Daily news - 20th November 2020

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UK news

The impacts of COVID-19 on people who use drugs in Scotland

A new website reports results of a rapid research project that sought to understand how the social response to COVID-19 has affected people who use drugs including: drug markets, drug use, access to harm reduction and treatment services, physical and mental health, and recovery | University of Stirling, UK

Police Scotland to pilot carriage of Naloxone by officers

Proposals for a test of change (pilot project) for the carriage, and use, of intra-nasal spray Naloxone by Police Scotland officers have been approved by the organisation | Police Scotland, UK

Humza Yousaf backs drug campaigner Peter Krykant who ran illegal fix room

[Free one month trial available] Scotland’s justice secretary has defended an activist charged by police with operating an illegal drugs consumption van | The Times, UK

Drug Offences (Glasgow)

The cabinet secretary will be aware that the Scottish Government can do more under its existing powers. For example, the Lord Advocate’s guidance directly impacts on how police respond to arrangements such as the mobile safe consumption room that Peter Krykant set up in Glasgow. Between Mr Krykant’s efforts and the actions of the police, which does the cabinet secretary believe do more to enhance public safety? | They work for you, UK

Minimum unit pricing works better if implemented alongside reformed alcohol taxes

The UK government has put out a call for evidence, seeking views on how well the alcohol duty system currently works and how it could be reformed. In new IFS research – funded by the European Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council and published today - we show that minimum unit prices for alcohol are reasonably well targeted at heavy drinkers, but come at the cost of hindering competition and reducing tax revenues | IFS, UK

SHAAP Manifesto for the 2021 Scottish Parliament Election

Scotland is an international leader in advancing evidence-based alcohol policies that protect people's health. Yet, despite the commitments and achievements of the 2009 and 2018 Alcohol Frameworks, levels of alcohol harm in Scotland remain high | SHAAP, UK

Edinburgh MP's plea for medicinal cannabis farm to change policy on NHS funding for prescriptions

Scotland's first legal cannabis farm should prompt a rethink of the policy which has denied Edinburgh youngster Murray Gray easy access to cannabis-based medicines to treat his extreme form of epilepsy, an MP has said | Scotsman, UK

Volunteers share their stories for Alcohol Awareness Week

Volunteers from a Greater Manchester training programme which empowers communities to take control of their alcohol consumption have been sharing their thoughts on alcohol and mental health – the theme for this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week | RSPH, UK

Alcohol Awareness Week: How to recognise and remedy problematic drinking in lockdown

2020 has seen a trend of lockdown drinking as a coping mechanism for many | Independent, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Scotland

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has made an assessment of the effect of minimum unit pricing for alcohol on the alcoholic drinks industry in Scotland on levels of crime in that country | They work for you, UK

Coronavirus: Licensed Premises

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether premises operating under a Club Premises Certificate are permitted to continue to supply alcohol to members without providing a substantial meal in any area within Tier 3 of the COVID-19 restrictions | They work for you, UK

Webinar: Drug and alcohol related mortality - looking beyond the statistics

Mon, 7 December 2020, 10:00 – 12:00 GMT. In October the Office for National Statistics published the latest statistics for drug-related deaths in 2019, showing – yet again – a record year in almost a decade of increasing deaths and an appalling picture of human loss and suffering | Collective Voice, UK

Peaceful Solutions to the War on Drugs - free event

Wed, 16 December 2020, 17:00 – 20:00 GMT. Join us for this special line up who will discuss drug policy reform, grassroots activism and the harms created by the war on drugs | Recoverying Justice, UK

House of Lords spent nearly £2,000,000 on alcohol in five years

Campaigners have hit out at the House of Lords for spending so much money on alcohol while many struggle throughout the coronavirus pandemic | Metro, UK

Cannabis smoking parents will be reported to social services, police warn

Officers sent out a cautionary letter to people living in the south of the city following a rise in reports of people smoking illegal substances in the street. Extra police have also been patrolling a street in Quedgeley | Gloucestershire Online, UK

Million-pound cannabis farm found in Brent after tip-off

Police have seized £1 million of cannabis after finding plants growing on the top floor of a building in Brent, north London | ITV, UK


International news

CBD is not a narcotic, says EU court as it rules French ban is illegal

Court rules that French ban on marketing hemp-derived CBD products contradicts EU law | Guardian, UK

The Impact of Global Drug Policy on Women: Shifting the Needle

The ebook edition of this title is Open Access and freely available to read online. Examining the impact of drug criminalisation on a previously overlooked demographic, this book argues that women are disproportionately affected by a flawed policy approach | Emerald Insight, UK

The grief of losing my son and husband drove me to drug addiction

Using ice helped mask the pain – but my health and life quickly unravelled. I spent almost three years in jail for dealing drugs | Guardian, UK

