Daily news - 13th November 2020

Weekly subscribe button

UK news

Alcohol Awareness Week 

Alcohol Awareness Week 2020 will take place from 16-22 November 2020 on the theme of Alcohol and mental health. It's a week of awareness-raising, campaigning for change, and more. Take part by signing up to our newsletter below to find out more and get your free resources | Alcohol Change UK, UK

Alcohol banned from trains and stations across Scotland

No alcohol from Monday on trains and in stations, ScotRail has ruled | STV, UK

Statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services in England April 2019 to March 2020

51% of people successfully quit (self-reported). Of 221,678 people setting a quit date, 114,153 were successful. Of those successfully quitting, 62% had their results confirmed by Carbon Monoxide verification | NHS Digital, UK

Social renters 14 times more likely than homeowners to be victims of alcohol-related domestic violence

Minimum alcohol pricing would “disproportionately benefit” poorer households after analysis revealed social renters were more than 14 times more likely to be victims of alcohol related domestic violence than homeowners | University of Liverpool, UK

Medics in the North West warn the pandemic may be causing increasing addiction to painkillers - video

Alarmingly, new research has shown that more than a quarter of Britons have either started taking or increased their substance use of prescription drugs like opioids, alcohol and illegal drugs | ITV, UK

Lockdown 2.0: What Does This Mean For Drug Use

Covid-19 and mental health problems are two pandemics that have simultaneously collided. The inextricable link between addiction and mental illness has been exacerbated by this pandemic | Volteface, UK

One in ten hospital trusts have been asked to approve unlicensed cannabis-based medicinal prescriptions

Around 10% of hospital trusts responding to a freedom of information request said they had received requests for prescriptions of unlicensed cannabis-based medical products since 1 November 2018 | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

The Overwhelming Argument for Rescheduling Psilocybin to Schedule 2 in the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001

In July, the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group (‘CDPRG’) produced the most compelling argument (so far) for rescheduling of psilocybin | Volteface, UK

'Soft justice' orders hit record high of 130,000 'slaps on the wrist'

[Limited number of free articles per week] ... But the biggest increase was drug offences, with a doubling to 52,000 in the number handed community resolution orders, informal punishments where the offender avoids a criminal record and “resolves” the offence by apologising to the victim or paying them compensation | Telegraph, UK

Coca-Cola launches new fruit-flavoured 'alcoholic water' in UK which experts claim has 'reinvented alcopops' and is 'stronger than an average beer'

Following a slump in sales of some of its most popular drinks, the firm will this month launch Topo Chico hard seltzer in Britain | Mail Online, UK

Registrations open for the Launch Event – Consultation on the Implementation of the Ten Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Standards for Scotland

20 November 2020 / 13.00 – 14.30. The ten MAT Standards, developed through the work of the Drug Death Task Force’s MAT Sub-group, are a key part of the response to Scotland’s drug-related deaths public health emergency. They represent the basis for a transformational change of the experiences of people engaged with MAT services in Scotland. The event will share learning from the initial improvement work in delivering Standards 1-5 that deal with service access and engagement. The Standards 6-10 deal with system wide approaches and there will be a series of online workshops after this event to discuss all ten standards | SDF, UK

Posters - SSA Annual Conference 2020

Links to all the posters form the recent conference | SSA, UK

The stigma of substance use, with Liviu Alexandrescu and James Morris

Tue, 15 December 2020, 13:00 – 14:30 GMT. This webinar will explore stigma, marginality, labelling and ‘othering’ as barriers to change for people who use substances | SUAB, UK



International news

How will drug legalization affect America's communities of color?

Despite electoral successes, it remains unclear how the new measures will affect those who have been disproportionately targeted in the war on drugs | Guardian, UK

Woolworths set to build one of Australia's biggest liquor stores near dry Darwin Aboriginal communities

Territory rushes through laws to allow a Dan Murphy’s outlet held back for several years by strong community opposition | Guardian, UK

Alcohol Action Ireland welcomes move to separate alcohol from other items in shops

Alcohol will be separated from regular items in shops from today | Irish Mirror, Ireland

Drugs smuggled into prisons after being sprayed onto letters and newspapers

New detection machines are finding drugs such as fentanyl being smuggled into prisons after being sprayed onto letters, newspapers and other items sent through the post | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Irish teens more likely to take illegal drugs but smoking and drinking levels falling, EU report shows

The report revealed 37% of Irish teenagers already used an e-cigarette at some stage | Journal, Ireland

ESPAD Report 2019

The report is based on the findings of a 2019 survey of 15- to 16- year-old students in 35 European countries and provides a unique insight into substance use and other forms of risk behaviour. It includes comparable data on illicit drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, e-cigarettes and social media as well as gaming and gambling | ESPAD and EMCDDA, Portugal

Substance use among 15- to 16-year-old students (ESPAD 2019) - video

The latest European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) report, launched on 12 November 2020 | ESPAD and EMCDDA, Portugal

A potential game-changer to reverse alcohol intoxication

Researchers present a proof of concept of a simple method that could become a game-changer in rescue therapy for severe alcohol intoxication, as well as just 'sobering up.' | Science Daily, USA

Association of Electronic Cigarette Use With Incident Respiratory Conditions Among US Adults From 2013 to 2018

 In this nationally representative cohort of 21 618 US adults from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health study, former and current use of e-cigarettes were associated with increased risk of developing a respiratory condition compared with no prior use of e-cigarettes, independent of other tobacco product use | JAMA Network, USA

Are e-cigarette users at greater risk of poor immune response to flu, COVID-19?

