Daily news - 10th November 2020

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UK news

Middlesbrough heroin injection scheme hailed a success

A pilot scheme which gives supervised diamorphine injections to heroin addicts has been hailed as a success by those behind it, one year on | BBC, UK

Dumfries and Galloway cannabis farm gets agency funding

Work has begun on a medicinal cannabis farm in Dumfries and Galloway following a public development agency investment | BBC, UK

Drug Policy Reform Advocate Outlines Path to Further Cannabis Reform

Volteface has today unveiled plans to change how they will approach advocacy for drug policy reform in the UK. The London group has announced that it will shift emphasis from long-form policy reports into “reactive, digestible, and accessible content.” | Canex, UK [See also item in blogs section below]

Benzo resource

This in-depth booklet covers different types of benzodiazepines, routes of administration, the risks of mixing and much more | Crew, UK

Mindfulness and creative writing as a support in these challenging times – SDF offers new support to frontline service providers

Scottish Drugs Forum is to deliver sessions of mindfulness practice and creative writing to support workers | SDF, UK

Alcohol Action Group - Sign up

Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs is calling for people who are interested in exploring alcohol in everyday life to join us for this new group. We will take steps to measure and highlight how present alcohol is in everday life across Scotland and agree actions help to reduce explosure to alcohol messaging | SFAD, UK

Student Drug Behaviour and Mental Health during COVID-19 Restrictions - survey

How has your experience been as a university student since the beginning of this unusual academic term? Did you have to party at student halls instead of clubs? Did you struggle with mental health? | NeuroSight and SSDP, UK

'Low-life' drugs gang used teenagers as modern slaves

Members of a drugs gang which used teenagers as slaves have been jailed after bringing £300,000 of drugs to Devon | BBC, UK


International news

QMJC October 2020 - The perceived impact of legalized cannabis on nursing workload in adult and pediatric emergency department visits: A qualitative exploratory study

In the final meeting of our journal club on October 2020, we reviewed Wolf et al.’ 2019 paper, The perceived impact of legalized cannabis on nursing workload in adult and pediatric emergency department visits: A qualitative exploratory study. We picked this article because of its use of situational analysis but also because of its focus on a novel aspect of the impact of legalization | SSA, UK

COPD smokers who switched to e-cigarettes: health outcomes at 5-year follow up (PDF)

The long-term health effects of the use of electronic cigarettes (ECs) in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are largely unexplored. We present findings from a 5-year prospective assessment of respiratory parameters in a cohort of COPD patients who substantially reduced conventional smoking or achieved abstinence by switching to ECs | Ther Adv Chronic Dis, UK and Italy

Support for Legal Marijuana Inches Up to New High of 68%

Americans are more likely now than at any point in the past five decades to support the legalization of marijuana in the U.S. The 68% of U.S. adults who currently back the measure is not statistically different from last year's 66%; however, it is nominally Gallup's highest reading, exceeding the 64% to 66% range seen from 2017 to 2019 | Gallup, UK

Drug Policy and the Development Fallacy (PDF)

Today the causes of illicit drug cultivation are, at least on paper, almost universally recognised to have socio-economic causes: the recourse to illegal activity is considered to be a response to poverty, marginalisation and a lack of economic opportunities | GDPO, UK

'Growing concern' over paracetamol overdoses among young people

New research has flagged a 'growing concern' over intentional drug overdoses using paracetamol among young people, some as young as 10, with calls to limit the sale of the product just to pharmacies | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Ireland 'far behind the curve' on gambling laws as warning sounded on 'insidious' loot boxes in video games

The long-awaited gambling regulator will review laws around loot boxes in video games – but it isn’t clear when it’ll be set up | Journal, Ireland

Why you should apply for a THR scholarship - video

The KAC Global Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) Scholarship Programme 2021 is open for applications until 30 November 2020. Scholars participate in a bespoke programme, receive expert mentoring and up to $10,000 to complete their project | KAC, Nigeria

Alcohol use and mental health status during the first months of COVID-19 pandemic in Australia

We aimed to estimate the population prevalence of people with changes in their usual patterns of alcohol use during the early stages of the novel coronavirus pandemic of 2020 (COVID-19) pandemic in Australia; assess the association between mental health status and changes in alcohol use during the pandemic; and examine if the associations were modified by gender and age | J Affect Dis, USA

Lung symptoms common among users of e-cigarettes and related products

One-third of people using e-cigarettes or related products reported symptoms associated with lung or respiratory tract impact or injury, according to an analysis of a 2016 national survey, to be presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2020 | Medical Xpress, USA

Psilocybin therapy 4 times more effective than antidepressants, study finds

A new study is presenting the first published data from preliminary human trials investigating the effect of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy to treat major depressive disorder (MDD). The incredibly positive results have been described as just a “taste of things to come” with larger a Phase 2 trial well underway | New Atlas, USA

DEA Pursues Vast Expansion of Patient Surveillance

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is looking to expand its anti-diversion surveillance infrastructure by being able to search and analyze myriad patient behaviors for the vast majority of controlled and scheduled drug prescriptions—all accompanied by a rapid process for legally unveiling personally identifying information | Filter Magazine, USA

What All the New Drug Policies Mean For You, Personally

Is it legal to do meth in Oregon? What's the deal with shrooms in D.C.? When is weed getting descheduled? | VICE, USA

Risk of death linked to use of isotonitazene pills

Th Direction régionale de santé publique (DRSP) de Montréal has received a report of a death that was probably caused by ingestion of a blue pill with rounded corners; on one side, it is labelled “A/215”and has a groove where it can be split in two | Quebec, Canada

“It's an emotional roller coaster… But sometimes it's fucking awesome”: Meaning and motivation of work for peers in overdose response environments in British Columbia

Despite the frequent hardships and loss that accompany overdose response work, experiential workers identified important aspects that give their work meaning. These aspects of their work may help to protect workers from the emotional harms associated with stressful work as well as the stigma of substance use | IJDP, Canada

Government eliminates user fees for Albertans seeking addictions treatment

$40-per-day fee could be a barrier to seeking treatment at publicly-funded facilities | CBC News, Canada

COVID-19 messaging tied to overdose spike, front-line workers say

The number of drug overdoses in the Ottawa region appears to be on the rise, and some front-line workers say the messaging around the COVID-19 pandemic may be playing a part | CBC News, Canada

Halifax group hands out cannabis edibles to curb opioid use, but doctor has concerns

Supporters say program helps break addiction cycle, but Dr. Samuel Hickcox says approach lacks evidence | CBC News, Canada

USask launches first study on effects of smoked cannabis on brain development

University of Saskatchewan (USask) pharmacologist Robert Laprairie will use a Brain Canada research grant to determine how a mother's use of cannabis during pregnancy affects the brain of the developing fetus she's carrying | EurekAlert, Canada

Chronic pain patients 'suffering unnecessarily' call for urgent solution to national specialist shortage

Peter Matthews has only managed about two hours' sleep a night since being struck down with debilitating pain in August | abc.net.au, Australia

New Zealand-made, pharma-grade cannabis medicines - will they be affordable?

The Government is being urged to consider watering down safety standards or subsidising cannabis medicines to ensure products are accessible and affordable | NZ Herald, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Editorial: The Evolution of Advocacy

Entering the drug reform space four years ago was a shock to the system. Despite years of working with the most complex and vulnerable populations in the UK, nothing had prepared me for the pure terror of a live TV interview on the BBC, or standing in front of hundreds of academics, thought leaders and politicians with the weight of having to say something insightful to capture their attention | VolteFace, UK