Daily news - 24th November 2020

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UK news

Reminder: All COVID-19 PPE now available free of charge via portal

Drug and alcohol services are reminded that they can now use the Government's PPE portal to obtain all the COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) they need, free of charge. The contact details of services registered with NDTMS or CQC have been provided to the PPE portal, and service managers informed by their regional NDTMS team. However, not all services have registered on the portal – PHE encourages services to register on the portal to start benefiting from the offer of free PPE. Note: only email addresses provided to the portal by NDTMS/CQC are valid for registration. Contact your regional NDTMS team if you have not yet received an invitation email or if you need to register. Access the portal.

University of Bristol hands free drug testing kits to students

The initiative by the University of Bristol students' union and Bristol Drugs Project will enable students to discover exactly what they are taking | BBC, UK

Minimum alcohol price demanded to save thousands

More than 5,000 lives could be saved over the next decade if ministers impose both minimum unit pricing for alcohol and steeper taxes on drink, experts have claimed | The Times [Free one month trial available]

Investigation: Student drug culture in the age of COVID-19

Freshers has been anything but a normal for those starting university this year. When Libby*, a first-year student rolled up to her halls, she didn’t expect to be locked in with people she hardly knew. What a sizeable proportion of the new cohort did expect, however, was to experiment with drugs | Volteface, UK

Ketamine catches up with cocaine as party drug of choice as use by young trebles in year

[Limited number of free articles per week] UCL professor Adam Winstock, a consultant addiction psychiatrist, said data from his Global Drug Survey of up to 7,000 young people showed a similar surge, with 47.7 per cent saying they had taken the drug in 2019, up from 24.6 per cent for 2018 | Telegraph, UK

Researching people placed in hotels because of homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic; Jo Neale talks to the SSA

In spring 2020, the UK Government launched the Everyone In initiative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This meant that people who were homeless, sleeping outside or in hostels were placed in hotel accommodation. Between July and October, a team of researchers from King’s College London conducted a rapid research project based on these hotels | SSA, UK

What is the Phoenix Futures Adopt a Station project? - video

Lyndsey Wilson-Hague, Head of Operations at Phoenix Futures Scotland, takes us through the amazing work going on at the Adopt a Station project in collaboration with ScotRail as part of the Environmental Sustainability strategy to help tackle stigmas of addiction in the local community | Phoenix Futures, UK

UK Cannabis Industry: Out of the Fish Tank and into the Big Blue Ocean

CBMPs are a shining example of personalised medicine which does not conform to classic clinical trial design | Cannabinoid Journal, UK

Inside Britain’s biggest legal cannabis farm and why business is booming for medicinal marijuana

The UK is the world’s largest producer of legal cannabis. It’s big business — but is it the miracle crop it is claimed to be? | i news, UK

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

Mon, 7 December 2020. 10:00 – 12:00 GMT. Through presentations and panel discussions, this webinar will:Shine a light beyond drug poisonings to try to illuminate a wider picture of risk and mortality. Highlight system responses to mortality from across substance misuse and wider fields to explore how systems are better equipped to learn and evolve | Collective Voice, UK

Recovery Community Messaging Training - free training

Thu, 26 November 2020. 10:00 – 16:00 GMT. Aims are to provide information on working with the media, engaging with government groups, treatment providers and others in positions of influence. To consider techniques for conveying our message. How to stay on track, how using clear informed statements can help us steer positive conversations and outcomes | FAVOR, UK

In Conversation with Peter Krykant - free event

7 December 2020, 12:30 pm GMT. A talk by Peter Krykant and Nathan Sparling - Safe Consumption Van and HIV Scotland | Fast-Tracking Scotland Summit 2020, 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 | Recovering Justice, UK

Fred Yates prize

The prize will be awarded at the annual SSA Conference to a researcher who is in the earlier stages of her or his career who has made a significant and specific contribution to the addictions field in recent years | SSA, UK

More than four million illicit cigarettes seized in Glasgow

The goods are believed to be worth an estimated £1.6m in lost duty and taxes | BBC, UK

Essex lorry deaths: Driver 'told load was cigarettes not people'

A lorry driver accused of being part of a people-smuggling ring linked to the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants has told a court he thought he was transporting cigarettes | BBC, UK


International news

Development of a machine learning algorithm for early detection of opioid use disorder

Opioid use disorder (OUD) affects an estimated 16 million people worldwide. The diagnosis of OUD is commonly delayed or missed altogether. We aimed to test the utility of machine learning in creating a prediction model and algorithm for early diagnosis of OUD | BPS, UK

Afghanistan, home to the heroin trade, moves into meth

Underneath a busy bridge in Kabul, among piles of discarded rubbish and a stream of filthy water, lives a drug-ravaged community of homeless men | BBC, UK [See EMCDDA report below]

New lobby group wants greater access to medicinal cannabis

A new group is being launched this week to lobby the Government for greater access to medical cannabis. The Irish Medicinal Cannabis Council will be formed by Tom Curran, Gino Kenny TD, Cork medical cannabis campaigners Alicia Maher and Vera Twomey, medic Dr Garrett McGovern and writer Clare McAfee.The group aims to be the focal point for information on medicinal cannabis in Ireland | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Emerging evidence of Afghanistan’s role as a producer and supplier of ephedrine and methamphetamine

