Daily news - 23rd November 2020

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UK news

An assessment of the harms of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), and closely related compounds

This report provides an updated harms assessment of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) and related substances | ACMD, UK

Killer drug GHB 'should be reclassified', says official report

A drug that was weaponised by the UK's most prolific rapist and the serial killer Stephen Port should be reclassified, says an official report | BBC, UK

Policy Inisght: Government drugs experts recommend reclassifying GHB to a Class B drug

In January, the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs was commissioned by the government to review GHB, following the extraordinary case of Reynhard Singha, who dosed at least 48 unsuspecting men before sexually assaulting them | Volteface, UK

Problem drinking 'rife' in middle-class homes as a result of coronavirus lockdown

[Limited number of free articles per week] Health services are not designed to help middle-class problem drinkers, the president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists says | Telegraph, UK [See also comment item in blogs section below]

The Alcohol 'Problem' Podcast - Ep 2: The science of hangovers with Dr Sally Adams

In this episode we talk to Dr Sally Adams, a hangover researcher at the University of Bath's Addiction and Mental Health Group about the science around hangovers! Questions include what hangovers really are, how individuals vary in their hangover symptoms, what really 'works' to treat them and other common hangover myths | Dr James Morris, UK

Changes in cannabis with Tom Freeman - podcast

Suzi Gage speaks to Dr. Tom Freeman, director of the Addiction and Mental Health Group at the University of Bath, about his research into how the THC and CBD content of cannabis products has changed over the years | Addiction audio, UK

Young people meet Ministers and present their recommendations on alcohol marketing

The Scottish Government asked our #YSHealth panel of volunteers to develop ideas, recommendations and solutions to protect young people from alcohol marketing in Scotland. Our volunteers presented their findings and recommendations to Ministers Maree Todd MSP and Joe FitzPatrick MSP | YoungScot, UK

Volteface Launch New Video Series ‘All Good Points’ with Hanway Associates

We will be providing you with a 30 minute weekly discussions focused on global updates in the cannabis world, in a relaxed and conversational format and filmed in our central London studio | Volteface, UK

My adopted son's life was changed by alcohol in pregnancy

When Lorna took the leap to adopt, she had no idea her new family could be living with the effects of alcohol for the rest of their lives | BBC, UK

Cardiff student's family pay tribute to 'beautiful bright' daughter

An 18-year-old student who died after collapsing at a Cardiff halls of residence at the weekend has been named as Megan Pollitt from Rugby, Warwickshire | BBC, UK

Billingham 'Zombie sweet' drug warning issued by police

Cleveland Police seized a stash of the sweets, which are believed to contain cannabis or a similar substance, in a raid in Billingham on Friday | BBC, UK

Tobacco: Litter

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has received an offer from (a) Philip Morris International, (b) Imperial Brands, (c) Japan Tobacco International and (d) British American Tobacco to tackle litter from their products following the ministerial round table held by his Department in September 2020 on that matter; and if he will bring forward legislative proposals to mandate such a scheme | They work for you, UK

Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Drug and Alcohol Misuse to hear about issues in residential rehabilitation in Scotland

27th November at 10.30 -12.00. The purpose of the group is to examine current policy and practice in responding to drug and alcohol-related problems in Scotland and to advise on and promote the development of realistic, evidence-based responses, which could assist in the reduction of the damaging consequences of drug and alcohol use in Scotland | SDF, UK

Tracking via Repeated Assessment of Joint E-Cigarette and Tobacco Use

Have you recently started vaping within the last 3 months?Do you still smoke tobacco at least two days a week? It doesn’t matter if you intend to keep smoking or are trying to give up; if you answered yes to both questions we would like to invite you into this innovative study | UEA, UK

Booker Prize 2020: Douglas Stuart's novel Shuggie Bain wins

Douglas Stuart has won the Booker Prize for Shuggie Bain, his debut novel about a boy in 1980s Glasgow trying to support his mother as she struggles with addiction and poverty | BBC, UK

Law firm opens virtual boozer featuring pool tables, beer garden and DJ booth

A UK law firm has opened its own virtual pub in a bid to help its lawyers and staff socialise in a more relaxed setting during the second national lockdown | Legal Cheek, 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



International news

'The war on drugs failed': California lawmaker will push to decriminalize psychedelics

Effort by state senator Scott Wiener comes as voters across the US have opted to reform the nation’s drug laws | Guardian, UK

Majority of Australian voters in favour of pill testing, election data shows

Long-running study finds 63% of voters support drug minimisation strategy shunned by governments | Guardian, UK

Salvador Cienfuegos: The general’s release that has everyone puzzled

In unsealed court documents in October, US prosecutors claimed former Mexican Defence Minister Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda was also known as "the Godfather" | BBC, UK

