Daily news - 6th October 2020

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UK news

DDN October 2020

The pressures of the pandemic are diverting services into new ways of working, with plenty of energy spent adapting systems to ensure continuity of service. But this month’s cover story (page 6) is a reminder that drug dealing is also having to adapt its business model. And unfortunately the varying stages of lockdown have opened up new opportunities – and necessity – for exploitation | DDN, UK

SDF commits to continuing work on stigma and launches resource to broaden consensus

David Liddell CEO of Scottish Drugs Forum says “Stigma remains a significant barrier to improving Scotland’s response to problem substance use. In our work with stakeholders across the substance use field and beyond, SDF identifies and challenges stigma.” | SDF, UK

Police Say MDMA and Ketamine Linked to Three Student Deaths in Newcastle

Another young person was found dead in a fourth drug-related death in the city over the weekend | VICE, UK

Stop the Tragic Loss of Life: Protect Students & Young People

There have been four drug related deaths reported in Northumbria over this weekend. Consequently the Northcumbria police force have issued an urgent drugs warning with regards to these incidents, urging the public not to risk taking drugs. The initial statement which did not mention the specific drug, has now been updated to reveal the drugs linked to the tragic incidents | Volteface, UK

SSDP Issue Statement on Northumbrian Drug Deaths

SSDP are deeply saddened by the news that has come out over the weekend regarding the deaths of four young people in Northumbria related to drug use. It is the worst way to be proven right | SSDP, UK

Highgate school pupils ill after eating 'cannabis-laced sweets'

The pupils from La Sainte Union Catholic School, Highgate, were taken by ambulance to hospital for treatment just after midday | BBC, UK

Nobel Prize for Medicine goes to Hepatitis C discovery

Three scientists who discovered the virus Hepatitis C have won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology | BBC, UK

Alcoholism in the time of coronavirus

Alcohol abuse has increased during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the British Liver Trust, which has reported a 500% rise in calls to its helpline since lockdown began in March | BBC, UK

Street Drugs Discussions: Deep Dive on Therapy - free webinar

Fri, October 30, 2020. 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM GMT. The third of our Street Drugs Discussions series will focus on psychedelic medicine. Experts Simon Ruffell and Ros Watts will discuss the similarities and differences between this therapy in clinical and retreat settings. Specifically, effectiveness, safety, psychological support and patient populations best suited to each. Simon will consider what we can learn from indigenous cultures and Ros will explain the essential nature of the therapy process | Street Drugs Discussions, UK

SDF and The Drug Deaths Taskforce: Benzos – What can be done? - webinar

Friday 9 October at 13:00-14:15. This webinar will launch the findings of a survey of clinicians and explore current prescribing of benzodiazepines alongside opioid substitution therapy and its role for reducing harm and fatal overdose | SDF, UK

Defra engagement with the tobacco industry on litter

Minutes from a ministerial roundtable on smoking related litter | Defra, UK

Last orders for 'at least a third of pubs'

The pub is under threat as never before: at least a third of howfs and hostelries face permanent closure, according to experts on the sector | BBC, UK

Good Drinks: non-alcoholic cocktails get their moment on the craft scene

Julia Bainbridge’s upcoming book shines a light on the category just as it has been named the top alcohol trend for 2020 | Guardian, UK

BBC splashed out £125,000 on alcohol including £74,000 on wine and £34,000 on beer and cider in last four years, figures show

Workers ran up £73,479 on wine, and BBC also paid £33,836 in beer and cider | Mail Online, UK

Drugs trafficker jailed in cocaine and beer cover-up

A man who was driving a lorry load of beer into the UK has been jailed for six years and nine months after he tried to smuggle Class A drugs worth more than a million pounds into the country | NCA, UK


International news

‘There was nothing to help me’: how the pandemic has worsened opioid addiction

US treatment centers have shut down or turned away patients amid as they struggle to adhere to Covid-19 safety protocols | Guardian, UK

Music festivals plan for phased return in 2021 after Covid wipeout

In the UK and across Europe flexibility key as organisers put safety precautions in place | Guardian, UK

Steroid use continues to grow - despite closure of gyms and Covid lockdown

The State agency targeting the illegal supply of medicines in Ireland has said more and more people are using steroids despite the Covid lockdown | Independent, Ireland

Gardaí seize €440k worth of cannabis following Clondalkin searches

A joint operation was conducted by the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) and Revenue Customs Service, which resulted in the search of a house and business premises | Journal, Ireland

15 Years Conference Day #2 | Tobacco Harm Reduction, Policy and Practice - video

Fifteen years ago, the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) came into force, the first global compact to systematically address the burden of tobacco related health problems. There were 168 initial signatories to the FCTC and by 2020 the number of parties to the convention grew to 182. The objective of this “15 Years Conference” organised is to take stock of the current global tobacco control landscape | World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, Switzerland

How is Germany Meeting Patient Demand for Medical Cannabis?

