Daily news - 16th November 2020

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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

Baby boomers hit the booze as Covid lockdown sees young pensioners who are missing out on holidays and socialising spending their money on alcohol instead, psychiatrists say

A survey of the Royal College of Psychiatrists found that 45 per cent of the experts had seen a rise in patients where alcohol or drug use had helped to worsen their mental health during the pandemic. Dr Emily Finch, the vice-chairman of the college's addictions faculty and also a government adviser, said young middle class pensioners had turned to alcohol after being deprived of their freedom and seeing friends | Mail Online, UK

Effect of the covid-19 outbreak and the abolition of Public Health England on achieving a smokefree England by 2030

Research Briefing for a debate to be held in the Commons Chamber on Thursday 12 November 2020 [See item below] | House of Commons Library, UK

Smokefree England: Covid-19 and PHE Abolition

That this House welcomes the Government’s ambition for England to be smokefree by 2030;notes the increasing disparities in smoking rates between the richest and poorest in society;further notes the effect of the covid-19 outbreak and the opportunities and risks provided by the reorganisation of public health on the UK’s ability to achieve this ambition;and calls on the Government to set out the further steps it plans to take to deliver a smokefree England by 2030 | They work for you, UK

Alcohol ban comes into force on Scotland's rail network

ScotRail said the temporary policy had been put in place to support public health measures and keep people safe during the Covid pandemic | BBC, UK

How has COVID-19 affected drug use?

COVID-19 has changed our lives: from travel bans, social and physical isolation and empty cities to workers laid off and governments scrambling to muster effective responses. The impact that coronavirus has had on people varies widely and differently between countries. Relationships may be placed under new stresses and for those educating children at home, long division will never have seemed so hard | Drug Science, UK

'Toxic' drug warning as man dies and woman critically ill in Cardiff

Officers in Cardiff said they have launched an investigation into the supply of dangerous drugs, believed to be linked to the anaesthetic ketamine | BBC, UK

Prisons: Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to Offender management statistics quarterly: April to June 2020, published on 29th October 2020, what lessons have been learned on (a) the value of substance abuse testing in prisons... | They work for you, UK

Navy cut cigarettes! Senior service bans smoking on board vessels from January

As well as cigarettes, all forms of tobacco products will be banned from January, including ships and submarines | Mail Online, UK

Loud music could be banned on buses in West Midlands

Playing loud music and using e-cigarettes on buses in the West Midlands look set to be banned under plans by travel bosses | BBC, UK

DDN readers’ survey 2020

Please take a moment to give us some feedback on DDN Magazine. It would really help to know what you like, what you find useful, what you wish there was more of, and of course what you think we need to do better (be gentle, we are a sensitive bunch..) | DDN, UK

Street Drugs Discussions: Evidence and E-Cigarette Use in England - free event

Fri, November 20, 2020, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM GMT. Dr Sharon Cox gives us and expert lead view on E-Cigarette use in England | London Metropolitan University, UK

County Lines' Conrad Khan: 'Kids with no emotional support are easy prey'

His schoolmates had no idea he had a secret life as an actor. As he plays a drugs courier in an unflinching new film ... | Guardian, UK

County line drugs: 33 sentenced after Barrow deaths spark probe

Thirty-three people who were part of a "county lines" drug dealing operation have been sentenced | BBC, UK

Abdul Deghayes death: Drug dealer jailed for murder

Abdul Deghayes, 22, was stabbed eight times by 37-year-old Daniel Macleod in Brighton on 16 February 2019 | BBC, UK


International news

Cannabis resin now 25% more potent, global study reveals

Concentrations of intoxicating THC have risen, data from more than 80,000 street drug samples gathered over 50 years shows | Guardian, UK

Changes in delta‐9‐tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) concentrations in cannabis over time: systematic review and meta‐analysis

[Open access] Cannabis products with high delta‐9‐tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentrations carry an increased risk of addiction and mental health disorders, while it has been suggested that cannabidiol (CBD) may moderate the effects of THC. This study aimed to systematically review and meta‐analyse changes in THC and CBD concentrations in cannabis over time | Addiction, UK

