Daily news - 8th October 2020

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UK news

Alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK (PDF)

The second IAS briefing on alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic has found that looser regulations on alcohol availability may undermine longer term progress on alcohol harm, with treatment services used less frequently by those who need them | IAS, UK

Pubs and restaurants: do scientists think Covid closures and curfews work?

While virus can spread easily in crowded indoor venues, 10pm cut-off is questionable | Guardian, UK

Covid in Scotland: New alcohol rules 'will cost thousands of jobs'

The temporary closure of pubs and restaurants across the central belt of Scotland could cost thousands of jobs, industry leaders have warned | BBC, UK

Effects on alcohol consumption of announcing and implementing revised UK low-risk drinking guidelines: findings from an interrupted time series analysis

[Open access]  In January 2016, the UK announced and began implementing revised guidelines for low-risk drinking of 14 units (112 g) per week for men and women. There was no large-scale promotion of the revised guidelines beyond the initial media announcement. This paper evaluates the effect of announcing the revised guidelines on alcohol consumption among adults in England | Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, UK

The Pandemic of Problematic Drug Use: How best can we reduce the harm drugs pose to society?

On 29 September 2020, Tommy Sheppard from the Scottish National Party presented a bill declaring problematic drug use is a public health emergency | Volteface, UK

Electronic Tagging: Contracts

On the 18th May 2020, the Ministry of Justice agreed a contract with Alcohol Monitoring Services Ltd for the provision of monitoring hardware and data analysis services. The contract was let in support of new legislation which came into force on the 19th May 2020 to allow for the roll out of the Alcohol Abstinence Monitoring Requirement across England and Wales which will begin shortly | They work for you, UK

Cancard: giving patients and police peace of mind

Medical cannabis patient Carly Barton has been working to create the UK’s new medical cannabis card that will protect patients from prosecution and save police time and resources | Health Europa, UK

Stories of love, loss and hope

This project provided a platform for our voices to be heard, contributing to the public discourse about addiction and recovery. Using our personal stories, bringing them to life, sharing our experience of recovery, love, loss & hope we aim to change the toxic narrative of addiction and bring the truth that recovery is possible into the public consciousness’s | FAVOR, 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

Bristol funding for HIV drug

Bristol is preparing to roll out a new service which will provide a HIV prevention drug across sexual health clinics in the city | Bristol City Council, UK

Greene King to close pubs and axe 800 jobs as curfew hammers pub industry

The pub operator is to close 25 sites permanently as the 10pm curfew hurts industry sales, Sky News learns | Sky News, UK

Forward hosts its first ever virtual open day

Open days at our services are one of the key ways Forward can showcase, first-hand, the fantastic work being done by our colleagues on the frontline | Forward Trust, UK

Rulings & Decisions: Orchard Thieves

Complaint from member of the public over packaging that could appeal to children. Not upheld | Portman Group, UK

Two arrests over 'cannabis sweets' that saw 17 pupils taken to hospital in London

A woman, 24, and a man, 41, were arrested on suspicion of possession of cannabis and child neglect | Guardian, UK

Milton Keynes: Drug dealer 'killed rival to protect his turf'

Lee Sopp, 25, lunged at Mohamud Hashi, 22, with the Rider Stacked Bowie knife in the Fishermead area of Milton Keynes, jurors were told | BBC, UK


International news

Purdue Pharma nears guilty plea agreement over alleged role in opioids crisis

Company expected to face penalties exceeding $8bn while Sackler family members will avoid criminal charges in settlement | Guardian, UK

Shares of major cannabis producers surge up to 19% after Kamala Harris vows a Biden administration would decriminalize pot during VP debate

US-listed shares of major cannabis producers surged on Thursday after Democratic vice president nominee Kamala Harris said marijuana would be decriminalized at a federal level in the US under a Biden administration | Mail Online, USA

Analysis of submissions to the EU’s public consultation on tobacco traceability and security features

[Open access] This paper explores tobacco industry influence over and policy positions within the consultation process | BMJ, UK

The overlooked parts of the 2020 Australian budget you should know about

The government significantly boosted funding to mental health programs in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the budget barely referenced alcohol or substance abuse programs | Guardian, UK

New Zealand health experts back reform of 'outdated' cannabis laws

Supporting legalisation of marijuana, they argue its use should be seen as a health issue ahead of referendum | Guardian, UK

Imperial Brands sees jump in tobacco sales during lockdown year

Imperial Brands has said that smokers flocked to its cigarettes and other tobacco products more than expected during the year of lockdown, even as they moved away from its vaping category | AOL, UK

Belgian anaesthetist accused of causing Brit's death while drunk

A Belgian anaesthetist has gone on trial in France accused of causing the death of a British woman while under the influence of alcohol | BBC, UK

Budget 2021 – call for a new tax on e-cigarettes

The Irish Heart Foundation has called for a new tax on e-cigarettes and an increase in the cost of 20 cigarettes to €20 by 2025 | Irish Heart Foundation, Ireland