Since Germany legalized cannabis for medical use in 2017, we have frequently spoken to Peter Homberg, Partner and Head of the German Life Sciences Practice and the European Cannabis Group at Dentons, a global law firm. Over the years, Peter has provided us with regular updates on the European and German medical cannabis industry | Labiotech, Germany

[Limited number of free articles a month] Decriminalization involves trade-offs, but treating addiction as a disease yields a clear gain, research suggests | NYTimes, USA

Cannabis use prompts need for more anesthesia during surgery, increases pain

Not only might cannabis users require more anesthesia during surgery than non-users, they may have increased pain afterwards and use higher doses of opioids while in the hospital, suggests first-of-its kind research being presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2020 annual meeting | EurekAlert, USA

New study finds largest population increase among US adult electronic cigarette users is in younger adults that have never smoked combustible cigarettes

A new study from the American Cancer Society assessed trends between 2014 and 2018 in the prevalence of e-cigarette use and population count of e-cigarette users, according to combustible cigarette smoking histories, in younger (18-29 years), middle-aged (30-49 years), and older (>50 years.) U.S. adults | EurekAlert, USA

[Limited number of free articles a month] A question on November’s ballot asks residents if they support changing the state Constitution to allow recreational use of the drug | NYTimes, USA

Youth Vaping Declines, But the CDC Clings to Its “Epidemic” Narrative

On September 9, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published their latest findings on vaping prevalence among youth. The total number of US youth who vape has declined by almost 2 million, with an estimated 3.6 million middle or high school students now vaping | Filter Magazine, USA

DC Must Decriminalize Snorting and Smoking Kits to Protect Our Health

Before COVID-19, the District of Columbia was already experiencing a public health crisis that has only worsened since: overdose deaths | Filter Magazine, USA

Province won't consider safe supply programs to address spiking overdose deaths

With opioid overdose deaths reaching a new peak in Alberta, the government has no new plans to curb fatalities, according to Premier Jason Kenney, who championed a series of previously announced measures to fight addiction | Calgary Herald, Canada

Traditional tobacco use remains stubbornly high in Middle East as smokers shun e-cigarettes

Some doctors urge long-time smokers to switch to e-cigarettes, though medical opinion remains sharply divided | The National, UAE

Medical Association admits not consulting members before opposing cannabis referendum

The Medical Association (NZMA) says it did not consult with members before taking its stance opposing cannabis legalisation | TVNZ, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Will lives be put at risk by the government's decision to abolish Public Health England?

Julie highlights the impact of disinvestment in drug and alcohol sector, the risks associated with not having an effective national champion for the benefits of investment in treatment services rooted in local communities and what this all means for some of the most vulnerable in society | Association of Mental Health Providers, UK

The evidence behind medical cannabis – where are we now?

We have seen that there is early promise for medical cannabis in the clinical setting, but there is currently not enough high-quality clinical data to support further guidance | Centre for Medicinal Cannabis, UK

Pain management – cat among the pigeons

Pain and addiction are intertwined. Prescribed medication for pain can be a route into addiction. In practice I regularly see people on multiple medications for pain, making treatment of their addiction challenging | Recovery Review blog, UK

Older People also benefit from online support for drinking problems

It can feel like a big ask to talk about our drinking when you have problems with it. It’s not just the travelling, but the prospect of the trust we put in that listening ear and the reaction to what we say when we finally get there | DrinkCoach blog, UK

Prevention is better than cure

“Prevention is better than cure” is a familiar phrase coined in 1500. It has a simple meaning that can be attributed to many aspects of our lives | DrinkCoach blog, UK

A problem solving approach to substance misuse and offending

Suzanne Smith sets out the evidence for a problem solving approach to prevent reoffending and tackle criminality driven by substance misuse | Talk Social Justice, UK

‘Cheers’ : the Scottish campaign to support the safe re-opening of pubs and bars

This awareness raising social media campaign to support consumers to return safely to Scotland’s pubs and bars produced more than 2 million unique views and drove traffic to the official Scottish Government advice site | Portman Group blog, UK

Criminalising personal use of cannabis is the wrong approach

In a new submission we’re calling for possession of small amounts and personal use of cannabis, to be decriminalised | Victoria Legal Aid, Australia