Irish Update: Cannabis reform in Ireland with Natalie O’Regan & CCAN

“The system here is basically a mess. People are being criminalised for being caught with joints, or tiny amounts of cannabis, as well as for growing cannabis and possessing it in larger quantities, even if it’s for personal use.” – Nicole, Founder of CCAN, the Cork Cannabis Activist Network | Volteface, UK

How marijuana legalization made strides across the US in this election

Only 15 states still outlaw the drug in any form, but experts shifting public perceptions have reached a tipping point | Guardian, UK

Hyperventilating can help clear alcohol from body faster, researchers find

Discovery could potentially help treat patients suffering from alcohol poisoning, Canadian team says | Guardian, UK

How North Korea is trying to tackle smoking

How does a country like North Korea tackle one of the world's highest smoking rates when its leader sends the wrong message by constantly lighting up in public? | BBC, UK

2-month-old baby tests positive for heroin after being found unresponsive with injection marks

Authorities say a 2-month-old baby girl tested positive for heroin and was placed on life support after being found unresponsive with injection marks in Texas over the weekend | Independent, UK

ESPAD 2019: European Schools Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs in Ireland (PDF)

This report presents key findings from the 2019 ESPAD survey in Ireland and provides information on prevalence of substance use (alcohol, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, illicit drugs, inhalants and new psychoactive substances), perceived availability of substances, age of initiation of substance use, and prevalence of internet use, gaming and gambling. Associated factors including gender, social class, familial and peer variables are also examined for each behaviour | Tobacco Free Research Institute Ireland, Ireland

€480,000 support made available to restore local drug and alcohol services

The €480,000 will be made available to the network of 24 Drug and Alcohol Task Forces for distribution to community and voluntary drug and alcohol services in their areas. Each task force will receive up to €20,000 in once-off funding to meet Covid-19 related costs | Independent, Ireland

Belgian police seize 11.5T of cocaine in ‘largest overseas drug bust ever’

Belgian prosecutors have dealt a new blow to a recently disbanded drug gang led by a former Belgian police chief after announcing the largest-ever overseas drug bust “in the world.” | Brussels Times, Belgium

Report on the risk assessment of N,N-diethyl-2- [[4-(1-methylethoxy)phenyl]methyl]-5-nitro-1Hbenzimidazole- 1-ethanamine (isotonitazene) in accordance with Article 5c of Regulation (EC) No 1920/2006 (as amended)

This publication presents the data and findings of the risk assessment on N,N-diethyl-2-[[4-(1-methylethoxy)phenyl]methyl]-5-nitro-1H-benzimidazole-1- ethanamine (isotonitazene), carried out by the extended Scientific Committee of the EMCDDA on 26 May 2020 | EMCDDA, Portugal

European synthetic biology company Octarine raises $1.8M USD in funding and enters pre-clinical studies with novel-improved- cannabinoid and psychedelic derivatives

Today, Octarine Bio ApS, a synthetic biology company developing biosynthetic platforms for cannabinoids, psychedelics and their novel improved derivatives announced the successful closing of Seed financing led by the Danish State Growth Fund (Vækstfonden) with participation from Enexis AB, Oskare Capital and cannabis and psychedelic industry veteran Bruce Linton | CISION, Denmark

‘We do what we can as soon as we can’ Alcohol and Other Drug workforce perspectives on preventing and responding to prenatal alcohol exposure

Alcohol use during pregnancy is associated with outcomes including miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). FASD refers to neurodevelopmental problems that arise from prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) | DEPP, USA

Bill to decriminalize marijuana in N.J. passes in committee — and is amended to include hallucinogenic mushrooms

A key committee in the New Jersey Senate on Thursday unanimously approved a bill to remove criminal penalties for possession of up to six ounces of marijuana | Philadelphia Inquirer, USA

New research reveals key steps to fight flavored tobacco

Restrictions on flavored tobacco products are a great way to promote public health, and these restrictions work best if public health experts form partnerships with tobacco retailers, run intensive media campaigns, and advocate for comprehensive bans on the products | Medical Xpress, USA

Patients struggle to access prescription opioids after New York tax drives away suppliers

Mike Angevine lives in constant pain. For a decade the 37-year-old has relied on opioids to manage his chronic pancreatitis, a disease with no known cure | Fortune, USA

The war on drugs destroyed people. But S.F.’s passive approach to the drug crisis is costing lives, too

Two bodies a day continue to arrive at the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office, laid to waste by drugs, usually fentanyl | SF Chronicle, USA

CCSA Annual Report

Change informed by evidence is a central theme for the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA). As an independent, neutral, non-partisan and trusted third-party expert on substance use and addiction, our work is always firmly rooted in science and sound methodology, and driven by compassion | CCSA, Canada

Can we reduce drug overdose deaths in the middle of a COVID pandemic?

