Daily news - 26th November 2020

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UK news

Substance misuse treatment for adults: statistics 2019 to 2020

Statistics on alcohol and drug misuse treatment for adults, from PHE’s National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS). These statistics will be released on 26 November 2020 at 9:30am, most likely at this URL | PHE, UK

Alcohol Deaths and Minimum Unit Pricing

We asked Colin Angus, from the University of Sheffield team which developed the model for the 50p per unit MUP in place in Scotland since 2018, to look at what the alcohol-specific death stats tell us about MUP | Alcohol Focus Scotland, UK

New campaign that helps people to Keep Track and Cut Back

The “Keep Track Cut Back” campaign, running on social media channels for the next three weeks, will guide those worried about their own drinking or the drinking of someone else to tools on the Drinkaware website. These can help people to assess how much they are drinking and gives advice on some simple ways to cut down | SAIP, UK

Cash-strapped Isle of Man drugs charity in danger of closure

A charity supporting children and families affected by drug and alcohol abuse on the Isle of Man is in danger of closing amid financial pressures | BBC, UK

Homeless Outreach & COVID-19: National Stakeholder Webinar

Tuesday 15 December 2020, 10-11.30 am. PHE are hosting a webinar to share insights into new homeless outreach service delivery models, including the impact on health inequalities, and to signpost participants to resources to undertake local rapid evaluations of initiatives during the ongoing pandemic. This webinar will be useful for anyone who works with people experiencing homelessness or rough sleeping, including drug service workers, nurses and managers; commissioners of services for people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping, including for people who use drugs; homeless health and liaison teams; and public health professionals | PHE, UK

Clinicians and other stakeholders in Scotland sought for consultation workshops on new Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Standards stakeholders in Scotland

You are invited to join consultation workshops to discuss the new Standards and their implementation. Each session will last approximately 90 minutes and various times are available each day in November and December | SDF, UK

Recovery College Summit Reconnect - event

Fri, December 4, 2020. 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM GMT. A two-hour online reconnect to reflect on our experience during the summit, what has changed for each of us since, and what’s next | Recovery College, UK

How to prescribe medical cannabis in the UK - free event

Tue, 1 December 2020, 13:30 – 15:00 GMT. In this seminar, Professor Barnes will be providing a walkthrough of how to prescribe medical cannabis under the current UK regulations and the future of prescribing in the UK | Drug Science, UK


International news

Pharmacosex: Reimagining sex, drugs and enhancement

Drawing on an expansive notion of enhancement, we explore intersections between drug consumption and sex via the concept of ‘pharmacosex’: the ways in which wider populations experiment with a range of illicit drugs that modify and enhance their sex lives in the context of broader processes of the pharmaceuticalisation of sexuality | IJDP, UK

California cave depicts hallucinogenic plant, study finds

Cave art in California created by indigenous Americans about 400 years ago depicts a hallucinogenic plant, according to new research | BBC, UK

Jay-Z to be new cannabis company's 'chief visionary officer'

US rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z has been named "chief visionary officer" of a major new cannabis company | BBC, UK

Drugnet Ireland

Latest policy, news, and events | HRB, Ireland

Needle exchange provision during Covid-19 pandemic

The current national drugs strategy1 aims to reduce harms arising from substance misuse and to reduce the prevalence of blood-borne viruses among people who inject drugs (PWID) through the expansion of needle exchange. In Ireland, this service is delivered in a number of ways, including fixed-site locations, such as clinics or community pharmacies, and novel interventions, such as Backpacking Outreach programmes | HRB, Ireland

“I couldn't live with killing one of my friends or anybody”: A rapid ethnographic study of drug sellers’ use of drug checking

Drug sellers are often represented as morally bereft actors and as being, in part, responsible for North America's overdose crisis. In Canada and the United States, drug sellers selling fentanyl and fentanyl-adulterated drugs have been charged with manslaughter when their clients fatally overdose, representing a retrenchment of drug war tactics | IJDP, USA

Evidence Pours More Cold Water on The False Narrative That Prescriptions Caused the Opioid Crisis

A new study reported in the November 1, 2019 Annals of Emergency Medicine pours more cold water on the false but persistent narrative that the opioid overdose crisis was caused by doctors prescribing opioids to patients in pain | CATO Institute, USA

Vancouver Just Voted to Decriminalize All Drugs

Vancouver is the first Canadian city to vote to decriminalize drugs, but still needs federal approval. Here's what happens next | VICE, Canada

5 British Columbians dying every day from overdose, coroner reports

BC Coroners Service says 162 people died in October due to overdoses from toxic illicit drugs | CBC News, Canada

India’s Tobacco Control Act must be amended, should recognise WHO guidelines, says report

The 50-page report, which was submitted to the Ministry of Health, highlights ‘glaring gaps’ such as allowing smoking in designated areas and the sale of single stick cigarettes | The Print, India

Tasmanian research examining safety of e-cigarettes and its consequences amid COVID-19

Vaping is no safer than tobacco cigarettes, according to a Tasmanian researcher, who's concerned the devices are being marketed as a smoking cessation tool, despite known health impacts | The Examiner, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

A missed opportunity to truly level up our treatment and recovery services

Drug misuse impacts on almost all domains of human life – and cost England £18.7bn in 2017/18. Our drug related deaths figures reveal an appalling picture of human loss and suffering – and cost over £6bn per year. Alcohol harm costs England a staggering £21.5bn per year | Collective Voice, UK

UK Drug Council Knows GHB Crackdown Targets Queer People, Recommends It Anyway

Spurred by media panic around a so-called “chemsex crimewave,” the United Kingdom’s independent drug policy advisors are recommending that people involved with the highly stigmatized depressant gamma-hydroxybutyrate and related substances (GHB-RS) be subject to harsher criminal penalties | Talking Drugs, UK

Assessing and addressing collider bias in addiction research: the curious case of smoking and COVID‐19

Addiction researchers tend to have a keen eye for confounder bias. They are often quick to spot why variables that cause both an exposure and an outcome can produce spurious associations | BMJ editorial, UK

The Government has the chance to overhaul our outdated and unfair alcohol duty system to protect health

As promised in their 2019 manifesto, the Government has embarked upon a review of alcohol duty – the tax levied on alcohol sales. Alcohol Change UK is calling for a fairer system of tax that protects health, reduces harm, and covers the enormous cost of alcohol to our NHS and public services | Alcohol Change UK, UK

It’s time to make room for vaping in the harm reduction tent

It’s taken a long time but when it comes to drug and alcohol addiction, the concept of harm reduction is increasingly accepted as both humane and an effective approach to addressing addiction by public health authorities and the general public | Hamilton Spectator, USA

‘On the Sauce’ – Shedding Light on the Australian Alcohol Norm

When the Australian public broadcaster aired an entertaining, funny, honest and informative new documentary series about alcohol, it launched a national conversation about alcohol| Movendi, Australia