Hours in Police Custody: Drug smuggling ring busted by boss' dashcam

The officer for the Eastern Regions Special Operations Unit, who is remaining anonymous, said Brooks's "complacency, stupidity and lack of attention to detail" meant his dashcam recorded drugs being collected from his business unit on Little Samuels Farm in Hunsdon | BBC, UK


International news

Cannabis 2.0 Innovations: Drinks

The changing legal status of cannabis, along with recognising its medical benefits has allowed the industry to continue to grow. As a result of this, alternative ways for consuming cannabis have started to emerge such as infused products | Volteface, UK

Harm reduction in the time of COVID-19: Case study of homelessness and drug use in Dublin, Ireland

[Open access] Dublin appears to have performed very well as compared to various scenarios for COVID-19 mortality amongst homeless and drug using populations. The experience, if borne out by further research, provides important lessons for policy discussions on the pandemic, as well as broader lessons about pragmatic responses to these key client groups irrespective of COVID-19 | IJDP, UK

UAE scraps defence of 'honour' crimes and decriminalises alcohol in sweeping legal reforms

[Limited number of free articles per week] The United Arab Emirates scrapped reduced sentences for so-called "honour" killings and decriminalised alcohol consumption in a sweeping overhaul of criminal and family law announced on Saturday | Telegraph, UK

HRB Newsletter

This October issue of the library newsletter includes Irish publications and international evidence resources related to drugs, alcohol and tobacco | HRB, Ireland

Johnson & Johnson, three other companies close in on $26 billion deal on opioid litigation

Four companies that made or distributed prescription opioid analgesics have reached a tentative $26 billion settlement with counties and cities that sued them for damages in the largest federal court case in U.S. history | The Pharmacist, USA

E-cigarettes can be 'gateway' to cigarettes for teens with no prior intention to smoke

Cigarette smoking remains a leading preventable cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. And while adolescent cigarette smoking has declined over the past several decades, e-cigarette use presents a new risk for nicotine use disorder | EurekAlert, USA

Toronto's Drug Checking Service: How we got here, how it works, and what we've learned so far = webinar

Nov 19, 2020 04:30 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada). People who use drugs in Toronto have long advocated for access to drug checking to reduce the harms associated with using drugs from the unregulated supply. After over one year of service availability, presenters will discuss the experience of implementing drug checking in Toronto, the model employed, and lessons learned | Department of Research and Academic Engagement at the Drug Policy Alliance, USA

New drug on Montreal's streets even more potent than fentanyl: public health

Isotonitazene, a chemically manufactured opioid, has killed at least one person in Montreal. Jean-Francois Mary of harm reduction organization Cactus Montreal said similar drugs are often made in illegal labs, where cross-contamination and dosage size are risky variables | CTV News, Canada

NRA’s plan to eliminate cigarette sales without hurting retailers

The NRA has previously expressed alarm over the current plan to allow smoke-free to be either purchased on the internet without restriction or only sold in pharmacies by prescription. Today it has made a submission to the Senate Inquiry with an alternate proposed business model that would allow small businesses to transition away from cigarettes, which would require strict regulation, in line with existing cigarette sales laws | C store, Australia

Cannabis as Medicine Survey: 2020

As researchers from the University of Sydney we are launching an Australia-wide online survey of people who have used cannabis for MEDICAL (therapeutic) purposes within the last 12 months | University of Sydney, Australia

How the votes on cannabis and euthanasia differed across the country

The 'no' vote was especially strong in east and south Auckland electorates, along with rural Canterbury | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Families: forgotten in addiction treatment?

Addiction is an equal opportunity condition. Families get to suffer alongside the person with the problem. But as Alex Copello and Jim Orford noted in a past Addiction editorial, there’s a paradox here that needs attention | Recovery Review blog, UK

At times, all it takes is the clink of ice in a glass to bring a little joy

A glorious new film reminds us that small pleasures can be just what we need as lockdown returns | Guardian, UK

Opinion: Purdue Pharma’s Settlement Barely Scratches the Surface

Last Month Purdue Pharma, the producer of synthetic opiate Oxycontin, pleaded guilty to criminal charges. Purdue Pharma have entered into a $8.3bn (£6.3bn) settlement with the DoJ; which will see the company reorganised and managed by a public trust, for the benefit of the public | Volteface, UK

New Zealand's rejection of legalising cannabis is a triumph for fear-mongering

As other countries make leaps and bounds in drug law reform, Aotearoa seems bound to the tired and worn path of prohibition | Guardian, UK

Republicans and Democrats Agree: End the War on Drugs

Voters in red and blue states may be in accord on nothing else, but they passed measures to liberalize drug laws | NYTimes, USA

There's No Good Evidence that Psychedelics Can Change Your Politics or Religion

The balance of data don’t support it, and claims otherwise could lead to alarmism | Scientific American, USA