There are some innovative programs by government, community organizers and police. But as one advocate laments, "people are dying in greater numbers than ever." | Vancouver Sun, Canada

Supreme Court to examine minimum sentences for fentanyl trafficking

The high court has agreed to jointly hear the appeals of two men who received stiffer penalties when Alberta's Court of Appeal ruled that convictions for wholesale fentanyl trafficking should carry a minimum sentence of nine years | CBC News, Canada

Provinces pursue OxyContin maker for $67B US in costs associated with Canada's opioid crisis

In an effort to claw back the public health-care costs incurred by the opioid crisis, Canada's provinces have filed a $67.4-billion US claim against OxyContin producer Purdue Pharma | CBC News, Canada

Montreal police officers now trained, equipped with naloxone

Montreal police officers will finally begin carrying the life-saving medication naloxone after a long campaign by advocates for those with addiction issues | Global News, Canada

International health data comparisons, 2020

Includes an analysis of health risk factors such as alcohol and tobacco consumption | AIHW, Australia

Key findings from the ‘Australians’ Drug Use: Adapting to Pandemic Threats’ (ADAPT) Study Wave 2

Australians who regularly (i.e. at least once a month) used illicit drugs in 2019 were invited to complete an online survey initially and follow-up surveys in 2 months, 6 months, 12 months, 2 years and 3 years | NDARC, Australia

Plan launched to address alcohol-fuelled harm as concern grows about alcohol industry tactics

Amidst growing concerns about alcohol-fuelled harm and the alcohol industry influence on children, the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) has today launched a platform urging Australian governments to implement policy changes to drive action on this pressing community issue | NAAA, Australia

Baby Boomers revealed to be biggest drinkers in new report

A survey on behalf of Hello Sunday Morning (HSM) asked more than 1250 Australians about their drinking habits in September, and found people aged 65-74 were drinking more than double the amount younger Australians were | news.com.au, Australia

Waiting to exhale: Ampol backs easing of e-cigarette restrictions

A major Australian convenience store and petrol station retailer says it would be happy to train staff to suggest e-cigarettes as an alternative to normal cigarettes in a bid to help reduce the smoking rate | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

'Not preaching': alcohol-free brewers hope to change drinking culture

Four mates who launched non-alcoholic beer company Heaps Normal during the coronavirus lockdown have raised $1.3 million from investors, including prominent start-up founders, as they look to tap growing demand for alcohol-free drinks | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

Prisons struggle to swat drug-smuggling drones

Prison authorities are fighting off an aerial invasion by drones being used to smuggle drugs and other contraband into Victorian jails while the system has been in lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic | The Age, Australia

ACT Health apologises for leaving man at risk of self harm with enough medication to overdose

A man experiencing a mental health crisis that put him at severe risk of self harm was left alone with dangerous amounts of medication while receiving treatment at Canberra Hospital, leading to a life-threatening overdose | abc.net.au, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Four Takeaways After More States Legalize Marijuana | Opinion

Every election cycle, versions of the same headline pop up: "Americans are united for legalizing marijuana." The implication is that federal marijuana legalization, despite its opponents in the public health and safety fields, is right around the corner | Newsweek, USA

Murder charges in drug overdose deaths are rare. Here's why police, prosecutors say that's the case

The afternoon of July 24, Baton Rouge Police officers arrived at the Red Roof Inn, where they discovered an unresponsive 40-year-old woman who later died at the hospital | The Advocate, USA

The numbers suggest the campaign for cannabis reform in NZ will outlive the generations that voted against it

Reactions to the result of the cannabis referendum were highly polarised. Some argued the majority verdict must be accepted. Others pointed to the narrow margin — 50.7% to 48.4% — as evidence that the issue is still alive politically | Conversation, New Zealand