Daily news - 17th November 2020

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UK news

More than half of over 50s drinking at risky levels

More than 50 per cent of over 50s are drinking at levels that ‘could cause health problems now or in the future’, according to research commissioned by With You (We Are With You), while almost a quarter are classed as ‘high risk or possibly dependent’ | DDN, UK

Alcohol related hospital statistics

In the financial year 2019 to 2020 there were 35,781 alcohol-related hospital admissions (stays) in general acute hospitals in Scotland | ISD Scotland, UK

Two thirds of serving or ex-Service personnel with a current or prior alcohol problem are not seeking help

A new report launched by the University of Liverpool and King’s College London shows that more than two thirds (71%) of serving and ex-Service personnel who self-reported a current or prior alcohol problem, have not sought help | University of Liverpool, UK

The Frequency and Content of Discussions About Alcohol Use in Primary Care and Application of the Chief Medical Officer’s Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines: A Cross-Sectional Survey of General Practitioners and Practice Nurses in the UK 

To examine how often general practitioners (GPs) and practice nurses (PNs) working in primary care discuss alcohol with patients, what factors prompt discussions, how they approach patient discussions and whether the Chief Medical Officers’ (CMO) revised low-risk drinking guidelines are appropriately advised | Alcohol and Alcoholism, UK

Buying alcohol could be BANNED after 9pm across England after lockdown lifted, minister suggests

Robert Jenrick said once the lockdown ends on December 2, the local lockdown tiers could be ramped up - and could even include a ban on buying booze from off-licenses | The Sun, UK

Inside Amy's Place, a Drug Recovery Sanctuary for Young Women

Created by Amy Winehouse’s parents, it's the UK's only housing project specifically set up to help young women recover from drug addiction | VICE, UK

A Review – how has our community been impacted by COVID19?

The COVID19 pandemic affected drug and alcohol providers across Wales, forcing them to completely re-design service provision in a relatively short timescale. The implications of this were vast | Kaleidoscope Project, UK

Road Traffic Offences

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to expedite the approval process for new technologies aimed at enforcing road traffic speeds and other road traffic offences | They work for you, UK

Take Drugs Seriously Webinars

To take us through the last few weeks of 2020, we’ve put together a series of webinars focusing on what you need to know about cocaine, MDMA, cannabis and benzos | CREW, UK

When Does Alcohol Become a Problem? - free event

Fri, 20 November 2020, 15:00 – 16:00 GMT. An informal conversation with Scottish Families on how Covid-19 is affecting families across Scotland and when alcohol becomes a problem | SFAD, UK

David Player obituary

Trailblazing doctor and director general of the Health Education Council who took on the tobacco and alcohol industries | Guardian, UK

Drug dealer denies intent to harm Sutton-in-Ashfield addict

Ross Ball, 42, died on 1 November last year after an attack on his flat at Langton Court, Sutton-in-Ashfield | BBC, UK


International news

Access to treatment for people who use drugs in the Sultanate of Oman

In Oman, treatment for addiction is free; however, there is just one tertiary psychiatric hospital, Al Massara Hospital, and this is located in Muscat, the capital city | SSA, UK

Sustainable Livelihoods and the Legal Regulation of Drugs - webinar

18 November, 16:30-18:00 BST. London – 15:30-17:00. Part Six of the webinar series - 'A World with Drugs: Legal Regulation through a Development Lens' | International Drug Policy Consortium et al, UK

Government to give gardaí the power to fine people who gather outside to drink alcohol

Yesterday, the Taoiseach confirmed the government would review the selling of takeaway drinks | Journal, Ireland

Supervised Injection Facilities and Other Supervised Consumption Sites: Effectiveness and Value (PDF)

The purpose of this assessment is to evaluate the health and economic outcomes of a SIF. This review seeks to answer the question: What is the net health benefit of implementing a SIF (which includes an SSP) versus an SSP alone? | ICER, USA

Naloxone Should Be As Ubiquitous As Tylenol

In every first-aid kit in America, next to the gauze, Band-Aids, and ibuprofen, there should be naloxone | Slate, USA

