Daily news - 21st October 2020


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UK news

Response to the ACMD report on the misuse of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues (accessible version)

Thank you for your very thorough report of 3 January and for your recommendations to combat the serious health risk to people in the UK from fentanyl and fentanyl analogues. I read the conclusions and recommendations of the report with interest | Home Office, UK

NHS smoking cessation service statistics (Scotland)

This release by Public Health Scotland provides an annual update on statistics from NHS smoking cessation services in Scotland for the period April 2019 to March 2020, including trend data from 2009 to 2010. It is supplemented by a Tableau dashboard and Excel workbook | ISD Scotland, UK

How to regulate stimulants: A practical guide

Download the free ebook.  In this book we show why the responsible regulation of stimulant drugs is the only realistic alternative, and set out the practical steps to getting the market under control | Transform, UK

Sell Ecstasy, Cocaine and Speed in Pharmacies, Government Urged

Campaigners have called on the British government to sell stimulants such as ecstasy, cocaine and amphetamines in state-run pharmacies | VICE, UK

Boy who prompted law change on medicinal cannabis receives NHS prescription two years on

[Limited number of free articles per week] Billy Caldwell, 15, will receive his first bottle of cannabis oil under the new care plan exactly two years after it was legalised | Telegraph, UK

Stopping antidepressants: Exploring the patient's experience

Professor Wendy Burn, old age psychiatrist and the immediate past President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (2017-20), discusses the challenges of stopping antidepressants with an expert by experience, James. James experienced panic attacks, lethargy and extreme discomfort whilst tapering his doses of antidepressants | RCPsych, UK

Can a licensed pharmacological treatment for alcohol dependence improve drinking and HIV outcomes?

The negative impact of alcohol use disorders can reverberate in different areas of people’s lives. For people living with HIV, this can extend to their engagement with HIV treatment. Could naltrexone be beneficial? Is there any reason not to consider prescribing it among this population? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

New anti-smoking laws set to tackle youth smoking prevalence in Wales

New laws banning smoking in schools and playgrounds could play a major role in reducing youth smoking prevalence in Wales as new figures reveal 81% of the country’s 467,000 smokers were under 18 when they tried their first cigarette | ASH Wales, UK

New funding and guidance to improve housing support for vulnerable people

The government has published a new National Statement of Expectations (NSE) for supported housing | Ministry of Housing et al, UK

MEAM in practice

The MEAM Approach helps local areas design and deliver better coordinated services for people experiencing multiple disadvantage. It’s currently being used by partnerships of statutory and voluntary agencies in 30 local areas across England | MEAM, UK

Sobriety tags to prevent criminals from drinking alcohol for up to four months to be launched

[Limited number of free articles] All courts in Wales will be able to require offenders to wear the tags, followed by all magistrates and judges in England in the New Year | Telegraph, UK

Former MP staffing mobile drugs consumption van to help save lives of addicts

Paul Sweeney has been helping the scheme in Glasgow despite claims he could be jailed for breaches of drugs laws | Daily Record, UK

Colli Llais – Colli Bywyd | Lost Voices – Lost Lives - event

Mon, 2 November 2020. 09:00 – 12:30 GMT. An online conference to raise awareness and gain support for the implementation of a Heroin Assisted Treatment Pilot in North Wales | Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner North Wales, UK

A work in progress: Clinical applications of psychedelics - event

Wed, November 4, 2020. 7:45 PM – 9:00 PM GMT. We are delighted to present our speaker, Dr David Erritzoe, an Academic Clinical Lecturer at Imperial College London, who will be presenting an introduction to the field of neuropsychopharmacology, as well as an overview of research that has been conducted so far | Soton Psychedelic Research Society, UK

We Are With You - website survey

This simple exercise takes about 10-15 minutes to do. It will help us to organise the advice pages on our website better | We Are With You, UK

Involvement Volunteers – Argyll and Bute

Scottish Drugs Forum are looking for a number of volunteers across Argyll and Bute. Involvement Volunteers will help to increase levels of involvement in different services, groups, meetings and partnerships in their local area | SDF, UK

Birmingham prison inmates' letters laced with drugs

The letters, marked as being from inmates' legal teams, were intercepted at HMP Birmingham in June | BBC, UK

Drink and drugs driver jailed over Lesmahagow crash

A drink and drugs driver who killed a teenager in a crash has been jailed for four years and eight months | BBC, UK

International news

A qualitative study of repeat naloxone administrations during opioid overdose intervention by people who use opioids in New York City

Take-home naloxone (THN) kits have been designed to provide community members...with the necessary resources to address out-of-hospital opioid overdose events. Kits typically include two doses of naloxone. This 'twin-pack' format means that lay responders need information on how to use each dose. ...However, little is currently known about how and why people who use drugs, acting as lay responders, decide to administer the second dose contained within single THN kits. The aim of this article is to explore this issue | IJDP, UK

Shifts in alcohol consumption during the COVID‐19 pandemic: early indications from Australia

The effect of the COVID‐19 pandemic on alcohol consumption is currently unclear. This study aimed to provide early estimates of how stress and demographics will interact with shifts in harmful alcohol consumption from before the COVID‐19 outbreak to 2 months into social distancing | Addiction, UK

Philippines' president takes responsibility for thousands of deaths during drugs crackdown

[Limited number of free articles] Rodrigo Duterte defended the hard line policy that has left nearly 6,000 dead, saying he was 'ready to go to jail' for it | Telegraph, UK

Surge in alcohol-related calls to HSE helpline

There has been a surge over the last three months in alcohol-related calls to a HSE support line, with an almost 40% increase since June | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Implementing alcohol policies in the Commonwealth of Independent States: a workshop of “First Mover” countries (2020)

