Daily news - 25th November 2020

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UK news

Alcohol deaths

There were 1,020 alcohol-specific deaths registered in Scotland in 2019, 10% fewer than in 2018 and the lowest annual total since 2013 (1,002).
2019 represents the first substantial decrease in recent years, after a period of general increase since 2012. It also represents 28% fewer deaths than the peak of 1,417 registered in 2006 | National Records of Scotland, UK

'Notable' fall in Scotland's alcohol death rate

The number of deaths caused by alcohol misuse in Scotland fell by 10% last year, according to new statistics | BBC, UK

Veterans’ substance use has devastating impact on family members

The families of veterans with substance use problems struggle with high levels of isolation and loneliness and experience extreme distress and despair, a new report has revealed | University of York, UK

Glasgow outreach service shows the feasibility of PrEP for people who inject drugs

A proactive, outreach-based service for people who inject drugs has successfully delivered the HIV prevention medication PrEP in the midst of Glasgow’s HIV outbreak, Dr Ceilidh Grimshaw of Sandyford told the virtual British HIV Association conference this week | Nam aidsmap, UK

Alcohol in the media

1pm November 27th, online. The media influence on our expectations of alcohol comes into sharp focus at year-end, and all the more so when the covid-19 crisis means we are advised to minimise consumption. Understanding the process can help us avoid acting on misleading impressions. It may also help us design policies better able to minimise adverse consequences | Phil Cain, UK

Cannabis Farms Targeted by Police During Lockdown Crime Lull

Less crime and inquisitive neighbours have led to a flurry of busts on indoor cannabis factories | VICE, UK

Ex-Suffolk Police officer jailed over fake cocaine wraps

A former police officer who threw away cocaine seized in a stop and search and then manufactured evidence to cover his tracks has been jailed for 12 months | BBC, UK

Milford Haven drug-driver police chase at housing estate

These were the dramatic scenes as a drug-driver was chased through a housing estate on the wrong side of the road | BBC, UK

Four jailed over Southampton Riverside Park failed cannabis raid

Four members of a drugs gang have been jailed for their part in a failed raid on a cannabis factory, after which a man was found dead in a river | BBC, UK


International news

Purdue Pharma pleads guilty to criminal charges related to US opioid crisis

OxyContin maker admits to actions aimed at boosting opioid prescriptions, including conspiring to defraud officials and offering illegal kickbacks | Guardian, UK

#PeersInThePandemic Demand 3 – Prioritise Peer-led Responses in Harm Reduction

Peers are central to the COVID-19 response in their communities. We call for the prioritisation of peer-led responses by directing funding towards harm reduction services led by peers as community members, and to facilitate peer secondary distribution for essential harm reduction supplies such as new injecting equipment, naloxone distribution and overdose prevention education, etc. | INPUD, UK

Thailand's 'largest ketamine bust' turns out to be cleaning agent

Thailand's claim to have seized almost $1bn worth of the drug ketamine has turned out to be a "misunderstanding", its justice minister has said | BBC, UK

Money or mission; which works best for patients?

Exploration of money versus mission as a motivator for treatment providers asks you to imagine yourself in both sets of shoes – a “mind experiment” to get a feel for how these drivers might affect how you behave, how genuine you would be, and the messages conveyed to patients | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Minister Donnelly and Minister Feighan welcome the publication of the Tobacco Free Ireland Annual Report with a call to quit smoking

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, and Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan, today welcomed the publication of the 2019 Tobacco Free Ireland Annual Report | gov.ie, Ireland

Addiction services see major increase in demand

One service, Coolmine Therapeutic Community, saw an 80% increase in calls after the first set of Covid-19 restrictions | RTe, Ireland

Alcohol advertising generally leads to higher alcohol consumption

Alcohol marketing generally leads to higher alcohol consumption, also among minors. This is shown by a study by the University of Amsterdam in collaboration with the University of Twente, prompted by the Dutch National Prevention Agreement | University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Vaping does not appear to pose any significant additional risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission

Researchers in Mexico, New Zealand and Italy have conducted a modeling study suggesting that the risk of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) being transmitted via indoor vaping is not significantly higher than the risk associated with other types of expiration | News Medical, USA

Association of Electronic Nicotine Delivery System Use With Cigarette Smoking Progression or Reduction Among Young Adults

In this study, new ENDS use among young adult cigarette smokers was not associated with either cigarette smoking increase or decrease during a 1-year period | JAMA Network, USA

Stigmatization of substance use disorders: Indigenous identity & treatment seeking intention

People living with a substance use disorder (SUD) are no strangers to stigma. A multinational study conducted by the World Health Organization found drug addiction to be more stigmatized than other social conditions, including criminal behavior and HIV positivity | BASIS, USA

What was lost when covid forced addiction support groups online — and what was gained

In the roughly eight years since she left treatment for alcohol-use disorder, Amy Durham has been to countless recovery group meetings. At first, she went every day, before gradually scaling back to two or three times a week — a routine she stuck with until this past March, when the coronavirus pandemic shuttered many in-person meetings nationwide | Washington Post, USA

My Psychedelic Love Story: An Interview With Filmmaker Errol Morris

On the surface, Joanna Harcourt-Smith had the kind of life many people dream of. As a young socialite in the 1960s, she partied with some of the era’s most fascinating and controversial cultural figures | Filter Magazine, USA

Policing Associated With Higher HIV Risks Among People Who Inject Drugs

An analysis of data from studies conducted in nine different countries found that policing was associated with people’s avoidance of harm reduction services and with riskier injection behaviors—regardless of countries’ varying drug criminalization policies | Filter Magazine, USA

GPs willing to prescribe e-cigarettes to aid the quitting process

Many GPs would be prepared to upskill in order to help their patients, a leading expert has told a government inquiry | RACGP, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

I was a ruthless undercover detective, but the new ‘spycops’ law is a catastrophe waiting to happen

We are told this bill merely formalises in statute what already happens in practice. No. No it doesn’t. It changes everything | Independent, UK

Points Interview: David Farber

I’ve written a history of the crack cocaine years. In the 1980s and 1990s, crack crews took over swathes of poor, disproportionately Black urban neighborhoods. They set up 24/7 open-air drug markets. In those communities, suffering from the ravages of de-industrialization and the pain of Reagan-era disinvestment, crack use became epidemic | Points blog, USA

Tune in, turn on, step up: second-wave psychedelic ethics

After decades in exile, psychedelic drugs are being rehabilitated and made respectable by popular public intellectuals such as UC Berkeley’s Michael Pollan. Cities such as Denver, Oakland and Washington have decriminalized possession of psilocybin-containing “magic mushrooms.” | SF Chronicle opinion, USA