This paper provides an analysis of the available data that suggest that a methamphetamine industry is rapidly being established in Afghanistan. The analysis provided is based on information from key informants, documentary sources and the analysis of satellite imagery. The paper also highlights an expanding market for ephedra that links the mountainous central region of Afghanistan to the former deserts of the south-west | EMCDDA, Portugal

Health at a Glance: Europe

Harmful consumption of alcohol is responsible for another 255 000 to 290 000 deaths per year across EU countries. While alcohol control policies have reduced overall alcohol consumption in many countries over the past decade, heavy alcohol consumption remains an issue. One-third of adults report at least one “binge drinking” event in the past month, and more than one‑fifth of adolescents aged 15 years old report having been drunk more than once in their life | European Commission, Belgium

The Risks of Another Epidemic: Teenage Vaping

While most of us strive to avoid inhaling aerosols that could harbor a deadly virus, millions of teens and young adults are deliberately bathing their lungs in aerosols rich in chemicals with known or suspected health hazards | NYTimes, USA

U-47700 and Its Analogs: Non-Fentanyl Synthetic Opioids Impacting the Recreational Drug Market

The recreational use of opioid drugs is a global threat to public health and safety. In particular, an epidemic of opioid overdose fatalities is being driven by illicitly manufactured fentanyl, while novel synthetic opioids (NSOs) are appearing on recreational drug markets as standalone products, adulterants in heroin, or ingredients in counterfeit drug preparations | MDPI, USA

Opioid overdose deaths involving other substances more common in youth

Results of a new study show that opioid overdose deaths involving more than one substance (polysubstances) are more common than opioid-only overdose deaths among youth | Medical Xpress, USA

Adverse childhood experiences and at-risk drinking, cannabis, and illicit drug use

New research from the Prevention Research Center of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation suggests that adverse childhood experiences, often referred to as child maltreatment, are associated with increased odds of substance use among women urban Emergency Department (ED) patients | Medical Xpress, USA

Nurse practitioners play key role in opioid addiction treatment in very rural areas

Giving nurse practitioners the authority to prescribe buprenorphine has brought that gold standard treatment for opioid addiction to people who might not have had access to it before, according to a new study led by Tracy Klein, PhD, associate professor at the Washington State University College of Nursing in Vancouver | Washington State University, USA

Amy Hauck Newman appointed to lead NIDA’s Intramural Research Program

Amy Hauck Newman, Ph.D., has been appointed the Scientific Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) Intramural Research Program (IRP) in Baltimore. NIDA is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) | NIDA, USA

Psilocybin & migraine: First of its kind trial reports promising results

A first-of-its-kind exploratory study, led by researchers from Yale School of Medicine, has found a single dose of the psychedelic psilocybin can reduce migraine frequency by 50 percent for a least two weeks | New Atlas, USA

The world's first psychedelic hotline could help you through a trip

Fireside Project, a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization, is launching a psychedelic peer support hotline — the first of its kind. It's intended to walk people through the mind-altering experiences that accompany psychedelic drugs | Inverse, USA

SLO County judge rules to ban billboards advertising marijuana along CA highways

A San Luis Obispo County Superior Court judge ruled on Friday that billboards advertising marijuana will no longer be allowed along California highways | KEYT, USA

The Price of Silence: Women, Tobacco and Clinical Gaps in India

As I wait to interview respiratory physicians in a high-end private medical clinic in Chennai, a sprawling metropolis in the state of Tamil Nadu, southern India, I look around the outpatient setting and see few women clients | Filter Magazine, USA

One in 20 people struggling with alcohol addiction die within a year of their second ER visit

One in 20 people who go to an emergency department in Ontario for alcohol-related reasons die within a year of their second ER visit, according to a new study by ICES and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health | The Star, Canada

Make a Change to Help People with Substance Use Disorders During National Addictions Awareness Week

Changes in attitude, behaviour and culture are a result of continuous efforts and actions taken by all individuals. For National Addictions Awareness Week 2020 (NAAW 2020), which runs from November 22–28, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) is encouraging Canadians to make positive changes when dealing with people who use or have used substances. CCSA has created the tools to help make that happen | CCSA, Canada

Survey reveals burden of alcohol and methamphetamine harm in WA EDs

The results of a new survey released by the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM; the College) provide new insights into the burden of alcohol and methamphetamine harm in Western Australian emergency departments (EDs) during the busy summer period | ACEM, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Our 2020 Lament - A new blog by Phoenix Chief Exec Karen Biggs

Ahead of the Government's 2020 Spending Review Phoenix Chief Exec Karen Biggs calls for action on funding | Phoenix Futures blog, UK

How to regulate MDMA

Despite years of criminalising people who produce, supply, or consume MDMA (ecstasy), the UK has a burgeoning £40 million illegal market with over 500,000 buyers. Crackdown after crackdown has failed to have a lasting impact on demand or supply, instead only creating a hostile environment for people who use MDMA, while leaving them at the whim of unregulated producers and suppliers. In the UK, MDMA-related deaths have risen for eight of the past ten years| Transform blog, UK

Asylum, destitution and harmful alcohol use

In 2019, more than 70 million people globally were forcibly displaced by armed conflict or natural disasters. As a signatory to the 1951 Convention on Refugees, the UK is legally obliged to admit any persons seeking asylum at its borders, currently roughly 35.000 persons a year | SHAAP blog, UK

A.M. Debate: Should drinking alcohol be banned in parliament?

It’s no secret: while parliament’s bars are temporarily closed during lockdown, in normal times our MPs are knocking it back, left, right and centre | City AM, UK