The present report summarizes the main outcomes of a WHO workshop on the implementation of alcohol control policies in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which can be considered as “first movers” of implementing alcohol control policies. Despite their crucial contribution to reaching the noncommunicable disease (NCD) target of a 10% reduction in the harmful use of alcohol by 2025 in the WHO European Region, CIS countries often remain as under-researched success stories of alcohol control | WHO, Denmark

Rising use of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) and its adverse mental health consequences among youth (PDF)

Pakistan ranks amongst the top nations in regards to cannabis and cocaine consumption. Although Pakistan is committed to eliminating the menace of drugs to make drug free Pakistan and has strengthened the cooperation with many organizations to combat drug trafficking, drugs are still accessible | UNODC, Austria

Third of children in Switzerland grow up with a parent who smokes

Few children in Switzerland have parents who consume illegal drugs or risky levels of alcohol, according to federal statistics. However, a third of parents use nicotine products every day | Swiss Info, Switzerland

Cognitive behavioral therapy reduces insomnia symptoms among young drinkers

Pilot study shows sleep therapy also reduces alcohol-related issues among those who binge drink | Science Daily, USA

Expanded Access to Naloxone Can Curb Opioid Overdose Deaths

Changes to prescribing laws to improve availability of the overdose reversal drug can reduce fatalities | Pew Trusts, USA

1 in 3 high school seniors who misused prescription opioids later used heroin

Nearly one-third of students who reported misusing prescription opioids as high school seniors between 1997 and 2000, but did not have a history of medical use, later used heroin by age 35, according to a University of Michigan study | Medical Xpress, USA

Study finds higher cannabis dose is associated with larger reductions in OCD compulsions

People with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, report that the severity of their symptoms was reduced by about half within four hours of smoking cannabis, according to a Washington State University study | News Medical, USA

Changes in Cigarette Consumption With Reduced Nicotine Content Cigarettes Among Smokers With Psychiatric Conditions or Socioeconomic Disadvantage

These 3 randomized clinical trials including 775 participants with affective disorders, opioid use disorder, or socioeconomic disadvantage found that reducing nicotine content significantly decreased total cigarettes smoked daily and nicotine dependence severity | JAMA Network, USA

Youth e-Cigarette Use Drops, More Warnings Issued

Youth e-cigarette use fell by a third after 2 years of increases, according to the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey, conducted by researchers at the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | JAMA Network, USA

LSU Health New Orleans review suggests HNB tobacco products may threaten health

A review of heat-not-burn (HNB) tobacco products from the laboratory of Dr. Jason Gardner, Professor of Physiology at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, reports an association with elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, cell death, and circulatory dysfunction shown by early studies | EurekAlert, USA

Youth engagement and tobacco control: Empowering young people to advocate for policy change

Youth empowerment is an effective public health strategy that can result in improved health and educational outcomes. Empowered youth are actively engaged in decision-making processes and equipped with the skills and resources to make positive improvements on their own lives and within their communities | BASIS, USA

NY Harm Reductionists Face Pandemic Shortage of Syringes and Other Supplies

The COVID-19 crisis has taken so much away from people who use drugs in New York. An historic number of lives have been lost to skyrocketing, preventable fatal overdoses; New York City subways, one of the few warm spaces to ride out the cold weather while maintaining social distancing, now ban rough sleepers; more barriers have emerged to already-inaccessible addiction medications | Filter Magazine, USA

Federal health minister appeals to Alberta to reconsider closing opioid treatment program

B.C. endorses opioid injections for treating addiction as Alberta ends program and Ontario ponders | CBC News, Canada

Tobacco and e-cigarette use among two samples of people from Canberra, ACT who use illicit drugs

The Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) and the Ecstasy and Related Drug Reporting System (EDRS) are national drug monitoring systems intended to identify emerging trends of local and national concern in illicit drug markets, and form part of Drug Trends | NDARC, Australia

Australian drug dealers say they’ve moved to selling online because it’s both more lucrative and less risky

The Australian Institute of Criminology’s How and why vendors sell on cryptomarkets used anonymous interviews via with 13 drug dealers, ranging from those who sold less than $10,000 to large scale operations bringing in more than $100,000 in yearly revenue | Business Insider, Australia

Veteran commando overwhelmed by PTSD and alcohol dependency prior to death, said dream job had 'destroyed' him, inquest hears

A veteran commando said his dream job in the military had destroyed him and he was overwhelmed by PTSD and alcohol dependency just months before his death, an inquest has heard | abc.net.au, Australia

Blogs, comment and opinion

Alcohol and COVID-19: Why Now Is the Time to Tackle Alcohol Harm

Dr Kieran Bunn lays out the case for making alcohol prevention and control a priority | Movendi, UK

Joe Biden and Drug Control: A More Complete Picture (Part 2—the 1980s)

It was an election year—1980—but Senator Joe Biden was not up for reelection. His interest and expertise in drug policy were sharper than ever, and his membership on the Foreign Relations and  Judiciary committees (where he chaired subcommittees on European affairs and criminal justice) enabled him to pursue the drugs issue from both the international/supply side and the domestic/demand side | Points blog, USA

Ontario’s cannabis agency earns $18.6 million, beating Alberta’s but lagging Québec’s

According to recently released financial statements, the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) earned $18.6 million during its 2019-20 financial year. That’s a welcome reversal from the previous year’s $42-million loss. But while OCS did better financially than its Alberta counterpart, it still lagged behind Québec’s Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) | Conversation, Canada