Rise in drug-driving detections as  polydrug use is 'commonly' found

There was a 34% increase in the number of tests confirming the presence of drugs in motorists last year under preliminary testing, according to the Medical Bureau of Road Safety | Irish Examiner, Ireland

EMCDDA Scientific Committee appoints new Chair and Vice-Chair

The EMCDDA Scientific Committee has elected its new Chair and Vice-Chair for the period 2020–22. Prof. Dr. Catherine Comiskey (Ireland) was elected to the position of Chair and Prof. Dr. Henri Bergeron (France) to the position of Vice-Chair. The election took place virtually on 13 November at the Committee’s 52nd meeting | EMCDDA, Portugal

Coronavirus: Sweden introduces alcohol curfew as 'superspreader events' are curbed 

A nationwide ban on the sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants after 10 p.m. comes into effect across Sweden from Friday. It's another measure being introduced by Stockholm to curb the rising spread of COVID-19 cases after gatherings were limited to eight people | Euronews, Belgium

Cigarettes will disappear from supermarket shelves in 2024

Cigarettes and rolling tobacco will no longer be sold in supermarkets from 2024 and ministers are likely to confirm the decision at Friday’s cabinet meeting, ministerial sources have told broadcasters NOS and RTL Nieuws | DutchNews, The Netherlands

How a Man With a Van Is Challenging U.K. Drug Policy

A former drug user turned activist is addressing Scotland’s alarming drug death crisis by running the nation’s first drug consumption room — and risking arrest to do it | NYTimes, USA

Youth Tobacco Use: Results from the National Youth Tobacco Survey

In fall 2020, FDA and CDC released findings from the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey showing that 1.8 million fewer U.S. youth are currently using e-cigarettes compared to last year | FDA, USA

Trends in Adolescent Treatment Admissions for Marijuana in the United States, 2008–2017

This research contributes to such monitoring by mapping state-level changes in admissions for substance use disorder treatment for marijuana use among US adolescents from 2008–2017, which spans the beginning of recreational legalization in the United States in 2012 | CDC, USA

UCLA receives seven grants totaling $6.4 million for cannabis research

UCLA has received seven grants totaling $6.4 million from the California Bureau of Cannabis Control. The awards will fund studies on topics ranging from the toxicity of inhaled and second-hand cannabis smoke to employment conditions in California's cannabis industry | News Medical, USA

Sexual minorities, especially women, who misuse substances more likely to have psychiatric disorders

More than half of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals who misuse alcohol or tobacco also have a co-occurring psychiatric disorder, compared to one-third of heterosexuals, a new University of Michigan study finds | Medical Xpress, USA

Why do West Aussies vape?

"Cloud chasers connected with aspects of the vaper subculture. This included engaging in hobbyist activities like collecting mods and flavored e-liquids, making their own e-liquids and accessories such as coils," says Kahlia | Medical Xpress, USA

National Addictions Awareness Week (NAAW) is from November 22 to 28

Change Begins with Me is the theme for this year’s National Addictions Awareness Week (NAAW). We want to present Canadians with ways they can reassess the way they think about substance use disorders and people who use drugs | CCSA, Canada

One in eight summer ED presentations relate to alcohol

A nationwide ‘snapshot’ of emergency departments has laid bare the burden alcohol and methamphetamines place on Australian hospitals | RACGP, Australia

Thailand seizes ketamine worth $US1bn

Thailand has seized almost $US1 billion ($A1.4 billion) worth of contraband ketamine, most of it probably destined for Australia, Europe and Asia, the Thai Narcotics Suppression Bureau says | Yahoo News, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Comment: THC Potency on the rise: what do we take away from this?

A recent academic publication finds THC concentrations have been on the rise over the last 50 years. A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted on the changes in THC and CBD concentrations in the US, UK, Netherlands, France, Denmark, Italy and New Zealand | Volteface, UK

Andrew Tickell: Lord Advocate has a role to play over safe consumption rooms

‘But how exactly is it illegal?” Sometimes, students ask you very smart questions. This week one of my undergrads at GCU was reading about the exertions of Peter Krykant to establish a safe injecting facility in Glasgow city centre | The National, UK

It’s vital we stop this middle-class alcohol dependency crisis in its tracks

[Limited number of free articles per week] There’s no doubt that lockdown has changed the way the country consumes alcohol | Telegraph, UK

'Rehab is a vital service - it helped me reclaim the life I should have had before addiction got in the way'

Record numbers of rehab centres are closing but recovering addict Daniel Solomons says the centres "taught him to be well again" | Sky News opinion, UK

Reimagining the “Addict” Identity Important for Recovery

A new article, published in Noûs, explores how self and social identity can be used to better understand addiction, as an alternative to the traditional disease model understanding of addiction | Mad in America, USA

After a half a century of failure, the U.S. and Mexico have an opportunity to find a new way forward on narcotics policy | NYTimes opinion, USA