Study: e-cigarette users have increased susceptibility 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 | News Medical, USA

Cannabinoids may help limit secondary damage of TBIs

In the hours and days after a traumatic brain injury, inflammation inside the brain can accelerate to the point that more brain damage occurs, says a scientist working to better understand the acceleration and whether interventions like cannabinoids can improve patient outcomes | Medical Xpress, USA

Street Fentanyl Surges In Western U.S., Leading To Thousands Of Deaths

Seven months ago, when Jake got out of jail in Phoenix, he expected to go back to using his drug of choice: heroin. But the street market for illegal opioids had changed | npr, USA

My Friend Was Abducted Into Forced Addiction Treatment in Mexico

In the early days of October, Shawn* was detained by police in the city of Mexicali, the capital of Baja California, Mexico. Shawn insisted that he was not committing any crime, whether drug-related or not, and he was not charged with anything. Yet he was involuntarily admitted into an addiction “treatment” center | Filter Magazine, USA

Africa: What are the Current Challenges for Tobacco Harm Reduction?

On November 4th, 2020, the United-Kingdom based public health organization Knowledge Action Change, which aims at promoting health through the concept of harm reduction, issued an expert report entitled: Burning Issues: The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction. In parallel, the organisation hosted two discussion sessions about the state of tobacco harm reduction in the world | All Africa, South Africa et al

Impact of COVID-19 and associated restrictions on people who inject drugs in the Australian Capital Territory: Findings from the Illicit Drug Reporting System 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on travel and gathering have likely had major impacts on drug supply, use and harms and there have been significant challenges with delivery of drug treatment and harm reduction services | NDARC, Australia

The 2020 NDARC Annual Research Symposium - free event

Session Three: E-cigarettes and tobacco: Policy, trends and interventions. Thursday, 19 November: 9:00am - 10:30am (AEDT). Attendance is free but registration is essential, with a capacity of 500 attendees per session | NDARC, Australia

Prosecution of Māori for cannabis offences falling, says Police Commissioner

The Police Commissioner has rejected criticism that Māori are still being unfairly prosecuted for low-level cannabis offences but is concerned they are more likely to be found in possession of the drug | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Alcohol dependence and mental health

There are an estimated 589,000 people who are dependent on alcohol in England and about a quarter of them are likely to be receiving mental health medication; mostly for anxiety and depression, but also for sleep problems, psychosis and bipolar disorder | PHE blog, UK

Alcohol and families, don't suffer in silence

Picture this: "You wake up at 6am after a broken night of sleep. Your partner got to bed at 2am and is still out cold, snoring. You get up to tend to the kids in the morning, The work day is hard as you’re tired and haven’t been able to settle your anxiety. You head home not knowing what your partner will be like. Are they drunk? Are they at home?"... | DrinkCoach blog, UK

No alcohol (almost) no anxiety

I was thirteen years old when I began drinking. Admittingly, this was once a bragging point. I was living in a rural farm town where this was the “normal” thing to do. Surrounded by friends next to a fire in the woods, I opened my first beer and took a sip… | DrinkCoach blog, UK

A medical professional’s opinion on medical marijuana

Dr Charlie Easmon from Your Excellent Health Service gives a medical professional’s opinion on medical marijuana in the UK, including comment on hemp, CBD and THC | Open Access Government, UK

CBD sales are soaring, but evidence is still slim that the cannabis derivative makes a difference for anxiety or pain

Many people have turned to cannabis and its derivatives as they search for pandemic relief, and one of the most widely available ones is CBD. It is also legal | Conversation, USA

Drug decriminalization could help ease the nation’s drug epidemic, but the devil is in the details

Among the 120 statewide ballot measures before voters in the 2020 election, drug decriminalization measures passed in six states | STAT News, USA

Pot on Television: A Break from Election Anxiety

It needed to be done. After an election day [week] spent trying to avoid the inane punditry on cable news (by endlessly refreshing news sites and counting the number of different ways CNN.com tried to headline Joe Biden’s impending electoral victory), I decided to take a break and binge-watch a few recently released cannabis-themed shows I had planned on reviewing for Points in the coming months | Points blog, USA