Vote in Mexico brings world's largest legal weed market one step closer

Mexico’s Senate approved a landmark cannabis legalization bill in a landslide vote on Thursday, paving the way for the creation of the world’s largest legal marijuana market if the initiative passes the next hurdle in the lower house of Congress | Reuters, UK

50.6 Million U.S. Adults Currently Use Tobacco Products

Findings from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released today show that approximately 1 in 5 U.S. adults reported currently using a tobacco product in 2019, with about 80% of those adults reporting that they use combustible products such as cigarettes | CDC, USA

Age gates on alcohol websites are ineffective, research shows

"Age gates" that aim to keep underage users off alcohol websites are mostly ineffective, a Texas A&M University alcohol researcher found | Medical Xpress, USA

Drug eases recovery for those with severe alcohol withdrawal

A drug once used to treat high blood pressure can help alcoholics with withdrawal symptoms reduce or eliminate their drinking, Yale University researchers report | Medical Xpress, USA

Teenagers facing COVID-19 and EVALI show similar symptoms

A UC Davis Health pediatric team presented a powerful case series of three teenagers who had unexplained breathing problems during the COVID-19 pandemic. The series highlighted the similarities between e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) and COVID-19 symptoms and manifestations | News Medical, USA

Cannabis use disorder may increase risk of COVID-19 hospitalization

Researchers in the United States have conducted a study suggesting that genetic vulnerability to a psychiatric syndrome called cannabis use disorder (CUD) may increase the risk of developing severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that requires hospitalization | News Medical, USA

Limited access to buprenorphine restricts resident physicians treating opioid abusers

A University of South Florida Health study is one of the first to assess barriers resident physicians face in prescribing buprenorphine, the FDA-approved medication for opioid use disorder, and their attitudes toward opioid addiction | EurekAlert, USA

Debunking Crystal Meth Myths

Around 500,000 people in California are addicted to methamphetamine. Out of a population of almost 40 million, that’s one in every 200 people | VICE, USA

San Francisco Considers Ban on Smoking and Vaping in Private Apartments

San Francisco lawmakers are considering a ban on all smoking and vaping inside private apartment buildings. The proposed ordinance is presented as an attempt to limit secondhand exposure to inhalants from both traditional smoking (“combustibles”) and vaping | Inside Sources, USA

The CBD panacea? The jury is still out on whether CBD can help treat cannabis use disorder

As policies on the production and sale of cannabis become more liberalized across the United States and internationally, increasing numbers of individuals have begun to consume it | Recovery Research Institute, USA

How do individuals fare long-term after receiving long-acting, injectable formulations of buprenorphine for opioid use disorder?

This paper reports 12-month outcomes from a study of individuals who had previously taken part in one of two, year-long, clinical trials of a long-acting, injectable formulation of buprenorphine for moderate to severe opioid use disorder | Recovery Research Institute, USA

Harm Reduction “Satellite Sites” Are a Powerful, Underutilized Model

People who use drugs have been taking care of each other ever since people have used drugs. And practicing care takes many forms | Filter Magazine, USA

The Number of Small Fishing Vessels Smuggling Illegal Drugs Has Tripled

A lack of options for commercial fishermen in coastal communities has led to a boom in trafficking | Smithsonian Magazine, USA

Media Release: Calling cannabis home growers - have your say

Surprised by NZ’s decision on legalising cannabis? Want to contribute to research that aims to inform cannabis regulation in Australia and around the world? | NDRI, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Alcohol Awareness Week 2020 - Alcohol and mental health

Mental health issues affect approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK, so in that context, let’s take a look at three key things marketers should bear in mind when featuring alcohol in ads | ASA blog, UK

St Mungo's: Supporting people facing complex challenges

In this blog, Emma Cookson from homelessness charity St Mungo's discusses the mutually reinforcing relationship between alcohol and mental health problems and homelessness, and how treatment services are often designed only to treat one of those problems at a time | Alcohol Change UK blog, UK

Secret Drug Addict: ‘Lockdown has been on another level’

People are drinking more during the pandemic as the country struggles with the stress and uncertainty. But there is help out there, writes the Secret Drug Addict | The Big Issue, UK

Using genetic information to inform policy on cannabis

Cannabis is a commonly used drug, and a substantial minority of individuals who use it frequently will develop cannabis use disorder (CUD). Johnson and colleagues identify a high genetic correlation between liability to frequent cannabis use and CUD | Lancet opinion, UK

College-age kids are drinking less alcohol – but smoking more marijuana

Young adults aren’t drinking as much as they used to. In fact, more than a quarter don’t drink alcohol at all, recent surveys show | Conversation, USA

COVID-19 Risk for People in Addiction Recovery?

Health and psychosocial risks associated with COVID-19 fall disproportionately on historically marginalized populations. I recently reviewed published studies on preliminary findings related to COVID-19 among people experiencing or recovering from substance use disorders (SUD).  Major findings from this review are summarized below | William White Papers, USA