Medics warn against carrying e-cigarettes in pockets

Medics have cautioned people over how they carry their e-cigarettes after a 60-year-old man suffered a burn wound to his left chest from the leaking hot liquid contents from a faulty e-cigarette placed in his pocket | Breaking News, Ireland

How drugs damage the environment

Drugs aren't only potentially harmful to our health: They can also be catastrophic for the environment. From sucking rivers dry to razing forests, here's what you need to know about the impact of drugs on our ecosystems | DW, Germany

Cannabis use appears to encourage, not replace, non-medical opioid use

A study published in the scientific journal Addiction suggests that, contrary to what some are claiming, people in the US may not be substituting cannabis for opioids | EurekAlert, USA

Cannabis ads and store location influence youth marijuana use

States may want to consider the proximity of cannabis retailers and cannabis advertising to neighborhoods to prevent underage use of the drug, according to new research | Science Daily, USA

Opioid Overdose Crisis Compounded by Polysubstance Use

New strategies can reduce the risks from using more than one drug | Pew Charitable Trust, USA

So We’re Drinking Our Way Through the Pandemic? It’s What Drugs Are For

People are drinking (and using marijuana) more during the pandemic. Alarms have predictably been raised, but anxiety is misdirected | Filter Magazine, USA

A PBR Seltzer Spiked With THC Hits Shelves, Aiming At The 'Canna-Curious'

Cans of lemon seltzer spiked with the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis – and branded with the famous Pabst Blue Ribbon logo — are rolling out in California, in a new sign of the growth of THC-infused drinks | npr, USA

Episode 2: Bringing substance use care into your primary care practice

In this episode of Addiction Practice Pod, addiction physician Dr. Christy Sutherland, journalist David P. Ball and their guests talk about the nuts and bolts of integrating treatment for opioid use disorder into a family practice. They also discuss the challenges that patients face in accessing medical care, and how health care providers can help bridge that gap by building a well thought-out, compassionate practice | BCCSU, Canada

LEAP-GLEPHA Webinar: Police and Overdose Prevention Sites - webinar

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 12pm ET/9am PT/6pm CET. Join LEAP for a conversation with police who have worked with OPSs from Canada and Denmark about the everyday benefits and challenges of policing a city with Overdose Prevention Sites | LEAP-GLEPHA, Canada

'It is a death sentence': Patients launch lawsuit after UCP cuts funding for opioid treatment program

iOAT patients testified about the life-changing impact of the program. Many have found housing, become healthier, reconnected with family and dream of a drug-free future | Calgary Herald, Canada

The impact of arrest and seizure on drug crime and harms: A systematic review (PDF)

Drawing on the Global Policing Database (GPD), this review assesses the impact of supplier arrests and seizures on drug crime, drug use, drug price, drug purity, and drug harm outcomes | Australian Institute of Criminolgy, Australia

Budget report: Federal Government increases medicinal cannabis funding by $1.7 million

The Government has announced it will invest an additional $1.7 million from 2020–21 to 2023–24 in the Office of Drug Control | Cannabiz, Australia

Medicinal cannabis patient numbers grow as Australians stay at home

The number of new patients trying medicinal cannabis for the first time has risen significantly since Australians first began hunkering down at home to ride out the COVID-19 storm | Small caps, Australia

Winners announced for the 2020 NDARC Awards

NDARC has acknowledged the outstanding work of its staff and students in the 2020 NDARC Awards | NDARC, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Keeping Families Together - Inside the Phoenix Family Service

We spoke with the National Specialist Family Service’s Head of House, Leanne Smullen-Bethell, to gain her insight on working with families, the benefits of this type of placement and what this means to her on a personal level | Phoenix Futures blog, UK

Report indicates more investment in harm reduction needed to tackle hepatitis C

Public Health England has published its annual report monitoring blood-borne virus infection and injecting habits among people who inject drugs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The report is based on the Unlinked Anonymous Monitoring (UAM) Survey of people who inject drugs and explores trends from 2010 to 2019 | Hepatitis C Trust blog, UK

Scotland’s new pub restrictions may lead to a rise in drinking

Consumption not contagion is a greater threat. Politicians run the risk of making things worse, not better, by implementing unscientific policies | Independent voices, UK

2: Cannabis law reform in the 1960s - podcast

This episode looks at the cannabis law reform movement in the 1960s, drawing on an archival research project. Please see published paper here. | Toby Seddon blog, UK

Please like me: politicians, Facebook and AOD stigma

In a spate of recent Facebook posts, the Cranbourne Leader has taken to gaining attention by villainising people who use alcohol and other drugs. The Leader’s page appears dedicated to inciting stigma in the local area—posting photos of individuals alongside descriptors like ‘junkie’ and ‘alcoholic’ | AOD MediaWatch, Australia

Good Cop Wins Battle Against Unfair Dismissal

A New South Wales police officer with an untarnished record has won a five year battle to get his job back, after a legal fight that’s cost the NSW Police Force $500,000 in legal costs alone | Sydney Criminal Lawyers, Australia