Daily news - 15th October 2020

Weekly subscribe button

UK news

Deaths related to drug poisoning in England and Wales: 2019 registrations

Deaths related to drug poisoning in England and Wales from 1993 to 2019, by cause of death, sex, age and substances involved in the death | ONS, UK

Drug deaths have hit record high in England and Wales, says ONS

Figures for 2019 even higher than 2018’s record level, with rise hitting women more severely | Guardian, UK

Drug deaths: Surge in fatalities of female cocaine users

Drug-related deaths reached their highest level for a quarter of a century last year as the number of women who died after using cocaine surged | BBC, UK

'Game-changer' drug to tackle addiction

For more than 20 years, Dougie's life was a vicious cycle of drugs, crime and the death of people close to him. But for the past nine months he has been taking a medication that blocks his craving for heroin and helps him break the cycle | BBC, UK

Use of e-cigarettes (vapes) among adults in Great Britain (PDF)

This factsheet provides a detailed analysis of how attitudes and behaviour with respect to e-cigarettes among adults aged 18 and over have changed over time. The data are taken from an annual survey, Smokefree GB, carried out for ASH by YouGov. The survey first started asking about e-cigarette use in 2010 and this update includes the results of the 2020 survey carried out in February and March 2020 | ASH, UK

Police Commissioner funds new scheme to break the cycle of drug crime

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner is backing a new scheme which will see those caught by the police for ‘possession of a controlled substance’ and not ‘possession with intent to supply’ be put into a programme to divert them away from the criminal justice system | West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, UK

Teenagers will escape drug prosecutions under new initiative to combat county lines gangs

[Limited number of free articles per week] Critics will claim it's a move towards decriminalisation, with up to 70pc of those caught with cannabis getting 'community resolutions' | Telegraph, UK

The pharmacist who volunteers at festivals: ‘I help people reduce their risks from taking illegal drugs’

Dr Rachel Britton started out as a community pharmacist, but her career has taken a more unique path since – these days she’s more likely to be found at music festivals and pop-up events in university towns, dispensing advice to young people on how to take illegal drugs | The Pharmacist, UK

Family members’ opinions sought for study on Drug Consumption Rooms

Family members of people who have a drug problem are being sought for a new research study which seeks to understand their perceptions and attitudes towards Drug Consumption Rooms | SDF, UK

Alberto's story - video

Alberto Gonzalez was a successful photographer whose drug use led to his arrest and imprisonment. He explains how prison gave him the opportunity to start his recovery journey – and rebuild his life | More than my past, UK

Academic conferences, and how to deal with them

In this episode, Dan, Carol and Zoe cover the why, what and how of academic conferences. From those yearly events that feel like you’re going home, to those that you struggle to make any sense of. Dan interviews Dr Sarah Fox to get a behind-the-scenes view of the Society for the Study of Addiction annual conference | Robert Calder, UK

Gambling addiction rises among professional sportspeople, says Sporting Chance

Gambling addiction has become the biggest issue among professional sportspeople treated by the Sporting Chance clinic, says founder Tony Adams | BBC, UK


International news

Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation

To evaluate the effect and safety of using electronic cigarettes (ECs) to help people who smoke achieve long‐term smoking abstinence | Cochrane Reviews, UK

E-cigarette use decreases as evidence shows they increase smokers’ chances of quitting

E-cigarette use decreases as evidence shows they increase smokers’ chances of quitting | ASH, UK

Burning Issues: The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction 2020 - online launch 4/11/20 

Tobacco harm reduction (THR) has the potential to help tackle one of the leading causes of preventable death worldwide. On 4/11/20 from 10am GMT, come to the online launch of Burning Issues: The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction 2020, the second in the landmark GSTHR series documenting the development of THR and responses to safer nicotine products around the world. Key members of the GSTHR team including Harry Shapiro and Professor Gerry Stimson will explore the report’s findings, alongside guests including Professor David Nutt, Clive Bates, Fiona Patten and Samrat Chowdhery. Registration (free) and full programme | GSTHR, UK

The common core of effective therapies

Starting point in last week’s exploration of psychosocial therapies was 2018’s “wise overview” of research on ‘common factors’ they share from the American Psychological Association, solidifying a movement which dates back at least to 1936 and Saul Rosenzweig’s seminal paper. Explore these landmarks and how they help explain unexpected findings from the two largest UK and US alcohol treatment trials | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Research pinpoints major drivers of tobacco epidemic among teens in South Asia

Advertising on TV and online, being offered free tobacco products and exposure to smoking in public places are the biggest drivers of tobacco use among teens in South Asia, a new study suggests | University of York, UK

Part Four of the webinar series - 'A World with Drugs: Legal Regulation through a Development Lens'

21 October, 16:30-18:00 BST. In this webinar we explore what lessons we can learn from Fair Trade practices when shaping legally regulated drugs markets. How do we make sure we follow in the right footsteps and build a fairer drug trade? | IDPC et al, UK

Rwanda in talks with EU, U.S. firms to produce cannabis for export

Rwanda is in talks with four European and American companies about growing and processing cannabis for export to meet rising pharmaceutical demand for the narcotic, although its consumption is still banned in the country | Reuters, UK