In a controlled study of smokers, nonsmokers, and e-cigarette users, University of North Carolina School of Medicine researchers found that e-cigarette users exhibited significantly altered immune responses to a model of influenza virus infection, suggesting increased susceptibility to disease | Medical Xpress, USA

A Tragic Link: Drugs and Rising Women’s Incarceration

After skyrocketing for decades, overall incarceration rates have finally been on a slow decline since 2008. But a closer look at the data reveals a major exception | The Crime Report, USA

Gender Differences in Medical Cannabis Use: Symptoms Treated, Physician Support for Use, and Prescription Medication Discontinuation

Women are more likely to report decreased use of prescription medications to treat symptoms, and report lower levels of support from physicians for MC use. Future research on gender differences in this population may benefit from more detailed data related to symptomology, utilization, dosing, and outcomes associated with MC, and interactions with the health care system to extend these findings | Journal of Women's Health, USA

California would decriminalize psychedelic drugs under Scott Wiener bill

California lawmakers will consider next year whether to allow the use of psychedelic drugs that supporters argue have therapeutic benefits | SF Chronicle, USA

“Here to Make It Less Dangerous”—The Work of a Dark-Web Drug Seller

In today’s bifurcated illicit drug trade, it’s increasingly common for transactions to occur anonymously, online—on the 0.01 percent of the deep web known as the dark web, which is inaccessible on most browsers | Filter Magazine, USA

Argentina to Allow Medicinal Marijuana to Be Grown at Home

The new regulation also orders insurance providers to cover cannabis products prescribed by doctors. Some of the strongest champions of the government’s move were mothers of sick children | NYTimes, USA

Hong Kong: Long Sentences and the Short End of the Stick for Female Drug Offenders

On November 2, Hong Kong officials announced a record-breaking seizure of over half-a-ton of methamphetamine reportedly worth $39 million USD. Drug trafficking is not new to Asia: the continent’s meth trade is estimated to be worth $61 billion dollars today. Yet recent reports on mass incarceration in Asia state that Asia’s War on Drugs disproportionately affects women | Asia Media, USA

Bereaved mothers’ engagement in drug policy reform: A multisite qualitative analysis

Globally, a tainted drug supply is claiming the lives of tens of thousands of people who use drugs and current measures are not quelling this crisis. Within this context, mothers who have lost a child to substance use have emerged as vocal advocates for drug policy changes. This paper explores mothers’ experiences in drug policy advocacy to uncover how they are using their stories to drive policy change | IJDP, Canada

Second Hong Kong teacher sacked, this time for Opium War blunder as lawmaker says punishment too harsh

A Hong Kong primary school teacher who gave pupils a factually incorrect account of the Sino-British Opium War has been barred from the profession, the second educator in recent weeks to incur such a punishment | HKFP, Hong Kong

UN prepares to vote on cannabis recommendations

The largest recommendation will see THC (a psychoactive component of cannabis) removed from the 1961 Drug Convention and rescheduled with cannabis as Schedule 1 drug – the least restrictive classification | Pondering Pot, Australia

Major health insurer becomes first in Australia to support medical cannabis treatments

HIF has become the first major private health insurer to publicly declare support for medical cannabis and one of the first to offer rebates for the treatments under their extras policies | SMH, Australia

'Marianne taught me everyone matters': the doctor who broke a drug user's 25-year addiction

Kevin Street, 64, had been a heroin user for 25 years when he first entered the Kings Cross injecting centre run by physician Marianne Jauncey, 50. Off the drug for two years now, Kevin has taught Marianne about grace and compassion | SMH, Australia

Dead bears, knives in pens: Inside an Australian Border Force mailroom

About two kilograms of ephedra were detected in the first three months of 2020; from April to May, more than 66 kilograms were found, leading authorities to believe it was being used by people seeking COVID-19 cures | SMH, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Vaccinating against drug and alcohol deaths

There are 200 deaths a day related to the opiate crisis in the USA. In Scotland we have the highest number of drug-related deaths in Europe, perhaps in the world. A task force set up by the Scottish Government has recommended six interventions to tackle our crisis which we hope will make a difference. I am increasingly convinced though that something is missing – something which could make a significant impact | Recovery Review blog, UK

Irvine Welsh: ‘In the current climate, it’s hard for an artist to be honest with themselves’

[Limited number of free articles per week] The author of Trainspotting talks about cancel culture, causing offence and cocking a snook at the literary world | Telegraph, UK

America is realising the futility of an all-out war on drugs and Scotland needs to do so too – Kenny MacAskill MP

Beyond Donald Trump’s defeat, the only saving grace of the American elections was the progress on drug reform. Almost everywhere that a vote for change was on the ballot success was had | The Scotsman, UK

Does America still want its War on Drugs?

A series of ballots across the US indicates a shift in attitude towards decriminalisation | UnHerd, UK

Joe Biden and Drug Control: A More Complete Picture (Part 3—the Late ’80s)

Now that Joe Biden has been duly elected president, I want to continue exploring his drug control activities where I left off last month | Points blog, USA

Purdue Pharma’s Plea Deal Won’t Solve America’s Drug Problem

Billion-dollar fines will never mend the myriad social issues underlying Americans’ voracious appetite for pain relief | Undark, USA