Lawsuit Aims to Ban Menthols, Big Tobacco’s Bait for Black Smokers

Activists and the American Medical Association are suing the FDA to bar the cigarette flavor, used by 86% of Black smokers | Bloomberg, USA

Big Tobacco goes big in effort to quash law banning sales of flavored tobacco products

A coalition of big tobacco companies and small retailers is paying professional signature gatherers upward of $10 a name in an attempt to put the brakes on the statewide law barring brick-and-mortar stores from selling menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products | San Francisco Chronicle, USA

Evaluation of Respiratory Symptoms Among Youth e-Cigarette Users

 In this cohort study of 7049 adolescents in waves 3 and 4 of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health, the odds of wheezing in the past 12 months were higher for adolescents who had used e-cigarettes during the past year compared with those who had not used e-cigarettes. In the adjusted model, the association of e-cigarette use with wheezing was not significant | JAMA Network, USA

Association of Treatment With Medications for Opioid Use Disorder With Mortality After Hospitalization for Injection Drug Use–Associated Infective Endocarditis

In this cohort study 679 individuals hospitalized with injection drug use–associated endocarditis, 24% received MOUD within 3 months of discharge. MOUD receipt within 3 months of discharge was not associated with reduced mortality but was associated with a reduction in mortality in the month received | JAMA Network, USA

U.S. states oppose settlement being negotiated by OxyContin maker Purdue and Justice Department: letter

A group of 25 state attorneys general oppose a settlement of U.S. opioid probes being negotiated with Purdue Pharma LP and members of the wealthy Sackler family who own it, arguing the deal would improperly entangle state and local officials with future sales of the company’s addictive pain drug OxyContin | Reuters, USA

COVID and Vaping: A Perfect Storm of Misleading Science and Media

Seven months and more than a million deaths into the pandemic, scientists around the globe still don’t understand why some people infected with coronavirus get extremely ill and die, while others survive | Filter Magazine, USA

Michigan’s New Marijuana-Conviction Expungement Law: Pros and Cons

On October 12, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed into law a series of criminal justice reform bills. Among these is a bill to expunge past low-level cannabis convictions. The process is not automatic, and people with convictions have to petition for their own relief | Filter Magazine, USA

Rapid Access Models for Substance Use Services (Report at a Glance)

A review of the published literature to identify the key features of rapid access models designed to improve access to and engagement with substance use treatment services, as well as the extent to which these models achieved their goals. The review identifies five models of rapid access for substance use services and support | CCSA, Canada

Docs Develop Clinical Guides for Medical Cannabis

Physicians strive to provide guidance as patients increasingly ask about treatment | MedPage Today, Canada

Fighting addiction and trauma, women in custody turn to Calgary treatment centre for second chance

The mother of a 10-year-old boy said she’s been battling drug addiction and mental illness, saying in her 20s, she turned to a life in the sex trade | Global News, Canada

Under the influence: how COVID has affected our drinking

Changes to our drinking habits could be a surprising “good news story” with the lockdown providing a catalyst for positive behaviour change, a new study has found | NDARC, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Drug deaths in England and Wales rise for eighth consecutive year

Coronavirus is a public health crisis for all of society, but for the past decade, people who use drugs – especially those dependent on opioids – have been facing their own epidemic | Conversation, UK

The 2019 drug related death figures

The Office for National Statistics has published the latest England and Wales statistics on drug-related deaths for 2019. Yet again they reveal an appalling picture of human loss and suffering with a now familiar trend of primarily middle-aged men in our poorest areas dying | Collective Voice blog, UK

We Are With You responds to new ONS statistics which show drug related deaths have risen to record levels

The ONS today released the annual statistics showing deaths related to drug poisoning in England and Wales. The figures cover deaths registered in the calendar year of 2019 | We Are With You blog, UK

Drug related deaths statistics – A painful reminder of the need for change

The release today of the 2019 Office for National Statistics figures on drug related deaths is a poignant and painful reminder of the need for the reversal of cuts to drug and alcohol treatment | Phoenix Futures blog, UK

Number of drug-related deaths rise for the 8th year in a row, with rates highest in areas of deprivation. Government must follow the evidence if they are to save lives

Release’s Executive Director, Niamh Eastwood, says: “People are dying and government inaction is contributing to these deaths. In the last 12 months, two parliamentary select committees – the Health and Social Care Select Committee and the Scottish Affairs Select Committee -have called for drug policy reform in the UK in order to tackle drug related deaths... | Release blog, UK

New evidence shows e-cigarettes can help people quit smoking

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are a popular aid for quitting smoking, but it is taking time for scientific research to catch up and provide clear answers on how well they work, and whether they are safe to use for this purpose | Conversation, UK

Expert reaction to a Cochrane review of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation, as published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2020

A review, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2020I, [See first item in International section above] looked at the use of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation | Science Media Centre, UK

Threat or Opportunity? COVID-19 and Working Men’s Clubs

In 2017 Neil Anderson wrote: “The great British public will not stop consuming alcohol and they won’t stop craving entertainment. Whether they’ll be doing that in Working Men’s Clubs a decade from now is anybody’s guess.” | Drinking Studies blog, UK